I did it. Finished my first ever half marathon (and second ever race)! It was physically very challenging as I was in pain from mile 2 onward, but I finished. That was my goal.
Sadly I look as though I am twelve years old in this picture. Rain, wind, and very little sleep will do this to me. I ended up finishing with a time of 1:51:25 – something I was very pleased with considering the amount of pain I was in.
But first lets rewind to the Saturday before the race. Eric and I drove down south to Santa Cruz to meet up with my old high school friends who were also running in the race! We immediately went to the boardwalk to pick up our packets.
Saturday happened to be beautiful outside, but we were all dreading Sunday’s forecast of wind and rain.
We all had dinner at my friend Drea’s aunt and uncle’s house. They made a perfect dinner of spaghetti, vegetables and salad. There was also this phenomenal goat cheese pasta that I instantly became addicted to. It is so super simple (Sandra Lee, anyone?) to make! You cook pasta according to directions and combine in a big bowl with a log of goat cheese. The hot pasta “melts” the goat cheese and it becomes a very thick sauce. I instantly began thinking of other things to throw in the pasta – sun dried tomatoes, prosciutto, asparagus – the possibilities are endless! I think I am going to test it out one night this week!
After dinner Eric and I headed back to the hotel for some R&R before the race. I neatly laid out ALL of my gear.
I have my shoes with my chip, Lululemon pants, Lululemon headband (ended up wearing a hat instead), short sleeve shirt, long sleeved shirt to wear underneath short sleeve shirt, knee brace, ipod armband, additional knee braces, ibuprofen, sport beans and Gu. I was so ready to go.
After a sleepless night – I kept checking the time and listening for rain – we woke up at 6:45 to catch breakfast at our hotel. My nerves were going crazy so I was not hungry at all but I managed to sip some coffee and have a bowl of cereal and half a piece of toast for energy.
Miraculously the rain was still holding off when we got to the race!
I was SO dreading the rain. It was all I was thinking about. It even surpassed my nerves that I was not going to complete the race due to knee and hip pain. So by this point I was so happy that it was still dry!
Before I knee it the race began! I was feeling pretty good initially but around mile 1 I felt like I was lagging. I checked my RunKeeper app on my phone and was pleasantly surprised that I was running about an 8:15/mile. I felt like I was running about a 10 min/mile.
Around mile 2-3 pain started to set in. Nothing terrible, but it was definitely noticeable. My left groin and hip were feeling it, but I kept pushing it aside.
The course was beautiful! We ran along the coast of the pacific ocean, so we had amazing cliff views. Part of the course was asphalt/sidewalk, while the other part was trail and rocks. This part was not so good on my knee.
Around mile 7 I had my vanilla Gu. This immediately brightened my day because it tasted like cake!! I think for about a mile I was so focused on how good this flavor tasted! The Gu got me up a tough hill and out to mile 9. By mile 9 and onward I honestly wanted to rip my legs off. Every joint in my hip was on fire. My abductors, adductors and groin were screaming at me to stop. It was so hard. I told myself that I wouldn’t stop because I knew it would be that much harder to pick myself up and go.
Miraculously I made it to mile 12 and after that point I put pain aside and picked up my pace just so I could finish! I have never felt more relieved to cross a finish line in my life. I was happy to see Eric and the finish line and was unable to catch my breath because I was so impressed to find out he finished in 1:31!!! That is UNHEARD OF! Especially for someone who did not train for this race, or for someone who solely focuses on the elliptical! I am so proud (and jealous) of my man.
I immediately hobbled on over and grabbed some much needed and refreshing fruit.
We wanted to stick around for a bit and find all of my friends but it started to POUR and we had to walk 1/2 a mile back to our hotel and checkout! I honestly was in so much pain and could barely walk due to my groin and hips that Eric piggybacked me half of the way! I am so lucky 🙂
We got back to our hotel, quickly showered (sweet relief) and met everyone for breakfast!
We went to Santa Cruz Diner – which was featured on Diners, Drive In’s and Dives!! SO COOL!
I was way too hungry and scarfed down my food before I could take a picture. I got a an egg, cheese and ham sandwich on a toast english muffin with hashbrowns and fruit. Needless to say I licked my plate clean.
So proud of us all!! We all had only ever run 1 or 2 5ks/10ks. We rocked it!
So now I am in recovery mode and I am trying to figure out my next steps as my groin/hip are killing me. I think it is a minor overuse injury so I’ve been icing and popping anti-inflammatories like its my job.
Next up – Nike Women’s Half Marathon in October!