Longview Half Marathon Recap 11/11/17

It’s done! Finally! This terrible, horrible, crazy training cycle is finally over! My 3rd half marathon is done, I did it, and I never have to worry about half marathon number 3 ever again!!!! πŸ˜‰

I know I’ve talked about how and why this training cycle just did not go well about 8 billion times, but I figure for the purpose of this race recap I should mention why, yet again. So just real quick, I hurt my knee in August, was unable to run for most of August and September because of that. I had a bunch of crazy life stuff going on; family stuff, a friend who died, and some other randomness. Then a week before race day I got sick with a terrible chest cold and I found out during the race that I definitely was not as over it as I thought it was.

Okey Dokey, now that that’s out of the way, I just want to take a second to say that I’m a little bit disappointed with how the Longview Half was organized this year. I know this race is still really new (this was literally the 4th year they’ve held it) and I’m sure there are plenty of kinks to work out, but I just feel like the previous two years that I ran this race it went a little bit better. Especially in regards to the aid stations.

So first off, I don’t think there are enough porta potties at the starting line. Especially now that there are more runners because of the 5k that’s attached to this event now. I’m pretty sure the half started a few minutes late because of the amount of runners still in line to use the porta potties. I do, however, really appreciate the person (I’m not sure if he was a race official or a volunteer, but I can only assume he was somehow involved with putting on the race) who was encouraging the 5k runners to let the half marathon runners go first. I do not appreciate the man who was wearing jeans and obviously not a runner, who was in front of me in line….Come on people, let the runners go first!!! We paid to be here, do this thing, and use all of the race amenities.

Second off, I feel like the aid station situation was a complete disaster! I’m not sure who the aid station volunteers were this year, but for the most part they seemed to mostly be a bunch of high school age kids and they were super duper unorganized. Like, last year and the year before the first couple of people handing out cups would have water and then the next couple of people would have water and it was nice and organized and easy to make it through the aid station with what you needed. This was not the case this year. This year it was all completely random. Some people had Gatorade, some had water, some had both, and a lot of them weren’t telling you what they had, so you’d have to ask. I guess that’s not reallyΒ that big of a deal, but it was a little confusing. But what really sucked was that a lot of these kids were running around the tables, in the road, and just all over the place. That was super stressful and confusing. At one point I wasn’t even sure where I was supposed to go because people were running around everywhere and standing in front of the arrows pointing out the race course, and it sucked. Also, I don’t think the Gatorade was mixed properly. The previous two years I ran this race the Gatorade tasted fine, but this year it was super watered down and gross…That was crazy disappointing.

And yet again the person who was supposed to be calling out names at the finish line missed a bunch of people this year. I didn’t get to witness this and I actually got announced as I crossed the finish line this year (last year I didn’t), but my husband Luke did, and he told me it was really starting to piss him off. He told me that just doesn’t seem fair because this is a bunch of people’s big day and that everyone deserves to feel like a bad ass athlete at the finish line of their race, and I totally agree! I don’t think it’s fair that some people miss out on that. And I can personally say that it is a little bit disappointing when you don’t get to hear your name being announced as you cross the finish line, because like I said, I didn’t get that last year.

Alrighty then! Now that that’s out of the way, lets talk about my race day!!

It started at 5:45 am, which I now know was waaay too late haha. The race started at 8 am and is 40 minutes away from my house, so I thought that would give me enough time to eat, get dressed, and then get to the starting line with plenty of time to spare, but that was not the case. I ate what I could (I was getting pretty nervous at this point so that wasn’t much haha), drank some coffee, let my dogs out, got dressed, let two of the dogs back in because they are the two that can’t/don’t want to be left in the yard for extended periods of time, woke up Luke (who was myΒ chauffeur/coach/motivational speaker/photographer/cheerleader/anything else I needed him to be. Basically what I’m saying is he had to do all of the hard work and all I had to do was run πŸ˜‰ ), and got all loaded up into the car by about 6:20 am, which was about 20 minutes later than we should have left. Oops.

That really only ended up being a problem because of race day traffic, which was obviously expected, and I just want to say that I think the police officers who were out there directing traffic in the cold did an awesome job. They were all super nice and took very good care of us runners, so I thanked as many of them as I could while I was out on the course. Seriously, I’m so great full for what they were out there doing. πŸ™‚

So anyway, the parking situation seemed to go pretty smoothly, and we got parked and to the start area with about 10 minutes before the starting time. That kinda sucked because like I said before, the lines for the porta potties were pretty long and I had to pee, but on the bright side, at least I didn’t have to stand in the cold for a long amount of time. Haha not gonna lie though, while standing in line for the porta potties Luke was starting to stress me out by constantly asking me what time it was and saying that some of the runners weren’t going to start on time. A bunch of us missed the national anthem (I was literally peeing while it happened) but the race started a few minutes late, so I think most of us got lined up just in time. πŸ™‚

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Me being slightly stressed out by the 5k runners who were mingling in with the half marathoners at the starting line, but at least I made it there! πŸ™‚

Luckily all of the confusion with the 5k runners just generally being in the way at the starting line didn’t last too long. I had just enough time to shove my phone into the pocket in my tights before we were counted down and sent onto our 13.1 mile journey back to where we started.

