Yippee! Yay! Woohoo! I did it!!

As if the title doesn’t say it all, I completed my first ever Half Marathon this past weekend :-)

I didn’t quite make the time I was hoping for but then again I’m not so sure I believe the official time…more on that in a bit.

To begin at the beginning: the weather was PERFECT Sunday morning in Myrtle Beach, a cool 54 degrees with sunshine (well, technically we didn’t actually see the sun until 30 minutes into the race).  I met up with my running ladies around 6 a.m.; I had stayed at a hotel about a 200 yards from the start line so they came to my room to use the facilities rather than wait in line for the port-o-potties. That worked out great as the line seemed miles long when we got there.

We found our pace markers and lined up around 6:45; I was surprised by the fact that I started to get emotional at the thought of what I was about to do and how hard I worked to get to that point – didn’t see that coming! And then they played the National Anthem and I got emotional again – wow, what a cry baby LOL!

I had my Garmin ready and my C25K app was set to announce the walk/run intervals. I had decided I was going to do 8/1 split because I had averaged my fastest time with that split during training.  At 7:00 they announced the start of the race – of course it took a little bit before the movement reached our pace group but soon enough we were crossing the starting line; I started my Garmin and my app as I crossed.

I purposely tried to keep my pace around 13:00 for the first few segments so I wouldn’t over do it and I ran along side one of my running buddies, L.  She slowed for her first walk segment at 10 mins and I realized that my app hadn’t made the announcement for me to slow to a walk…WTH? I pulled out my phone and realized that the app was not working – NO!! GRRRR! I quickly closed the app and restarted it – damn, the first run segment was lost :-(   I still had my Garmin so all wasn’t lost.

The next few miles passed uneventfully and I was feeling pretty good, there was a breeze for most of the race so I never got really hot or uncomfortable. Between miles 6 & 7 I needed a long walk break so I could eat my granola bar and let my legs rest a little bit. My overall pace was looking pretty good and if I could keep it up I would finish under 3 hours. It was around mile 10 that I felt like I hit a wall, my legs were getting really tired – especially my left leg, I could no longer run for the full 8 mins so I just ran for as long as I could. I tried to keep distracting myself by looking around at the scenery, after all we were running along Ocean Blvd and there were quite a few nice houses and the ocean itself.

By the time I hit the 12 mile marker I started having doubts that I could finish, I felt completely spent, but I had come this far and I was not going to give up…I’d finish if I had to crawl across! The last 1/2 mile was along the ‘tourist’ section of the main drag so there were lots of folks cheering us on and telling us that we were ‘almost there’.  I heard someone shout my name and I looked up to see my husband and one of my running buddies K – I waved and kept running. Down the street we finally made a left turn and got onto the board walk where we would cross the finish line; my eyes were playing a cruel trick on me because the finish line seemed like it kept moving further away!! I checked my Garmin to see how much further I had to go – it had calculated 13.2 miles and the time was exactly 3 hours!!!!! I stopped it at that point.

Finally, FINALLY I crossed the finish line!!!!! I was so tired and exhausted I could hardly think – I grabbed a bottle of water, bent over so they could put on my Finishers medal and let them usher me into the photo area. The time on the clock above the finish line read 3:03:41 when I crossed – hey, wait a minute. If my Garmin was correct (and there was no reason to think it wasn’t) I had covered 13.1 in less than 3 hours – so now we have a controversy.

I found K and my husband – or maybe they found me – and we made our way back to the main street so we could cheer on L. I confirmed with K that her watch calculated the distance at more than 13.1 too. Within a few minutes L passed and we walked back to the finish line to watch her finish. As we made our way to the ‘beer garden’, L mentioned that her watch had measured the course at 13.29 – Ok so that confirms it, the course had to be longer than 13.1 (and by the way – that’s just wrong!).

