My first half-marathon was in Mount Dora, Florida. The race worked out perfectly; I had a family vacation (to Disney World!!) and this half marathon was on the second day of our trip and it was about an hour away from the condo my family was renting.
I woke up early the day of the race-I think it was before 5:00am. That was especially early because my family and I flew into Orlando the day before and we had to get up before 4:00am. When we got to the course it was very chilly. My mom and I left right away to pick up our race packets.
I was nervous on the drive there but once I started pinning on my bib number I got really nervous. I was unsure if I would be able to achieve my goals for the race. My goals were to run under 1:30 (pace: 6:51) and be in the top 3 for women. I had used my cross country training as most of my half marathon training so I really had four weeks of training dedicated to the half marathon.
It was a pretty small race so around 15 minutes before the start time I made my way to the front of the starting area. I tried to keep my muscles loose while I nervously waited for the start. I was wearing my Garmin watch so as soon as the gun went off I tried to maintain a 6:51 pace and I was spot on for the first mile! I felt like I could maintain that pace so I sped up for the next few miles. I started working on my other goal of top 3 for women. At that point I was 5th but the women in 3rd and 4th place were in my sight.
Mile 5 was really tough. The course description was gentle rolling hills but there was a very large hill that could be seen from far away. All I was thinking about was how big that hill was as I was running closer to it. I didn’t train for hills at all so that hill was really rough. It did feel better after that hill.
I loved using my GPS watch throughout the race. During the race, I kept track in my head how many seconds my mile times were under my goal pace. This helped me to know if I had to speed up or if I had a little bit of a cushion for my goal time.
After the big hill I went back and forth between 3rd and 5th for women. I would pass the two women in 3rd and 4th and then they would pass me back. I dug really deep at one point and sped up and passed them and then just kept on going. I was excited that I was close to achieving my goal of 3rd for women. I hadn’t tried any gels during my training so around mile 6 or 7 I took a few sports beans. However, I think I only took 3 because they just took to long to chew which really didn’t help me later in the race.
The rest of the miles went really well up until around 12. I started fading around then. My legs felt really heavy and I felt like I was running out of energy-I probably should have had more sports beans or a gel. I knew I had around a 2 minute cushion for my goal time so I just told myself to keep going. The course on the last few miles was really nice. We ran past a lake and there were palm trees everywhere.
The most exciting part of the race was turning a corner and seeing the downhill into the finish. I had a big smile on my face I was in 3rd for women and the clock had 1:28:06 on it, I did it! I was so happy that I got both of my goals. 🙂
6: 42/mi (6:51, 6:40, 6:45, 6:30, 7:00, 6:44, 6:41, 6:30, 6:40, 6:42, 6:42, 6:50, 6:44)
This race showed me that I love running longer distances. I just had a great time throughout the race. I got tired but I still felt strong. This half marathon inspired me to sign up for my next race, the Cellcom half marathon in Green Bay, WI.