Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Northshore 1/2 Marathon Race Report

My friend Jody convinced me to sign up for the Northshore half marathon shortly after finishing my first race ever.  My spirits were high and while the race was only a 5K, I thought of course I could do a half marathon.  Why not?  Well a couple months later as the race approached, I lost some of that confidence.  The race was this past Sunday.  It was VERY tough, but overall I had a fun time and I finished!  

On Sunday, I got up at 5am and had a toasted whole wheat English muffin with butter toffee peanut butter (delicious) and strawberry jam.  I planned on having a banana as well, but I ended up forgetting it at home.  I made myself an ice coffee, grabbed my ipod, garmin and phone off their chargers and hit the road. 

On the drive five miles or so from my exit, I randomly look at my gas gauge and notice I am passed empty!  Ahhhh!  The gas light never came on.  I got off at the next exit, fueled up and then followed the detour signs to get back onto the highway.  Of course I got off where you can't get back on.  It is about 6am at this point and I am starting to get a bit nervous about time.  About then my friend Jody text'd me to say she was running late and wouldn't be there until 6:30. 

Once I get to the race, I easily found a parking spot and headed off to find the bathroom and scope out the starting line.  I met Jody back at the car geared up and realized my Garmin was dead!  So much for it charging all night.  Grrr! 

We went for a quick warm up jog and then got situated for the start.  Jody started with the 8-9 minute milers and I started with the 12 minute milers. 

Miles 1-5 went really well.  I was averaging about a 12 min/mile pace which is what I was planning.  The course was through a suburban neighborhood and it had a slow incline at the beginning.  This was pretty cool because you could see the sea of people ahead of you. 

About mile 5 I noticed the blister on my toe starting to form.  I should have planned ahead because I have had this blister before and it probably could have been prevented with a simple band aid.  My lungs and legs were still feeling great though. 

At the end of mile 6 we went down this HUGE hill.  It kind of hurt my knees going down so steep.  I had heard of this infamous "Park Avenue Hill" and had foolishly thought it was one of the previous hills. 

Once we got down the big hill, we turned a corner and there was just as big of a hill up!  Ouch - I made it to the top running but seriously huffing and puffing.  There was even an ambulance waiting at the top for the hill's victims.  I had past the mile 7 marker on the hill, so I was officially more than half way. 

I kept trudging along and felt pretty good.  In the middle of mile 8 we turned a corner and were running the opposite direction of the racers that were a few miles ahead of us.  This was really neat and I was hoping to see my friend Jody, but no luck she had already passed. 

While it was cool to see the other runners, this did kind of bum me out a bit.  I was running mostly alone with a few people in front and behind me, but the group already heading back was packed.  I felt a little bit SLOW at this point. 

We were running into onto an Army Base and eventually split off from the other runners, to run a circle around the base.  At this point a little into mile 9, my legs were tightening up.  I was feeling tired.  I kept trying to pump myself up only 4 more miles to go!  I got to mile 10 and was DRAGGING. 

A bunch of people had been running up to me, passing me, then walking and me passing them.  We had done this probably 10 times over the course of the past 10 miles.  I had been running the whole way and thought maybe I should walk a little, my legs we killing me.  Once I stopped, I realized my legs were tightening up immediately.  I decided I better just run, but at this point my legs were bricks, so I walked.  I didn't want to hurt myself and reminded myself this is my first one, just finish. 

I walked to mile 11 and started running again.  Not 100 ft later my calf spasmed.  OUCH.  So I had to walk.  I tried running several more times, but it wasn't happening.  I was in serious pain and the nicely manicured Army lawns looked very inviting.  All I wanted to do was lie down and cry (pain serious pain at this point).  But instead I trudged along, probably scaring some camera men with my pained expressions. 

Eventually and finally I heard the music at the end.  Jody came running out to finish with me.  I had to walk, but once I saw the finished line I managed a hobbled run, my calf's were full on locked up as I crossed the finish line, but it was great!  I did it!
My official time was 3:08:39.  Not great, but I finished.  Honestly the last 3 miles took more than an hour, I was in so much pain.  I am really proud of myself that I finished. 

I don't think I'm going to run another half marathon anytime soon.  I really want to work on speed, and I want to make sure I have enough time to seriously train before I do this again.  Perhaps a Northshore 1/2 in 2011? 

This was way out of my comfort zone. I almost decided not to do it weeks ago, and early Sunday morning I was considering not going (lazy bum!). I'm glad I went and did it. I do think it was a little much for my current running ability, but I am really glad I completed the goal I set.


  1. SO super impressed with you!

  2. YAY! Nice job on the run! CONGRATS!

  3. That's fabulous that you did that! CONGRATS!

  4. Huge congrats to you! Running a half is a HUGE accomplishment. There's a reason they gave medals to all the finishers!

  5. Congrats!! I give you major props for running so long on a bum toe. I've run with a blister before, but never for that long. That takes strength.

    You should feel so good about yourself!

  6. Congratulations!!! AWESOME!!! You did a great job...this is such an accomplishment!!

  7. Congrats girl! way to tough it out and finish strong through your pain and everything! :)

  8. Major congrats on finishing your first 1/2 marathon. It gets better from here! Keep it up.

  9. I am so PROUD of you!!! I am also jealous...I am not allowed to run due to the plantar fascitis. My boss thinks I should do no impact at all :( I can Spin though! Once I am all healed up I want to do one with you!