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26.2 with Donna Race Recap

February 25, 2010

Despite our best intentions to be in bed and asleep super early I don’t think we made it to bed before 10pm, which made our 3:45am wake up call that much more difficult.  Even though the race didn’t start until 7:30am our group planned to meet up at one location, caravan over to UNF and get on the shuttle to take us to the start so we could be corralled by 6:30am.  It was so cold that morning, too!  It was in the 30’s when we left and wasn’t supposed to get much warmer than the mid-60’s by the afternoon.

At our meet-up location we pinned on our signs and visited for a little while before heading to UNF.  Brrr!

I swear that everyone and their brother decided to meet up at UNF because the lines for the shuttle were incredibly long.  I think we waited in line for the shuttle at least 20 minutes and once we finally got on the shuttle it took at least 30 minutes to get to the start – a drive that would usually take no more than 15 minutes because traffic to the start was HORRIBLE!  They closed off some major roads which caused traffic to be diverted to roads that were open but down to one lane instead of three.  I know we were all thankful that there were port-a-potties where the buses let us off!

We made our way to the “family reunite” area to get our stuff together and decide where to meet back up after the race when we heard them announcing the corrals and that it was after 7am!

Clearly the buses were running late because we were scheduled to start in just 30 minutes!  We all headed off to the start, stretched and tried to stay warm.  I called Carl to see where he was so he could get some pictures of us crossing the start line but I couldn’t figure out where he was, despite trying to describe our surroundings to each other.  Ironically just as they were singing the national anthem I found him and was able to wave to him before the gun went off.

Mike and Kristen at the start

We are somewhere behind this flag

Ashley and Rene waving

We only waited 2 or 3 minutes before we started moving and we noticed that pink confetti was shot out onto the street around the starting mats.  It was a pretty cool experience to run through the start with pink confetti falling from the sky!  The running group stayed together for just under a half mile before Kristin and Brian were lost in the crowd ahead of us.  The bridge came up shortly after that and Shawn, Robert and I managed to stay together until we got to the bottom and Shawn shot off ahead.  Knowing that he’d struggle eventually I told Robert to go after him and make sure that he wasn’t alone since it was his first race.

The sight on the bridge was simply breathtaking and it made me wish that I carried my camera with me like I did for the Nike Women’s Marathon but since I didn’t run with my Camelbak I didn’t have room to have it with me. I did carry an iFitness Belt that I purchased from the expo the day before, but all I could fit in the pouch was my cellphone and some GU Chomps.  I have to admit that I was a little nervous carrying it because I have a SpiBelt that would totally ride up while I ran, but I took the iFitness Belt out for a run when I got home from the expo and had no problems with it, and found that the looser it was on me the less it moved.  I’m happy to say that the iFitness Belt didn’t move at all during the run and the only thing that bothered me at all was the long sleeved shirt that I tied around my hips, just above the belt, before we got to the end of the bridge because I warmed up so much once we started running.

One portion of the course went through a neighborhood along the beach and it was great!  Lots of people were out in their driveways cheering us on and one woman even had oranges to hand out to us!  I swear oranges on a run are simply AMAZING!  After we ran through the neighborhood we were out on the beach for about two miles.  I’m not sure why but I decided to walk those two miles – originally because I thought it would be too difficult and would take too much out of me, but looking back on it I should have just done a slow jog because it really slowed me down to walk two whole miles.  Eventually the beach portion was over and I was headed back  to the finish, the course was 6.5 miles out and 6.5 miles back, but I was getting really tired.  I planned on carrying my handheld so I’d have G2 with me while I was running (and more storage for the Chomps) but when Brian reminded me how often there would be water stops I decided against it.  In hindsight I really think I should have run with the handheld because I know there were times that I felt like I could have used a drink here and there in between the stops and it may have helped me feel a little bit better during the run.  I will never understand why I “change things up” during a long race, thinking that someone’s way is better than what I know and feel comfortable with.  Lesson learned – follow what you know works for you, not what works for anyone else!

