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My First Half Marathon

If you told me two years ago, hell … even two weeks ago, that I could run a half marathon I would have laughed.  The farthest I had ever run was 8.15 miles and that was just recently (in the last few months).  Even in high school, when I was a good 40 lbs lighter, the farthest I had ever run was about 6 miles and that was just conditioning for swim team.

This has been a long, but steady, journey and I’m going to keep going with it.  Since March 2013 I have lost about 50 lbs and have gone from only being able to run 1/2 miles to being able to run 13.1 miles.  I’ve dropped 6 sizes in clothing and wonder what took me so long to get my butt in gear.  I removed all of the excuses and even as I sit to right this I’m looking at the clock realizing that I need to go on a run in about an hour.  The old me would have just looked out the window and thought it was too cold to go running.  Now I can’t wait to pull on my +Under Armour leggings and top, strap on my +Garmin ForeRunner10, iShuffle for tunes and my +Nike running shoes.

At the beginning of my journey I was all about running 5K races here and there but that quickly Outerbanks Half Marathon over this past Veteran’s Day weekend (11.9.14), starting slightly north of Nags Head, NC and ending in the town of Manteo.  A nice scenic, level, 13.1 mile run.  Well the only part that wasn’t level was the bridge but I conquered that so I’m going to push it from my mind.  Haha!
drains the pocket book and the distance is so short it’s almost over before it begins.  I’ve since refrained from doing the 5K races and jumped right into the

Stacking up my times with my Garmin.  I’ve gotten faster times than what you see below but they’ve all been indoors on a treadmill so they can’t be measured against a Garmin.  I think my fastest time on a 5K was sub 27 but that’s been indoors.  These are my outdoor stats since August 2014 when I started using the Garmin.

Notice there is no “Marathon” time … perhaps some day ….

I want to preface this next part by saying that I had some serious angst leading up to this event.  For the past 10 months or so I’ve had some serious stress urinary incontinence that has been quite the hurdle. Apparently having two children puts a strain on a woman’s pelvic wall and often leads to problems such as this.  Sure it’s a challenge and embarrassing but I got over it (I’m writing about it in this blog post aren’t I?).  I had sought help from my doctor in the form of medicine but found the side effects, dizziness and headaches, to far out weight the perceived benefits. I explored running with protection in the form of feminine products and even entertained the idea of Depends … but both options were too “bulky” and not conducive to running comfortably … not to mention fashionably 😉

So here is a serious shout out to +JustGoGirl for their awesome product.  I tested it in the days leading up to the half marathon as well as during the event.  Their product fit perfectly and worked as it was designed to so I could focus on what really mattered … my race. Not only was their product fantastic but so was their staff.  They rushed the shipment to me (at no extra cost) so that I would have a chance to try it before the race.  They also took the time to include a hand written note of encouragement and followed up post-race to see how I did.  Sorry for the delay in response +JustGoGirl!

Morning of the race with Tausha “Slaush” (5:40am)

I was lucky enough to run my first half marathon with someone who had run this distance before.  Thanks Tausha for the support and kicking ass on that ridiculous bridge! We had to wake up at ass o’clock to make the trip in for a 7:00AM race start. We stayed at a friend’s beach house down in Corolla. We were both very good with a short run the previous day and eating the right amount of carbs the evening before.  We went through a whole case of water that weekend just to make sure we were properly hydrated for the race.  Not that we needed it as the event was very well managed and they had water and +Gatorade stations every few miles.  Those stations also included +GU Energy Labs gels, which gave me the boost I needed when I was running out of energy.  I do have to say that the caramel or chocolate flavor was pretty gross but to be fair it was the first time I had ever tried an energy gel.  I think I’ll go with fruit flavors for the next run:)

Going into this race I had a goal of getting under 2 hours and 10 minutes.  I figured at 10 min/mile pace was a good one to start with since I had never run this far. My 8+ miles were run at a 9:30/mile and that seemed to be a pretty comfortable pace. The race folks said I did it in a 9:54/mile pace and my +Garmin had me coming in at 9:50/mile so that worked for me!  I beat my goal time and I managed to run almost the entire way without stopping (stupid bridge with your stupid steep hill that never ended).  The portion I did walk for was forced as I felt some heart palpitations coming on … which sometimes happens when I push myself too hard.  If you’ve ever had them you know that they make you dizzy and nauseous and I can only make them go away by slowing my breathing and avoiding activity until they pace.  Mine are the slow kind, as opposed to the kind that make your heart race. Not making any excuses; it is what it is.

Some stats on the run:

In hind sight I would have started closer to the front of the pack.  We were forced to the back near the 2:30 pace keeper.  We didn’t catch the 2:15 pace keeper until the down turn on the bridge hill (more like MOUNTAIN).  Next time I’ll start in the 2:00 pace group.  It was hard trying to weave through all the slower runners (and walkers).  Folks really do like to walk on the left … not sure why.  Running is kind of like driving … if you’re going to walk don’t do it on the outside … stay to the right.  Also … don’t run 5 or 6 abreast … folks can’t pass and you can’t run around others when you’re all strung out like that.

If you’re planning on running it (which I will be doing next year) look out for that hill on the bridge!

I learned many things from this race:

  1. You can do almost anything if you set your mind to it.
  2. Don’t doubt yourself.  Persevere.
  3. Make sure you have good shoes. Your knees and feet will thank you.
  4. Make sure your tunes are charged. (It was a miracle I had any with almost zero battery)
  5. If it’s below 60 degrees and near the ocean wear something to cover your ears!
  6. Chapstick … don’t forget it.
  7. Drink at the water stations … sure it slows you down but you need to hydrate
  8. Walk and drink at the water stations … don’t try to drink while running 😉
  9. Don’t chew gum while trying to eat energy gels.
  10. Make sure you have fog proof sunglasses
  11. Invest in friction gel if you’re prone to blisters … may not prevent but will help!
  12. Listen to your body and know when you can push past or when you need to stop
  13. Have your tech gear if pace is something you need to track…like constantly. (see picture to the right)
  14. Beer is good after the race (thanks for the Blue Moon)
  15. Don’t give up!
  16. Have a support group.  Thanks y’all!!

Until next year!!!

“Slaush” and I post race
Feeling good. Digging my insect glasses … ugh:(