2014 OUC Half Marathon {Race Recap}

I completed my third half marathon and second OUC half marathon on Saturday, December 6th. This particular race was my first half marathon back in 2012 after Kenley’s first birthday. It only seemed fitting to run it again this year after Crosby’s first birthday. At the time I registered, I didn’t realize I was going to get bitten by the race bug. I snuck in the Inaugural Lake Nona 13.1 at the end of October and I have already registered for two more for 2015. Going into this race, I was feeling pretty confident since I had just ran 13.1 miles six week prior. I had continued running with Kayla and our goal was to beat our Lake Nona time which was 2:30:27.

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It was a late start time of 7:30am, so I didn’t get up until 5am. Kayla picked me up and we headed downtown. During our drive, it was raining, so we were hoping that it would pass and that the roads would dry quickly. By the time we were in place at the start line, the rain had stopped and the sun had been up for a while. I didn’t really think about it at the time, but it was pretty warm. Two other gals from the MRTT running group decided to run with us on race day.

The race started and we made our way up to the start line. We kept with our plan to run intervals of 4 minutes, then walk for 1 minute. It’s always weird stopping so early in the race to walk especially when adrenaline is pumping and the streets are crowded with people. We made our way to the edge and got into our groove, alternating running and walking. The first few miles were very crowded so I was concentrating on not running into someone while also concentrating on not falling on the cobblestone roads. Our 5K time was 36:18, we were running around an 11:41/mile pace which was right on target. It was getting hot, so I was consistently drinking out of my Camelbak which had five packets of Cocogo in it (lemon lime). Around the 5 mile mark and about 45 minutes into our run, I had a GU (chocolate peanut butter). I’ve only recently started using these during longer runs and I do like them. I wasn’t very hungry at this point, but I knew that I probably needed it. It was only getting hotter as the morning went on.

We kept going and were making good time. Our 10K time was 1:12 and we were averaging 11:38/mile. I was feeling pretty good, but knew we still hadn’t made it to the halfway point yet. Each time we passed a mile marker, I felt like the miles were flying by. All of a sudden, we were at mile 7, then mile 8. Then, it started to get harder. Real hard. As we were passing Mills Market, the road conditions were less than ideal. My legs were feeling it from the cobblestone and it was downright hot and humid. I kept going on my Cocogo/water in my Camelbak. Our 15K time was 1:48, averaging 11:37/mile. We were definitely still on pace at this point. Kayla, Sandy, and I were still together, but Alyssa had dropped back a little bit. We passed a house that was handing out shots of beer. Part of me wanted one so bad but as we passed, the smell made my stomach churn. We decided to stop at the porta potty right around Lake Davis so Kayla could go potty real quick. I hopped up on the curb to stretch my legs and I couldn’t believe how tight my calves were. At this point, it was around 9:15am and the sun was just beating down on us. Did I mention how hot it was? As we started running again (up a hill, I may add), I could NOT believe we still have 3+ more miles to go. I had no idea what had happened, but I hit a wall. I knew I should have taken my second GU at this point, but I didn’t think I could stomach it.

We started walking a little more than our one minute interval called for and our pace slowed down. The three of us were discussing what we should do at this point. I wanted to keep running 4 minute intervals, but I knew I couldn’t keep our current pace, so I slowed down a little bit. As I kept running, I kept an eye on Kayla and Sandy who were a few feet back, but around the 11 mile mark, I looked back and I didn’t see them. My goal at this point was to just make it through 4 minute of running, then I could get a little break. Then the next four minutes, and so on. At some point, Greg had sent me a text saying they were on Rosalind Street and they would see me towards the end. I had NO concept of where we were at this point, so every street coming up I was so hopeful it was Rosalind. It wasn’t. The race atmosphere started to pick up a little bit around mile 12, so I was determined to finish strong as strong as I could. I started walking only 30 seconds instead of a full minute and I skipped a walk break entirely because I knew I would be seeing Greg and the kids soon.

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Finally, I saw Lake Eola and knew I was close. As I approached Rosalind I ran over to Greg and the kids. Kenley looked so confused about what was going on. I gave him my Camelbak because it was near empty at this point and there was no need for it. He asked if I was ok and I almost started crying. I could see the finish line on the other side of the lake, but I really didn’t want to keep going. Obviously, I wasn’t going to stop, but it did cross my mind. I had two right turns left to make and I was off. I ran past a couple and the girl shouted that she had just gotten engaged (!!) so, of course, I almost started crying again. One more right turn and there it was….the finish line!

My official time was 2:33:57. I missed my goal by four minutes.
After running Lake Nona, the OUC race is a more challenging course. The cobblestone roads and the rolling hills were very tough on my body. I use the term “hills” loosely, but I felt them nonetheless. The later start time was also a factor, especially since it was abnormally hot and humid for the first weekend of December. It was draining, both physically and mentally. My feet, ankles, calves, quads, and shoulders hurt for a couple days following the race.

2014 ouc splits

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At the end of the day, I ran my third half marathon and I am so proud of that accomplishment. This has been my toughest race to date and there were lessons learned.
Now, it’s time to get ready for Celebration, we WILL beat 2:30!

my first half marathon

I ran my first half marathon on Saturday, December 1st, 2012.
I still am somewhat in shock that I can even say that.

This has been a long time coming, so, let’s rewind.
One of my new year goals was to get back to my pre-pregnancy body.
Almost a year later, I can say that I have completed that goal.
Yes, breastfeeding for over 11 months helped, but I knew I also wanted to get back in shape.
That’s where the whole crazy idea of running a half-marathon came into play, way back in March.
In July, I took the next step and actually registered for the race.
It wasn’t the race I originally thought I was going to do, but it turned out to be one of the best decisions.

