Hello, Again


Hey, everyone!  Long time, no blog, right? In fact, just based on when I last posted, it sort of looks like I didn’t survive my half marathon.

posthalfmarathon

Thrived.

I planned to apologize for my prolonged absence, but it was definitely needed.  A lot has been going on in my life, and although I wish I could have blogged throughout the whole thing, my stress-o-meter would have exploded. But I promise I’m back!

I’ve got a lot to recap over the next few posts, but today I’ll give you a little look back at my first half marathon…

{Again, thank you to Joe, Julie and family, Mike and Val, Sean, Aunt Sally, and Gramma for contributing to my Go!St. Louis race entry. I would never have been able to cross that finish line without your help, and knowing I had your support gave me so much inspiration.}

The Preparation

I hate tapering. I know some people who love it – after all, it’s an excuse to rest and be lazy! But for me, tapering only made me feel more nervous. How could I sit and relax, knowing the half marathon was less than a week away? I had to keep telling myself that the race would feel much better on rested legs, and I really can’t improve much over a few days, anyway. For the sake of my sanity, I decided not to cut out running completely the week before the race. Maybe I would for a full marathon or a half ironman, but I ended up logging 22 miles the week before the race. I did, however, take two days of rest before the race. It was torture.

Aside from resting, I did everything I could to ensure that I’d have a great race. During the preceding week, I didn’t skip taking any of my vitamins: a good multi, BCAA’s, Glutamine, and B12. I drank tons of water and got plenty of electrolytes.

The Health Expo

Expo

One reason why I chose the Go! St.Louis race was for the Expo!  I heard that it wasn’t as awesome as it was hyped up to be, but I still managed to purge my wallet. I walked away with new shorts (which I wore during the race), high quality socks that didn’t cost $1 at Dierbergs (yeah, the grocery store), some GU, and a roll of kinesio tape. 

Having inherited manic shopping jeans from my shopaholic mother, this place almost made me go crazy. I spent a few hours perusing the booths…

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Chatting with celebs…you know, normal stuff…and pretty much trying not to spend a million dollars.

 


And then came race day! 

After a horrible night of sleep on my grandma’s air mattress, I laced up my (old, worn-out, uncomfortable) racing shoes long before the sun began to rise. Breakfast was a banana, some chia fresca (recipe to come), and a few date rolls from Whole Foods. I felt light an energized, but my stomach was rumbling again before the race even started. Ooops. Maybe adding some peanut butter next time will help?

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{Sean found a way to keep encouraging me throughout the run, even though he was really relaxing at a café the whole time}

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This guy is awesome.  Sean took about a dozen pictures of me here, and the guy in the background is always making that face.

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The view from my corral.  Arch in the background!

My thoughts on corrals:  I think they’re a great idea, even if I feel like a farm animal. Racing corrals are designed to ensure that slow runners don’t get in the way of faster runners.  Corral A was basically reserved for Boston Marathon qualifiers and professional runners.  I placed myself in Corral C to be safe.  But here’s the problem: way too many walkers put themselves in Corrals B and C, so I spent the whole first mile trying to weave around them.  Seriously, people? 

Anyway, the race was pretty much my most favorite run to date.  Some people think it’s crazy to spend upwards of $90 on race when you can run anywhere for free, but the experience is worth it.  Between the other runners and the cheering crowds and volunteers, the energy in the atmosphere is like breathing in pure endorphins. 

The course was like a tour of St. Louis, and we passed by a ton of landmarks and historic buildings.  There was so much to look at and so much to take in that, even though I had music to listen to, I never even considered listening to it!  Some of my favorite signs:

“Your feet hurt because you are kicking so much butt!”

“Keep running, stranger!”

“Worst parade ever.”

“If it was easy, I would do it.”

“Run! There are zombies behind you!”

“Where are you all going?”

“I worked hard on this sign. The least you can do is keep running.”

Spectators are the best. Some of them were even passing out little cups of beer instead of the traditional Gatorade!  I passed on the beer, not knowing what it might do to my stomach, but I grabbed a GU at mile 8. I only ate half, but I really do think it helped, because I felt so good throughout the whole rest of the race!  Sean tried it and thought it was disgusting, but really, when your legs are burning and you’ve been running for over an hour, the slightly odd sensation of pineapple in gel form doesn’t really matter.

At one point I came upon two people holding a towel between them:

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My first impression was, “okay, I understand that you’re in love and want to run this thing together, but come on!”  And then I nearly kicked myself when I realized that I had heard about the man on the news a few days before.  As it turns out, he’s nearly blind, and he’s running 12 marathons in 12 months – blindfolded.  Wow. I came upon him around mile 10, and was just so inspired.  I can’t even imagine not being able to see where I’m running!  As I passed him, I let him know how inspiring he is.

And before I knew it, only 3 miles remained.  It’s a short enough distance to pretty much sprint, so I kicked myself into full gear.  Judging by my calculations, I was just a little behind my goal of 2 hours, and I had a lot left in me to go all-out.  In hindsight, I probably could have shaved at least 20 seconds off each mile, but the last thing I wanted to do was burn out during my very first half marathon.  I ended up finishing in 2:03, and I feel great about it.  I ran much slower than my normal 7:15-8:00 min/mile pace, but who cares?

After I crossed the finished line, I gave Sean a salty, sweaty hug, shoved a peanut butter graham cracker in my mouth and enjoyed the festivities:

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I got a free beer.  Sean did not.  Ha ha. I don’t even like most beers (I’m a German snob) but anything refreshing tasted good at that point! After a quick massage, I spend the rest of the day in pain parading around with my medal and a big grin.

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And Sean got me a big salad from Whole Foods, with lots of kale, tofu, edamame, and sweet potatoes.

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Now, I’m fantasizing about my next race!  Here’s what I know I’ll be running this year:

The Color Run 

Go! St. Louis Halloween 10k

And anything else I find!

My dream race is the Munich Marathon in October, but if I can’t rack up the funds, I’ll be doing the St. Louis Rock ‘n Roll half, for sure.

That’s all folks!  I’ll be back tomorrow!

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