This past weekend I ran the Halloween Halfathon in Fort de Soto, FL, making this my second half marathon and first time EVER having a time goal.
The Day Before
Saturday my goal was to do nothing. Goal achieved. I laid around all day, took a nap, held some Downward Dogs (those are my fave) and made sure to stay off my feet for the majority of the day. It’s probably the laziest I’ve been in years and I love-hated it.
For my pre-race dinner, I chose Jimmy Johns! I got the Turkey Tom on their whole wheat bread, with a huge pickle on the side. Carbs, sodium, greatness.
I made sure to drink a lot of water throughout the day, too.
I read through all my weekly training recaps for this race that I’ve posted on here, to remind myself that I did work really hard, kept up with my plan, and regardless of the following day’s results, I should be proud of myself.
Finished off my killer playlist…
Laid out my race outfit, so that morning-of could move along quicker (& also for a typical runner blog pic) …
I got about 7 hours of sleep that night, not too bad for me, and I wasn’t up all night stressing about the race (like I sometimes am!)- so this was good!
5:05am alarm. Brutal. Went straight to the kitch where I had a few sips of coffee and a blueberry mini-bagel with peanut butter. I’m not a fan of eating before running, but since I was about 2 hours out from running AND it was a long-distance race, I knew it was the smarter thing to do.
5:20 Hubs wakes up and gets ready in 10 minutes, so we are both out the door by 5:30!
We parked at Fort De Soto park about 20 minutes before the start… I am usually at races long before this, however getting there close to game-time, I wasn’t as stressed just standing around like usual. So it was kind of a good thing to get out of the car, walk up to the start line, and get ready to run in a short bit.
The early start (7:05) allowed for coolness and darkness. Both of which I love. I did a few training runs in the dark (no headphones!) and it definitely keeps you more alert. But things are quieter and calmer it seems … okay, maybe not true for a race, though 🙂
The race course started with a 5k loop, followed by a 10 mile out-n-back route.
I had my usual pep talk with myself about not starting out too fast and I am proud to say: I did not start out too fast.YAY! Then again, I didn’t wear my Garmin so I’m not sure of my pace, however people were passing me hardcore right and left, so I knew I was playing slowsky. Right on, Molly.
Got to see Ryan after 3.1 since the quick loop ended at the start/finish.
Just chasing ambulances.
I thought, okay not bad at all…. But now I’ve got 10 miles ahead! I’m bad about that. Running can definitely be a mental game, and I knew I needed to think of it one mile at a time, instead of x amount left to do.
Around mile 4.5, I thought one of the runners nearby looked a bit familiar… I caught up, and sure enough it was one of my Clinical Instructors from when I was in school. We hadn’t seen each other in a few years, so we did about a 20 second catch-up before both admitting we don’t talk when we run … we’re not those kind of runners, especially in a race. I casually asked what pace she was trying to maintain (I noticed earlier she kept looking at her watch) and she wanted to run a sub 1:59. SWEET. I let her go ahead of me a bit and I tried to keep her in sight for the whole race.
Running through a state park, you never know what you might run into… like multiple troops of Boy Scouts. It was still pretty early morning but there were plenty of kids out all cheering and wanting high-5s.
Mile 6.5ish I ate my Gu. But Molly, you never mentioned training with Gu. You are correct, friend. I did what no runner should do at a race. Try something for the first time. I had tried Gu before a short run during my training but hadn’t tried eating while running. I got it all over myself. End of story.
I hit up nearly every aid station and alternated between water and Gatorade. Supposedly there was Vaseline at each station, and I was interested to see how they were dispersing it, but I never saw any!
At the turnaround, with 5 miles left to truck, I could feel myself getting a little tired. For the first time during the race, I wanted to take a quick lil walking break. But I didn’t!
I could still see my friend and I worked on getting a little closer to her and the people around her.
Mile 10 I am able to catch up with her, and stay with her for a bit before running ahead around mile 11.
I finally start to pass a few people (up to this point I only got passed 🙂 ) However, I can tell I am losing form. I can just feel my upper body slouching a bit and my legs aren’t lifting up as much. Hang in there, Molly.
I notice whenever I look down at the ground I feel a tad nauseous (oh hey Gu) so I keep telling my self to keep my head up.
We pass through the troops again, I consider joining.