Once I hit mile 7 the elite marathoners were on their way back to the finish! Talk about impressive!  I was barely making it at mile 7 and they were totally hauling booty!  My knees were getting sore, as was my tush, so I just tried to focus on running for a half mile and then walking for .1 mile and that seemed to make the next three miles go by faster and then I was at mile 10 – only a 5k to go!  I tried to focus on running those last three miles as fast as I could but I was really struggling.  I was getting hungry despite eating the Chomps and a GU and once again wished that I had my handheld so I could drink when I needed it.  I had been texting Carl off and on the entire run with updates about where I was and how I was doing and he was so great about encouraging me and always had the right things to say to keep me going.  Kristin also sent me a text, probably once she crossed the finish line, that nearly brought me to tears because it was awesome to see such encouraging words when I really needed it.  I swear so much about running is mental and you really have to dig deep when you feel like you can’t go any further because you always can – it’s just one foot in front of the other.

The last 1.5 miles were certainly the most difficult because we had to go back over the bridge.  It was an preview of how the Gate River Run will be in March because the hardest bridge is last, too.  I just kept telling myself that I was almost there, that I could do it, and thinking about how close I was to seeing Carl at the finish.  Once I came off the bridge and around the corner I could see the finish line and it brought a huge smile to my face – and I was even happier once I got close enough to see Carl.

Kisses!

I was exhausted and disappointed as I saw the clock over three hours, but I kept on running until I crossed the first mat and finally the second.  I did it!  Some lady did run right in front of me before I crossed the final mat, which was really irritating, but I was so happy to be finished!  Someone handed me a bottle of water and my medal and I felt so proud!  My first medal!  I heard someone calling my name and realized it was Kristin and Brian.  We chatted briefly and then I went back to meet up with Carl.  At this point I wasn’t feeling very well so we went to the “Family reunite” area/runner’s village to get some food.  I’m always surprised at how horrible I feel when I get hungry from running (the same thing happened during the Nike marathon) and even though I’m always hesitant to eat something I feel so much better.  Note to self: take in more calories during a run!

We ran into our friends Mike and Kristen who ran their first half and talked about how their experience went.  Kristen brought up some great points about why she felt like she didn’t have as great of a run as some of her training runs and I totally agreed with her (more on that in a second).

About 45 minutes or so after I finished, Ashley and Rene crossed the finish line.  I was so proud of them and was bummed that I missed them at the finish.  Eventually we all met up, ate more snacks, lost some people in our group, found them and then finally decided to head back to the cars.

We had to wait quite some time for a shuttle to UNF to come and get us and  I think it took us an hour to get back to the car because traffic was even worse on the way back!  I was so thankful that I’d had enough to eat and wasn’t feeling nauseous because I would have had a terrible time on the bus (and yes, we did bring a bag just in case).  We made it back to our car by 1pm, went to lunch and then headed back home to take a much needed nap.  What a day!

While I wasn’t super excited with my time, I did finish my first half marathon and I should be proud of that!  I certainly learned a lot during the experience and really, learning from experiences that we have in our lives is the whole point in living – at least I think so!

What did I learn, you ask?  Let me tell you!  I learned…

  • that I need to really give it my all when I train for a race.  I knew I wasn’t prepared for this race and while I tried to do my best on race day I was ultimately disappointed in myself because I know I didn’t prepare like I should have.
  • that I need to trust myself.  I know what is best for me, what I need and how I feel during a run.  Just because something works for someone else doesn’t mean it’s going to work for me.
  • that I need to always need to do what is familiar on race day. Race day is not the time to change something or try something new.
  • that no matter how hard you train (although I didn’t for this race…) you never know how your body is going to react to the stresses of race day.  My friend Kristen trained with her husband Mike like nothing else for this race, but she felt like she didn’t have the race that she wanted because of the extra stress (getting up so early, fighting with traffic, running with so many more people, running all of the course at one time even though they’d trained on different parts during their training) that she had to deal with that day.  Heck, even during my training I’d been running between a 11:00-12:30’/mi pace but on race day my average pace was a 14:00!!

Do you learn things from each race that you participate in?  What do you think was the most valuable thing you’ve learned since you started running/exercising?

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 26, 2010 7:35 am

    Yes! I’ve learned that they can’t all be better than the last one. Each day is a different day and I need to listen to my body for how it’s feeling that day.

  2. February 26, 2010 8:36 pm

    Congratulations on completing your first half! Way to go! Love all that pink!!!

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