Hi friends! I’m excited to share with you a big item I checked off my bucket list – we ran our first half marathon! Our weekend kicked off Friday afternoon when Derek picked me up from work and we made the drive to Orlando, where our half marathon was taking place the next morning. Since the race began at 7 a.m., we agreed it was a good idea to stay in a nearby hotel the night before so we wouldn’t have to worry about making the drive early Saturday morning. The Embassy Suites in downtown Orlando was 2 blocks from the race start – talk about convenient!
After checking in at our hotel and enjoying a complimentary happy hour…
…we ventured over to 310 Lakeside to take in some serious carbs. We shared a zucchini flat bread and each got the Chicken Piccata pasta. It was the perfect ore-race meal.
After dinner, we took a walk around Lake Eola, and enjoyed the Christmas celebration that was taking place , before calling it a night.
Our alarm went off around 5:30 Saturday morning. I get a little anxious when it comes to things like races, flights etc. and feel the need to get up a little earlier than necessary. We both had some cereal, coffee and a Gu energy gel and left our room for the race around 6:35.
As soon as I lined up at the starting line, I immediately got the jitters. I’ve wanted to run a half marathon since the day I began running, and we’d trained so long for this race that I couldn’t believe it was finally time to actually get the job done.
[Full of jitters when Derek snapped this pic]
Our goal for the race was to finish in “around” 2 hours, and my gut feeling was that we would come in a couple minutes over the 2 hour mark. As this was our first half-marathon, our training really was focused on just getting the miles in, and we were never too concerned with tracking our time or splits during our training runs. Because of this, I knew I couldn’t put too much pressure on myself to maintain a 9-minute mile to come in under 2 hours.
We ran each mile somewhere between 8:40 and 9:20ish, and fueled with Gu at mile 7 and mile 11. Derek also grabbed a beer that was passed out by spectators around mile 9, and he insists it’s what got him through the race (I’d most likely throw up if I drank a beer during a run). Around mile 10 we realized that we were on pace to complete the half-marathon in under 2 hours, and that all we needed to do was maintain a 10 minute per mile pace for the next 3 miles.
I was mildly annoyed when we came across several hills during the last few miles, but was surprised when I found that the hills made my sore knees and ankles feel a little better.
We rounded the corner and saw the finish line in the distance, with about 2 minutes until the 2 hour mark. I definitely can’t say that I sprinted to the end, but a light jog took us through the finish line at 1:59:22! I was so excited to be done with the race, and stuff my face with muffins, bananas, and H20 as Derek chugged chocolate milk after chocolate milk.
Soreness set in immediately, and we made sure to stretch as soon as we got some food and water in our bodies. The soreness lasted through Monday night, and we took our first post-race run first thing Tuesday morning. It felt good to shake things out, and I’m already looking forward to running another half in the spring!