I finally did it, I ran my first half-marathon.
It was just as exhilarating, energizing and at times painful as I had expected. I knew from Christina’s and Mo’s stories who ran the half-marathon in October that 21K is some serious business. They kept saying that the first 1o kilometers are actually quite enjoyable, but that the joy is no where to be found from then onwards. They were right!
But let me back up!
The race started quite late, at 9:30am. Due to organizational reasons they had the inline skaters and quarter marathon runners leave at 8:30am and the rest of the athletes all took off an hour later. The weather was surprisingly good. The forecast had predicted 9°C and rain so of course I packed rain gear and warmish clothes. But when I woke up on Sunday morning it was already sort of warm and the skies were blue. Perfect running weather actually, apart from the fact that I had nothing to wear. Fortunately I found some stuff I could wear at home. After a quick breakfast my dad drove me to the shuttle bus that took me directly to the start line.
Typically for me I was there super early so I waited around for about 30 minutes. 5 minutes prior to the start we honored the victims of the Boston marathon bombing with a moment of silence and after “singing” the national anthem we took off.
The first 10K practically flew by. I was hot from the very beginning but running wasn’t actually hard. I had 2 cups of water at 5K and just kept running. Luckily there was always a good crowd of people around to cheer on the runners which made it so much easier to keep going. My pace for the first 10 kilometers was really good so I intentionally slowed down a bit so I wouldn’t run out of energy.
I was glad to see that water bottles were being handed out at the 9K mark because I was hot. I grabbed two bottles and immediately poured one over my head to cool me off. It did the job, but not for long!
Personally I think that kilometers 13-15 were the hardest. I had a GU gel at 12K which should have given me energy but I felt tired, my legs heavy and my whole body sweaty at the 14K mark that I had to walk for about a minute or 2 to cool off. Although it might not necessarily be super motivating to have a ton of people take you over, it was good that I took it easy because I had so much more energy after that. One of the problems for my lack in energy may have been that I had no sense of orientation at that time. I sort of knew where I was going but I didn’t know how long the streets were and I just hate running in places that I’ve never been to before.
So, when we finally got back to the main part of the town that I was familiar with I could sort figure out how to manage my energy and how much longer I’d have. I also knew that my mom and sister would be waiting at around 18K which gave me the energy to power through to the end. I didn’t think that the last 3 kilometers would be this torturous but I nearly ran out of energy. The last kilometer in particular was crazy! If it hadn’t been for the huge crowd lined up at the sides of the street I would have probably just walked for a bit but instead I tried to increase my pace for the last 300-400m and to “sprint” towards the finish line. I finished in 2:11:39 Not breaking any records or anything but I couldn’t be any happier!!
I was so happy that I was done! My legs were a bit sore immediately afterwards but I actually thought that my overall condition would be a lot worse. Maybe it was the ice cream, my post-run snack, or the power nap I took in the afternoon sun but I was back to normal Monday morning, apart from the sun burn that I got. But other than that no abnormalities occurred.
I came home, showered and then we had a delicious Boeuf Bourguignon lunch which I had already prepared the day before. My grandparents also came by since we were pre-celebrating Christina’s birthday. We polished off this delicious creation.
It’s a recipe I found on Smitten Kitchen. Deb actually says it’s intense but that’s a bit of a understatement. I had a very thin piece and was pretty sugared-out afterwards. Mo on the other hand ate a whole bowl of PB frosting without a problem.
I’ll probably tune down the training for a bit but I’ve already signed up for another half-marathon end of June and it’s a bit of a competitive situation so slacking is simply not an option!