It took me a good 40 minutes to really collect myself and feel like I could walk to the car – my legs were completely spent. In hindsight I’m not sure that I took in enough food before the race and I probably should’ve eaten the second granola bar I had with me – oh well, live and learn!

I have to say that it was harder than I thought it would be but I feel so proud of myself for doing it. The ladies asked if I was ready to sign up for next year and I said NO WAY! I need a little time to let all this sink in before I can even contemplate that thought.

Here are the stats:

Official results:

10.19.14 MBMM official time

Garmin results:

10.19.14 Garmin

Finisher photo:

Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon Finisher 10.19.14

Countdown…

My training program is ramping down to the big day and this past Saturday’s run was only 6 miles.  Just a few short months ago I would never have imagined myself saying “only 6 miles” but here I am six days from my first Half Marathon and 6 miles doesn’t seem like that big of a deal anymore :-)

Saturday’s recap: We decided to run our usual route which included one BIG hill but it also included 1/2 mile over the bridge in Lake Wylie.  We met up at 8am and off we went; I decided to do a 9/1 split to see if that would give me a better average pace.  It wasn’t very long before we realized the weather wasn’t as nice as we first thought…that dang humidity was back, ugh!  The route takes us up the big hill in mile 2 and as you can see by my pace I had to walk more than half of it.  The rest of the run was pretty uneventful except at the end of mile 6 we hit the big hill again, only this time down hill. I think I may have let gravity take over a little too much because my right knee started bothering me when I hit the bottom.  It was a short walk back to our meeting place and my knee was still bothering me. Thankfully K had her roller and I used it on my outer thigh and hip which seemed to relieve the pain.

I immediately iced my knee when I got home and kept doing that on & off the rest of the day. I’ve decided to do my two short runs this week on Tues/Thurs since the HM is on Sunday, that will also give my knee a little more rest.

My average pace was a little faster with the 9/1 split however it was half the distance from last weekend so I’m not sure if it would have the same impact overall – I’ll have to give it some more thought before I decide what to do on race day.

We’re heading to Myrtle Beach Thursday afternoon and I’m so nervous that I’m going to forget something that I need for the run…I’ve made a list of everything I take, use, eat – so I think I’m good…there’s that dang OCD again  :-s

10.11.14

10.11.14 pace

My new longest distance

This past weekend was the longest run of my training program before the Half Marathon…12 miles! With just 11 days left before the race I think I’m as ready as I’ll ever be :-)

For the 12 mile run we decided to drive a few miles to the next town where we could take a route with fewer hills; I think that helped quite a bit! Since the route we chose was only 6 miles out & back we had to run it twice…that added a new layer of difficulty.

The weather was perfect for our run, upper 50’s with sunshine. We started out around 8am and pretty quickly there was separation because we each have a different pace – I was bringing up the rear :-)  I set the c25k app for run/walk intervals of 10min/2min as this is the interval I want to run in the HM. The first few miles went by pretty fast and when I reached the halfway mark I realized the route we chose was not exactly 3 miles up and 3 miles back, in fact it was about a .7 miles short which meant I would cover less than 11 miles instead of the 12 miles planned. I started thinking how I would add in that extra mileage. By  mile 10 I was feeling like I wanted to stop but I pressed on, when I passed our starting point @ 10.5 I saw the other ladies were already finished and I toyed with the idea of stopping but my OCD kicked in and wouldn’t let me.

I kept going until I hit 11.5 and then headed back to where the ladies were waiting. Yay! I was so excited that I finished the 12 miles but I was beat…when I reached the ladies they had already recovered from their run since I was about 20 minutes behind them. It was then I found out that they had in fact stopped at 10.5 miles – what? They were congratulating me for finishing but I couldn’t get over the fact that they had stopped short of our goal…if they had told me that when I passed them I would’ve stopped too. Ultimately I’m glad they didn’t, it’s nice to know that I can cover that distance which makes 13.1 feel quite attainable.

