The morning of the race was a harried craze. We thought we’d left plenty of time to get to the race, but didn’t realize that our hotel was in trapped in the middle of a box where streets were closed all around us, completely blocking our entrance to the start line. See the race map, below?
Our hotel was just off 51 right smack in the center of the box made by the blue path (the marathoners) and the red path (the half-marathoners).
When we finally made our way to the start, I was running to try to get to the corrals on time, and my Mom was by my side the whole time
The sign says: “Look Mom, I’m Running my 1st half-marathon!!! Cheer me on (Ashley)”
I’d heard somewhere that if you put your name on your shirt, people along the course cheer you on and since (1) this was my first half-marathon, and (2) the fact that I was doing it alone, made me a little nervous so I needed all the support I could get!
I made it to the start line on time & I was excited for the start of the race…feeling good!
The race start was SLOW! It’s a “wave start”, so the first group started at 8:30. My group (#18 out of 30) didn’t start until just after 9:00am. By this point, I WAS READY TO RUN!
The first 6 miles were no problem! I was running a little speedier than normal, but not too fast to where I was going to wear myself out. I was energized, felt good, and I seriously don’t think I stopped smiling for at least the first 5 miles! I’ve never been in a race so big & it was all just so exciting!
My family (mom, stepdad, and Chris) saw me around mile 4, but I didn’t see them
I wasn’t expecting them until mile 7-10ish because that’s what we’d discussed. At mile 4 I was still totally “in the zone” and was jamming out to music. I heard that my Mom ran into the course running after me screaming my name, but I just ran on by, lol.
Around mile 7 I pulled my phone out of my fuel belt, found out I’d missed my family, and discovered that they were at breakfast…..I was a little sad I’d missed them, but were hopeful to see them within another few miles.
By mile 9 I was starting to fade. There weren’t as many supporters along the path (apparently it was a difficult-to-reach area).
At mile 10 it became apparent that I would NOT see my family again until the finish. In all of my training runs I usually stop and do a stretch-break around mile 7 or 8, but I had forced myself to keep running with the hope that I could take my stretch break when I saw my family…thus prolonging the time spent with them. By the time I decided to go ahead and stop for stretching, the pain hit IMMEDIATELY. My legs were like jelly and my feet were killing me. I also realized that my thighs were ON FIRE! Apparently I’d been having some chaffing going on, and I was very confused about it. I’ve only ever had chaffing problems with shorts before, NEVER with pants. Plus, I’d practiced long runs in this exact outfit (same pants and everything) so I didn’t understand how this problem just suddenly developed for the very FIRST TIME on RACE DAY of all days.
I told myself it was less than a 5K to the finish & forced myself on.
Miles 11-12 were the toughest. I walked the entirety of mile 11, and probably about half of mile 12. It was the first walking break I had taken and I wish I hadn’t because for me, the walking breaks are when all the pain hits me….if I just force myself on I don’t notice. But at this point, my thighs were BURNING!
By the time I reached mile 13 I had started jogging again…I just wanted it to be OVER! But when I finally saw the finish it was a GREAT FEELING! The layout of the course allows you to see the finish probably 1/2 a mile before you reach it and it was really motivating….I started really running fast again trying to get to the finish.
And then, it was OVER
I stopped in the finisher’s area and ate about 15 oranges (not really, but probably the equivalent of 2 or 3….they were pre-sliced & peeled & I just posted up shop & started shoveling them into my mouth!) Then, I grabbed all the goodies (fruit, frozen yogurt, granola, etc.) and found my family!
and I was EXHAUSTED! And my tummy was a little uneasy. I’m not sure why because I didn’t eat anything unusual. My morning started with my customary almond butter toast with banana
Here was my set-up in the hotel (I brought my own toaster!)
and I even wore my lucky 5K shirt from my very first race the night before
So….I dunno. Maybe it was just 1st race nerves and jitters. So we didn’t stick around for any of the post-race activities. I did not care about the bands. I did not care about the free stuff and goodies. I did not care about any of it. I wanted to go to the hotel!
So, we went back, I took a shower, did a ton of stretching, took a nap, and re-grouped later for a shot in my official Rock & Roll Marathon shirt & my finisher’s medal
After some rest, I felt a WORLD better! Decided to go to a 5:30 showing of The Dilemma with the family
Chris and I both thought it was funny & “pretty good”….not spectacular, but not bad. It wasn’t really my parents’ type of humor. They thought it was “ok.” I think they just don’t get Vince Vaughn type humor.
And now we’re already back in Tucson. Had to come back early so Chris could finish up at a job today. I’m going to take the opportunity to organize myself for school this week, get some reading done, get some cleaning done, and just relax a little.
Hope everyone has a Happy Martin Luther King Day! (Hope you have the day off!)