Tuesday, May 6, 2014

3rd Half-Marathon in the Books!

Three years ago, 13.1 miles seemed like such a huge number to me. I remember when my sister asked me Christmas break my sophomore year of college to do a half-marathon with her in May 2011. I said no automatically because it didn't seem possible that I could run that far! I gave it a couple days thought and decided that I didn't have anything to lose and that it would be a great experience to do with my sister. So I began training and never thought that I would be this far at 2014.

Looking back, I was not as prepared as I thought I was or needed to be during my first race. It's completely normal and expected because you don't know what you're in for. I was incredibly nervous and so intimidated the day of the race. Terrible thoughts kept running through my head like what if I got injured, what if my sister got injured, what if I got too tired and gave up, what if I got sick, if I was ready for this, blah blah blah. That's just nerves getting to you so ignore them! Trust me, if you believe in yourself and put your mind to it, you can tackle all 13.1 miles. Every single mile! Running is just as much a mental discipline as it is a physical one. Your mind will give up way before your body so there comes a time when you have to switch those bad thoughts off or you'll never get there.

The minute I crossed the finish line in May 2011, I was hooked. In the beginning I had told my sister that I would run one with her and then that was it. Well, here I am 3 years later and I'll be running it again next year that's for sure. I actually might even be doing the full marathon but if not, I know I'll definitely be running the half. I can't stop now because I love it! I love pushing myself and seeing what my body is capable of doing. We are so much stronger than we realize because most of the time we underestimate ourselves or are too scared to try. I'm here to tell you that you are strong! You can do whatever you put your mind to as long as you believe in yourself and have faith.

This year was by far the best one I've done! It gets better for me every year because it's a trial-and-error process where I learn what works for me, how to train better, and prepare myself more. It's also due to the fact that I know I can do it because I've done it twice before. I don't get nearly as nervous anymore because I treat it like any other long run which helps me deal with the pre-race jitters. Now, it's more of an excited anticipation! If you had told me back when I started that I would eventually be excited to run 13.1 miles, I'd have said you were crazy! But it's true and I can't wait to see what next year brings!

I wanted to share the highlights of this year's race and hope this encourages you to try something you never would have thought you could do! I'll admit the thought of 26.2 miles is really intimidating for me but I had also felt that way about half-marathon. Again, it's a mental game! I know that if I train well enough and prepare myself I could do a full marathon as long as I don't let those negative thoughts get to me.

We ended up finishing in 2:07:20 which my sister was really happy about since her goal was to run it in under 2:10. She was worried because she always thinks she's holding me back since we run at her pace but I could care less about that! I'm not as strict about times because for me it's just about running the race and enjoying it! I especially didn't care this year because it was just something I wanted to do with Amanda. I told her if all else fails, we just have to beat the winning marathoner, which we did! He ran the full marathon in 2 hours and 12 minutes!!! Can you believe that? I have no idea how people get their legs to move that fast because I know for a fact my short little legs could never do that. That's a fact, not just me being negative! Some people are born with the genetic blessing of endurance and speed. I'm not one of them but I'm happy with my ability to run under a 9 minute mile. Anyway, here are some pictures posted about the race:

I was so excited that the shirts this year were finally blue! I've been waiting for four years and it's my favorite color :) These shirts are also awesome to run in because the fabric is very breathable and keeps you cool. This might sound snobby but I refuse to run in cotton anymore. I just can't do it. After running in fabric like this I can't go back because I feel like my skin is suffocating. I've been too spoiled with good running clothes! The bonus is that you can find great shirts with similar material at stores like Target for a much cheaper price. I've gotten many t-shirts and tanks there that I'm very happy with!

Pre-race selfie with the sis!
I loved that my sister and I were able to run it together again this year. It's so great to have someone with you to motivate and keep you going during the race. Since she's my number one running buddy, I wouldn't want to run it with anyone else!
Little brrrr-itos! (get it? we were really cold...)
We made it! The first year I ran it, I couldn't figure out why they gave us these plastic coverings at the end. I thought there was no way that could keep me warm but boy was I wrong! That little burrito blanket is my favorite thing once I'm at the end and it's surprisingly super cozy!

My dad surprised us at the finish line this year! He's usually away on vacation this time of year with my step-mom celebrating their anniversary, but he was home this year. It was great having someone to meet us at the finish line since my mom wasn't able to come this year. I'm so blessed for everyone's support!

I love to cut the logo from the blankets they give us and keep it as a souvenir and reminder for what I'm working towards next year! 

My collection of medals is growing! I have ones from 2011, 2013, and now 2014!

The best part of the day? Recuperating from the race. It's so important for you to let your body rest and make sure to refuel, refuel, refuel! You lost valuable energy and electrolytes during the race so your body is going to be begging for those back! I remember last year I was so caught up in all my food issues that I only allowed myself a banana at the end of the race and I didn't even eat the whole thing. Even though I had burned over 1,100 calories I refused to treat myself at the end of the race. You want to know what I ate after the race today? A banana, blueberry bagel, and a quest bar. I was proud of myself because I had zero anxiety about it and didn't feel guilty at all because I earned it! When we got home I made sure to have a protein-packed lunch and treated myself to frozen yogurt in the afternoon! The same went with dinner-- I made sure to load up on the carbs and protein so that my muscles had fuel to recover. I made sure to eat back every single calorie that I burned during the race and my body was very happy for that! My muscles felt great the next day and I was re-energized and ready to go. And don't forget about the water! I most likely had about 70-80oz throughout the course of the day once I got home and that's not including what I drank before and during the race. 

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