I did it! I have officially run my first half-marathon!!!!!!! And I did it at a 12:35 pace, which makes me very happy. I know that I’m no speed demon, but my goal was just to do it and have fun. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!
I still don’t think it has truly hit me that I ran 13.1 miles and that’s not a normal thing to do. But I am really proud of myself. This was the loftiest goal that I have ever set. Now that I have done it, I’m ready to sign up for another one and set a new PR. Even though there were some tough parts, crossing the finish erases all of that. Sort of like childbirth,
But without further ado, I present Wendy’s First Half: ZOOMA Annapolis!
We all woke up bright and early at 5am for a 7am start. Sounds excessively early, but then you remember it has been 85-95 degrees all week and are incredibly grateful. Fortunately, Kelly set our alarm as a Ke$ha song, so we started the day pumped.
The start was at the Navy Stadium and there were about 1,000 runners so it was pretty packed. We had a little fun with a photo shoot before things got serious. Melissa and my friend Emily were our spectators and cheering section, so a special shout out to them.Kelly, Me, and Erica
Once it got closer to 7, we started to assemble. They had pacers in the crowd holding signs for different times: 1:30, 1:40, 2:00 etc. This is where Kelly, Erica and I parted ways because we all had different paces. I found the 2:30 pacer, which was my reach goal (that I decided on in that moment lol) and got mentally ready. I had my iPod, my phone and a Gu in a little runners pouch. I didn’t actually test the pouch out ahead of time, so I went on faith that it would work well. Thankfully it was just fine. Phew!
We had our tracking chips in the bibs, which I thought was really cool because you don’t have to worry about a little chip falling off of your shoe. At this point, I was just ready to go and then we were off!
The course was beautiful. We went through the historic section down by the water, and then across the bridge. The heat was pretty brutal, especially in the beginning because we were in direct sun. After that, the course became much shadier and I could feel myself picking up the pace and pushing harder.
Around mile 4, there was a group that had some signs that were such a morale boost. If you ever watch a race, just make a funny sign and you will make everyone’s day.
Fueling and hydration are so important so I took my first Gu at mile 4. Then, thinking it was water, I accidently grabbed a cup of raisins at mile 5. But I figured it couldn’t hurt to get a little extra sugar in me. I stopped at every water station and got 2 cups, one water, one Cytomax. Then I just grabbed whatever was on the course so another Gu at mile 9 and a couple pretzels about a mile later. DO NOT EAT PRETZELS IF YOU DON’T HAVE WATER WITH YOU! My mouth was so dry. Thankfully I wasn’t too far from a water station.
It was pretty funny because at one point, I didn’t feel sweaty anymore so I just thought, “ Wow, it must have cooled off/I’m used to the heat.” WRONG. I was totally drenched but when your in a constant state of ‘glistening’, you stop noticing. Another reminder to keep hydrating.
They had sporadic mile markers with inspirational quotes on them which was pretty cool. My preference would to have them at every mile because not seeing any between mile 9 and 12 was a mental struggle.
Towards the end, there were a lot spectators cheering us on with music and high fives. I knew I was in good shape when I was able to bust a move to the Beyoncé blasting. If you cant dance to Beyoncé, that’s when you KNOW your in trouble. It was tough, but the crowd kept me going and I was able to pick up my pace for the last mile and finish strong!
The finish line was fun because they announced your name as you crossed. After I got some water in me we hit the expo! I picked up my swag, including my necklace, yoga mat, water bottle and first timer medal. Races are great. Where else do people give you high fives and snacks, yell compliments at you and then give you presents?
Aaaaand then we hit the wine. Barefoot Wine was a sponsor and we HAD to sample each type. It would have been a waste otherwise! Combined with the heat and exhaustion, things got pretty silly, pretty fast. But it was all in good fun and then we headed back to the hotel and grabbed some Thai for lunch.
Overall, it was an awesome day. I am so happy that I did this and my friends were right there with me. I have a feeling I may sign up for another one in the next couple of weeks…