Okay, so it was race day!!!! First, as I stated in my previous post, I rolled out of bed and ate my traditional breakfast that I always eat prior to long runs..... 1/2 bagel topped with peanut butter and chopped up banana..... I had to be a bit creative because I forgot to bring a knife. I have these Jiff single cups and I broke off a piece of bagel to dip and scoop some peanut butter, then I bit off a piece of banana. LOL! Had to improvise, but all in all, tasted the same :D
Remember, I threw this half marathon in the middle of my full marathon training..... so, on Sunday, I actually had 18 miles to run. Therefore, I went out about 6am to run 2 miles to warm up, then it was on to the race where I ran the 13.1, and then afterwards, I ran an additional 3 miles to equal a total of 18! Therefore, still on plan for Full marathon which is the ultimate goal at the present time. I had one lady yell at me while I was running the additional 3 miles.... she yelled, "Hey lady, you are finish with the race, you can stop running now!!"
**Be Good or take a Chance.... decisions, decisions....
Surprisingly, I woke up Sunday feeling quite well. I actually slept REALLY good the night before! That is strange, usually nerves impaired the night before sleep.... but not this time. Anyway, I met up with some friends from Valdosta that were too running the half marathon. We walked to the starting line, and this is when the NERVES set in.... oh, I was nervous! But why?!? Maybe the upcoming hills... and when I say hills, I mean rolling steep hills!!!! Hills that will make you want to cuss like a sailor! Perhaps, I was nervous because I felt so good, and I knew that I had the possibility to not only PR, but also reach my goal of a sub 2 hour half marathon!!!!! BUT REMEMBER, I was instructed by the coach to run smart and controlled... to stay between a 9:30-9:45 pace. However, today, it really felt like all the stars aligned for a perfect race to reach the GOAL of SUB 2!!!!
***Seize the day!!!!!!
Prior to the race, I received a text from a friend.... she was wishing me good luck and stated, "I wish the coach would let you just run without a watch and run comfortably, because you might find your comfort pace to be faster than the stated 9:30-9:45 pace." I lined up in the area between the 9:30 and 10 min pace sections. At that moment, I decided, I am going to run at a comfort pace and not look at my watch until I was a few miles in....... at around mile 4-5ish, I looked at my watch, oh I was surprised!!! I was under a 9 min pace....I was running comfortable and no huffing & puffing.....I felt GREAT.... and this is when I made a critical decision....... I WOULD GO FOR IT!!! YES, I COULD FEEL THAT TODAY WAS THE DAY TO GO FOR THAT SUB 2!!!! Yes, I was going to seize the day! Seriously, tomorrow is never guaranteed ....... and when perfect weather + feeling great= you give it what you got! With obtaining a sub 2 half marathon, I would be content the rest of the year, even if I am not able to run the full marathon in March! There are other races! There are very few days when the stars align perfectly for a perfect run...... today was the perfect day for me!
***Trying to be ultra prepared..... BIG FAIL
I carried my own water bottle, because I have gotten so used to doing that on my long runs..... I also carried my own Gu too. I had figured only needing one GU, so I took 2.... you know, just in case! I also had head congestion! UGH! Woke up with a headache from sinus pressure! I did jump in the shower and got it as hot as I could to kinda relieve the sinuses..... then I blew my nose to clear! I don't dare take any type of medication prior to racing.... no sinus meds or ibuprofen! But, the steam shower seemed to help, and by the time I got outside, sinuses were clear and headache eased off! I have a flip belt that I wear to carry my phone and Gu. On training runs, I tried to carry tissue, but it was so difficult to try to get tissue out of that thing. So, a friend of my had mention that she wore like 3 belts when she raced a full marathon. So, I thought I would try 2 belts..... my flip belt and my SPIbelt! I carried my GU and phone in my flip belt and the tissue only in my SPIbelt. This turned out to be a complete fail!!!! Oh goodness, I got them belts all tangled up to where I couldn't get to anything!
