Holy Moly! Half-Marathon Recap

By Katie, 3:32 pm

I DID IT!!! I am officially a half-marathon finisher!!! It feels so good to say that! :-)

Thank you so much for all of your encouraging comments; you have no idea how much it means to me to know that I have such support!!! :-)

Backing up a bit. On Friday I received the most amazing motivation – a beautiful bouquet of flowers from Dave’s grandmother and grandfather. They were congratulatory blooms in honor of graduating with my master’s, securing a job, and running a half marathon. They made me smile from ear to ear! Grandmother, if you’re reading, you’re the best!!! :-D

The flowers were just the boost I needed because, as I mentioned in my last post, this last week of training (tapering, really) didn’t go exactly as planned. I got zero sleep Wednesday night, was sick several times on Thursday, and still wasn’t feeling 100% on Friday. Saturday, however, I was pumped and ready to go. I had a lot of energy-loading to catch up on; I wanted to make sure I gave my body plenty of carbs to get through the race. Here’s a quick montage of what I ate on Saturday for pre-race day fuel.

PB + Banana toast, cherries, kiwi

Wasa crackers with a Laughing Cow cheese wedge.

Turkey sandwich, baby carrots, grape tomatoes

1/2 cantaloupe with cottage cheese

Clif Z bar

Mixture of crackers, PB Puffins, and more cherries

Hummus and sweet pepper wrap, roasted parsnip fries

Fresh fruit and cereal, drizzled with honey (this bowl x 2!)

I believe there was a slice of whole wheat toast in there somewhere as well.

I went to bed super early so I’d be ready to go when my alarm started buzzing.

I actually had the best possible dream last night. I dreamed that I was participating in a triathlon. My first thought when I woke up was, “Thank goodness I don’t have to swim or bike this morning! I just have to run – no problem!” ;-) (Many props to Meghann and Caitlin, who did swim/bike today!)

Of course, when I looked at the weather forecast (RAIN!) I thought,”Maybe I will be swimming!” Through puddles, anyway. ;-)

I had my standard pre-race breakfast – a banana and some bite-sized Shredded Wheat.

And packed up my Gu for mid-run fuel. I know these gross some people out, but my stomach tolerates them just fine.

Ready, ready, ready! I wore a bright green top so that I’d be easier to spot. I also broke the cardinal rule of “Nothing New on Race Day” and wore a hat; I figured running in the rain was already new to me, so why not? Thank you to everyone who recommended I do so; it was perfect for keeping the rain out of my eyes.

The race started promptly at 7:00. About 15 minutes beforehand the rain slowed to a drizzle, and it was just off and on the rest of the time – quite perfect, actually! The first two miles were a breeze, but mile 3 was almost entirely uphill. It was crazy! When I crested the hill and reached mile 4, I saw Dave cheering me on, complete with a sign. It was an awesome boost! I was feeling really great!

I owned miles 4, 5, and 6. Miles 7 and 8 featured the next big hill, which was a KILLER! It was steep and lasted almost the full two miles! 8-O I was pretty much just shuffling my way up. I took 1/2 of my Gu around the 8-mile mark, which was a needed boost. But I got even more of a boost from the handwritten signs posted along the hill – from cancer survivors and family members of victims.

100% of the proceeds from the Maryland Half Marathon went to cancer research. While of course I was happy to be racing for charity, I didn’t think much of it until I saw those signs. One of them read, “We know this hill is hard, but fighting cancer is harder. You can do it!” Another said, “You probably know someone who has fought cancer. Tackle this hill for them!” When I saw that sign I thought of my grandma, who passed away two years ago from pancreatic cancer. Tears came to my eyes, I dug even deeper, and I got up that darn hill.

At the top, at the 9-mile mark, there was Dave again! It was SO GREAT to see him!

When I hit the 10-mile mark, I was still feeling strong. I rounded a corner and realized that the entire 10th mile was downhill!!! WOO HOO! I was cruising. (About halfway down my shoulders got really tight, which was a good reminder that while downhills are easy on the lungs, they’re actually tough on the body.)

Honestly, the last 3 miles I felt really good. The half-marathon ended on the horse racing track of the state fairgrounds, and the finish line came significantly sooner than I realized. I turned a corner, saw my family cheering for me, started sprinting my hardest, and that was it!

I don’t have my official chip time yet, but according to my watch my time was 1:53:34. That’s an average pace of about 8:40 – WAY faster than I was expecting! (The downhills definitely helped with that! ;-) ) I was THRILLED!

As crazy as this sounds, I actually found the half-marathon physically easier than the Broad Street 10-Miler. Maybe because that day was so stinkin’ hot. I ended this race feeling strong and energetic; I told my family I felt like I could run at least another 2 miles! :lol:

I am so grateful to my wonderful supporters who got up early to make the drive and see me finish. It made me feel so good knowing they were cheering for me! I love you all!