I didn’t actually start training until the tail end of my breastfeeding days, which was early September.
For three months, I followed the Half Marathon Training Plan by Cari Fit.
I tried my best to follow the plan and sample training schedule as much as I could,
but life does happen, and I didn’t stress out or get discouraged (too much) when it didn’t work out perfectly.
Honestly, I didn’t do as much weight lifting as I would have liked and the interval trainings were few and far between.
The intervals came in handy when I was pressed for time. I would bang out 2-3 miles in 20-30 minutes.
I did make it a point to run 4-5 times per week. I usually took off Fridays and Sundays.
It helped immensely that Greg and I would run together during the week with the stroller.
Later on I realized how much it helped running with the jogging stroller,
because it was so much easier to run without it!
The plan I followed was adamant about tapering. My furthest long run prior to the race was 10 miles,
and that was three weeks before race day. I went down to 7 miles, then 4 the weekend before.
I also only ran 3-4 times total the two weeks leading up to the race.
This is not something I would do again, it just worked out that way since it was moving week.

In the days leading up to race day, I was so incredibly nervous.
Everyone kept telling me that, “I’ve got this” and not to worry, but I still did.
Greg worked the night before the race, so I didn’t end up going to bed until after 11pm,
which I didn’t mean to do; and my alarm was set for 5am the next morning.
We headed downtown and arrived with about 30-45 minutes before the start of the race.
I was feeling good, but nervous, of course. There were so many people running before the start,
but I opted for just walking around and stretching as much as I could.

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I started the race with our buddy, Stan. At the start line, we talked about our goals.
The entire time I was training, I made a point not to set a time goal.
I knew I just wanted to finish. And run the whole time. Run and finish. That’s it.
At the start, I told Stan that I would like to pace around 11 minutes per mile, or even 11:15,
based solely on my long runs that I had completed.

The gun rang out and it took a couple minutes to get up to the start line.
I knew I started out fast, but I didn’t realize how fast until I finished the first mile and my watch beeped.
I knew in my head that I should slow down a bit, but I ended up seeing Greg & Kenley,
unexpectedly, between mile 1 and 2, so that was super fun and gave me a little energy burst.

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I think I was doing pretty well through mile 6.
I opted for Gatorade instead of water at mile 3 and mile 6, and it tasted so good.
Around the 6.5 mile marker through about mile 8, I knew I would really benefit
from seeing Greg and Kenley again. We hadn’t discussed where they would be on the course,
but I knew Greg had the map and the suggested short cuts through the downtown streets.
He was scared that he was going to show up to a spot and would have missed me,
so he went ahead down the course to ensure he got a good spot to cheer me on.
I remember passing 903 Mills Market after mile 9 and seeing a mom waive at her hubby and kids.
I got a little choked up, wishing that was me.
Sure enough, not a half a mile later, I see Greg and Kenley!

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My first question was “How is she doing?”
Greg said she had been great and had been in the stroller the whole time!
I later found out that she had spilled her milk all over her,
so her PJs and jacket were wet, but thankfully it wasn’t too chilly out.
I tossed my arm warmers to Greg at this point too, so that was a good change of pace.

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After I saw them, I felt re-energized, which was awesome.
There were also some really funny signs around the corner as I left them.
One said, “Your husband just saw your credit card bill and he is coming for you.”
I think I laughed out loud.
Then, I could feel myself hitting the wall.
Miles 10 through 12 were the absolute worst.
No doubt about it, no way around it.
Once I passed the 12 mile marker, I felt better just knowing I was so close.
I reached Lake Eola, where we started, and could hear the finish line.
The only problem was that it was on the complete opposite side of the lake,
so that was a bit of a let down, but again, I was so close.
I saw Stan as I was coming in to the finish and gave him a high five.

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I thought for sure that I would be much more emotional crossing the finish line,
(I am even more emotional writing this now than I was actually crossing),
but I just crossed. And I was done.
I immediately grabbed a cup of Gatorade, then went back for two more.

I far exceeded my own expectations.
I ran the entire race and my average pace was 10:46/mile.
The time and distance on my Garmin was slightly off the official clock,
but nothing too drastic and nothing I’m losing any sleep over.

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I told you that miles 10-12 were tough!
The other tough part was the terrain. 1.9 miles of the race were on brick roads.
I am honestly shocked it was only 1.9 miles, it felt like it was way more.
Apparently, there are also hills in Orlando.
This was quite different than the flat, residential sidewalks that I had trained on.
My legs felt the difference.
It’s funny how I ran 10 miles before the race and was barely sore at all,
but after 13.1, I could barely walk that night. It’s only 3 miles more!

I learned a few things during my first half marathon.
First, it’s ok to walk. And I was shocked how many actually do walk/run.
I’ve since learned that is it actually recommended,
and there is a complete “method” that you can follow to do a race this way.
Second, I will never do a full marathon. I have absolutely no desire and cannot even imagine it.
On the other hand, I may do another half. As hard as it was, I did enjoy it.
I have answered the “are you going to do another?” question with “maybe after another baby”,
but it wasn’t until someone offered me a bib for the Disney half marathon in January,
that I realized I actually may do another before that.
I honestly considered doing it, until I realized I will be out of town the same weekend.
I was surprised at myself for not turning her down immediately.
So, we shall see!

This post turned out to be a novel, so thank you for sticking with it,
and thank you for your support through this entire process,
especially to my awesome hubby who was so amazingly supportive and my biggest fan.
I can safely say that I have accomplished what I set out to do!

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I ran a half marathon!