Monday, November 14, 2011

My First Half-Marathon

Let me just start by saying, I loved it! My first half-marathon was every bit as exciting, exhilarating and challenging as I thought it would be. The sense of accomplishment when it was over was incredible.

Race day dawned bright and early. I was up before the sun, which, as a friend who knows me well said, was impressive in and of itself.

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(Yes, I realize I need to clean my stove.)

I started my day off with my standard bowl of Kashi cereal, though I let myself be a little more generous with the serving size than normal.

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It was so cold! On the way, we passed a sign that displays the temp – it was 29 degrees!

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Running shoes are designed for air flow, not keeping toes warm – mine were frozen! The race start was delayed by 15 minutes, so we went into the heated registration tent to warm up. It helped, but my toes still didn’t defrost.

When I went to line up at the start, Brian stayed nearby so I could hang on to my jacket as long as possible. Really, though, once I was in the crowd of people the cold wasn’t so bad.

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I warmed up fairly quickly once the race started. By Mile 2, I could feel my toes again. By Mile 7, I had settled in with a group of two women and one man who were running at my same pace. The two women were the two to my right in this picture:

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The older lady said she had run 35+ half-marathons, but it was the first for the rest of us. Yes, that’s a trash bag that she’s wearing. A lot of runners do that – it makes a cheap, throw-away jacket for when you warm up.

It was a gorgeous day for a run, despite the cold. The sun was shining and the setting, through a national park, was beautiful. There were more hills than I remembered and my quads were feeling it yesterday.

My goal was to run an 11-minute-mile pace or better, and I maintained that fairly well. I started feeling really tired about Mile 11, but not quitting tired, just “I’ve run 11 miles” tired.

Overall, I was very pleased with how the race went. I ran the whole thing with the exception of walking through three or four water stations, so that I could actually drink the water rather than wear it.

I was afraid I wasn’t going to have enough steam left to sprint the finish, but I did. It definitely wasn’t my fastest sprint ever, but I did pick up the pace. It was such an incredible feeling of accomplishment to cross that finish line.

My official gun time was 2:28:28. They had some kind of problem with the chips, so I have no idea what my chip time was. Probably about a minute or so faster. It didn’t take too long after the gun went off to cross the start line.

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Behind me, in yellow, is one of the ladies I ran most of the way with (picture above). The guy who ran with us turned it on for the last tenth of a mile or so and finished just before me. You can see him in the next picture, behind me, bent over pulling his chip off his shoe.

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We were strangers, but there was a great feeling of support and encouragement between the four of us. I was glad to have run with them.

I think a big part of my excitement was having done something that, two year ago, I never would have dreamed possible. And, not only did I do it, but I did it well.

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Yes, I’m definitely a “midpacker” – I’m not going to win any awards, but I’m not going to be last either – and there are plenty of people who are faster than me, but I ran my race the way I wanted to. I wasn’t huffing and puffing, I ran it, and I finished in the time I was shooting for. You can’t ask for more than that.

My dad and step-mom showed up to cheer me on.

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They even bought me this great necklace to celebrate my first half-marathon.

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My running buddy crossed the finish line a little while after I did. I think we agreed that the feeling of accomplishment made up for all the hours spent training in the heat of summer, getting up early to make time for long runs, and standing around in below-freezing temps. She said she’s never seen a bigger smile on my face than in this picture:

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The whole thing was just incredible…and I’m already planning the next one!

Do or do not. There is no try.

31 comments:

  1. Kim from What's Eating You?November 14, 2011 at 6:47 AM

    Good job! I know the feeling (I'm training for my 3rd half) though I race walked those. I really want to run but am not sure my knees are going to co-operate.You did great and the bling is something you'll cherish! CONGRATULATIONS!!!

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  2. Way to go, Kris! I will be doing my sixth half marathon in about three weeks, only this time I am down about 30 Pounds and much faster than before. I am trying to be under 2:30 at the finish. So exciting to follow your journey!

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  3. Awesome!!  And brrr.  Love that necklace; what a thoughtful gift.

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  4. Congratulations!  You're an inspiration.

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  5. Congratulations!  You're an inspiration.

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  6. Well done! What an accomplishment! :D

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  7. AWESOME!  I am so happy for you and so proud of you!  You are a winner!!!  I wish I could run one with you!!!  Maybe 1 day!  You are just beaming in your photo with your friend- I can only imagine how your insides were beaming too!!!  Way to go Kris!  You are a true inspiration!!!