***Channeling the KING of POP: Well, not really.... LOL
Seriously, I had my cheap old target gloves on and used one at around mile 6 to blow my nose and then threw in a trash can at a water stationed...... so, then I looked like a Michael Jackson runner with one glove only!!!! Oh goodness, please tell me a race photographer didn't get a shot of that! LOL! But, I had already plan to use that one for a tissue when I needed to, and at mile 11, I did just that and threw it in a trash can at a water station!!! LOL!!! Gotta do, what ya gotta do!!!! Also, one of my GU fell out of my flip belt....... I soon found out after the race that I have been wear the flip belt all wrong..... I have been wearing the side with the open slits outward, when your are suppose to flip the belt around where the slits are secure against the body..... duh!!!! Now I get the name "flip belt!" Go Figure!!!! HA! HA! Perhaps I should have read the insert when I purchased the belt!!! Oh well, live and learn, right?!
***MILE TO MILE breakdown
Mile 1- 4.5 miles I ran comfortable, and may have taken a sip of water about every mile.
By mile 5- decision was to go for the sub 2 hour Half marathon time
Mile 6- I took my first Gu..... not sure, but this might have been when the other slipped out.... I drank some water behind it. Now, when I take the GU, I don't just squeeze in my mouth.... I kinda squeeze a little and do this about every 0.05 miles until I have taken the whole thing, and then I drink the water. I am not saying this is good for everyone, but this is how I do it.
Mile 7-sip water (Still have my water bottle)
Mile 8 or 9 ( I did grab a gatorade and drank about 3-4 sips and then drank water I had in hand---kept on running while doing this.... I learned the technique that you squeeze the cup and this makes it easy to drink without splashing it all over your face and up your nose!)
Next water stop, I asked for GU (before realizing that I did not have my extra one) but they said all they had were honey stingers. I had never tried a honey stinger, therefore, I didn't want to try now in the middle of a race---- I remembered, nothing new on race day! NOTHING!....... I then fiddled around with my belts, but honestly, I think I tangled them more and more trying to look for the other GU I should have had!!!!! UGH!!! This is when I knew, it had fallen out somewhere! So, decision made.... I was going to grab a GU at the next fuel station, and if all they had were honey stingers, I was going to grab one. No, I did not feel like I needed one, however, I did not want to be without one and need it!!!!! So, I did just that, next station, I grab a honey stinger!
Mile 10- there was this monstrous hill!!! I mean like straight up hill!!!!!! Runners way ahead of me had started to walk! And, when my running pace became so slowed that I was practically walking, I too walked for about a tenth of a mile or so!!! Figured better to conserve energy than expend too much energy trying to get up a steep hill!
Mile 11- Oh goodness, I was making great time!!!!!! I was feeling great. I squeezed the honey stinger over about a tenth of a mile and followed it with water..... this is when I threw the bottle water I was carrying down....... oh yes, I was gong to be good for the rest of the half marathon and cruise right on in!!!!!!!!!
Mile 12 and 13 literally flew by.... I saw a friend of mine as I was approaching the finish line and he confirmed by yelling, "You have a sub 2!!!" Oh man!!! My eyes were locked on the time clock! I could not believe that I had succeeded with my goal! I could not believe that I felt as great as I did at the finish!!!!! I seriously wanted someone to pinch me because I really felt I was dreaming!!!!! Even as the medal was being placed around my neck, I was stunned....... oh how that picture will turn out because a photographer shoved his camera in my face as the medal was place over my head!!!!! IT WAS AWESOME!!! ONE OF MY BEST MOMENTS EVER!!!!! I high-5 my friend...... and then floated on cloud 9 the rest of the day!!!!! I ran my additional 3 miles and then went to the hotel room to get out of the sweaty clothes, because I remembered the coach saying, make sure to get warm after race and stay hydrated!!!!! I then returned to the finish line to see my friend come in!!!! It was a great day for both of us because she finished under her goal time as well!!!!!! It was a GREAT day for ALL!!!
And, there you have it, my Half marathon recap..... Until later.....
****Preparation advise for races? Specifically, how do you carry what you need?
****Ever have gear malfunction and just push through because you were having the best race ever?