Tuesday, November 11, 2014

I finished my FIRST half marathon....and I survived to tell you about it! {recap}

Happy Veterans Day! 
THANK YOU to all of the men & women that serve to protect our country and our freedom!

Now on to my race recap which is VERY wordy, sorry in advance!

Sunday was a BIG day a HUGE day for me!!!

It's actually funny - running a half marathon was never on my bucket list!  It was never even a thought! I never had any desire to make a "running goal".  I've run probably a half-dozen 5ks & I did a 5-miler in 2010, but that was that.  

So when a new friend (a new friend that I had JUST met that day over the summer at a play date) casually mentioned doing a half marathon together in November I thought about it for a day or 2 and reluctantly agreed.  It's good to have a goal to work towards, right??

November was about 4 months away at the time so it didn't even seem that real....but things got really real, real quick!  Running became my new thing.  I thought about it, planned around it, checked the weather for it and (sometimes!) dreaded it!  But I did it...usually twice during the week and always once on the weekend.

My weekend long runs increased little by little....5 miles....6 miles...7 miles....all the way to 12 miles which I did about 3 weeks ago.  Then BAM...the big day was here!  

I think the greatest thing I did was really PREPARE for this race! I trained - like really trained!  My old self ran 2 or 3 miles and would be happily finished! I had to really dig deep to become this new person.....that was dedicated to running and training properly for this day!  I didn't want to get injured or sick so I knew slow & steady would win this race for me!

Here I am around the 13 mile mark...so close!

Some after shots:

Here are some highlights of the race/day...

(1) My Fuel Belt!

A very generous friend (Hi Gail!!) lent me her water belt for my training! {I can't imagine after all of the abuse that I put it through she'll want it back!}  I could not have survived my training, or the actual race, without it! 

During my long training runs I had Gatorade in 2 and water in 2, my fuel & my mace.  During the half it had the same, minus the mace! lol  It became my security blanket...running without it I felt naked!  And it mentally made me feel better because if I needed a drink or some calories I had it at my fingertips!  It was only annoying on my first run with it but after that I didn't even notice it was there!

(2) A Hat!

I have a love-hate relationship with hats.  I love them because they look cute and give you shade.  I hate them because they make me really hot and give me a headache!  Once I saw it was 90% chance of thunderstorms on race day I was not happy! 

Instead of my usual Lululemon headband, I decided on an Under Armour hat that I found in my mom's closet the night before the race (thankfully!!).  I have such a hard time finding hats that fit properly so I was ecstatic.  It was a good choice - kept the rain out of my face! 

(3) A Nike Compression Pro Sports Bra!

These are my FAVORITE FAVORITE! I have 5 or 6 of them and I always wear them when working out, especially when I run! It's full coverage, very flattering and definitely keeps everything where it's supposed to be because, let's be honest, there's nothing worse than a floppy uni-boob!


  • IT RAINED!  Actually I'd say it drizzled...from mile 8 to the finish line.  Not ideal, but could have been worse!  Glad I had that hat on!!
  • A BRIDGE! We had to cross over the intracoastal to get to the beach (A1A) so we had to go up and over a bridge...a big one....not fun, and a little dangerous IMO!
  • WE RAN THROUGH THE 5K FINISH LINE!  This race had 2 different routes...a 5k and a 13.1.  Right before we hit mile 8 the half marathoners ran through the 5k finish line!  Very anticlimactic and a little insensitive since we had another 5+ miles to go!
  • NOT ENOUGH WATER STATIONS!  I had my fuel belt so I can't really complain, but there definitely were not enough water stations IMO!  Here's a tip: put a water station around every mile marker! Sometimes you NEED it!

  • ROCK MY RUN! I've talked about my love of this app a few times and I did a giveaway for a 1-year membership a few weeks ago! I found it at the perfect time because I was sick of Pandora (sorry Pandora!) and needed some new, fun, free tunes!! I downloaded a 4 HOUR marathon mix for the half and it was awesome!  Since it was already downloaded there was no streaming so there was no chance of me losing service/music during the run - halleluyah!!!
  • QALO Ring!  Of course I wore my QALO...when do I NOT wear my QALO?!  Enough said!  {{And remember to use my coupon code if you're thinking about buying one - sammy15 to save 15% off of your total purchase on QALOring.com!}}
  • POWER GEL! I was really worried about taking my gel - which I did at mile 6 and then again around mile 11 or 12 - because I just can't get used to the consistency....and it is just so gross!! For some reason, during the race it was very tolerable and I didn't mind it at all.  On my training runs I usually gagged for a half-second when I took it but it was smooth sailing during the race!!  And of all of the "gels" that I've tried, PowerGel's fruit flavors were the 'loosest' around (nothing like chewing your goo and then choking on it when it's stuck in your throat....yuuuuuck!)
  • MY FAMILY & FRIENDS! My sister (who ran a 10k on Saturday and killed it...wooo hoo!!) ran the last 1/2 mile with me and when I saw here on the side line waiting for me I started crying! It is so emotional and overwhelming!!  Then right before I crossed the finish line she hopped out and I saw my husband, kids and my mom (my dad was right passed the finish line to get me crossing....and then missed me altogether! lol) and cried again!! They have all been so supportive!  My then-new friend, now-great friend crossed the finish line a few minutes before me and when we saw each other when it was all over we couldn't believe what we had just accomplished!  (We still can't believe it!!) One little hypothetical conversation 4 months ago turned into THIS - a life changing event!  Something we will always have and will never forget! Proof that when you put your mind to something you CAN achieve it!  Thanks Stac!! XO {{Our friend Amy - hi Amy!! - ran also and KILLED it with a sub-2 hour half marathon...she's a beast!! xo}}

It was a great couple of weeks over here - I became a certified personal trainer and finished my first half marathon!  WOW! Now it's time to think about what's next on the agenda.  Hmmmm....

Have you ever run a half marathon? a full marathon?
What's your greatest piece of advice??

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