Monday, November 12, 2012

Pilgrim Pacer 1/2 Marathon Recap.

Packet Pick-up Friday night.

Race day began at 0700 hours.  No such problem. We were staying about 4 miles away from the race, so we got dressed and out the door. I had everything laid out the night before, except my earphones. Last minute I realized that they were MIA. After much freaking out and crying calm searching, they were located. :)

In the car I had 1/2 of a banana and 1/2 of a Clif Bar. I didn't want to overload my stomach, but looking back, I wish I would have eaten the full banana and full bar. I definitely felt under-fueled of this race.

Parking was 1.5 miles away from the start/finish, so they were running trolleys every 15 minutes to and from the parking lot to the start area. I didn't want to be stuck waiting for a trolley and miss the start! We got a trolley at about 0802 and got to the start at 0807. It was 66 degrees and the sun was already way up in the sky. It was breezy- 15mph with gusts up to 25mph. Waiting for the start was easy since we weren't cold.
I was so nervous, my stomach was in knots!
There were no corrals, just everyone crowded to the front for the gun. The 1/2 and Full marathoners started together at 0830, the 5k and 10k runners started together at 9:30.
Tabitha and I said a quick prayer together for an injury free race and we were off!

By process of the jostle, I ended up towards the front of the pack, so I immediately pulled to the right and tried to let the faster runners get around. It stayed pretty congested for the first 1/2 mile, but then started to spread out. It wasn't a problem for me, but I don't know if some of the competitive runners might have found it frustrating. 

The course was an out-and-back and the first 1.5-2 miles were all downhill. I tried to take advantage of the hill, but still run moderately. I decided not to turn on my music until mile 3, so I just took in the scenery and enjoyed the view for the first 3 miles. It was PRETTY! I was getting passed a lot, but a lot of people were also already taking walking breaks, which I found surprising.

At mile 3 I checked my GPS and saw that I'd run the first 5k portion in under 30 minutes. I was happy with that but knew it was also faster than I had planned. I turned on my music and just kept running. I wasn't checking my GPS, I didn't really want to know how far along I was. I think it was between mile 3 and 4 that the first 1/2 marathon runner zoomed past me headed back to the finish. Wow. 
Between mile 4 and mile 5, I saw a familiar face- I almost ran into the back of my sister! She was having a bad race and not feeling good. She urged me to go ahead so I pushed on. I figured she would catch up in a couple of miles. Her miles are consistently 2-3 minutes faster than mine, so she was really suffering.

There was an aid station every mile starting at 1.5ish. The stations had water, a sporks drink, GUs and some of them had bananas and oranges. When I hit mile 5, I started to feel a bit affected by the heat. It was over 70 and I was running into the sun. I grabbed a water at mile 5.

There were rolling hills, and a couple steep ones as we approached the turn around. A lot of people were walking up the inclines. I told myself I couldn't walk so I powered up the hills. Whew. When I reached the turn around I felt great. It was really a good feeling to know I was 1/2 done! :)
Between mile 6.5 and 7.5 I passed Tabitha as she approached the turn around- she was doing better but still struggling. I grabbed a GU at mile 7, but never took it. I just carried it with me in case I needed it. I took either a water or sports drink at all of the aid stations after the turnaround.
At Mile 8 I was struggling a bit. I was starting to feel empty- my poor fueling the two days prior to the race really caught up with me. I reminded myself of how awesome I had just felt at the turn around and how close I was to being done. I stopped paying attention to where I was miles wise and just started to try and pass people if I could. I didn't speed up, just kept going and passed quite a few people.
At Mile 11 I started to really struggle mentally. It was HOT and I was feeling dehydrated and a bit weak. I knew I was going to hit the last 1.5 miles of HILL and I knew I needed to save steam to get up those hills.
The last aid station was congested so I didn't stop for anything but told myself to gear up- only 1.5 miles left!!! I had done a lot of my training on hills, but nothing could fully prepare me for that last brutal mile - all uphill! It also rained on us briefly.  

I happened to glance at the time and realized that I was not going to hit my 2:30 goal. I wasn't far off- just a few minutes, but it was discouraging to think that I was going so slow. I had thought surely I had a sub 2:30 in me, and here I was breaking up on the last hill. I kept pushing even though I was disappointed in myself-- but not for long!!

The last hill was a struggle and I broke down to a walk....I would walk and then run a few yards, walk and then run a few yards. I wanted to run the whole thing and I am proud of myself that I held out until mile 12 to walk at all!!  I may have trained on hills, but this hill ate me for dinner!!
When I finally crested the hill, I could hear the crowd at the finish and I kicked it. I came through the trees and could see the finish! I started sprinting out towards the finish!
When I saw the time I couldn't believe my eyes! I  finished with an official time of 2:28:25!!!

After I got my medal I turned back around and headed back to the top of the hill to wait for Tabitha. When she crested the hill I whooped and hollered and ran her through the finish. She kicked it for the last little bit and finished with a time 2:38:01!!! I'm so proud of her!!
I just wanted to take in the entire experience and remember every minute!!

Overall it was an AMAZING experience! I trained hard for this race and it was awesome to see my hard work pay off. The race was great and I can't wait to run another one.


  1. You know you're one of my favourite bloggers!??

    so exciting to read this! I love that you waited 3 miles to turn on music - something I'd struggle with doing! Amazing of you to get back up the hill to cheer for your friend! CONGRATS again, to you both! (I love the medal btw!)

    Any way, thank you so much for your very honest input on my question. I also have a private journal where all the ramblings and ranting goes into, so I understand where you're coming from. You have absolutely NOTHING to be embarrassed about. I'm not kidding when I say it's truly inspirational to read you and your journey with running and fitness. My brother is a buff guy that "looks" fit, but I made him run for literally 30 seconds to catch a bus once and he was absolutely DONE. Don't ever underestimate yourself!

  2. Great job Elizabeth!! I am so impressed!! You must be so pumped :) The thought of running that far makes me tired :)
    Looking forward to seeing you SOON!!!

  3. WAY TO GO!!! My big goal is a sub 2:30 half marathon. I hope I can do it like you!!!

  4. wow you did an amazing job!!! Love those medals too! :D Can't wait for the day when I can run my first half marathon...

  5. NICE JOB Elizabeth! Hills eat me for dinner ALL the time. congrats on crushing them all. Even though you had to walk a bit on the last one. That's still and awesome job!!

  6. Girl, you are awesome!!! What a great time! And you didn't walk till mile 12, WOW. That's incredible! And I know you learned some things that you'll remember for your next half too. Great job!!

  7. Congratulations!!! I love reading rave recaps and I love running! Honestly can't wait till this baby cones out so I can run, run , run like the wind again!! And I will!! Thank you for your kind words and support on my life lately!