I started out near the 3 hour pacer, but within the first half mile-ish I ended up near the 2:50 pacer. I knew that probably wasn’t a good idea, but the second I started running I feltΒ amazing!Β The weather was nice; cloudy and chilly. My legs were fresh and felt great. I was ready to go! At this point I still had no plans other than finishing, but I thought it was going to be a great run!! Unfortunately I was very wrong…

The first mile flew by, as I think most first miles do during a race. By mile two I was nice and warmed up, so I ditched my hoodie at the first aid station and only got away with a single cup of water instead of a cup of Gatorade like I had wanted, because of some of the aid station confusion that I had mentioned before. But that early into the race I wasn’t all that worried about it.

So mile two is where the biggest hill on the course is, and the Longview Half has a timing mat at the bottom and top of this hill, and gives out a “King Of The Mountain” award to the fastest man and woman to make it up the hill, which I think is super duper neat! Even thought that’s something I’ll never win hahaha. Especially since I walked up mostΒ  of the hill, but that was part of my plan and I was gonna stick to it because I wanted the good feelings I was experiencing to last. Near the top of the hill I started running again and I felt strong as hell! Apparently I looked strong too, because the announcer at the top of the hill said I was making it look easy. I liked him. πŸ™‚ There was also another race photographer at the top of the hill and I think those would have been some of my best race photos. They actually posted the race photos last night, but the King of the Mountain photos stopped at the 2:40 pace group and at that point I think I was still running near the 2:50, which sucks…I asked about that on their Facebook page and haven’t heard anything back yet, but it is still pretty early and I’m still super impressed that they got most of the photos up so quickly!

Anyway, around the 5k mark I backed off a little because I knew I was probably running too fast considering the lack of training I went into this thing with. So once I got to around mile 4 I was running near the 2:55 pacer and still feeling good! At the mile 4 aid station I discovered the gross, poorly mixed Gatorade, but I was glad that I had gotten some, along with a cup of water. This was also the aid station that I got a bit confused at because of all of the craziness that was going on with the volunteers, but it didn’t take me long to continue on my way in the correct direction. This was also the point in the race that I wanted to eat the first half of one of my Honey Stinger waffles, but the gross Gatorade upset my stomach and was only able to take a few bites of one. But it was still pretty early into the race and I was still feeling great, so I wasn’t all that worried about it. Especially since I was hoping that the Gatorade at that aid station was just a fluke and that it would be better at the other aid stations, but it did not…

Miles 5 and 6 were pretty uneventful. I was still feeling good, running in between the two 2:55 pacers (I think one was planning on finishing a little bit before 2:55 and the other planned on finishing a little after). At mile 6 I was yet again disappointed by the nasty Gatorade situation, but there was no point of worrying about it then, so I didn’t. But I did get two cups of it at that aid station, because it was so diluted and I wanted to make sure I was getting an adequate amount of electrolytes.

Anyway, around mile 7 I was feeling strong as hell. I was tackling the hills and felt great doing it, still running with the 2:55 pacer and talking to her a little bit. I’m pretty sure she started calling me “Nike” at this point because of my shirt haha. She was pretty awesome!

Around this time I had started getting anxious to see Luke, because near the end of mile 7 was where he had planned on being. I finally found him and he walked with me for a few seconds. He had a water bottle with him so I took a drink and I handed off my gloves because my hands felt warm enough and my sunglasses because they were fogging up and pissing me off. He told me I looked good, wished me luck, and then we parted ways.

Then mile 8 happened. Fuck you mile 8!Β I made it through the aid station alright. Got more water and gross Gatorade. Tried to eat a few more bites of one of my Honey Stinger waffles, but I was nowhere near following my fueling plan at this point. Anyway, about half way through mile 8 the wheels completely came off the bus. I was starting to get really dizzy, which was super frustrating because aside from the dizziness I still felt great!

Around mile 9 I started coughing and hacking pretty badly. That’s when I realized I wasn’t as over my cold as I had thought and that I obviously still had phlegm in my lungs, which I think what might have been causing me to be dizzy. That along with my not so great fueling. I was getting even more dizzy at this point, so I ended up walking all of mile 9 and losing the 2:55 pace group.

