Yesterday I ran my very first half marathon. I can’t believe it! My original intention for my first half marathon was the Las Vegas Rock ‘n’ Roll half marathon last October, but when a little mishap happened, I had to postpone it to a future date. Honestly, I wasn’t even sure if I would actually ever do it. But, when one of my fellow Healthy March Mom’s (aka Lauren from Run Salt Run) posted about a virtual race that was only $13 (with a medal and everything) I was totally up for it! It was the Moms Run This Town Winter Virtual with options to do a 5K, 10K or half marathon. I opted for the half marathon.
If you’re not familiar with virtual races, they’re pretty simple actually. This one went through the month of February. You just go out and run it on your own time, on your own course and enter your time on their website. I actually kind of liked having my first half being so flexible. It cut down on the jitters quite a bit (even though I did have them a little bit) and made it very pleasant.
I originally had planned to just run the route that I had been running while training. Through my neighborhood, over to Wetlands Park, loop around the park, and back to my house. However, I wanted to go backwards and start/finish at the park because this would put the course all uphill on the first half and all downhill on the second half (opposite of what I had been doing while training). However, when I got to the park and started running, it was so peaceful and beautiful that at the last minute I decided to just stay there and run the entire race on the loop around the park. I just didn’t feel like dealing with cars and noise and traffic from running on the street. Not to mention, I’ve been suffering from some GI issues caused by running and this park has several bathrooms along the loop in case I needed to make an emergency stop (which thankfully I didn’t have to). I lost track of how many times I had to run the loop around the park. I think 7 or 8 times.
The first 6 miles were a breeze. I was making really good time, averaging about 7:30 min/mile. Around mile 7, I started getting tired and could feel myself slowing down a bit. I worked through each hurdle, telling myself just to push through, that I would get a second wind, and each time I did. Then around mile 11, I was really hurting. It was unusually warm outside for this time of year and even though I brought 20 ounces of water, I had gone through it already. I was so hot and I was so thirsty and I was completely out of water. I slowed way down just so that I could be sure to finish. I guess this is the downside of running a virtual race…no water stations! When I got to 11.6 miles, I told myself, “You only have 1.5 miles, you can do this!” So, I ramped back up again, trying to have a somewhat decent finish.
I don’t know if it was better that I started so strong, but had to slow way down towards the end, or if it would have been better to start slower and keep a more steady pace throughout the race, but either way, I’m really happy with my time. I finished in 1:47:26, putting my average pace at 8:11 min/mile. Most of my long training runs had been under 8:00 min/mile, so I was a little disappointed I couldn’t pull that off, but that just gives me something to work towards, right?
When I finished, I was on the back side of the park, so I actually had to walk about a mile to get back to the parking lot. Thankfully there was a visitor’s building that I was able to pass by and get some badly needed water on my way.
When I got close to the parking lot, I got the best welcoming anyone could ask for. My husband and my two daughters were there with pom poms and signs that read, “Yeah Mommy!” and “Go Fast!” Annalie came up and put my medal around my neck and Vince snapped some pictures. It was the best ending to a race that anyone could ask for!