April 27th, 2014. The day of my 4th 1/2 marathon. One that I hadn't properly trained for. One that I was actually nervous for. The course was tough (I had ran this race 2 years ago - which was my very first 1/2!) My pace had sucked lately. But I knew I'd at least be able to finish. I went in with the mentally of not worrying about my time. I was just going to enjoy the atmosphere. Enjoy the race. Enjoy the crowds. Enjoy the experience. And most importantly, just enjoy a nice, long run. But then...
Before, I go any further, let's take a few steps back. Let's go through my morning. I always, always have oatmeal with a sliced banana in it before a long run. It keeps me full. It gives me the carbs I need. It fuels me and it's what works for me. The morning of Sunday's 1/2 was no different. I also added a hard boiled egg for some extra protein. If you're training for a race, whether it's a 5k or an ultra, race day is not the day to experiment with food. Eat what you've been eating throughout your training. Trust me on this one. So after fueling up, I was as ready as I was going to be...
We arrived about half an hour before the race started (after having to turn around because I had forgotten my iPod - so glad I remembered when we were only a few blocks from our house..I can't imagine running 1 mile without music nevertheless 13.1!!!) Another race day tip - give yourself plenty of time before the race. You need time to park, get to the start line, stretch, mentally prepare, etc. You don't want to feel rushed...again, trust me on this one (been there, done that!)
As we were walking from our car to the start line, I noticed that there were signs for pace leaders. I wasn't expecting this at all. So as soon as I saw these, my whole mentality changed. I wanted to do better than 'just finish.' And with a pace leader, I knew I could. So, at that moment I decided I'd stick with the 2 hour pacer. Basically, a pacer is someone that will set your pace for you so you can finish a race in a specific time. This is great if you have a time goal in mind. This is the second 1/2 I've ran with a pace leader and I LOVE it!! So with that being said, I couldn't find the 2 hour pacer right away as all 2,600 of us were at the start line waiting for the race to start. But as soon as the race started I saw them with their sign. Because of the throngs of people it took me about a mile and a half before I caught up with the pacer - I always had them in sight, though, but it took me that long to finally reach them. Once I settled in and got used to the pace the rest of the race went great. There were hills that I cussed at. There were times I didn't think I could keep up with this pace. But I did. I DID IT! Shortly after mile 11 I was feeling good enough to finish the rest on my own. I picked up my pace just a little bit and before I knew it I had crossed the finish line!! WooHoo! Another 1/2 marathon under my belt...and with a good for me time.
Besides actually running, my favorite part of a race is refueling afterwards. Hey - I LOVE food, what can I say?! Not included in this picture is a donut that I inhaled before I remembered to snap a picture! I ALWAYS get a donut after a 1/2 - it's tradition in my books :) I also decided to stay on the unhealthy route and didn't actually eat the banana. I know, I know - shame on me!!
After refueling you've gotta STRETCH! STRETCH! STRETCH! In general, I'm not a good stretcher. But after a race, even a 5k, you best believe I'll at least stretch for a few minutes. It's uber important and you'll feel better over the next couple days if you do.
And that, my friends, was my 4th 1/2 marathon. Chip time of 1:58:32 and gun time of 1:59:02, which is an average of 9:05/mile. I'll take it!!
Hey ~ I'm Renée...just your ordinary, 30-something Accountant, new mommy, wife, runner, foodie, & Pinterest addict! Welcome to my newest adventure...stay awhile...look around...and keep comin' back!