I Ran a Half Marathon. So Now What?

rock and roll marathon starting line

I ran my half marathon today.

Now the 75% of you who don’t care a lick can breathe a sigh of relief. She’s finally done talking about that blasted half marathon! LOL!!

Well . . . almost.

I will give a quick recap for the 5 of you who care.

There’s really nothing too dramatic to tell. I spent 16 weeks following a moderate half marathon training plan to a T, and I tried to eat smart and drink lots of water the few days before. We got up bright and early this morning to drive into Philly. The kids were not amused to find themselves up before the sun, but they were troopers.

My family dropped me off and then went about their merry way, trying to amuse themselves while I checked my bag, made a final potty stop, and found my corral (they assign you corrals, based on your estimated finish time — the faster runners are the closest to the front.)

I snapped this shot right before the gun went off.

start line

Because I can’t do math, I ended up in a corral very near the starting line. This was a mixed blessing. It was nice because I got to start pretty soon after the official race starting time of 8:00 AM, but because most of the runners in my corral were much faster than me, I got carried along by the tide and tired myself out a little too soon.

For the first few miles, the other runners were, quite literally, passing me right and left. I tried to run my own race and keep to a comfortable pace.

rock and roll half marathon - the beginning stretch

At about mile 2, I heard some hollering, and when I turned around, I saw my family. On a whim, I turned around in the middle of the race course, ran over to them and gave them a few hugs and kisses before soldiering on. My husband only got a hind shot as I ran off — I’m in the crazy hot pink knee socks.

race

Along about mile 3, my knee started hurting. I thought, “Oh no, this is it!” But it worked itself out, and I was fine for a while.

The adrenaline was pumping, there was lots to see, and I was feeling pretty good. Each mile was clearly marked, and I felt like they were passing pretty quickly.

Then around about mile 6, my IT band started aching — that is the tissue that runs along the outside of the knee. It gave me fits for a while, and once again, I thought, “Oh no, is this going to get worse and stop me from finishing? I still have half this race yet to go!”

Finally around mile 8, I stopped and did some stretching. When I hopped back into the race, I noticed that I wasn’t hurting as bad, and I could also tell that my gait had changed. I felt like I was running more flat-footed and using different muscles and tissues than when I run on the forefoot, and my previous complaints were much improved. I knew I was getting tired, and it was more of a lazy gait, but I decided to go with it.

I took some Gu at miles 5 and 9, and I made sure to grab some water several times along the way. The miles seemed to pass pretty quickly right up till the end. I knew I was making pretty good time, and I was feeling good.

My primary goal for this race was to finish, but my ambitious goal was to finish in under 2 hours, 15 minutes. When I dared look at my watch around the 11-mile mark, I could see that I had a good chance of finishing under 2:15.

I started hoofing it.

Now I was the one passing people right and left!!

The last two miles seemed like forever. The last mile was the biggest challenge. I think I picked up speed a little bit too soon so I had to slow back down and coast to the finish. I refused to walk so I kept trudging on, and my final time was 2:13:12 — 2 minutes under my dream goal time.

I was ecstatic.

I collected my medal and grabbed a bottle of water, and then it was time to find my family, and it took forever to get through the throngs of people. There were 20,000 people just running; I have no clue how many were there including the spectators.

Philly Rock 'N Roll Half Marathon

Finally I found my loves.

family

Turns out, they had been waiting at the finish line but they must have gotten there a few minutes after I came through. I had been looking for them, but I wasn’t terribly disappointed when I didn’t see them because I knew that with the crowds, it would have been hard for them to get a spot. But when I found out that they had actually been there, with signs and everything, and just missed me, I was bummed.

But nothing could put a damper on my day. The weather was perfect. I had trained well, I had a good taper, and I came in well within my goal time.

Half Marathon Finish Time and Splits

So, now what??

First, I need to recover. My foot was really sore and stiff today, and I know I need to rest and allow to to recover. I don’t know if it will totally heal as long as I continue to run, but I believe I can work with it and manage to find some sort of happy medium.

I think I can say without a doubt that I will NEVER aspire to run a full marathon.

I am pretty sure I have more half marathons in my future.

Before I tackle that, I’d love to increase my 5K time and build some speed.

But first, I need to give my feet and legs some time to recover.

I don’t want to lose what I’ve gained from this training, but I can’t keep going without allowing my body some time to heal. What that means, exactly, I’m not sure. I will be consulting some trusted friends and professionals to try to come up with some sort of running plan that will maintain my fitness level while giving my body some time to recover from the abuse I’ve put it through these past few months.

In the meanwhile, I am flying high! I am thrilled with my accomplishment, and I haven’t lost the joy of running. All in all, I consider that a win!