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Race Report: My First Half Marathon

Half Marathon = 13.1 miles. Just wanted to put that in words at some point in this post.

I don't know why I have such a hard time when it comes to my race reports, but I do. Anyhow, here is the story of my first half marathon, the Hobble Creek Half.

Thanks to my AWESOME cousin Stacey, who got out of bed at 4:30 in the morning to come watch my girls, I arrived promptly at 5:30 am to get on the bus. Because I didn't know anyone else running, I sat alone until the bus was almost full. Then Miss Runner herself sat down next to me. After pleasantries ("Have you run this before?" "No, it is my first half. You?" "No, it is my first half too."), I asked if she runs a lot of races because she looked familiar. She confirmed that she does. But she doesn't just run; she wins. She ran in high school and through college. She took a year off during college to have a baby (and now has three kids), but came back and continued to win and win and win. While waiting in the potty line, I asked what her goal time was. I already knew by this point that she wanted to place in the top three. Her goal time was 1 hour 15 minutes, but she was a little nervous because her longest run ever was 10 miles. HELLO! Her goal was almost an hour less than my 2 hour 5 minute goal (9:30/M). Long story short, she came in first OVERALL for the women. She finished in 1:12:13 (5:31/M).

So my race report so far is actually more a report of Miss Runner's (aka Lindsey's) race, but I seriously am still in awe. My time isn't nearly as awe inspiring, but I did beat my goal. My stats:
Chip Time: 2:00:42
Gun Time: 2:02:22
Pace: 9:12
Since the difference in time was clearly the amount of time it took to finally cross the start, I am going with my chip time. The first five miles were seriously downhill. It was great! The only bad thing was how seriously crowded it was; there were so many times I had to run on the gravel along the side of the road to pass a line of four or five people running shoulder to shoulder so they could chat.

On the steeper downhills, I told myself over and over: "Let the road do the work." It might be total nonsense, but it worked. On my 10 mile race a few months ago, I had a hard time taking advantage of the downhills because I was too afraid of feeling out of control or of falling. This time I trusted my legs to know what they were doing (since they've had some practice at this running thing).

Around mile seven there was an uphill that slowed my pace a little, but it was bearable. The last few miles were a little more difficult simply because it was starting to get hot. The race started almost 45 minutes late (putting the start at 8 am) and it got to 100 degrees that day so it was pretty warm by 9 am. There was a little bit of a breeze around miles 11-12, which helped. But I actually started to feel chilled as I neared the last mile and got a little worried because I remembered reading that it is a sign of dehydration. The last mile was TOUGH! I forced myself to not let my pace drop below 10:00/M, but I seriously wanted to cry when I saw the 1/2 mile to go sign. Around mile 11, I thought I might make it in less than 2 hours. And I was close. Next time!

Here is some other misc. info from my first half marathon:
  • I have spent some time since I crossed the finish line wondering if I can really run a marathon in four weeks. I am doing a 20 mile this weekend, and I think it is going to help me answer that question.
  • I think the half is going to be my favorite racing distance.
  • I am a mom first and a runner second. This was confirmed a few miles in when some kids (not my kids) were holding a "We Love You Mom" poster out the sunroof of their SUV. At the same time, one of my 3-year-old's favorite songs was playing on my iPod. I nearly started crying. In spite of almost crying twice during this race, I HARDLY EVER cry. I am not that kind of girl (not saying there is anything wrong with it, I'm just not).
  • I drank some water before the race, GU and water at mile 3, water at mile 6, water, GU and sports drink at mile 9, and water and sports drink at mile 11. I slowed at the aid stations to make sure I really drank something, so carrying my own water might be the only dehydration solution for me.
  • They should really have water for the finishers. It is ALL I wanted, and they were out by the time I finished. I couldn't gag down any of the food or the sports drink they had (it was all too sweet!!!) and just wanted water and something salty.
  • I lost my jacket. I spent almost 30 minutes digging through the piles of clothes. Hoping it turns up at the store where we picked up our packets; they said to check in a few days.

I will probably think of more things I wanted to include, so there might be a post race report report later this week. I will also let you know about my surprisingly motivational running music at some later date. And I will try to post a photo. Since I was a lone runner, I don't have any photo proof of my run; I'm waiting for the professional photogs to post the pics from the run. Hopefully I won't look too dorktastic (thanks Heather for introducing me to that word)!


  1. You are so so awesome!!!! Great race description and congratulations on the fabulous finish! Good luck on your marathon!

  2. Amazing job on your first half. You are going to ROCK the marathon, I just know it!!

  3. GREAT WORK!! I know you will be amazing in your Marathon. Trust the training. That is funny that you were chatting with the speedy winner..

    During my Marathon I heard "Life is a Highway" the Cars version and it was one of the few times that I smiled. I saw my blue-eyed babies in my mind and knew I could do it.

    Great report! CAn't wait to view the dorktasticness, cant be worse than mine :?

  4. Great Job - That was an excellent first Half Marathon! Nice and easy, slow and steady will get you to the finish line of the marathon. You can do it!

  5. Great job on the half marathon! You wer amazing and you will totally own the mrathon! You can do it!!!!
    My first Half Marathon is in December so thanks for the inspiration - Longest run yet is this Saturday - 6 miles ( seems so short in the grand scheme of everyone else's blogs!)
    Anyway, I'd love to know some of your running song choices!!! Have a great week!

  6. Thanks for your race report too! You did great! Always go with your chip time :) I'm glad that they finally chip timed this race. This is the first year they have done that. I also loved the little kids with the go mom signs. It made me think of my own kids. I also thought that the last couple of miles were hard and it slowed me a bit because of the heat. You'll do great on the full marathon. It is just a little different mindset than halfs. Half marathon's are my favorite race distance-they are always fun...Marathons are an accomplishment but not as much fun. Good luck with your 20 miler...I'm training for St. George and have a 20 miler this weekend too.
    BTW-I don't think I could run a block at a 5:31 pace let alone 13 miles.

  7. Way to go!!! Crazy that they started so late, ran out of water, and lost your jacket. I've heard great things about the course though. You will do great in your marathon. Is it the TOU marathon? Good luck with your 20 miler:)

  8. Congrats on finishing your very first half marathon! I hope this is the first of many!

  9. Awesome Race Report! You kicked butt on your time, way to go!
    I would love to hear what music you listened to... I am always looking for new music to motivate me while running.
    I only hope I do as well as you when I run my first half in November :)
    P.S. Sorry about your jacket!! I hope they find it.

  10. Excellent job! I will always remember my first half marathon. It was one of the best, memorable experiences. Keep it up!

  11. Congratulations on your half! That's a great time!

  12. CONGRATS on your first half!!! so awesome :) the half marathon is SUCH a great distance!


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