Around mile 10 I was still dizzy, still walking, and had been passed by the 3 hour pace group, but I was just right behind them. But I felt fucking awful. This was for real the worst I’veΒ everΒ felt and I had no idea how I was going to make it another 3 miles…Especially since mile 11 takes you over the lake which tends to be the hardest part of the race for me, since you have to deal with some strong bursts of wind coming off of the lake. But once I saw the mile 11 sign I started running again. I was still feeling pretty awful, but I wasn’t as dizzy. Plus I having 2 miles to go seemed a little less daunting than 3. There is another race photographer on the bridge during mile 11 and that’s where I’ve been doing my smiley, thumbs up photo, but this year I didn’t have it in me. This photographer was doing a really good job of getting a photo of every person by themselves and she perfectly captured how I felt in that moment. Fucking terrible.

Haha in the moment I knew I was going to look terrible in these and I regretted that a little bit, but now I’m actually really glad I have them. They definitely show just how much I was struggling, but I persevered and made it to the finish line!

Anyway, once I made it to the 12 mile mark I knew I was going to finish, but I had lost sight of the 3 hour pacer and I honestly thought I was going to be coming in at 3:10, 3:15 ish. Part of me was really upset about that, but I was also just really glad to be that close to the finish and I started chanting “One more mile. One more mile. Just one more mile.” to myself. And honestly that last mile wasn’t too bad. I was feeling less awful by then and knowing that I was so close to the finish line was definitely helping.

And then the finish line was in sight! I swear I’ve never been so happy to see a finish line in my life! Haha and I feel like that’s kinda saying something, considering I’ve only done 5 races (including this one) at this point. Once I got close enough to read the clock I glanced up and was genuinely surprised to see something close to 3:03. I was still under the impression that I was going to be crossing the finish line of my 3rd half marathon slower than I had finished my first. So that was a pleasant surprise. It was also nice to get to hear my name called as I crossed the finish line, because like I said before, I didn’t get that last year.

So my official time was 3:02:34, which was better than my first half (which I did in 3:09:32), and slower than my second half last year (which I did in 2:52:42). So I’m actually pretty happy with that time. Considering my not so great training, how badly the second half of this race went for me, and the fact that my only goal was to finish. πŸ™‚

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After I crossed the finish line I got my medal, had my timing chip clipped off, was handed a bottle of water, and found my husband. I also looked for someone handing out mylar blankets because it was still pretty chilly, but it didn’t appear that they had any. I asked Luke if they had run out, but he said he never saw anyone with one and he didn’t think they handed them out at all, which was just yet anther disappointing thing at this years race, but oh well.

So at that point I was ready to go, but Luke told me I needed a photo by the finish line so he told me to stand in front of the Longview sign, told me to look a little less miserable, and took the photo.

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This was my best attempt at not looking miserable haha. But I was pretty darn stoked to be done and wearing my medal. πŸ™‚

After Luke took my photo I went to see if there was any food left. Most of the booths that had been set up at the start were either gone or in the process of being taken down which kinda sucked, but I can’t really complain considering they technically want you to finish in 3 hours. Anyway, all that was left was a few yogurt, some chocolate milk, and granola bars. But the first year I did this half there was still a bunch of chicken noodle soup left, and I believe there was still some chili left last year (haha but I definitely didn’t want any chili after running 13.1 miles), so that was just kinda the cherry on top of all of the disappointment of how this thing was organized this year.

That all really sucks because I really do love this course and this race, and I think it could get more popular over the years, but only if it’s organized better. There needs to be more porta potties and maybe the porta potties need to be sectioned off so that only the runners can use them. And they need better aid station volunteers. And I mean, I really do appreciate them all being out there for us, but the aid stations were super chaotic this year,Β  whereas the previous two years I’ve run this race they were much more organized.

But on the bright side, the finisher’s medal is pretty spiffy and the participation hoodie is pretty sweet, so at least there’s that. πŸ™‚

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Haha I got a little off track there. But anyways, I grabbed a chocolate milk and while we were walking to the car Luke told me all of the things he was disappointed with about how this years race was organised and promised me any kind of food that I wanted haha. So at first I wanted a bagel from Panera, but then I though Starbucks coffee sounded really good. So while we were on our way to Starbucks I changed my mind and told Luke we should get Chinese food, so we ended up going to a Bo Lings instead. Hahaha so I guess I just want to take this time to thank Luke for being so patient with my slightly out of it, post half marathon self, and for taking me to Bo Lings. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

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Post race feast!!

So yeah, this post is pretty long so thanks to anyone who read it all the way to the end! But I think that pretty much covers it! πŸ™‚ I’m very happy for this training cycle to be over and to have a 3rd half marathon under my belt. Now it’s time to rest, recover, and then move on to other things!

~Ashley

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