Race Recap: National Half Marathon

It seems like just yesterday, I saw everyone signing up for the National Half Marathon and decided to join in the fun.  Perhaps a spur of the moment decision, but I signed up.  It’s crazy to believe race day was finally here!!

The race started at 7 am, so I was up a little after 5 am to get ready and head down to the lobby of the hotel to catch the shuttle (which ended up not coming until close to 6 am!).  Briana was staying at the same hotel, so we made the journey over there together.  It was really nice to have a friend to help occupy the time and keep my mind (somewhat) off the pre-race jitters.

Before every race, I always write some word or phrase that becomes my manta to motivate me towards the finish line.  Today’s mantra was chutzpah.  I’ve heard the word numerous times before, but when I heard it a month or so ago and defined as passion, it really stuck with me and knew it was going to be perfect for today.  Between that and one of the girls I mentor writing on my Facebook page to “be fierce”, it was perfect.

Chutzpah and fierceness were definitely what I needed to get me through to the end.

There was a bit of a wait in the corrals before the race started and I was getting sporadically emotional, between seeing all the people, hearing the Anthem, and just the effect of two super early mornings in a row.  It all got to me.  Before long, my corral got to head towards the starting line and next thing I knew we were off!

The first couple miles were harder than I anticipated, just for the sheer issue of getting myself going.  My muscles were tight, I hadn’t warmed up yet (the temperatures were somewhere in the 30s throughout the race), and I just couldn’t get my groove.  I saw Caitlin and Emily spectating somewhere around mile 2.5(ish) and seeing familiar faces was just the boost I needed!

For the next several miles, things were going awesome!  I was feeling good, even going a bit faster than I anticipated.  I took advantage of every single water stop (about every 2.0 miles) and ate up the encouragement from the crowds.  If this race stood out for anything, it was definitely the spectators – they were all over the course and it was so wonderful!!

Then the hills came in full force and I was not prepared for that, mentally or physically.  A lot of my walking breaks throughout the course were during the uphill sections.  I knew it would help me conserve energy and in all reality, wasn’t going to slow me down that much.

Despite the unexpected surprise of hills, I was still feeling really strong and good about how things were going.  Until somewhere in mile 10.0 when things went downhill fast.  My knee failed me miserably and there were moments it was all I could do just to keep walking, let alone run.  I was starting to feel defeated, but I knew I was doing well on time, so I pushed through.  I didn’t come that far in the race not to finish!  I was bound and determined to cross that finish line!

I saw Sana (who was doing the last leg of the half marathon relay) and she was a blessing during the last mile.  It was just the encouragement I needed to keep going and the distraction to focus on running.

There were a couple tunnels where I lost my satellite signal, so my Garmin got a bit off with the distance (and my maximum speed, as well – pretty sure I got nowhere near close to 30.6 mph!), but the final time was accurate.

  • Mile 1:  10:29
  • Mile 2:  10:13
  • Mile 3:  10:04
  • Mile 4:  11:04
  • Mile 5:  10:40
  • Mile 6:  10:10
  • Mile 7:  11:42
  • Mile 8:  11:09
  • Mile 9:  11:24
  • Mile 10:  11:32
  • Mile 11:  12:21
  • Mile 12:  13:58
  • Mile 13:  12:29
  • Mile 0.25:  3:07

Garmin time:  2:30:59, chip time:  2:30:54 (11:31 pace).

There’s a part of me that wishes I had finished in a faster time, but that is really around what I was hoping for going into it.  Having faster splits during the first half of the race definitely made me hopeful that I would do better than anticipated, but I finished and that is an accomplishment all in itself.

I spent a lot of time making a great playlist for the race.  Usually, I focus on songs that have a strong beat, motivating lyrics, and so on. This time, I just wanted songs I could have fun with and it made such a difference!  I had put the songs in a particular order, but about 2.0 miles in, realized that it was playing on shuffle.  Rather than dealing with it, I just went with the flow.  My new favorite song to run to?  You Can’t Stop the Beat from the Hairspray movie soundtrack!  I was having such fun with it – to the point of lip-synching, which I’m sure was great entertainment to the spectators!

I can’t help but think that all the walking I did around the city yesterday was more of a detriment to me this morning than anything else, but I wasn’t going to spend my day in the city waiting around my hotel room and I knew I wouldn’t be up for it after the race!  Maybe it ultimately did hurt me, maybe not.  I’m glad I saw some of the sights and enjoyed my quick trip.

Really, what I’m certain hurt me more than anything else was not training as much as I should have (or as much as I wanted to), but life got in the way and by the end of this training cycle, I was just ready for it to be over.  I have a definite idea of how to better train for the next time around, but more on that another day.  🙂

First half marathon:  check!

15 thoughts on “Race Recap: National Half Marathon”

  • Congrats girl! So proud of you! Racing is difficult, especially when you are traveling! You did great and I’m glad you are enjoying D.C.!

  • Ugh…surprise hills are the worst!

    Congrats on a great race, and honestly…I’m glad that you were left wishing you had done it faster, because that will push you toward your next goal!

  • congrats on the finish!

    I finished like a minute before you – we were probably running nearby one another! Bummer that i didn’t get to meet you friday! 🙂 🙂 Glad you had an awesome race though and enjoyed DC!

  • so so so so proud of you.
    I LOVE That you used chutzpah as your motivation! and I am def adding “You Can’t Stop the Beat” to my running playlist!

    🙂 you inspire me, my fierce sista! xo

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  • Thank you for your awesome site, Mindy! I have been following you for awhile and started reading through your posts about you first half marathon this morning. I have my first half coming up in mid-September and I’m starting to freak out! So far, the training plan has been easy, only running up to about 4 miles. The longer runs are starting to pick up in the next few weeks and I’ve been so nervous about being able to get through them. I’ve also heard mixed reviews about the longest run you need to complete before the race—I’ve heard everything from 10-12 miles, but based on my plan, I’ll probably only get about 10 or slightly more than that in. My plan uses times for a guideline rather than mileage, and my longest run before the race is 120 minutes. I’m currently averaging about an 11:30 mile pace, which I’m hoping will come down as the training progresses. Anyway, thank you for your inspiration and making me feel a little bit better about my training!

    • Congrats on your first half – that’s AWESOME! Just take the long runs one mile at a time; I know it’s a bit scary to see the mileage ramp up pretty quickly. My longest before that half was ten and if my knee hadn’t started acting up, I think that would have been sufficient. Maybe try to get to 11, if you can! Take your long runs a bit slower, stay hydrated, take Gu or some kind of energy gel after about 45-60 minutes and another one about 45 minutes later, and don’t be afraid to walk when you need to! You’ve got this, I believe in you!! 🙂

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