It’s been almost 2 months since I’ve done my VERY FIRST HALF MARATHON, and honestly, I still can’t believe I did it! As a former couch potato this was a super big deal for me. Plus it was my first race ever, so I kind of want to take sometime to look back and write about it.
(This is probably going to be a super long post, so I apologize in advance).
The day before the race I wasn’t even nervous. Like, at all. Even while at packet pick up, getting my stuff ready for the race, and checking the weather almost constantly, I felt very calm.
Unfortunately that calm feeling went away when it was time to sleep. I tossed and turned all night and when I woke up at 5:30 am I was so nervous I couldn’t eat. I forced down a cup of coffee (with soy milk and honey) and half of a banana but that was all I could manage. And even that kind of made me want to vomit.
Before heading to the race, we stopped at walmart so my husband, brother, and brother-in-law could pick up snacks, and so I could get a jacket that I could get rid of at the starting line (haha I actually ended up keeping the jacket though, because the pockets came in handy).
Once we got to the start/finish (thank goodness they were in the same place), I used the bathroom, warmed up a little bit, and tried to eat a few sport beans. All the while I was feeling like I was going to puke. Next thing I knew, I was lining up in the coral and was seriously wondering what in the world I had gotten myself into.
All too soon it seemed, the national anthem was played, there was a countdown, and then we were off! Once I started running all the fear drained out of me. I was doing what I had come to do, I was going to finish, I was running and that was all that mattered.
The first mile was uneventful. A bit crowded, but since this was only the second year the Longview half has been held, they’re wasn’t a crazy amount of people participating. It didn’t take very long for everyone to spread out a bit. Mile 2 was when things got interesting. Most of it was a hill, and I’m not talking about a nice gentle incline, this was a Big. Ass. HILL. I’m pretty sure I died at least 3 times while going up it and I even walked most of the way up. I’m kinda glad I saved some energy walking it though, it turns out, this was a pretty technical course.
I felt really good for miles 3-4. Honestly they just kinda flew by. There were a few more hills, but nothing I couldn’t handle. But the 5 mile mark I was just hit out of nowhere with super negative thoughts. Most of them involving me not being able to finish. I don’t even know why my brain decided to come up with anything like that, considering I was doing pretty well up until that point. Luckily these thoughts didn’t last long. I started watching other people (which kinda sounds creepy now that I think if it) to take my mind off of things, and around mile 6 a very nice lady was yelling very encouraging things to people. She told me to keep it up and that I looked great and that really boosted my spirits.
At around 7.5 miles I was quite surprised to hear my mom yelling and cheering for me. It turns out my family had planned to surprise me by lining up on the course without telling me! Seeing them was awesome! I asked my husband if he had his water bottle and he felt HORRIBLE when he told me he left it at the car (it was all good though, I was only half a mile from a water station), so I high five’d my dad, gave them a thumbs up and went on my way. I swear I could still hear my mom yelling when I got to the water station.
At mile 8 my persistent hip injury decided to pain me again. It wasn’t too bad, but it did manage to slow me down quite a bit. Especially on the hills that miles 9-12 were full of. Seriously they’re were lots of hills…At mile 11 I ran into another interesting issue. Crosswinds coming off the lake. Mile 11 was the most scenic part of the course but it was also the most difficult. Running up and down small hills while being blown sideways isn’t exactly my idea of fun.
At mile 12 I realized I was STARVING and that I hadn’t eaten any of my sports beans while running. So I downed a pack and a half in like, 4 seconds. Haha moments like that are when I really appreciate that I don’t have a super sensitive stomach.
At mile 13 my hip was hurting with every step and something in my left hamstring felt really off, so I ended up walking most of this mile. I’m 100% ok with that though! I ended up walking with this super awesome girl who kept telling me it didn’t matter how fast or slow we finished because we are all winners in God’s eyes. I didn’t realize how badly I needed to hear that until she told me and I will be FOREVER grateful that I walked with her.
Crossing that finish line was a pretty amazing experience! They announced my name and people cheered and clapped for me and the other runner I finished with. Honestly I was surprised that so many people were still there, I was well over the 3 hour mark and I figured most people would have left by then.
My husband was there waiting for me. He hugged me over the barrier and told me he was proud of me. Haha all I could manage to tell him was “Luke I just did a half marathon!”
The race provided bananas, chicken noodle soup, and chocolate milk (which I managed to spill all over myself because I was slightly disoriented). That soup was THE BEST soup I’ve had in my entire life, but I think that may have something to do with the fact that I just ran 13.1 miles basically without eating breakfast.
We didn’t sick around long after I ate. My family was throwing me a birthday party that night and they had things to do.
My official time was 3:09:32. That’s a little over 9 minutes slower than I would have liked, but between my hip and the technical course I suppose it could have been worse. All in all I had a lot of fun and I totally want to do it again next year!
So, that was kind of long winded and full of pictures! Haha if you actually stuck around and read this whole post I thank you with all of my heart!
Hopefully my next race recap will be shorter. I think I’m just still super excited because this was my first one.
Until next time!