Half Marathon, Full Success!

What a beautiful day for a sunny road race!!  :)  It was COLD when we woke up this morning though – temps in the low 40s, brrrrr.   We started our morning with fuel (no picture, but it was PB&J on rice cakes) and COFFEE!  Then we bundled up and got ready to run.  I never know what to wear for races like this – freezing at the start but sunny and warmed up by the end.  In hindsight I was totally overdressed.

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We attached our numbers and headed out the door around 6:40, ten minutes behind schedule, but not too worried about time.

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This was the second half-marathon I’ve run where they used these new disposable timing chips.  I’m a big fan!  No stress about losing your chip, and much easier to put on than the horrible twisty tie kind. 

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Got to the starting line and found this girl!  She asked me many many months ago to train with her for her first half-marathon, and of course I said I would love to, especially since I was training for the Pig anyways.  Training together turned out to be a blast, and feel so lucky to have found such an awesome friend and running partner.

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Before the race, I really had no idea what my body could handle.  I hadn’t run in weeks, and I was really close to not being able to run at all.  Turns out that a lot of rest, plus a few prayers may have been just what I needed after all.

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Right before the race I turned my iPod on, only to discover that the awesome playlist that I spend two days putting together (and spent $ on downloading new songs) was not there!  I am a complete idiot and made the playlist in my library, but never actually dragged it to the iPod.  Totally devastating!

The gun went off and Kath and I weaved in and out of the crowd for the first mile or so – it felt slow because of the congestion, but we clocked in at 8:48 – not bad for being in traffic!  Our next mile was much faster – 8:18 – and at that point I told Kath I needed to slow down if I didn’t want to burn out in the later miles. 

I pulled back a bit and kept myself between 8:25 and 8:40 pace for the next 5 miles.  My legs and lungs felt rested and great.  I pointed out to Kath exactly where I had crashed and burned during last week’s test run, and it felt great to fly past it this week with no problem. 

Up ahead, Casey was tearing through the course and Matt (Kath’s husband) was there to snap some pictures!

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Go, Casey GO!  :)

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When I got to the mile 7 hill, I told Kath I knew this is where my pace was going to slow down.  I turned my iPod up and put my head down, and pushed up the massive hill as steady as I could without burning out my quads.  I had a bit of a flash forward when I realized that this tough hill falls almost exactly at the same spot in the course as the HORRIBLE Gilbert Avenue hill hits during the Flying Pig Marathon.  Let’s hope this trial run gets me ready to face Gilbert in three weeks!

I fell behind Kath on the hill, but I could see her up ahead just about 20 yards in front of me.  As we came down the other side of the hill, Matt was waiting to cheer us on and snap our pictures!  Here comes Kath

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And not far behind her, I was still cruising along…

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Good thing Matt yelled out as I ran past – I didn’t even see him!  Just after he snapped this picture I threw my gloves at him.  Definitely WAY overdressed.  I also slowed down a bit early in the race to take my North Face off.  I couldn’t decide if it was worth it to take it off because I wasn’t going to bother to re-pin my race number, and no number means no official race photos.  :(  Ultimately I decided I would rather run comfortably and cool than keep my bib number on.

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After he got our pictures, Matt rode up next to me on his bike and talked to me for a few minutes.  It was a total boost and came just when I needed it – thank you, Matt!  About a minute ahead of me, he rode up next to Kath to check in with her too!

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My average pace was right around 8:40 going into mile ten, and I was completely surprised and excited that I was running as well as I was.  But I could also tell that I was starting to fade FAST, and things got a little ugly in the 10th mile.  I decided to walk through a water station, and when I went to restart I felt the piercing pain in my side return from the pleurisy.  I knew I could run through it, but it slowed me down for at least a mile, and my energy level was really dragging.  I could still see Kath up in the distance, and for a minute I considered sprinting up to try to meet her.  I knew that if I did, I would risk burning out in the last miles, so I made the decision to stop looking up and worry about my own race.  I’m glad I did because she ended up smoking those last few miles, and I never would have been able to keep up. 

