A couple of weeks ago, I ran in the Rocktoberfest Half Marathon here in Charlotte. This was my first half marathon and I can proudly say that I SURVIVED.
novel note: For those of you who know me, I have a serious love/hate relationship with running. I hated the feeling before a run and the whole process of actually running but LOVED when it was over (ha!). This relationship definitely stems from my terrible mindset when it comes to running. I always played sports; I never just went out for a run. To me, when I would run in sports, it was always for “a purpose.” Solely running, all you think about is how your body is feeling with each stride, making it more and more difficult to want to keep going. I knew I could go the distance, but the Negative Nancy in my mind always told me “Hey Sara, you’ve done enough! You can stop” or “Feel that little twinge in your calf? Welp, you better stop here!” While it is SUPER important to listen to your body, most of the time it was just my negative attitude keep me from adding mileage. ] End tangent.
This year, I have completed several smaller races (5Ks, 6Ks, running programs at work) which then led me to want to add in a bigger one.
// daddy-o and me at the 2014 Brew Dash 6K at the U.S. National Whitewater Center //
// post Brew Dash #allllthebeer //
// 2014 Amphibious Duathlon with fellow co-workers at USNWC //
I had 2 ultimate goals going into this race. 1) Finish (Ha) and 2) I wanted 5-6 mile runs to be easy (..or easier) I am happy to say that I accomplished both of these!
The race started just before 8am, which most races do. The race started and finished at Independence Park, just on the edge of Uptown in the Elizabeth neighborhood. I knew 4 other people running the race, one of who I met the morning of the half. It was nice to have some training buddies who kept each other accountable and motivated. The course took us through the Elizabeth, Plaza Midwood, and Eastover neighborhoods. The course wasn’t as hilly as I had expected, but it definitely had its fair share of steady hills. When I wasn’t too busy dying (dramatic ..I know), I couldn’t help but drool over the adorable houses that filled the Plaza Midwood neighborhood. The houses are, in my opinion, the perfect size; small, quaint, and filled with character. Each house looks different, but most of them have these cute porches which my future home will be having without a doubt! Every house I ran by I thought “Ahhh I want to live in that one”. The houses were a perfect distraction in my book.
Miles 1 through 6 were the most mentally challenging for me. My calves/shins started to act up during the first two miles, which definitely got Negative Nancy to start talking. I was also trying to figure out my pace, which is something that I have learned to do through my training. During the first 6 miles, I kept thinking Holy crap, I have so many more miles to run.
Yeah…don’t do that.
Once I passed Mile 7, I was feeling great. I wasn’t too worried about pace and I had a good amount of energy. I kept telling myself Okay Sara, only 5 more to go! Only 4 more to go! This self-talk was very helpful. It wasn’t until about mile 9 where allll the aches and pains kicked in. My patellar tendons were so sore and with each step jolted a pain throughout the entire knee joint. My hips hurt, my calves hurt, my lower back hurt. But I kept pushing through; it was a beautiful day and I knew with each step I was that much closer to finishing the half marathon.
I walked a couple times during the last 5 miles and I totally needed it. Since it was my first, I was not looking for time at all. Once I started seeing landmarks that I was familiar with, I knew the finish line was near and it fueled me to keep my legs moving.
I am not entirely sure what my exact time was, but I ended up finishing in around 2:32. As I crossed the finish line, I was more focused on finding my friends who also ran the race than the timer. My dear friend, Meig, made this cute sign and I was so grateful to have a friend there to support me!
Run For Your Life, a local running store who organized the race, did a great job! I felt that the course was well planned out, there were plenty of water stations, and restrooms (I’ve heard horror stories of there being NONE along a course), and easy to find the starting line. Overall, even with all of my aches and pains, I would definitely do it again. And take it from me; if I can do it, you can do it! If you had asked me a year ago if I would ever do a half marathon, I probably would have burst out laughing. This experience showed me that you can truly do anything you set your mind to.
Be sure to keep an eye out for my tips on what NOT to do the night before a race. Because you know… I did all of them 😉
Have a great day!