My first half…I can’t deny that this race was a HUGE learning experience for me! This race really helped transform me into who I am as a runner today. I made a lot of mistakes due to being uneducated and unprepared. Quick backstory: I started running on 5/18/14…I had run when I was younger, just not as an adult. I had been a smoker and quit that 5/2/14. My first half marathon…..8/24/14….yeah, 3 months after I started running again. Man did I have a lot to learn!!!
I signed up for the CFW Half Marathon on a whim. I was already signed up for a half in October which was a goal race but, in all the years I had run when I was younger, I had never run a half marathon. Also, in the last 3 months of running I had only run a max of 7 miles at one time. Not exactly the best training for a half. The distance was foreign. I didn’t know the first thing about how to run it or what it would feel like. So of course CFW was going to be my “trial” run…something that let me know what I had really gotten myself in to. While signing up for this Dare said…me too mom. He was 11, he ran 6 days a week and was well trained, so that was that. Dare and I were running our first half marathons together. I WAS STOKED!
Dare and I headed down to Richmond, IN Saturday evening. It was about a 3 hour drive and I just didn’t want to have to do that in the am before the race! Now, I wasn’t a blogger then so I have no pictures of this hotel but I wish I did!!! I had booked a cheap room near the start at a Super 8. Not my favorite hotel chain but something I figured wouldn’t be half bad. This place looked like it was straight out of a horror movie. Paint coming off the walls, ripped wallpaper, small bugs crawling around in the halls, stained carpet…you get the picture, right?
We stayed out of our room for as long as we could that night. First we headed to America MultiSport store that was hosting packet pickup. While we were there I purchased some salt tabs and sports beans. To be honest at the time, I didn’t know if either would do anything for me. I had never used them, but I knew that I had to replace electrolytes somehow. I had also heard somewhere that you had to worry about carb replacement as well. I didn’t know what to do for that either. <–I told ya’ll I was unprepared!! So for carbs…we figured we would just go with some Swedish fish because well…they are amazing!! 🙂
When we left packet pickup it was dinner time. Dare really loves Texas Roadhouse and was craving a steak so we headed there to get over stuffed before it was time to go to bed. We got up early and had bagels with peanut butter and Gatorade for breakfast before heading to the start.
It was very warm already that morning and calling for sunshine…so we made sure to hide in the shade as much as we could until start time!
I had just purchased my first Garmin so I still have my mile splits!! I had told Dare that I wanted to try to stay around 11 minute miles. I figured this was safe enough for me to be able to complete the entire race without having to walk. This was actually my only good plan of the day! Lol!
I had heard the race was hilly but didn’t really know how bad it was. I knew it started downhill and got worse. Then you turned around and ran the course backwards.
We started off at a nice even pace, everything seemed comfortable and calm. Around mile 3 they had an aid station with water and ice, which was needed by then. At this point we also ate some swedish fish and I took a salt tab. You can see our pace drop a bit when we hit our first major hill at about mile 4. The course weaves through streets and onto a bike path at this point. It is pretty and fun to run. Then you come off of the bike path onto the largest hills I have ever run in a half. You go down, followed by immediately going back up. It. Was. Rough.
We then had a slight downhill to the start where we turned around and headed right back where we came from….yep! We had to run those hills…..AGAIN!
After heading back onto the bike path, I started to really feel the run. I was hitting miles 8 and 9 knowing I hadn’t run that far in at least 12 years. I was tired. Dare was cheering me on. Then we hit mile 11. I knew that we were in our last 5k. But I had hit my wall. I could barely keep going. I was now resorting to run/walking the rest of the race. I did more running than walking but the effects from the hot/humid day and unprepared nutrition had hit me full force. I honestly don’t remember much from this portion of the race since my full attention was on forward movement. One foot in front of the other….all I could think was “finish the race….finish the race”.
And we did….final time….2:23:00!! I couldn’t have been more excited to know that we were done! I grabbed a Popsicle from the coolers at the finish and went to start stretching. Dare was receiving an award for 1st in his AG. So we waited around.
They hadn’t planned on having such a young participant and realized that he was getting a bottle of wine as an award! So they confirmed that I would take it for him….well duh! What kind of mother wouldn’t!
When we left the race I had a lot of time to reflect. We talked over lunch before heading home and I let Dare know that I was going to do a lot of research on running nutrition. I wasn’t going to let my next half be like this one! I did, and have not had an experience like this since! Sometimes you have to screw up and that is OK! My next half was AMAZING and you can read about it here.
Do you have one race that taught you more than others?
What is the biggest mistake you have made at a race?