Definitely losing form, definitely want to lay down in the grass. All I want is to stop and catch my breath and recover, but I just know that crazy sub-2 is doable and I am so close!
A guy that was running with my friend comes beside me and says good pace good pace, we’re almost there, before passing me by to the finish.
I see Ryan cheering and waving me on, I know I must be cutting it close for this dang sub-2.
I round a corner, Ryan runs to the finish line stop, I can barely make out the time clock but I know it starts with 1:58:xx so I know for sure I will hit my goal.
Is that not the ugliest face of exhaustion you’ve ever seen.
I am smiling, fighting back some tears, I can hear Ryan cheering, I can hear them call out my name as I cross the line, I grab my medal and find a nice patch of grass to basically pass out on.
I did it. Unofficial chip time: 1:58:25.
I know reading that recap makes you want to sign up for one asap, right?!! 😉 While it was so exhausting, especially those last 3 or 4 miles, it was so worth it. I gave my ALL throughout the race, and I know I couldn’t have finished one second faster if I tried. I am incredibly happy that what I thought was awfully slow training, ended up getting me to my goal. After I published my last post, something switched in my noggin’ and I thought you know if you stay positive and really push yourself, you may just get your goal.
Ryan was very happy for me, but probably happier I met my goal so he doesn’t have more of these 5am wake-up calls. 😉 As always, he did an excellent job taking photos and being a cheerleader (<– he’s going to kill me for writing that)
I am feeling really grateful for what my body allowed me to do, and that I worked hard toward achieving a physical goal. It didn’t come easy to me, I don’t believe I am a natural runner. So it feels good knowing I did something I didn’t think I could do.
A fine mixture of coke, chocolate milk, and beer. Tasty combo, if I do say so. Also, not sure why this picture is blue.
Weener weener chicken deener. Okay fine, just a winner in my book. And my mom’s. Thanks mom.
Thankfully no knee pain! I am always worried about this, as my left knee has gone through 2 surgeries, and I really don’t want to irritate it (sometimes long distance running aggravates it). But nope! Just incredible soreness, which I sorta weirdly LOVE. Huge appetite going on, as if I am still logging miles. I have exercised exactly once since Sunday. I plan on running 4 or 5 miles at some point this weekend then after that…. We shall see! I want to run when I want and just for fun. For a little while at least… I’m sure the competitive bug will bite me soon enough. There are other aspects of my physical well-being that I want to focus on next, so I will see where that takes me!
Other Stuff I Want to Blab About
If you’re still reading, congrats, I owe you a coffee.
No Garmin… I am very happy I decided on this. During my training, I would glance at G, see a 9:30 pace or slower, get frustrated, and end up taking a walking break. Seriously. Childish, but yeah. When running gets frustrating, I have to re-evaluate some things.
Almost no race…Did you know I almost wussed out of this race?! I will be in Ohio this weekend and found a half mare 15 mins from where I am staying and I really considered running that one instead. My rationale: my last half I ran in 40 degree weather and it felt awesome. Here=HOT and slow. So I figured I would just run better in the one in Ohio. But I decided to stick out the one I already signed up for, and I am really glad I did.
Wearing new pants…along with giving Gu a go, I wore running tights that I had never worn before! 0 for 2! They were really comfy, however, and provided 2 pockets on either leg.. one for my iPod, the other for my Gu.
Following a plan…Having structure was key for me this go-around. Especially since I had a time goal I wanted to meet, it kept me focused on following a guide to get there. Not just winging it, which is my norm. There are plenty of plans out there for all different distances, so if you’re interested, just google away. I used Hal Higdon’s Half Marathon Novice 1.
Mindset…the mental game is a big part of running. Not only do you need to keep from psyching yourself out when it comes to numbers (pace per mile, how many miles to go, etc) but also I found you need to have the right mindset. The right attitude. I wish I could say I only think happy thoughts while running, but that’s not always true. I allow myself to become negative sometimes and I see how this directly affects my running. I think being aware of that helps, and re-focusing your mind towards something positive can really turn a run around. I struggled a lot with this during my training, but am happy to report that only positive thoughts were thunk during the race 😉 Except towards the end when I wanted to pass out and lay wherever for the rest of my life.
Why in the world is your “official time” the gun time … you would think that your individual chip time would be considered more accurate, therefore “official”. Am I right or am I right?
Do you have pep talks with yourself? Please say yes and make me feel half normal.