Well. I DID IT. A half marathon. DONE. DEMOLISHED. CHECK IT OFF THE LIST. (ok no more caps)
While you were all sleeping in, I finally ran my first half marathon and it was awesome. I want to start off by thanking everyone who believed in me, supported me and told me not to give up on this race. You are all the reason why I stuck with my training through my injury and doubt and you all helped me get to the finish line. For those of you just tuning into my little blog, I signed up for this race back in May. 3 or 4 weeks into my training, I was plagued with an annoying but common running injury called plantar fasciitis. Basically, the muscle that runs along the arch of the foot gets very strained and can be extremely painful. And it was. After many trips to the podiatrist and one cortisone injection later, my foot was on the mend but my training had taken a hit. I have to admit, there were a few weeks where I didn’t think running the half was going to happen.
But I am so glad that it did.
The few days leading up to the race felt super long. I wanted it to happen already! I was tapering the week before so I was’t running much and it felt like a lot of waiting. We had to pick up our packets the day before the race at the convention center in downtown LA so I met up with a couple of friends who were also running and headed off to the Fitness Expo. We knew there was going to be nowhere to park downtown on race day so we decided to test out the metro which ended up going really well! We picked up our packets and the expo was FULL of tables and tents of all sorts of gear and clothing. Runners everywhere. THAT was when the excitement set in.
I didn’t think I was going to sleep much the night before the race. I never usually sleep well when I know I have to get up at an extremely early hour of the morning. (Yes, I know I’m an early riser but 4:45am is even early for me). I got up and had a cup of coffee, half an english muffin with some peanut butter and a banana. I wasn’t even that hungry but I knew eating was extremely important. I threw on my gear and headed off to the train station to meet up with my friends and a bunch of Fleet Feet runners. The train station was full of people running the race. I mean, who else would be on the metro at 5:30am on a Sunday morning? Oh those crazy runner people… We got down to the runners village in about a half hour and it was still dark out which was weird but we were all so excited it didn’t matter.
The start and finish line were both right in front of the Staples Center down at LA Live. For those of you who don’t know, LA Live is a fun area full of bars and restaurants outside of the Staples Center where the Kings, The Lakers and The Clippers play as well as a million other concerts and events and such. It’s a fun area. The race started at 7am but our wave didn’t go until closer to 7:30. There was easily 8000 people running this race.
The gun went and we were off!
Miles 1-3: We started at LA live and ran off towards USC. The Rock N Roll race series is fun because they line the course with bands and DJs to keep everyone entertained. By mile 3, we were running around The Colosseum where USC plays football and it’s also where the Olympics took place back in 1984. Needless to say, it was really cool.
I knew my first 4 or 5 miles needed to be slow. I was sprinter in high school so I need to learn that distance running comes with patience. We kept it slow but as soon as I saw the mile 5 marker, I was ready to pick up the pace.
Miles 4-6: Coming back from running around USC, the sun started to come out but I was feeling good. I picked up the pace and was alone for most of these 3 miles. Right around 6 miles, I found a couple who runs with Fleet Feet and decided to hop in and join them. Their pace was good and they had run this course before so they had some great tips about what was coming up.
Mile 6 was wonderful because it was almost the half way mark and I saw my guy along with more Fleet Feet runners who came down to support everyone in the race. There’s nothing like seeing your friends cheering you on. The energy surge I got from that was amazing and I was ready to take on the gradual incline that was mile 7.
Miles 7-9: This is when the course started to get tough. I was getting tired but I didn’t want to stop. There was a moment when I stopped to walk at a water station but honestly, it hurt more to walk than to keep running. Mile 7 went through the 3rd Street tunnel which was cool. There were a lot of echoes and a DJ was pumping some dance music throughout. I could tell all the runners were enjoying it. Mile 8 was fairly flat and straight and then…. Mile 9……
Mile 9 was a giant bridge. GIANT. It was practically Mount Everest. I powered all the way through to the bottom of the bridge and decided to slow down and start walking up the incline. To be honest, everyone was walking at this point. I thought it was a good opportunity to take an energy gel and try to regain some energy in my legs for the last 3 miles.
Miles 10-13.1: I hit the 10 mile marker after we turned around on the bridge and I think that was the moment when I realized that I only had 3 more miles to go. “Only another 5k”, I said to myself. I looked at my watch and I KNEW I was going to make it way before the 3 hour mark and I was PUMPED. Because my training was postponed during my injury, my only goal for this race was to finish in under 3 hours. I felt good, and my body was starting to hurt but I knew this wasn’t going to be a painless run.
I saw the mile 12 marker going back through the 3rd street tunnel and I knew I was about to finish. It was actually going to happen! I drank some more water and had a bit more gel because I really wanted to give it my all at the end.
Mile 13: MOST of this mile was downhill and flat, THANK GOD. I could see the finish line. I could SEE it. Even though it was a good .7 miles away, seeing that finish gave me the strength I needed. Also, shout to my guy for jumping in at the last half mile and running with me to see me through. That was amazing. Each step I got closer, the faster I went. I was sprinting (my favorite thing to do) and before I knew it, I was at the finish!
Final Half Marathon time: 2:35:47
There it is. I finally can say that I finished a half marathon. I got my medal and it was one of the hardest, most fun things I have ever done.
And I want to do it again. Only faster and stronger next time.
Today’s advice: Go out for a run. You’ll realize what you are truly capable of.