And to any of you who are thinking to yourself, “Wow, I could never run a half-marathon,” I say: YES, YOU CAN! If you had told me one year ago I would do this, I would never have believed you. 8-O I started walking consistently last May, began alternating between walking and jogging in September, ran a 5K on Thanksgiving, a 5-mile race in April, a 10-mile race in May, and now this! IT IS POSSIBLE!

After the race we all went for brunch at this adorable little restaurant a mere two minutes from my house called Clementine. I knew I needed protein, but all I was craving was BREAD. I ordered the French Toast Casserole, which had apples baked inside of it. So good! (I’ll make sure to get my protein later on, I promise. :-) )

And fruit, of course.

I also ordered a fresh, house-made blueberry muffin, but I was too full to eat it. It will be my dessert tonight!

Now I’m off to relax (and perhaps take a nap). Fortunately I have tomorrow all to myself, so I can get a lot of rest before I start training for my new job on Tuesday. (YAY!) The pieces are just falling into place, and I couldn’t be more grateful! :-)

Have you ever run a half-marathon? Do you think you ever would?

49 Responses to “Holy Moly! Half-Marathon Recap”

  1. Zach says:

    Way to be! Good time too. You know the next step now… Full marathon. Pops did the B-More marathon about 10 years ago, and back then the course was nasty, but I hear it’s better now.

    • Katie says:

      Thank you so much! I think I want a few more half marathons under my belt before I go all-out, but we shall see! I think I’ll do the Bmore Half in the fall.

      By the way, I hope you don’t mind that I mentioned you in my next post!

  2. Oh honey…CONGRATULATIONS! I am super proud of you…that is an awesome time for your first half marathon ever! OWN IT! You totally rock! :)

  3. Jen says:

    Katie, this is so awesome!!! Congrats! I’m actually training for my first half in August, and I’m kinda nervous, but this really got me pumped!!!

  4. CONGRATULATIONS!!! Great job!

  5. Tina says:

    Congratulations!!!!! I’m SOOOO happy for you! The signs saying “it’s harder to fight cancer” would motivate me too. Puts things in perspective right there. :)

    I have always thought I would never run a half marathon, but I would be lying if I said I don’t think about it now. I like having fitness goals and after this next pregnancy I have thought about getting more into running and from there I won’t say never. I may only get to 5Ks or who knows? Maybe a half could be in my (pretty distant) future. It would be cool to do! Excited you got to accomplish that yourself!

  6. Lauren says:

    I am so so so very proud of you! First of all, how awesome are you for killing those hills? And you not only finished strong, you finished with a kick butt time!!! Congrats my darling! Now get some rest and some food! :)

  7. Congratulations, Katie – you did amazing!! So proud of you, and what a great cause you supported.
    Hope you’re enjoying the remainder of the day!

  8. Yay Katie!! Congratulations on an awesome run!! …and for becoming a half marathoner today :) You ran a great time and should be super proud! I’m glad you have a relaxing day tomorrow to recover and get rested before the new job starts. You’ve definitely had an eventful (yet amazing) few weeks. Have a great night!!!

  9. Congratulations Katie! Just finishing the race is an accomplishment, but in that time?! Wow! Very impressive. I definitely would’ve ordered that French Toast Casserole too, it looks fantastic! Gotta get those carbohydrates after some intense exercise!

  10. Congratulations! That is such an awesome time! Good luck on your first day on the job as well!

  11. im so incredibly proud! you did amazing!! love ur support team and cheering section too! oh and LOVE the green shirt <3

    yes you are a marathoner now!!! even half marathon runners are still marathoners! too bad it wasent sunny tho.. o well.

    CONGRATS LADY :) :):)

  12. Lisa says:

    Congratulations! You look so fantastic in those pictures! I can definitely tell you were having fun! You are completely right – anyone who can run can run a half marathon with persistence, training, drive and a bit of support thrown in there!

    Congratulations on all your recent achievements! You have so much to be happy and thankful for!

  13. Wow! MAJOR kudos! You have so much to be proud of :) I definitely am working towards a half-marathon…although I’m much more at a 5k level as of right now!

    • Katie says:

      Being able to run a 5K is an amazing accomplishment in and of itself! But if you set your eyes on a half marathon, I’m 100% certain you could conquer it. :)

  14. KATIE!!! AWESOME job!!! I can feel your excitement and it is SO inspiring to read your story about how you never thought you could be a runner. Here I was thinking you were a natural-born runner but it sounds like you started off right about where I am. Thank you for sharing and CONGRATS on your amazing half marathon!

    • Katie says:

      Thank you so much, Ashley! Your comment got me thinking that maybe I should write a post about my exercise history, if you will.

