This is a repost from an old blog.  Original post date is 9/13/13. | Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Seeing as this was my first Half Marathon there were a lot of emotions coursing through me leading up to the race, the morning of, and all through out the day.

Knowing full well that I’d fallen way off my training plan back in June after I rolled my ankle while hiking, which lead to losing the momentum I had picked up prior to that, I found myself 3 weeks away from the event and NO WHERE NEAR being ready.

I kicked up my milage 22 days out and ran my first 7 miler.
14 days out I ran my first 9 miler.
Then just 7 days out I ran my first 11 miler.

For the limited training I felt confident enough that I would finish, though it would hurt and be well over the finish time I had been planning on having back when I started training in April.

The morning of I woke up at 5:30am so that I’d have time to drink enough water and eat before we left at 6:00am to drive over. Since we were in Amish Country, PA they recommended getting there by 6:30am because there were going to be over 2000 runners, and only 1 lane traffic.

Before we left I at a half cup of brown rice with some veggies & black beans, and drank 10 oz of water.

We got there around 6:30am, and watched the balloons being blown up with helped ease my nerves. I used the restroom when we first got there and then again right before the race started at 7:30am.

While we were waiting I ate half a nut & fruit bar, and then started to head over to the starting line.

I headed to back of the pack, knowing full well that’s where I would find my fellow pace group, and I wasn’t wrong.  They were who I ended up following and passing and being passed by the enter 13.1 miles, which in end became very comforting even though I never spoke a word to anyone.

All week long I had been telling myself not to go out too fast, and took that into consideration when creating my playlist.  I kept the songs at a slower tempo so I wouldn’t be tempted, but the adrenaline took over and my heart rate shot through the roof and stayed that way for the first 3 miles.  Those first 3 miles also had been worrying me because they were all up hill.  I just kept telling myself all week to take it slow and you’ll be fine.

For the first 7 miles it was.  I kept a steady pace and after the first 3 mile climb it was a steady up and down every half mile…until mile 7 which was a ridiculous climb and wore me out.

I started walking the up hills after that.

The scenery was very beautiful and we did a giant loop through corn fields on a clear blue sky day.

One of the unique things about this race is the fact that the Amish and Mennonite locals not only sit out on their lawns to watch and wave, the kids were manning the water/gatorade stations in addition to also running in the race.

Another one of my panic moments the day before the race was when I realized there would in fact NOT be food at the hydration stations and I wasn’t prepared to carry anything.  So the morning of I grabbed a Cliff bar to carry with me, and it worked out well.  Every 3-4 miles I’d eat part of the Cliff bar, and also stopped at every hydration station.  (Another thing I hadn’t actually planned on doing)

As I reached the 11 mile mark and the 3:00 mark I was not only tired, I was ready for the race to be over.  My RunKeeper was actually telling I had already finished by the time I reached 12 miles…luckily I realized early on in the race that was going to happen so I mentally prepared myself to keep going.

Since my longest training run was 11 miles, every step after that during the race I kept thinking…”this is the furthest I’ve ever run….now THIS is the furtherest I’ve ever run.”  It was a weird sensation.

We didn’t have a lot of road side cheering and the people I was with were all waiting for me at the finish line which kept me going during that last mile where all I wanted to do was walk.

As I turned the corner to head towards the finish line 2 of my friends were waiting for me and started jogging with me as I headed in.  Them being there gave me that extra kick to finish strong, so I picked up the pace and left them behind to follow me in.

Approaching the finish line I saw my sister and brother in law holding a sign and cheering, which instantly put a smile on my face.  One of the other race watchers started yelling at me to spring the final .1 across the finish line and as much as I thought he was crazy and there was no way for me to move faster than I was…I DID.

I was so happy to have finished and receive my metal, made from an ACTUAL horseshoe, that I couldn’t stop smiling.

Afterwards, I treated my self to a Pineapple, Blueberry, Strawberry & Spinach smoothie, and a homemade soft pretzel.  YUM.

My friends and I opted to leave before the picnic and headed back to their place to relax, eat lunch, get our drink on, and enjoy the rest of the afternoon.

In the end I finished at 3:12 with an average pace of 14:00 in 1205 place out of 1272. Certainly not what I wanted when I first decided to run a half marathon, but I finished and I wasn’t last.

For recovery, I stretched outside in the warm weather for 20 minutes then laid in the grass for a little while.  Enjoyed half a veggie hoagie for lunch, and a couple slices of veggie pizza for dinner.  We stayed up pretty late, and I only slept about 8 hours before getting up the following morning.  I was surprised I wasn’t more sore.  Most of my pain was in my shoulders & neck area, but mainly I was just tired and the idea of driving 10 hours back to Asheville was not my ideal, but I did it and went to bed as soon as I got home.

It’s been less than a week since the race and I haven’t brought myself to go for a run yet but I have been walking and even went to play tennis yesterday for the first time in a very long time which is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while now.

All in all it was a great experience and I look forward to going back again next year and having a much better finish.  2:30 would be heaven to me.

Now time to start my marathon training.  March is only 6 months away and as we all know if we don’t stay on top of our training those 6 months will turn into only 4 weeks.

Race Recap: Bird in Hand Half Marathon
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