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  8. That is so great! I'm glad your first half-marathon experience was a good one! :-)

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  9. Great re-cap! You look so proud and strong in your pictures. Your running capris are so dang cute, what brand are they?

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  10. Congratulations on your half marathon!  That is definitely something to be very proud of!

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  11. Congratulations!  You should be so proud of your accomplishment!

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  12. Oh how exciting!!!!  Congratulations!!!!  May you have many more strong healthy finishes!!!!

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  13. Run? Walk? You crossed the finish line, right? I can't wait for my next! And, yeah, the bling is pretty fun. :-)

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  14. How exciting! Yes, I think carrying less weight definitely helps. I want to work on getting faster. I mean, I have, really. My 5K pace was 11:30 to 11:45 last spring and I ran this half with an average pace of 11:20, so that's definitely an improvement. I'd *love* to be somewhere around 10:00, but I don't know if that will ever happen.

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  15. Yes, I thought the necklace was so sweet! I love it. Maybe I'll have a 26.2 one to go with it someday.

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  16. Thank you so much, Jill! It would be a blast to run a half with you. I'm all for it, if you ever decide you want to do it.

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  17. How awesome! You have so much to be proud of!! Looked a bit chilly, loved the necklace!

    Okay, I have to go off topic just a bit because the question is just burning to be asked...do you have your movie tickets yet and are you going to the premier?! (sorry if you have posted about this and I didn't catch it)

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  18. LOL I have been so neglectful of my poor Breaking Dawn on my blog. Of course, I should have mentioned it. Absolutely yes, I am going to the premiere! I can't wait!! I was going to buy my tickets the afternoon of the premier instead of weeks early online like I usually do because I've figured out that the theater isn't going to sell out -- they just keep opening additional auditoriums as one fills up. BUT, my sister -- the best in the world, btw -- called me Friday night to let me know that she'd won me two tickets to the premiere! And, not just any tickets, but tickets at the nicest theater in town.

    Now, I just have to hope I can get one more ticket. My husband, oldest dauther and I always go together. I love him dearly, but if I can't get another ticket, he'll have to stay home. I think Brianna would disown me if I didn't take her. ;-)

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  19. Wow, free tickets to the best theater in town for the movie of the year, she is the best sister in the world! Yes, your daughter is a must for the premier, your hubby will understand, but I doubt she would!
    You are probably right about the theaters just opening up more when they sell out, but we've always just gotten them online weeks early, too. I am lucky that I get to go see it twice in the theaters, I have a best friend from my home town that I go with, as well as a great friend here; well, some would call that crazy rather than lucky, but not me! It's nice to be able to look forward to seeing the movies 'again' after the premier night - it always goes so fast and leaves you wanting more! My hubby wanted to go see Eclipse with me, too, so yep, I went three times. (but my friend actually went 4 times!) Is it any wonder he calls me a twihard?! Have a great time!!

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  20. I just checked online and the theater's site says both midnight premeire shows are sold out. Hmmm...I guess I may just have to go with dh on Friday night. That means I'll have to see it twice in less than 24 hours. Darn. ;-)

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  21. Great Job!!  You should be very proud of yourself :).

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  22. Congratulations!  Way to go!!!  Be PROUD!!!!

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  23. as i said earlier on facebook...this is so inspiring!  ~liz@smithical :)

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  24. They are CW-X running tights. Very pricey, but very worth it! I saved and saved Amazon gift credit and Swag Bucks to get them. I have the Capri length for cold weather and shorts for warm weather. They're compression, so they support your knees and quads. Once you get used to them, you'll never go back to Spandex for long runs.

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  25. Thanks for stopping by today and congrats on your first Half!!

    This isn't the end of your journey but just your beginning!

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  26. Definitely! I'm already planning my second.

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  27. Woohoo! Had a few minutes to catch up on my favorite blogs and seeing this post put a huge smile on my face. I'm so happy for you! Congratulations for everything you've accomplished in the last 2 years! 

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  28. Awesome job!  I am training for my 1st one and you are such an inspiration! 

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  29. Thanks, Penny! I hope you enjoy your first half as much as I enjoyed mine. When is it?

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