Well, I did it! And I survived! Wooohooo! That is pretty much what I set out to do so I'm officially a winner :)
This event was such a BLAST!!! Ok, miles 8 through the 13 weren't that much fun, but .1 was a super blast... and up to 8 I felt like I was actually accomplishing something very cool. The 8 to 13 mile stretch was definitely an endurance contest with myself. Those miles were brutal... blaring sun (which I'm not really complaining about) a pretty constant climb (not steep but just enough uphill and boring to get on your nerves) AND they ran out of cups at the water station at mile 8 and whatever the next one was. NOT cool and not acceptable in my opinion. AND I was no where near the back of the pack. I'm so glad I had my Fuel Belt because those are certainly the water stations where you really need the water! Other than this, the event was a huge success and very well organized. I was impressed.
I learned a few things during my first half that I will definitely apply to the next events. First... when doing a destination race, put the play time after the race and not before.
We arrived Newport Beach on Friday morning, and the race was Sunday. Which meant that I had to be GOOD! I couldn't do my usual 20+ mile bike rides and have an endless supply of cocktails as we worked our way down the beachy bike path. Boo! Not good planning. It also meant I was carb loading for the duration of my time before the run. This sounded like such a great thing in the beginning... but turned out to be so dull! I can't tell you how sick of pasta I was by Saturday night. I think one of the hardest parts of the race was gagging down a half bagel with peanut butter, and a banana. I was just SO sick of eating boring food! I was in Southern Cal! I wanted Mexican food... or Seafood! But, I was afraid that neither of those things would pull me through a 2.5 hour run. So, pasta it was... and then some more pasta... and then just a bit more pasta. SO, next race... arrive just one day prior... in time for the Expo (race packet pickup) and then build some fun into the time after the race.
Other than this tiny thing, I think that I did what training is supposed to do... take you through a bunch of trials and errors before race day. I really didn't have anything along the course that I hadn't already dealt with during training. I will say that I HATE headphones. I think I am going to have to find some that sit on my head... over the ear type. Cordless... lightweight. Anyone have any recommendations on that type? I am SICK SICK SICK of earphones that go in my ears and everything about the cord makes me want to strangle someone! My right earphone drove me crazy the entire race. Things like this are buzz killers for sure. I bet I had to adjust my earbud thingy about every 30 seconds... SO not lying. But if I only wore one earbud, that drove me crazy. It was just a mood killer. One thing with distance running is finding out the things that REALLY bug the crap out of you ahead of time. This is no fun on race day. SO... must get new headphones before the Salt Lake City Half Marathon. (have I not mentioned that I have already signed up for another? or two? I'll get to that :)
SO... back to the beginning... We arrived Friday and headed straight out to lunch. We were waiting on my cousin to arrive so we could head out to the Expo. As soon as Rian arrived we headed out to the race Expo. This was SO much fun. Much better than I anticipated and in hindsight, we should have stayed a bit longer. This was very organized. Our packet pickup was quick and easy.
Saturday morning all the rest of the local family arrived. We headed on down PCH and had breakfast at the Beachcomber. This was an awesome place right ON the sand. Super cool place and can't wait to return. It was great to see everyone! The rest of the day was all about chill'n and taking it easy for our run the next morning. That evening, our other friends flew in from Utah and everyone met for dinner. It was a fun night with everyone.
I got back to the hotel and got all my race gear ready... got my timing chip attached to my shoe and laid out all my stuff. It was going to be an early morning, wake up call.
We stayed in Newport and the race was in Huntington Beach... so we took a taxi over to the start line area bright and early. It ended up being pretty easy. Dan and my cousin April were our supporters and pit crew. Rian, Jordan and I were in our corral early... ready to go! Our start was delayed by about 30 minutes. We were having so much fun just watching everything that it really wasn't that bad. I think we were both OK with delaying the event. lol
The race was SO fun! Much more so than I anticipated. I didn't think the course was all that visually appealing, like I thought it would be. There are only a few areas where you can actually see the ocean... and a lot of it was downright ugly and boring... but the event itself was truly an incredible experience for me. I think I'd rather have a bit more to look at than a long, out-and-back course. But I did run the ENTIRE race... I did walk through the water stations (for safety reasons) but other than that, I ran the whole race. YAY me!
You hear talk of the medals... but it doesn't prepare you for the moment they slip that gorgeous thing on your neck! I adore my medal! It's so cute... and it fits me just right. I wanted to wear it all day and night :D And maybe the next day too... "Oh yea... this is my medal... isn't it all shiny and awesome?"
The finish line was an awesome experience. There are so many people cheering you across the finish line. My biggest supporter was there yelling and taking photos. Dan is incredible. I could not have done this without him. He makes the best pit crew. I'm not usually one to give myself big pats on the back... BUT, I was SOOOO proud of my accomplishment. I trained hard and I ran as well as I could. I had two goals... one was to finish the race in under 3 hours... and the supercalifragilistic goal was to do it in 2 1/2 hours. I crossed the finish line at 2.34. I was SOOOO close! I truly think I could have done it in my 2 1/2 hours had I not been climbing over so many people in the first 3 miles. BUT... then again, that was my fault for signing up for the last wave of starters. But... chalk that one up to another learning experience of my first race. Next time I'll know a bit more about where I need to be. And that brings us to...
Yep, I've gone and done it... I've signed up for TWO more half marathons. And really... the only reason I haven't signed up for more is that no one has posted their winter racing schedule yet :) lol I have officially signed up for the Salt Lake City Half Marathon on April 21st... and the Chicago Half Marathon on September 9th. The summer will be spent traveling. SERIOUS traveling is happening this summer, so I will keep running, but only at a fitness level... I will not train for anything until I return from Europe. (blog update on travel stuff coming soon!)
Well, that's about it! It was such a great experience for me! It was a HUGE accomplishment in my life story. I started training with not being able to run around the block and I ran pretty much the entire 13.1 miles of my first half marathon. GO ME!!!
My racing gear
View from the back of the start line... people as far as you can see. We are in the back of the pack.
My cousin, Rian and I... ready to go!
Me and all my awesomeness crossing the finish line!
Rian and I... totally spent! This is truly a grimace on my face. One does not cross the finish line without being in PAIN!