While I apologize for my lack of blogging this month, I promise that I have not been slacking off! On the contrary, I’ve been busy training for my half-marathon, which I rocked this past Saturday!
One of my New Years resolutions this year was to run a half-marathon. About five weeks ago, I started training for the Havasu Half, which takes place in Lake Havasu, AZ. Fun Arizona fact: The original London Bridge is in Lake Havasu, Arizona. Some eccentric rich dude had it shipped here, piece by piece, in 1967. For my half-marathon I ran over it– and thankfully it did not, in fact, fall down! The run took me around the shore of Lake Havasu for about 13 beautiful miles. The day was luckily gorgeous– while it had been pouring rain the whole drive up, when I woke up the next morning I was happy to see the sun, with the perfect cloud/wind ratio.
I was running on 5 hours of sleep, so i uncharacteristically downed a coffee, popped some Advil, had a sensible breakfast of a banana with peanut butter and a Luna protein bar, and went down to the London Bridge Beach to pick up my “goodie bag”, which had my number, an awesome sweat-wicking t-shirt, and my tracker!
So, I’ll be honest. I was nervous. Super nervous. I was silently (and sometimes audibly) cursing myself for not having run a race ever before– not even a measly 5k. Also, while the cool weather was almost instantly appreciated once I started running, I was quite chilly waiting for the race to start.
But all my butterflies flew away as soon as I started running. I wasn’t sure how fast I was going– at one point, I know I passed the 2:10 minute pacer, but I spend so much of my time running completely zoned out, I wasn’t sure that she didn’t re-pass me. The run was absolutely beautiful. And not once did I ever hit a wall or feel like I needed to stop or slow down. I actually felt great– endorphin charged and happy– the whole run.
It was so amazing to see the clock when approaching the finish line and realize i was actually 6 minutes under time! Here are my official stats:
2011 Havasu Half Marathon, Women, 20 – 29 Years Old
I can’t believe I ranked 24th out of the women in my age group! I have to say that, had I realized I was going to run so close to 2 hours, I would have tried to get under 2 hours– but now I’ve got a goal for next time! Upon crossing the finish line, I had an amazing boyfriend, a medal, and a free beer waiting for me. One of these things was a terrible idea– I’ll let you guess which.
(hint: it wasn’t the medal)
I’ve struggled with the idea of calling myself a runner. What makes someone a runner? I’m not going to win any Olympic competitions. But I think that, officially, after this race, I don’t have any qualms about calling myself a runner. Somewhere on this run, it just sort of clicked for me– the fact that, after a long car ride and little sleep, I could still get up and run 13 miles, and run them at a damn good personal pace– well, that’s it. I might not be a sprinter, or the best runner, but I feel comfortable now with just that statement– I am a runner.
But to what do I owe my running success? There are 5 things that I could NOT have done this run without. So if you’re thinking of running your own half-marathon, here are some tips:
1. Train! Train, train, train. You don’t wake up one morning never having run and say, gee, golly, I think i’ll run a half-marathon! For the past five weeks, I have been training, and the only reason that it only took me five weeks was because I already was able to run about 6 miles without stopping when I started the training. Here’s a breakdown of my schedule:
2. Have a rocking playlist.
This little guy made my training and race so much more enjoyable. Here’s the music that got me through it:
- Hot Boyz- Casiotone For the Painfully Alone
- Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell- Das Racist
- Fembot- Robyn
- E.T.- Kate Perry
- Tonight- Enrique Iglesias
- Bottoms Up- Trey Songz
- Gold Digger- Kanye West
- S&M- Rihanna
- Monster- Kanye West
- Down On Me- Jeremih
- Blow- Ke$ha
- No Hands- Waka Flocka Fame
- Power- Kanye West
- I Gotta Feeling- Black Eyed Peas
- Somebody Told Me- The Killers
- We R Who We R- Ke$ha
- Tik Tok- Ke$ha
- Telephone- Lady Gaga
- Konichiwa Bitches- Robyn
- Poker Face- Lady Gaga
- California Girls- Kay Perry
- Paper Planes- M.I.A.
- Merry Happy- Kate Nash
3. Never underestimate your footwear. One of the early snags I ran into was a sharp pain in the arch of my right foot after running. I’d never felt this before, but I’d also never run so much outside. I had good sneakers, but needed to add one of these little guys in my right shoe to make my budding plantar fascisitis disappear:
Thank goodness my coworker had a spare pair of these inserts from when she had a similar problem! After using this for a week (and taking Advil/icing my foot), I was virtually pain-free! So, if you notice something isn’t quite right, don’t just ignore it. Proper foot-gear can have a huge impact on your running enjoyment.
4. Carb load! I’d normally be the last person to say this, but when running long distances, you NEED your carbs! Even though I was doing some pretty intense physical activity this month, I still gained weight. But there was just no way I could run that much and not eat! My pre-race meal? My first ever trip to Carl’s Jr., where I scarfed down a guacamole turkey burger, zucchini fries, and a Oreo milkshake! Healthy? Maybe not exactly, but it’s full of the energy you need to finish such a long run. So, if you’re planning on running a half marathon, don’t plan on dieting!
5. Have an amazing, supportive significant other!
Or friend. Or relative. But really, I honestly don’t think I could have done this without someone there for me, and I was especially lucky that it was someone as supportive and wonderful as my boyfriend, Isaiah! He drove the whole way (11+ hours), woke up bright and early to drop me off at the starting line, and was there waiting for at the finish to snap that photo of me crossing the line! Not to mention all the moral support he offered along the way. I very highly doubt I could have done this without him. So, if you’re thinking of doing something like this, try to have someone you know you can count on, no matter who they are in your life, there. Even if it’s not a long drive, having someone waiting for me at the finish line made all the difference.
So, that’s that! While I’m certainly not going to give up running, I am looking forward to getting back to the YMCA and having a more well-rounded fitness routine. I’m also looking forward to getting back to a healthy diet, and have decided to go paleo+dairy for the month in an effort to shed some pesky pounds and get my healthy diet back on track! If you’re confused or curious about paleo, don’t worry– a paleo post is in the works!