I cannot believe that it’s already been a week since my first half marathon! Part of me is even still riding the ridiculous runner’s high 7 days later 🙂 My review will explain more but overall this race was the best race I’ve done thus far. I think it was because it was in my hometown, I got to run it with my best friend, and our families and friends were able to be there to support us since usually when we race in NYC they can’t. My fueling options were pretty ideal for my first half, my anxiety was through the roof (but not in a totally bad way) and I certainly learned I need to hydrate myself more, but let’s get into the recap! I had to make the point that almost nothing in my life has caused me to lose my appetite, but the anxiety of this race was one of the first. Not exactly ideal when you need to take in a good amount of calories to properly run 13 miles!
Saturday afternoon my mom and I headed to the expo for the Binghamton Bridge Run.
It was small and exciting, but sadly I didn’t recognize anyone in there so we were in and out in less than 5 minutes. I don’t have a picture of the swag bag but it was one of those little drawstring knapsacks with a reusable water bottle, stickers supporting Boston, and a bright yellow tech t-shirt that sadly was made for a Barbie. Lesson learned, do not order a small when you don’t know the material of the shirt. No biggie!
After speaking at the Weight Watchers meetings that morning, I was feeling so great but since I was obviously a little nervous I had major butterflies in my stomach that lasted alllll day which left me with absolutely no appetite- something that’s only happened to me about 4 times in my entire life. I choked down some oatmeal with biscoff spread melted on around 11 AM. Yes, even biscoff wasn’t appetizing to me but I took one for the team and ate it anyways. Lunch was 2 pieces of pizza from one of my favorite hometown pizza places, Tony’s. My mom had gotten a speidie from Lupo’s and gave me part of just the sub roll that had gotten soggy and saturated with the speidie seasonings, a.k.a. the best part of getting those subs! If you’re from upstate, you know why that soggy bread is so delicious. Brenda and I got a little bit of candy at Wegman’s, but a much smaller amount than normal. I had a few chocolate covered peanuts and 3 mini rolo’s. It wasn’t until many hours later that Brenda, my brother and his girlfriend settled at Panera Bread for a late dinner. Absolutely nothing sounded good except for a bagel and a baguette. Unfortunately they wouldn’t give me eggs on the bagel (another restaurant mystery to me, it’s not like after 11 AM their eggs just disappear from the kitchen?!) so I got the veggie sandwich on a whole grain bagel and a white baguette with bbq ranch to dip. I didn’t eat most of the veggies or apple (too much fiber) but the bagel and baguette seemed to be the perfect fuel, leaving me not at all stuffed (something you do not want to be the night before a race) but also not hungry an hour later. I ended the day with just about 2000 calories and a little over 300 grams of carbs. Not too bad for having to force it all down!
Sleep that night was basically non-existent. I just simply can’t sleep well when I have anxiety!
Wake-up call: 4:45 AM. Sadly, that isn’t different than my wake-up time for my normal workouts before work!
I foam-rolled, drank a tiny bit of soy iced coffee but just couldn’t get it down. I was feeling extra nervous because you don’t want to change anything on race day, and I’m used to drinking a glass of iced coffee before a long run. I drank some water, foam-rolled more, thankfully was able to go to the bathroom (yes.) and got changed to go pick up Brenda!
Pink has never been my color til recently, now almost all of my workout clothes are pink!
My brother was great and up at the crack of dawn to drop Brenda and I off. I ate a banana with a little PB in the car and 1 GU chomp and we roamed around the starting line for awhile just waiting to get things going! We were able to see one of our teachers from high school who is a great athlete and trained harder than us even with injuries! And one of our awesome friends Adrienne!
It was such a beautiful morning. Perfect temperature. Great people. It was a rare moment that I felt proud to be from my hometown 😉
Finally, the race started and while we technically had no real time goal our whole training season.. I knew we had at least a 2:30 in us. Based on our long run paces that were consistently between 10:50-11:10, we could manage it but probably not faster because upstate NY is a higher elevation than NYC. And boy did I feel it. My breathing was pretty bad the first few miles but Brenda didn’t let me get negative and pushed me through the first half of the race. The first 6 miles definitely flew by, and I believe we took our first GU chomp right around 6. It was right around then that we also took a little pee break behind a gas station. One huge flaw in this race- LACK OF PORT-A-POTTIES. That took about 1 and a half minutes so I’d like to think our time would have been even better had we just peed our pants. Ya live and ya learn. I really don’t remember too much about the second half of the race… I think it was at 8 miles when I took my 2nd GU chomp, then when I tried to take the 3rd a bit later I had to spit it back out. The 9th mile was brutal. Riverside Dr. is essentially a total uphill in the direction we were going, and I was starting to feel dehydrated. We decided to stop for a a few seconds and stretch because both of our knees were really hurting, and my left foot and ankle started to feel super janky. Maybe 5 minutes later we stopped again to stretch, only for about 30 seconds both times, and I think it was the difference from running uphill to downhill that really hurt our knees.
Right before mile 10 was the biggest hill of the race. We were most likely running slower than we would have walking, but we refused to walk. At the top of the hill was a water station, and I was ready to puke so we we stopped and I downed 3 cups of water. I wish they were real full cups, but they were slightly bigger than dixie cups- a.k.a. not enough. The 10 mile mark was right there and we silently approached it knowing the last 3 miles were about to be brutal city. We were no longer talking much, and once we hit 11 miles, we were in mileage territory neither of us had been in before!
Halfway through mile 11 I got a gigantic gas bubble in my upper stomach/chest area and tried so hard to burp it out while running, but it was stabbing me and my breathing was that of a 90 year old in need of an oxygen tank. I stopped for a second to bend over, but started right back and figured I would just puke if need be… luckily a few minutes later I burped it out, loudly enough for everyone around to hear and laugh. Sorry guys! The last mile and a half were obviously awful and we felt like our bodies were falling apart. I dry heaved the last 10 minutes, until we finally turned the corner and saw the finish line with huge groups of people. My brother and Megan were so awesome and made us big signs!! Coolest thing ever. Our parents were right near the finish, and we gave it our all and sprinted. I literally felt like I was floating in the air and running 100 MPH for that last 7 seconds. We crossed the finish line in 2:29:15.
A picture couldn’t describe us better!
I love this girl to death.
I have never felt exhaustion like that in my life! But SO. PROUD!!!! Proud of myself, yes, but so proud of Brenda. I love that we were able to train together and I got to see her push herself and get into higher mileage that seemed so daunting in the beginning of our training. We kept each other motivated and I hope I can convince her to do more halfs with me 😉 Love you B!
And yep… think I caught the half bug. ‘Cause I’m certainly dreaming of my next one! 🙂
What was your first half marathon experience?