Officially A Half Marahton-er

4 Dec

I survived! I can now say that I have completed my first real half marathon, as I finished the OUC Orlando Half Marathon! Although I did finish that virtual run a couple weeks ago, there is definitely something different about being out in the community with a few thousand other runners and I definitely consider this my first “real” half marathon! Although I know it can be a serious competition for some, for me my biggest competition is myself. I am constantly amazed by the comraderie of fellow runners and the support of the the spectators!

On Friday, as I was getting in the half mindset, I was definitely still battling with my (self-diagnosed) hip injury. I had done a test run on Thursday to see how my leg would hold up and it went relatively well, so I was hoping for the best on Saturday but was still really nervous. I wanted so badly to finish and was terrified I would start and not make it to the finish line.

On top of that, my friend who was planning on running as well got pink eye and despite really wanting to run decided to pass. It was a bummer she wouldn’t be there, but I definitely think she made the right choice. We weren’t planning on running together but it would have been nice to celebrate together at the end.

We were also supposed to go out for a pasta party on Friday night and I was planning on staying at her apartment (a little closer to downtown Orlando), but with the new circumstances I ended up staying home, whipping up some of my own pasta and turning in relatively early.

As a habitual oversleeper, I set three separate alarms for my phone and managed to get up by 5;15AM- before the last alarm went off, which is an accomplishment in itself for me! I got ready, ate a little oatmeal so I wasn’t running on empty and headed out the door.

Ready to Go!

Ready to Go!

In following the directions to the race location, I somehow managed to go the wrong way-which put me in a mini panic! I tend to prefer being early for everything and was nervous I wouldn’t make it on time. Since the race was happening downtown, I also wasn’t 100% sure what the parking situation would be. The instructions mentioned a couple garages, but I was nervous they wouldn’t have space or would be a challenge to get to as it was getting close to race time.

As soon as I got myself turned around and saw other runners parking, I chose a random lot! I’m a novice when it comes to downtown Orlando, so I am always paranoid about getting towed but felt good knowing other racers were parking there as well. The one weird thing was there was no parking attendant or machine where you bought a ticket for your dashboard. There was just a big box with each space number listed and a corresponding teeny, tiny slot to insert cash. I took my chances, paid my $5 which was good for 5 hours and started following some other runners to the start line. Luckily, I made it with still about 15-20 minutes until the races start.

Time to Run!

Time to Run!

As far as the race itself goes, it’s somewhat of a blur. My hip held up pretty well and I was able to get off to a good start, running the first 3-4 miles exclusively. After that, I converted to a walk/run strategy- although there were really no formal intervals. Overall, I would say that I ran significantly more than I walked. The biggest challenge for me that there was quite a bit of brick in some of the neighborhoods in which we ran. Even when it’s flat I find that significantly more challenging, but the addition of little dips and rises in the brick made me nervous. I knew if I stepped wrong, it would really hurt my hip. As a result, I did tend to walk most of the brick portions.

The biggest motivator for me, by far, is the people! I enjoy bench marking myself against other runners and tend to feel more confident if I am maintaining pace with other individuals on the course. When I take walking breaks, I also make it a goal to try and pass other walkers. It’s so easy for me to slow down too much and I try to keep a brisk walking pace, by using other participants as a guide.

More so than just in the semi-competitive sense, people motivate me because they inspire me! It’s grade to see people of all shapes and sizes, young and old, tackling the course. One of my favorite things of the whole race was having the opportunity to run near a grandfather, probably in his 60’s or 70’s, running with his grandson, who was about 12-14. It was the grandson’s first half marathon and it was just great to see them enjoying the race together. They had great shirts with their names on them instructing others to help cheer them on and it was a really neat thing to witness.

I also have nothing but respect and appreciation for the volunteers, spectators and police manning the course and making it such a great experience. Their cheers and hard work definitely pushed me to run a little faster. Since the course takes place largely in neighborhoods, there were tons of people out along their driveways encouraging people on The little children that were out there were so excited and definitely put a smile on my face.

While I would love to do a big race, I feel that  this one provided great opportunities to make connections with the community, albeit briefly.

In the end, I finished with a chip time of 2:57:09. As I approached the finish line, the clock time was showing about 2:59:30, so there was definitely a lot of encouragement from spectators and the MC to push it to make it under 3 hours, which I was able to do with a clock time of 2:59:45.

Officially a Half Marathon-er!

Officially a Half Marathon-er!

My first goal was just to finish, but while I was training my REAL goal was to finish in under 3 hours, so I made it! I still think if my hip was out of the equation I could have done a little better, but am so thrilled to have met both my goals!

Now I’m addicted- I keep researching more races and am looking forward to training for another soon!

The Medal!

The Medal!

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One Response to “Officially A Half Marahton-er”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Long Overdue, Part 2: Dick Batchelor Run for the Children 5K | Smiles Through Miles - March 8, 2013

    […] she had other plans come up last minute and she wasn’t able to run. This happens to be the same friend that couldn’t run the OUC Half with me, so we haven’t been having much luck when it comes to running together […]

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