My First Half Marathon!
I’M OFFICIALLY A HALF MARATHONER! I couldn’t be more happy or proud of this fact! After running 115 miles during 8 weeks of training, I ran my “victory lap” at the Urban Cow Half Marathon with 13.1 miles!
In last week’s post, I told you how I was having some serious hamstring problems in my right leg. My 8 mile long run was cut down to 3.5 and all my efforts to release the tightness were unsuccessful. Thankfully, a few days before the race, I tried a lying down hamstring stretch and felt it release! I was excited but still worried about it affecting my performance at the race. I continued doing this stretch a few times a day along with my usual rolling and stretching.
Because I was part of the Moms Run This Town HERD (team) I was invited to a special, early VIP packet pickup! On Thursday, I headed down to Fleet Feet Sacramento for this event and it was fun getting first access to all the special apparel and goodies created for this race! Plus, I got to bump into my friend Lisa who was there to pick up packets for almost our whole MRTT chapter!
After getting my bib packet and stocking up on gels and hydration powder, it was time to rest up for the race. On Saturday, I gathered everything together and laid out my Flat Christa.
Sunday morning finally came and although I was nervous, I was so ready and excited! My dad and I rode down to Sacramento together while my husband and son were going to meet us later.
Walking up to the event, the first thing we saw was the big She/Moms Run This Town tent! 12 Sacramento area chapters were represented at this race! We gathered for this awesome group photo.
I also found some ladies from my chapter and we all walked around sharing our excitement for the race.
We made our way to the start line but stayed aside while the first wave of the half marathon started. The first wave was for runners who could complete the race in less than 2 hours. While we waited for the second wave to line up, my friend Stephanie surprised me! She wasn’t intending on running this half but joined at the last minute. I was so happy to see her and feel her support!
Wave 1 finally cleared out and our wave lined up. My MRTT ladies all stood together and exchanged “you got this!” cheers and then they sounded the horn. It was go time!
Lisa and I ran together for the first 7 miles or so. We had so much fun chatting and checking out all there was to see! Costumes – like a man in a multi-color spiky wig and yellow legwarmers and the people running in full cow costumes! How did they not pass out from heat stroke in those things? Live bands jamming every few miles – we would dance, cheer and clap! Sights – like the famous yellow Tower Bridge and the Sacramento River!
My legs started to feel really tired around the 7 mile mark. I blame too much rest trying to avoid aggravating my hamstring before the race. I told Lisa to go on ahead because I was going to take an extra walking break. At that point, I honestly thought I’d rest a little and catch back up to her. Unfortunately, my legs never recovered and I started feeling a lot of pain in my feet, particularly on the soles. Lisa slowly crept further and further into the distance until I didn’t see her anymore.
I was kicking myself for sure but tried to remember everyone’s advice to me to just have fun at my first half. I did walk quite a bit more the last half of the race because my feet were in serious pain. Around mile 10, I had that thought that I think most runners get during a race like this, “Why did I do this to myself?” There were also some thoughts like “How do people do FULL marathons?!” haha! I just kept pushing on the best I could.
During the final mile, “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga came on which ignited a small burst of energy that had me running more. I came around a corner and was met by this arch with a great cow pun and the excitement of knowing I only had a half mile to go.
That last half mile was quick, intermittent spurts of running – walking – running – walking. My feet were screaming stop but my will to reach the finish line kept me moving! I finally got to where the end was in sight and I pushed harder. Lisa had already finished and she came back to run me in. I sprinted as hard as I could and raised my arms in victory as I crossed the finish line with a time of 2:52!
Words can’t properly describe the feeling of accomplishment that washed over me. I was handed my awesome cowbell medal and then looked for my family. My dad found me first, gave me a big hug, and I started crying. While we were hugging, I saw my husband pushing my son up in the stroller with a big smile on his face. My son gave me a big kiss and my husband gave me a hug and said “You did it!” Seeing my family proud of me felt so good!
I went to the beer garden to enjoy my complimentary Lagunitas beer but, sadly, I had forgotten my I.D. My dad then told me he’d buy me a margarita at lunch. Thanks Dad!
I could barely walk so I sat down to change into my OOFOS recovery sandals. I took off my shoes and found one of my Pro Compression socks had a small spot of blood on it. I was cracking up and making jokes about being a “real” runner now. I took my socks off and found 9 blisters on my feet. This was weird because I didn’t get blisters on any of my training runs and I wasn’t wearing anything different. Also, my foot pain started at the 7 mile mark so it wasn’t because I was running further than I ever had. It’s a mystery.
We slowly shuffled back to the car and went to the Mexican restaurant El Papagayo. I wanted to give them a shout out because they have a whole page of vegan options on their menu AND their food is really good! Maybe it was because I had just run 13.1 miles, but I’m pretty sure I had the best margarita I’ve ever had there!
After lunch, we headed home and I prepared my first ever ice bath. I was scared and for good reason. It was terrible haha! I dunked my lower half in the water, lasted one whole second, said NOPE and got out. It was wayyyyy too cold! So I swapped it out for an epsom salt bath instead. That was much more relaxing!
On race day, I thought “I’m not doing another half for a long time!” The next day, I was looking up half marathons in Germany haha! It’s seriously an addiction! I’m not sure when my next half will be since it will be cold and snowy over there but I’m looking forward to the next round of training and the fun journey that will come with it!