After several months of training for the More Half-Marathon, race day finally arrived. I am proud to say I finished it with a bang!
Over the last two weeks, I continued to train as usual, doing shorter walks and some weight training and core work—I even tried hula hooping for the first time! I refrained from my once-weekly long walks so that I could be best prepared—and not depleted—come race day. I also made sure to get enough rest and continued to drink lots of fluids throughout each day.
Two days before the race, I had a nightmare about the impending race that woke me up in the middle of the night! In it, I found myself approaching the end of the race. It was then I realized the race organizers took down the arch and clock at the finish line. To make matters worse, they refused to give me a medal. It's clear from this nightmare that even though I knew I was well prepared for the half-marathon, I definitely had at least a little bit of pre-race anxiety and jitters.
On the night before the race, I climbed into bed by 9:30 pm and fortunately slept very well. When my alarm woke me at 6 am, I had a low fat chocolate milk and bowl of oatmeal. (Even though I had a lot of nervous energy, there was no way I’d skip breakfast.) I packed up a small bag of licorice bits in my sports belt to nosh on during the race, and off my friend Liz and I went.
Race day itself definitely had its high highs and its low lows. So here goes!
At 7:15 am, my friend Liz (who slept over) and I headed to meet my other friend Elise at Central Park. The crowd was very enthused—I even managed to give away about 20 #moveitorlose it buttons to perfect strangers before we hopped on line for the race. We three ladies chit-chatted with some of the participants—everyone was so nice! We then decided to separate. Elise, who would walk/jog the race went ahead of Liz and I, who went towards the back of the line but didn’t start together. I turned on my music and was ready to begin.
Despite a few raindrops, the race got off to a great start. To my surprise, it only took me about eight minutes to get to the official start line. At that point, I turned on my stopwatch and began what would be the longest, hardest walk of my life.
Even though I knew I was prepared for the race, I failed to factor in how adrenaline would impact my race time. I estimated I'd finish in 3 hours and 10 minutes—at about a 14:30 per mile pace. But I realized I finished my first mile at about a 13:30 pace...then the second, third and fourth miles at a similar pace. Being competitive with myself, I thought I could definitely beat my 3:10 goal. I tweeted and posted mile marker photos and even texted my friends and husband throughout the race. I was pumped up and kept going and going.
The (Not-So) Lows
Blisters? What blisters? Even though two panful blisters had formed on both of my arches, race-day adrenaline kept me going. I even tried to figure out how fast I'd have to walk to finish in under three hours. Delusional? Probably. But that's what I was thinking!
But it was at around mile nine that I started to hit the wall. My breathing, which was heavier than on my usual training walks, got even heavier. I even became a little emotional at one point and felt like I was going to cry. I knew I'd finish the race, but I also knew that from then on it would be more of a mental challenge than a physical one.