Sunday, I accomplished a huge goal of mine…I completed another half marathon—the Carlsbad Half Marathon. While this wasn’t my FIRST half marathon, in many ways, it felt like it was. It had been a number of years since I had successfully completed a half, I had gotten out of shape, and I’d gained a lot of weight since the last one. Last January, I began the hard work of returning to running. Fall of 2015, I was finally ready to start adding miles to my training and I was finally ready to take on the distance.
On Saturday, Allie Kat’s school running club was participating in the Legoland Marathon Mile. We made the trek with some of her running friends and the neighbors joined us in the race. I was concerned about keeping fresh legs for the half on Sunday, so Mr. Bear and I walked the one mile through Legoland. Allie and her friends sprinted the mile and made good time. After we had breakfast, we headed to the expo to pick up our race gear.
The night before the race, our neighbor and friend decided to run the half marathon with her daughter. Neither of them had trained for the race, yet were eager to run the race. I was so excited to have some running buddies to do the race with. While at the expo, we did some shopping, got our numbers and I took some photos and went home to get my race gear together for the next day. I was so excited and nervous!
I got to carpool with my friend and her daughter and we arrived in plenty of time. I got to meet up with the lovely ladies of the San Diego Moms Run this Town. I got to meet a few new friends and got to see some other ladies I already knew, then it was off to the half marathon start.
I was in wave 6, which meant about 20 minutes of waiting until my wave was sent out onto the course. I was fidgety and increasingly more nervous. Would I be able to make it across the finish line? Did I train enough? Did I train hard enough? Meanwhile, my friend and her daughter, were calmly waiting for the gun for our wave’s start.
Once the gun started, I was off. I lost track of my friends and I felt terrific. I genuinely felt fantastic! I tried to go out slow, but my legs were dragging me ahead! My first 5 miles, I was going waaaay faster than I intended! My goal was to come in under 14 minutes per mile, but each mile was 11-12 minute pace for the majority of miles. I was keeping an eye on the 2 hour 45 minute pacer. Sometimes, running ahead of the pacer. I was feeling strong, confident, and like I was flying.
At mile 6, I texted Mr. Bear:
I’m on pace for 2:45 right now! Feeling STRONG!
It was exactly at that point when I started to feel fatigued. So, my next text:
I’m feeling fatigued. Going to eat something.
Steep hill. I’m fueled and feel better.
Mile 10. I’m cramping up.
I had brought a protein bar and tried to refuel. I felt much better after having a little something to eat. I was off and running again for the next few miles. Up and down. Up and down. The course is hilly. Every time I would run up a hill, I expected to run down, but it seemed like it was more up, flat, up, flat, the whole way. At mile 8, I was beginning to cramp up. I popped a couple of salt tablets to try to keep the cramping at bay. It seemed to help. At mile 9, we began running with the full marathoners. I kept telling myself, “Just a few more miles.” I gave myself permission to walk. I wanted to run, but my legs were so fatigued. I kept going.
At mile 11, I texted a few friends. I joked to my friend that the last 0.1 was going to be the hardest. At mile 12, I saw the 3 hour pacer and I stuck by her. At that point, I was nearly delirious with fatigue. I began to run when I could. The pacer was encouraging me. I knew I was going to finish, nevertheless, it was a challenge. About a quarter mile before the finish, Mr. Bear called me and asked where I was. I told him I’d be there soon and could I please call him back. The lady next to me was laughing at our conversation and she made me laugh for a second—and to stop taking myself so seriously.
I saw the finish line and I took off running. I was going to finish strong. I pushed and pushed. Tears were streaming down my cheeks. This was a hard won victory and I did it! This was the hardest race I’ve ever run.
I met up with family, neighbors, and friends at the expo tent. I started stretching and then remembered I had promised to go to Legoland for the rest of the day. What had I gotten myself into?! I cooled down, grabbed a protein shake, changed my clothes, and we headed to Legoland with Allie and her two best girlfriends from swim and running club.
We spent 5 hours at Legoland and had a great time. I was able to walk around without too much trouble. I was already planning my next half marathon by the end of the day, which is a good indicator that this race wasn’t too terrible. I recovered pretty quickly and I learned some of my weaker areas that I need to work on for the next time.
This was my first experience running the Carlsbad Half Marathon and so far, I’d say I’d do it again. This was also my slowest half marathon and I’m okay with that. I finished in 2 hours, 58 minutes, 46 seconds. My goal was 3 hours. I couldn’t have come in much closer to my goal. The course runs along the coastline of Carlsbad and there’s stretches that are gorgeous! I think being sick during December and misses a few key runs did compromise my preparation for the final three miles, nonetheless, I have no regrets! I ran 13.1 miles and I’m ready to do it again!
What are you proud of this week? Are you preparing for any new events? Wishing you happy feet!