  15. katie says:

    CONGRATS KATIE! i am so freaking proud of you!! you are amazing-truly an inspiration to SO many!

  16. Candice says:

    Way to go!!! Now you’re on to a marathon, I bet! Congrats on graduation, your new job, and the half-marathon!

  17. Elina says:

    I KNEW you’d kill it, Katie. The last week is nothing. You trained for it long before that. CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!!!

  18. Cara says:

    congratulations! and just a fun tidbit, I think my half marathon time was within seconds of yours (it was 1:53:something) – also a pace I’d never thought I could achieve! go us!

  19. I am SO PROUD OF YOU!! So many congratulations!!! It is my ultimate goal to run a half and it’s so refreshing to read that you also started out small. There is hope for me yet. Congrats again, Katie. This is SO AWESOME!

  20. Robyn says:

    Congrats! You had an amazing time and with those hills and that rain, so impressive. Don’t you love how much strength seeing a sign made for you can give you when you’re racing?

  21. Holly says:

    Oh my gosh, Katie – CONGRATS! That is an AWEsome time for your first, especially given the rain! You have to be incredibly proud of yourself. :-)

  22. brandi says:

    Congrats girl!!!

  23. WAY TO GO!!!! You are seriously inspiring :)

  24. hurray! i am so proud of you…way to go :)

  25. Cardio PIzza says:

    CONGRATS! That is amazing! You must feel awesome :)

    And congrats on graduating and getting a job, such wonderful things in your life right now, it’s gotta feel GREAT!

  26. Shawnee says:

    Congratulations! That is a huge accomplishment. My goal is to just run a 10k this year. Maybe two years from now I’ll do a half marathon. We shall see.

    • Katie says:

      Running a 10K is an AMAZING accomplishment! And if you eventually set your sights on a half marathon, I’m certain you can do it! :)

  27. Kate says:

    Congrats!!! I love race recaps, and yours simply GLOWS with that runner’s high. :) Got me all fired up for my 2nd one this weekend! Congrats on the great time. Try a 25K for your next race! That’d be your extra 2(.4) miles!

    • Katie says:

      You know, that’s not a bad idea! When people kept asking if I planned on ever doing a marathon, I kept thinking there must be another step between half and full…a 25K it is!

  28. christina says:

    congratulations girl!! and holy smokes to that french toast!

  29. Mo says:

    That is totally and completely inspiring. :)

  30. Jennifer says:

    Even though I have never met you, you are such a beautiful person on the inside and out. It just radiates through your pictures and your writing. I am so proud that you were able to complete a half-marathon. Your letter to yourself was so endearing and it really pushes me to do a half-marathon in November. I have a real hard time breathing properly in hot weather, and living in Florida has made it difficult to run the amount of miles that I need in order to work up my mileage. But seeing pictures from your races inspire me to never give up. With God on my side all things are possible! Congratulations girl!

  31. allijag says:

    CONGRATS!!!!! I am so happy for you – way to rock it out (and I totally knew you could do it!) :)

  32. Nicole, RD says:

    What a wonderful time, Katie! I had no doubt you would OWN that 1/2! I love that you felt so strong through to the end…and that the hills weren’t those last 2 miles! That wouldn’t have been fun…but good that they were spaced out some. Great job, girl! I loved the pictures! You’ve got one proud hubby :)

  33. Erica says:

    CONGRATS girl! That is awesome! I would love to take a bite of that dessert…just one bite…wait maybe two or three or maybe the whole thing ha! That looks great!
    I have ran three half marathons and would love to run a whole run but am really afraid I would not be able to do it. Congrats on beating your 2 hour time frame….what an amazing accomplishment!
    Is this your first one? (I may have missed this…sorry)

    • Katie says:

      Yep this was my first one! It was such a rush!

      I have no doubt that if you set your sights on a full marathon you could do it! :)

  34. Congratulations Katie! You are such an inspiration :)

  35. Meg says:

    Wow! I didn’t realize you had only started running a year ago! Go you! I’ve run a few 5k’s and a 10k, but I would totally want to do a half marathon! Good tip on bringing some mid-run fuel. I hope that you stretched afterward! ;) Oh, and make sure that you are wearing good shoes! True, they are a little more, but seriously important to avoid injury. Way to go!

  36. Run Sarah says:

    Major congrats Katie, and what an awesome time! Definitely an inspiration for my first HM I hope to do this summer.

  37. Congrats!!! I love that you pushed through the rain and finished on a horse track, both of those things just make you sound like even more of a bad ass for doing it!

  38. [...] the obvious one would be that I completed a half-marathon, I’m actually most proud of the fact that I have been doing my best to honor and respect my [...]

  39. Dorry says:

    It was fun for me to go back and read this post! Billy and I ran our 1st half marathon earlier this month and it was such a great experience.

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