Our starting point just happened to be the parking lot of a Dunkin Donuts, I’m sure you can guess what we did after I recovered…yep, a big ol glazed donut and a vanilla chai coffee…YUM!

10.4.14

10.4.14 pace

I’m still running

I’ve missed posting for the last two weeks, not because I haven’t been running but because I just haven’t sat down long enough to pull it all together. I won’t bore you with all the weekday runs as they’re just normal stuff, but I want to share the last two ‘long runs’ from the weekends.

September 13 – Hit the Brixx 10K

As a part of the Half Marathon training we signed up for a few races, last week was a 10K. After running 9 miles the week before the thought of 6.2 miles was refreshing – that is until mother nature decided to turn up the humidity again, UGH!

Before I get into the running details I have say that I was quite disappointed at the organizers of the race – typically Run For Your Life does a better job. Believe it or not we had a difficult time finding the starting line (huh?) and once we were there we couldn’t spot anyone that was controlling the start. The start time was supposed to be 7:45 but the sea of people started to move around 7:30 however we quickly realized they were just moving everyone to the actual starting line. About 7:50 the sea of people started to move again and this time it was the actual start…there was no gun firing or anyone with a megaphone…it was just really different from many other races I’ve run. The other issue I had was that the last 2 miles of the race was not marked very clearly, many times I wasn’t sure which way to go but because I could see other runners ahead of me I just followed them. The last complaint was getting out of the parking garage – we sat for almost 40 minutes even though everyone had validated parking. After all that, I don’t think I’ll be signing up for that race again.

Now on to the actual running. As I stated the humidity was just unbearable, it felt like I was running in soup. I ran out of ‘steam’ after 4 miles and took several walk breaks before finishing strong the last .25 mile. At mile 4 I had to stop and stretch because my glutes felt like the were cramping up on me; I had water with me and there were two water stations during the race so not sure what was going on with my glutes :-s

9.13.14

9.13.14 pace

September 20 – 10 mile training run

After the issues I had at the end of the 9 mile run I was a little apprehensive about doing 10 miles. The one major difference today was the weather – thankfully the temps have dropped and so has the humidity – YAY! The temps this morning were in the mid 60’s with little humidity – what a blessing!

We met up at the same location and ran the same route as before since we knew it actually covered 10 miles. I did pretty good until 5 miles, then I started taking a few extra walk breaks. At the beginning of mile 9, mother nature called and thankfully there was a Bojangles right there for a pit stop (I figure that added about 5 minutes to my overall time; I didn’t stop the Garmin because I wasn’t sure how to resume it… so mile 9 stats look pretty bad). After the pit stop I got a second wind and finished the last two miles pretty strong; in fact my legs felt pretty good and I knew that I could’ve done a few more miles – that’s a great sign!!

During the 9 mile run I stashed a bottle of water at the turn around point but this time I tried something new. I had read several articles that having chills during a run on a hot day signals early signs of heat exhaustion (whoa!) so I wanted to make sure I was refueling my electrolytes. I found tablets called “Camelback Elixir” which when mixed with 16 oz water provides all the electrolytes needed. I mixed that up the night before and stashed that bottle at the turn around…I wonder if that had something to do with my second wind?

The first stats below are from the C25K app – I was able to pause it during my ‘pit stop’ so the overall time should be pretty accurate. It’s encouraging to see my overall pace under 14 min/mi…woohoo!

9.20.14 c25k

 

9.20.14

9.20.14 pace

 

 

Training continues

This week the training runs continue to get longer…today was 9 miles! But first let me share with you the run from Wednesday.

Sept 3: Planned workout 40 minutes alternating 7 min run/1 min walk

The weather just won’t let up, it was hot and humid again so it was back to Anytime Fitness for a treadmill workout. I decided to plug into the TV on the treadmill and watch a little HGTV to pass the time which helped distract me from thinking about running. I set the run intervals at 4.8 and the walk intervals at 4.0. Based on an article I read last month, I’m not really pushing the speed too much as I’m trying to build endurance. I think it’s working because I didn’t feel worn out at the end of the workout.

