Monday, September 14, 2009

Half Marathon!

In lieu of Menu Monday, I present to you the pictures and story of my first ever half marathon! It was so awesome and I am really happy that we did it. Julie thinks that I suggested it to her but I think that she suggested it to me but at any rate we ran it (mostly) together the entire time! We had such a blast.
First of all, let me tell you a little bit about our training since I have not had a chance to do so yet. I usually run a four mile, six mile, six mile, and then a two mile run during the week. On the weekends, David and I usually go on a long run, with our two longest hitting ten miles. Besides that, I attend around four rec center classes at my college during the week.
The night before the race we went out to eat at a pasta place to do some serious carb loading. After that, David and I had a relaxing evening at his parents' house and went to bed pretty early. I slept okay---basically I was so nervous about getting enough sleep that I could not fall asleep for a while. But finally I relaxed and dozed off. At 1:30 in the morning I woke again, thinking "OH NO WE MISSED OUR ALARM AND WILL MISS THE RACE!" Of course as soon as I looked at the clock I realized that we were fine.

Finally I woke up at 4:30 a.m. David and I were both very excited. We set off to the race, met Julie, and then parked our car near the starting line. The funniest part of this entire process was going to the bathroom. I was so scared that I would have to go to the bathroom during the race that I went to the port-o-potty three times before it started.

Julie and I started together and ran together for about ten miles. Her mom and sister cheered us on the sidelines, which is how we got this picture:
The race itself went pretty well. I did very well until mile 10 when I just hit a huge wall. During mile 9 I had some Gu, which I think actually contributed to this wall. My stomach started to hurt and my legs literally felt like they would fall off. I had one person advise me to eat the Gu and one person advise me against eating it because it made his stomach hurt during a race.

Miles 10-13 were by far the hardest miles for me. I felt like I could not go on running. I tried to stop and walk for a bit, but oddly enough running felt better so I ran again. I just went ultra, ultra slow and took it easy.

Our official times will be posted this week, but I unofficially ran a 2:38, Julie ran a 2:28 (I'm so proud of her! This was her first race EVER), and David ran a 1:48.

Here are a few tips/things I wish we had done differently/things that I will remember to do next time:
1. Stop when I get water and stop to go to the bathroom during the race. I stopped to do these things while we practiced our 10-mile long runs, and I really think that NOT doing this hindered me and contributed to the last three mile breakdown I experienced.
2. Do NOT eat Gu if you have never done so before. I felt queasy during the three final miles and after the race. Then, on the way home, I threw it up (sorry to be gross but I want to give tips to future half marathoners!) along with it came my post-run snacks and water. Was I dehydrated? I don't think so: I drank water throughout the race, before the race, and didn't down a large amount all at once after the race. I truly think that my stomach rejected the Gu. Next time I will bring a peanut butter sandwich or a granola bar to eat either right before or during the race.
3. Go ahead and practice the 13 miles. They say that you should not do this, but David and I both agreed that if we had practiced the full 13 miles we would have felt more mentally prepared. After running the ten miles we both said to ourselves, "Wow that was fine, we have ran that distance before. Oh man, but we still have three miles left to go." As it was we were running ten miles at a time, so the extra three probably would not have made a difference (as long as we did it well before the race, of course).
4. Drive the race course! This is worth your time and I felt that again, it would have prepared me for the race.
5. Do not expect it to be easy. The half marathon is definitely a mental AND a physical challenge. You need to learn how to deal with running long distances mentally before your race just as you practice running before the race.
It was fun at the end to enjoy food and WATER. David's grandma was a worker at the race so it was nice to have someone waiting for us at the end of the race.


Danielle said...

You are so awesome! (David too!) I am so proud of you guys, congrats again on the half-marathon! :-)

Sarah said...

I am so impressed with you guys!

Why do they say you shouldn't practice thirteen miles before the race?

Kathy said...

When my dad talked about eating gu during races, I always thought it would be spelled goo! You guys are amazing!

Anonymous said...

RORO said: Congrats! You are truly phsically fit ---unlike me! What a goal to achieve!

Julie said...

What great tips Abs!! I totally agree about doing the full mileage beforehand and driving the course. I drove the route after dinner Saturday and knowing how flat it was and having a few different landmarks to better know where I was and what to expect REALLY helped mentally. Can't wait for us to do another big race together!!!!