Marathon 26.2


Sunday, September 14, 2014

First Half Marathon Completed!!!!

I completed my first half marathon last Saturday and I am now finally ready to blog about my experience.

I had been looking forward to my first half marathon for so long so when the day became closer, I found that I was not as excited about it.  On Friday, I was driving to the expo.  I arrived in Peachtree City around 4 pm, picked up my packet and looked around the expo.  I purchased a handana and a pair of super light glasses.  Next was check in and I was disappointed to find out the hotel may not have enough shuttle to race site in the morning because they did not know they were suppose to provide this service.  It was disappointing and so after settling in, I went to find where the race shuttle site was and pick up dinner.  By the time I returned to the hotel with my dinner, it was after 8:00.  It was way later than I wanted to eat.  I did not get any chance to buy snacks or water for the morning.

That night, I tossed and turned.  I did not get any sleep!  I think I was too nervous and not to mention dehydrated.  I had not hydrated well in the last few days like I should of.  The wake up call was set for 4 am but I was already up.  I got ready and I was out the door around 5.  On the way to my car, the hotel shuttle was there and I decided to take the shuttle at the last minute.  I had wanted to wear my other sneakers because the pair I was wearing felt lose.  (I had just gotten them on Thursday and I only ran 1 mile in them).  Once on the shuttle, everyone seemed confused to where the start was.  Fortunately, it was the right place.  Arriving so early (5:30), I had so much time.  Around 7:05, I decided to make the last port-a-potty run before my race starts at 7:30 since I was in the first corral.  I was shocked in a matter of minutes, how long the lines were.  Everyone had the same idea.  Anyways, by the time, I was in the starting line, I had literally 2 minutes before the start!

On that Saturday, it was still unusually humid and warm for September.  Normally, September is when it cools off but this week has been hot and humid!

I was set to run in the first group.  I was surprised that I was not nervous at all.  The first few miles, I ran at a good pace, not going out too fast.  I took my energy gel at mile 3.  Around mile 5, I could feel the fatigue start to set in.  Mile 5 and 6 were tough, which is surprising because miles 3 to 6 are usually my best miles.  The course turned out to be quite hilly, unlike what was described, as flat and fast.  It was not flat!  At mile 7, I was on track to meet my time for the half.  That's when I was in trouble.  I tried to run about 10 steps and my calf muscle would tighten up.  Every time I attempted to run, it would tighten up and give out.  I was worried that I would not be able to walk.  I attempted to stretch a few times and even started to drink Gatorade at the water stops but it didn't help.  It was frustrating knowing that I would have to walk for the rest of the race.  The spectators on the course were supportive and I wish that I could of kept running.  I was so happy to see the finish line and I wished that I could of run it in but I knew I couldn't.  I was greatful that I was able to cross the finish line without myAchilles  giving out but I wish that I was able to run most of the course.  My time was disappointing, under 3 hours.  Yes, I finished and completed my first half marathon but I was so disappointed with myself.  I was fighting too many battles, both mental and physical...

Back at the hotel, I had realized that I needed to turn this negative attitude around and focus on the positive and what I learned.  I learned so many lessons that I would not otherwise have learned.  Here are some of the key things I learned.  Not necessarily in this order:  I needed to have a positive attitude and make sure mentally I am prepared for the race, to not get distracted.  Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate days before the race and especially the night before!  Yes, I read this and I was told to hydrate but I didn't.  Make sure to eat enough calories and carb load a few days ahead of time.  Bring water and snacks with me for the trip, don't count on getting it the day before the race in a new town. Get to expo and eat early so I can relax and unwind.  Don't wear new sneakers the day of the race.  Again, I read this, don't try anything new on race day!  So true!

I remember thinking that I would not do this race again next year but after a few days, I realized that I want and will do this race again next year.  Redemption, to do it right and to conquer the hills!  So for now, I will rest my Achilles and look forward to when I can once again run and get back to running!

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