9.3.14 mmr

Sept 6: Planned workout 9 miles alternating 5 min run/1 walk

Today’s weather was a little bit better than it had been all week. When we started it was 70 degrees and humid but it was also overcast so we didn’t have to deal with the sun. I made sure I ate enough before the run as I’m sure that was my problem two weeks ago when I ran 8 miles. We met at the shopping center at the bridge and had decided to run an out & back route. I had mapped it last night and decided I was going to put a fresh bottle of water at the halfway point which I did on my way to meet up this morning.  I felt really good through 3.5 miles when I took an extended walk break to eat a few shot bloks and then fell back into the 5/1 rhythm.

I picked up my fresh water bottle but it was not actually at the halfway mark; when I mapped it out I didn’t know that we would be starting our run over the bridge and back. At that point I quickly realized that I was going to finish 9 miles a good distance from my car – ugh. I took several more extended walk breaks and stopped once to stretch my glutes and again to tighten my laces. The sun decided to make an appearance around 7.5 miles and then it got really hot. In the final mile I had to walk quite a bit because I started getting chills – I have never experienced that before. I wasn’t sure what my body was trying to tell me so I just walked until they went away. I knew that I was properly hydrated because I had drank almost two 16.9 oz bottles of water; I’ll have to search the internet to see if there is an explanation for it.

As expected, by the time I finished 9 miles I was just over a mile from the car so I had a nice long cool down walk, LOL! Other than the chills and a nice blister on the second toe of my left foot I think the 9 miles was quite a success. After each ‘new’ long distance my confidence is getting a boost – oh, one other accomplishment today, within the first mile of the run we faced a HUGE hill which I usually avoid at all costs. Today I ran about 3/4 up that hill before walking – woohoo!!!

9.6.14

9.6.14 pace

 

Holiday Runs

Even though it’s a holiday weekend I still completed my training runs…yay!

August 30: Planned workout 5 miles alternating 5 min run/1 min walk

Unfortunately the hot, humid weather didn’t take a holiday…ugh! I met up with two running buddies and we went to the path that runs along the Catawba River; at least it was mostly shaded at 8am. The humidity was thick and I could literally see it hoovering above the water. I paced myself pretty well trying to stay between 12:30-13:00 min/mile except for the couple extra walk breaks in miles 4 & 5. I forgot to start my Garmin right at the beginning so I had to run an extra .2 to hit 5 miles – it’s the OCD in me!!

8.30.14

8.30.14 pace

 

September 1: Planned workout 35 minutes alternating 6 min run/1 min walk

The humidity just won’t seem to let go of us and I  couldn’t muster the mental fortitude to run outside this morning so I went to Anytime Fitness. This weather is one of the main reasons I have the membership! After a 5 min warm up, I set the treadmill at 4.8 and started the workout; I slowed to 4.0 during the walk segments.  When I had completed 35 mins I was close to 3 miles that I kept going – again, the OCD in me!!

9.1.14 mmr

Is this getting easier?

August 28:  Planned workout 35 min alternating 6 min run/1 min walk.

It’s another lovely weather day with temps in the low 60’s – what a treat to be able to run and not get overheated! I decided today I would try to keep my pace right around 13:00 min/mi to work on endurance and I wanted to actually cover 3 miles. I knew this meant I would run a little over 35 minutes. The first run interval I was almost right on target 12:47 however the rest of the intervals all came in right around 12:00 min/mi. I was deliberately trying to slow down but it just wasn’t working  :-s

As planned, I ran a few minutes longer to hit 3 miles and I still felt pretty good when I stopped. This is encouraging after the hard fought 8 miles last weekend…luckily this weekend’s workout only calls for 5 miles…ha! Did I just say ‘only 5 miles‘ ??!!!!

8.28.14

8.28.14 pace

8.28.14 c25k