I started this blog a few years after I started running and after I started running half marathons. I have previously shared my experience of my first 5k and thought it would be fun to share my race recap from my first half marathon in September of 2010! I luckily had written up a recap to share on the old Runner’s World forums, so I have some fun details about my first experience with 13.1 miles. 🙂 Appropriately enough it is thursday, so here’s a throwback thursday post for you!
September 19, 2010
Sunday I ran my first Half Marathon! It was RnR Philly! I know there have been some pretty mixed reviews about the Competitor events and organization of this race (or lack there of). But for me it was my first half so I really have nothing to compare it to and am so glad I did it.
Saturday my fiance, my mom and dad and I met up in Philly. We checked into the hotel, and went to the expo. I’ve never been to anything like that before so we had a fun time walking around, getting our bibs, checking out the medals (friggin awesome). I bought a shot glass because I collect them.
Then we went over to the Hard Rock Cafe for lunch, got a delicious veggie burger. I wanted to get some protein and have a good lunch and a potentially lighter dinner. I drank tons of water. We later went for dinner at Philips and I got a shrimp salad that was perfect. Overall I drank 3 32oz Nalgenes of water and 4 8oz glasses during the meals so I was feeling very well hydrated.
Sunday morning I woke up around 3 am, and all I could think about was my race number… go figure. I didn’t really fall back asleep, so when the alarm rang at 5:45 it was almost a relief. My dad and I got dressed and went down to the hotel lobby for breakfast, I just had a banana and granola bar. I think I should have had more. Then we grabbed our numbers and gear bag and walked about 1/2 a mile to the start. After a porta potty stop we got a photo with Rocky.
We milled around until close to 8 and then got in our corral. We were way back in corral 19, estimated finish time was 2:30. Though I thought it may be a bit longer, beginners nerves and all.
It was pretty exciting to get closer and closer to the start as they started releasing the corrals, and it was amazing to look over and see the elite runners on their 4th mile zipping down the other side of the road when we hadn’t even started. Finally we were off.
First 3 miles were pretty smooth, though I should have stopped at the first water stop because I was soo thirsty by the time the 5k stop came up. My garmin was going nuts because of the buildings in center city. We headed down Kelly Drive and I had to take my first walk break. I started cramping pretty bad, not sure why. But I figured I’d walk some, run some, and walk through water breaks to remain pretty hydrated. I was slightly frusterated with myself and new it may hurt my time but honestly, I just wanted to finish, this was my first one! Miles 7-9 seemed to drag on forever, I just wanted to cross that bridge and be on the way back! My dad kept helping me run by saying “just get to the mile marker” or “just get to the water stop”. I picked up a good habit of drinking 2 cups of water and a few sips of Cytromax at every stop, and felt good, minus the cramping. We crossed the bridge and I felt a little rejuvenated, the 10 mile mark was shortly after. But then, my dad started to walk. His knees were bugging him. Those last 3 miles were ROUGH. I kept saying “this is by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done.” Looking down at the watch i saw 2:45 go by…then 3:00… I knew our time was going to suck, but hey, we’d finish. My dad and I switch to a 2 min walk, 1 min run pattern. Just running 1 minute was so hard. It was frustrating that running a mile seemed impossible at that point but we were just spent. I know it was hot out, but I think I was so hydrated I didn’t notice. and the visor helped. I just kept cramping up.
Finally we came to the final hill and booked it. Running towards the end I saw my fiance and mom cheering for us, and my dad and I were grinning.
We crossed the finish and hugged each other and grabbed those awesome medals. Final time 3:18:57. Pretty slow. but I’m a half marathoner now!
Things I learned:
1. Eat more for breakfast, I think this is why I cramped up.
2. I hydrated properly, so do that again.
I think I’ll be more prepared for the Disney Princess Half in Feb (running it with my dad then too).
Though I was slow, and though it was tough, it was the most fulfilling feeling ever to know I accomplished it – I feel unstoppable now. I think I may even spring and buy some of the official photos since it was my first time 🙂
I am so glad I purchased those official race photos – despite the price. It is so great to have those to look back on! It is also amazing to see how far I’ve come since this race, both in running speed and also mental strength! I have also learned quite a bit about fueling during and before halfs (a veggie burger and shrimp salad? no. haha) I love that Rock n Roll Philly now holds my half marathon PR (from last year). 🙂