You were strong enough to get this far. You are strong enough to keep going!
Ask yourself if what you’re doing today is getting you closer to where you want to be tomorrow.
I was once told that I’d get addicted to this whole racing experience after I’ve done my first race… and it couldn’t be farther from the truth!
Ran my very first half marathon yesterday (10/28/12) and completed it in 2:11:17 to be exact.
I’ve always been a runner but of course, the farthest I ran before signing up for this event was a 10K. I knew I could do 13.1 miles but the question were “how will I pace myself?” & “will I be able to run the whole way through?”
I didn’t really follow a specific designed training plan. I took advices/references from different sources and came up with my own training regimen. My training plan was: I’d run a solid 5K every other day throughout the week and do the long run (starting out w/ 5 miles) on the weekend. However, I told myself that I would add one mile to each weekend long run and then save the 13.1 miles on race day. On the day I don’t run, I’d do 1.5-2 hrs of weight training instead (including 30 min on the stairmaster or 20 min on the stationary bike).
I added variation to my runs. The great thing about living in CA is the weather, never too cold or too hot for an outdoor run, which is something I love. Plus, I have so many different neighborhoods to run around in. There were days I run along the beach (def have to live somewhere with access to this), on the road with hills (love hills running), on the track (yay for local HS football field), & on the treadmill (usually for my tempo runs).
As for strength/weight training, I followed a bootcamp routine (a typical Camp Gladiator workout). I’m the type who’d get bored if I had the same routine everyday. Feel too monotonous to me! So I switched it up each time and I usually base my training on how I feel that day. Nevertheless, I’d still do a full body conditioning. One of my fave training is plyometric exercises. These exercises help me strengthen the weak part of my body and balance.
Eating-wise? As mentioned in many previous posts, I don’t diet. But I am very well aware of what I eat though. I make my eating choices as healthy as possible. However, I’d make it up for the “bad eating day” with my workout.
Time seriously flies when you’re so busy with training and living life. The weekend before race week, I had told myself that I’d eat really healthy throughout this week. So if you’ve been following me (esp. on my Twitter/Instagram), you’d know I was pretty much on a vegetarian kick all week long except the night before my race day. I figured if I stayed away from any heavy meals and food that could make me feel bloated, I’d be able to perform well on race day.
I definitely took it easy with training during this week. I didn’t go as hard as I normally would. But of course, I’d still work out as usual. I don’t really know how to take a day off. Lol.
I pretty much took it easy the day before the race. Beside leading my Beach Green CG family into a 10 min abs blast routine, I spent the rest of day relaxing at the cinema. However, my last meal before the race was told to be very important and must carbo-load the night before. So what did I have for dinner? Cajun Chicken Pasta!!! I love pasta and that’s one of my fave pasta dishes :)
RACE DAY 10.28.2012!!!
All the training have finally prepared me to this day. Woke up 3 hours before my start time, took a shower, ate oatmeal (easily digested carb for fueling myself on the course), and got myself race ready. I got to L.A. Live just enough time for me to do gear check & last minute prep before joining my starting corral for the race. I was placed at corral 7 for my starting point. I had thought of requesting to be in the earlier corral. However, it was my first experience so I decided to go by the corral they assigned me to.
Race was scheduled to start at 7.30 but I don’t think I crossed that starting line till maybe 7.40 or so. Once I crossed that staring line, I had to weave my way around other runners. One thing about running in a big group is that everyone’s starting pace is different so you really had to weave your way through the slower ones. I perhaps caught up to the runners in corral 4. Like everyone else, I had a pace that I’m comfortable starting out with, so I had to do what was comfortable for me. Thus, my weaving through runners traffic. Lol. Once I passed the traffic, I was able to settle into my starting pace.
My split time:
The first part felt easy to me. I had a good pace going and I just kept at it
5K - 00:27:50
Around mile 4.5 or so, I noticed I started to slow down for a lil bit. I was just letting my feet do the talking.
10K - 00:58:46
My last 10K race record was 00:59:41 so I did shave off about minute of on the 10K mark.
I know I definitely slowed down around mile 7. Nevertheless, I pushed myself hard by starting to pace other racers around me. I’d pick a runner in front of me & ran to catch up to them. I believe I did this till around mile 9. By the way, there was a tunnel section on the race course and I loved running through it. My feet noticeably ran faster in the tunnel (reminded me of that article “Why Running At Night Feels Faster”) A funny thought came to my mind: “Run toward the light” when I was speeding through the tunnel. Lol.
About at mile 8, I noticed a big hill ahead of me. I seriously thought, “Wait, are we really gonna run up that hill?” I was forewarned by past runners that there would be one big hill on this course but they gave me the impression that the hill was not as big as it was right in front of me. Well, I didn’t let that scare me. I threw that thought away and told myself that I’ve done hills running and I know how to approach it… and I needed to trust my training. So I got myself in a comfortable pace and applied what I trained during my hill runs to this section. I told myself to not stop & not walk, but go at a steady pace, keep up my form, & gradually increase the pace as I was going up. Sure enough, it worked! I noticed a few runners started to speed up at the start of the hill, but I kept to what I had train. And I passed them as I was running up (most of them ended up walking the rest of the way). Nevertheless, I had to focus on myself. So I kept running and made up for my uphill pace at the downhill. “What goes up must comes down” after all.
Somewhere along this time, I think my mind kinda went blank or off into La La Land. I was just running and picked up the pace whenever my feet wanted to. I started to look around me. I noticed a lot of runners started to walk and a lot of spectators were out to cheer for their friends & everyone else. I noticed the little cheerleaders along the course and how adorable they all looked (reminded me of my HS cheerleading days. Lol). A group of them did Gangnam Style at one point & I seriously LOL’ed while running.
10 mile - 01:32:37
Once I saw mile 10, I knew I was close to the end. I started to pace other runners again. There was this one male runner in front of me. We kept passing each other on and off throughout the course. He was in front of me this time. So I decided to pick him as my pacer. I was keeping up with him for awhile. However, I somehow lost my pace to him somewhere down the road. Also, I started to feel a lil pain on the side of my left knee. I told myself to suck it up and push through it, esp. when I was so close to the end. Of course, I didn’t want to injure myself before getting to the finish line, esp. this was my first half marathon. So I ran fast enough but at a comfortable pace. I wanted to finish it!!!!
I saw the mile 12 marker and I knew this was it! Last stretch to home!!!!
In addition, I knew my personal cheerleaders would be there to see me finish. So I had to execute this last stretch STRONG.
With everything else left in me, I ran as fast as I could. I sprinted my way through the end with a big smile on my face and hands up while crossing the finish line :)
13.1 miles - 02:11:17
I DID IT!!!!!! :)))))
No matter how you’ve trained for any race and how you think you’ve performed on race day, the main thing is: YOU FINISH IT!
Now I can soak my 13.1 miles glory in and prepare myself for the next one. I know what I will have to do to reach my sub 2 hr half marathon goal. This first half marathon race gave me a baseline for improvement.
Overall, I am very proud of myself and of my result. Furthermore, I’ve come to love & respect running as a sport even more and looking forward to all my future races… and adding full marathon to my list!
***Thank you to all of you, my wonderful followers. You may not know this but each of you have helped me through this journey & your support will continue on doing so in the future. I hope reading this blog on my experience will motivate you and inspire you to follow through on your fit4life journey.
***Remember, you can always achieve anything your mind believes! :)