Hey, guess what?
I DID A HALF MARATHON!!!!!!
It was…pretty awesome. I felt good the morning of the race, and Dacia and I found a place to park quickly. I’d talked to the race director about starting early but never got confirmation, and when I got there I couldn’t find someone to ask. In the end, I started at 7:05 with the other walkers, and that turned out fine. If I’d started earlier it would have been in the dark anyway, so I think it was probably a good plan overall.
We started out strong and fast, and overall I ended up maintaining a faster pace than I had on any of my training walks. I felt good for the most part too. I struggled around mile 8, when I was feeling wonky and also started getting some serious blister pain. At that point there was nothing I could do about the blisters, and I know now that the issue is the socks I wore. Lesson learned. Don’t wear new socks…
I did eat as I went, sticking to Gu and Clif Blocks and that sort of thing because they were small enough to fit into my race belt. I had the first Gu around mile 4, and then every 2-3 miles after that I had something. I also think I should have had protein for breakfast (I had coffee and two bananas) because it might have helped the wonky feeling that came and went after mile 8.
Still, I finished strong and happy. I was a little bit sad because the husband and kid were trying desperately to get there, but got stuck in traffic and missed me crossing the finish line. Another lesson learned. Spectators should get there a lot earlier if they want to see you finish. It worked out alright though, because Erik got video of my crossing and we showed it to the kid later. I crossed with a smile, then cried like a baby for a minute or two.
Man, I was SO not expecting the race to be so emotional! There were volunteers holding signs along the course with all sorts of inspirational messages on them. I got pictures of a few of them, but not the most impactful ones because I was busy not crying. One right around mile 8/9 said Be Brave, and it was right when I was struggling and it just felt…yeah, like it was for me. I kept thinking OMG I’M DOING THIS and the closer we got to the finish line the more amazing it seemed.
I did it. I wore the wrong socks, and I stopped to sit down too quickly after I finished, but I did it. I could barely walk the rest of the day (skipped stretching too, unintentionally). I was SO worried about Monday since I tend to have 24-48 hour delays in soreness, but I was a little better on Monday and nearly back to normal by Tuesday morning. The blisters are still twinging a little, but I’m keeping them clean and tossing on some Neosporin now and again, so they seem to be healing just fine.
So: no new socks, should have stretched, don’t stop walking when you’re done, have spectators in place earlier.
Also: Am amazing. Did the thing.
Seriously. I stuck with thirteen weeks of training. It’s the first time I’ve ever stuck with a training plan and seen it to the end. Even if I’d crawled across the finish line after six days, I would have called it a victory just for that. I finished last in my age group, and 905/913 overall. And I couldn’t be more proud of that. I set out to do the race, I trained for it, and I felt strong when I finished.
And yes, I want to do another one. I’ve got my sights set on Space Coast next year, since that gives me nearly a year to train. My plan is to redo my training plan with more yoga and strength included, and then do it a third time with a focus on speed.