Miles 11 and 12 felt like eternity, especially because that part of the course was new to me – I only went to mile 10 during my test run!  There was one more huge hill that I wasn’t expecting, but after that it was pretty much down hill or flat the rest of the way.  I rounded the corner around mile 12.6 and saw Casey waving and cheering on the sidelines.  I was completely dead at that point, and couldn’t even find the breath to talk to him – I just motioned for him to jump on and run next to me.  He ran by my side the last quarter mile, cheering me on and encouraging me.  It was totally what I needed, as I could literally feel my tank running out of gas.  No matter how hard I pushed to try to kick in that last little bit, I had absolutely nothing left to give. 

About 50 feet before the finish line, I saw the familiar bouncing green and red of Kath cheering and waiting for me!  She jumped on too so that we could “finish” together as planned, and I grabbed both of their hands and raced across the finish line with my two favorite runners on either side of me.  SUCH a great way to finish!  Matt caught the moment on video…

I started this race with no idea what to expect, and set my mental goal at finishing under 2:10 – reasonable based on last weekend’s disastrous run.  I ended up crossing the finish line in…


It was a personal record for me, although I’ve never really run a “real” half-marathon for time. 

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I was SO drained and exhausted when I crossed the finish line.  Kath was nice enough to share some of her delicious homemade sports drink with me. 

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Three proud finishers!  Kath finished her first half-marathon in 1:53:20 – amazing!  Casey finished his first “official” half-marathon in a smoking 1:36:17 and he placed 67th overall out of over 2,400 runners!

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Love this girl!

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I was so excited to see Casey when I came around that final corner, and I am so grateful to him for helping me through the last mile. 

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Very happy to be done… :)

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Big thanks to Matt for being such a great photographer and cheerleader.  Never underestimate the power of SPECTATORS – they make a huge difference!  I am going to force every single person I know in Cincinnati to come cheer on May 2nd.


After we all caught our breath, we headed into the finisher’s area to scrounge for some food and drinks.  VERY disappointing finisher’s loot – all they had were orange slices and halved bananas (that were gross and black on the ends), and a table with big jugs of water that were 90% empty.  Oh yeah, and free RED WINE…

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Seriously – why?  So strange.  We grabbed some bananas and headed back to Matt and Kath’s house for recovery smoothies!  See Kath’s blog if you want the exact breakout of ingredients – bananas, OJ, avocado, chia seeds, and the new Vega Vanilla Chai powder – love this stuff!

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The Vita-Mix-Master in action.  I need to get one of those things!

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Personally, I was just thrilled to have some hot coffee after the race.  I am easy to please. 


We took our delicious SMOOTHIE bowls outside to enjoy on the patio…

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Green smoothie topped with a granola mixture, a little bit of coconut butter, and a scoop of delicious Nutzo nut butter – yum!

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Totally perfect race recovery lunch.

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All finished!  Pretty much licked my bowl clean.

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Originally I had thought I’d be heading home after the race, before we came up with the idea for the smoothie party.  I had scheduled myself a relaxing (and long overdue!) haircut for 12:15, but I realized that once we were at Matt and Kath’s, it made no sense for me to go all the way home, and then aaaall the way back to the hair salon (same side of town), and if I did I would be really late.  So I was forced to be totally disgusting and go to my poor hairdresser before I could go home and shower.  She was totally understanding and awesome – thank you Allie

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Casey came and hung out while I got my hair cut, and we caught up with Allie, who is Casey’s cousin’s best friend.  Fun times!

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I am SO EXCITED to have normal hair again!  Even though the rest of me was still gross, my hair felt wonderful.  :)

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We headed home after the hair cut and changed out of our running gear.  Couldn’t resist showing you the medal, complete with the terrifying sun – aaaaah!

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Indy was proud of me for running a good race!

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Just jumped out of the shower and finally feel clean and refreshed.  I am really happy that today turned out so well!  I had very little confidence that I could pull off a successful run after losing weeks and weeks of training runs.  I am proud of myself for pushing through the pain and mental battles to give it my best effort and finish strong.  Let’s hope that three more weeks is enough to get back up to speed for the Pig.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I am exhausted.  Time to go join this party…

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