Monday, October 4, 2010

Women’s Running Magazine Half Marathon Race Recap Part 3: The Race!


Part 1:  Traveling and The Expo

Part 2:  Before the Start



Well, I had decided to take only one GU with me because there was going to be a GU station about halfway into the race and I decided to leave my handheld with my dad because there were plenty of water stations.  I headed to the starting area, the national anthem was sung, and *BOOM* we were off!


*QUICK NOTE*  I do not remember everything that happened in each mile, nor do I know my splits for each mile so I will try to just vaguely recap the race a few miles at a time.


Miles 1-3:

The race started right away with a pretty steep hill and I found it to not be very difficult, which surprised me.  I was going at a pretty good pace and was passing people as much as I could within that first mile or two.  I had been nervous going into the race that my legs would be dead in the first mile because I hadn’t run in 2 weeks.  But I felt strong in the first 3 miles… I may have gone out a little too fast but I was feeling good and just kept going.  There was a live band set up around mile 1.5 and the singer said “seriously gals, you’re the ones with the tough job!” lol… made me smile.  Around mile 2.8 I saw a girl’s headband fall out of her hair and no one was stopping to pick it up so I scooped it up and picked up my pace to give it back to her because I would’ve like someone to do that for me.  Right before the 4 mile marker I remember thinking that I really did start out too fast because I saw the 2 hour pace team run by me lol… whoops!

Miles 4-6:

Honestly, after the first 3 miles I did start having a bit tougher of a time mentally.  I kept questioning myself and why I was running this race and telling myself that I wasn’t a runner, just a wannabe…  Then I took my GU around mile 4 1/2.  A lady came up and started running beside me and we started talking… It was her first half marathon too, but she had a faster time than my 2:30:00 in mind and shortly took off.  I honestly don’t remember a whole lot about these 3 miles except for the ground… I was looking at the ground and trying to overcome my mental lashings.  Around mile 5 or 6 there was a guy that had a tray of orange slices so I grabbed one.  I had never eaten an orange on the run but it did the trick for the time being in taking my mind off of “how many more miles I had left”.  These miles seriously were making the race not fun so I kicked myself in the butt.  Also, after that mile 1 hill, there were many other smaller hills on the course.

Miles 7-9:

Mile 5.5-8.5 was an out and back.  I saw the woman who was in first come by (going the other direction of course) and cheered for her by name… she was really booking it!  I decided to cheer for as many people as I could by name and clap for them as we were passing each other because most of the women would smile and wave or nod.  It took my mind off of my mental breakdown lol…Shortly after the mile 6 marker, I noticed the GU station… I was so excited!  Up til race weekend, my favorite GU was TriBerry (I hadn’t tried the chocolate outrage yet) and an email prior to Saturday had said that they were going to have TriBerry.  Well there were different people with different flavors (remember this is my first half marathon)  and the first flavor I heard was Vanilla, then Espresso… I kept running down the line expecting my flavor to be next and IT NEVER CAME!!  Well, I wasn’t about to turn around to grab a GU… so I just kept running.  This really didn’t help the funk I was in.  There was a water station around mile 7 so I decided to walk through it.  I grabbed a Lemon-Lime Gatorade and a water and walked “fast” while I still took my time drinking the cool liquid.  After walking through the station I decided enough was enough and I was supposed to be having fun!  I decided to forget about my time and just enjoy the run!  I started running again and called my mom around mile 8 to see where her and my dad were standing cuz it would be nice to see my support!  She told me that they were around mile 10 and I told her that I would see her in about 20 minutes.  Then I snapped a photo on the move with my cell before I put it back in my SPIbelt and smiled because it was a little pick up talking to my mom on the run!… only 2 more miles til I would get to see them! I remember mile marker number 9 seeming like it came up really fast!  I even remarked about it to the closest woman to me!


Mile 10:

Well, mile 10 came and I was expecting to see my parents and they weren’t there.  This was a hill part and it was getting tough to keep running all the hills!  I kept running and I finally saw them turning the corner around mile 10.5!  I was so excited to see them that I waved… with both hands… and I dont think I remember doing it! haha!  And then yes, another little hill that flattened out before mile 11.


Mile 11:

  ANOTHER hill!!  This hill seemed like a really steep hill and there was a water station a little ways up it…  At this point, I was having fun, but I was definitely getting tired and the hills were not helping!  So I ran to the water station and walked with my water and Lemon-Lime Gatorade up the hill…  I actually saw a couple photographers in this mile.  One at the water station that I didn’t see til it was too late and one that I saw early and threw my cups away and started running as I got to him.  He said “haha, got you running!” lol phew! ;)


And NO I don’t feel bad for posting all the proof pictures because yes, it being my first half marathon EVER… I ordered a CD with all my pictures on it ;) I just haven’t gotten it yet.  I also saw this sign somewhere around the last 3 miles I think… I dont know, it was all a blur really, but it made me smile!


Mile 12 – 12.5:

I felt pretty good actually!  It was like I got a burst of energy during this half mile… there were also a few spectators and one guy said “it’s all downhill from here!”  I was so excited!!  All the hills were behind me and I could focus on the last couple of miles!!


Mile 12.5 – 13.1:

The first thought i had was “THAT GUY LIED TO ME!” Seriously… I had one HUGE MONSTER of a hill to go known as the Shelby St Bridge!! This picture just doesn’t even do it justice!

shelby ave bridge

Gee whiz!  it was like once you used up all your momentum trying to go a little ways up the hill, you hit a wall… seriously EVERYONE was walking as far as I could tell… it seemed like a brutal trick they were playing on us and everyone was encouraging each other to run/walk the hill and saying “we’re almost there”  I walked most of that hill… and I’m not ashamed to say so… but once i got mostly up it, I started running again … up and over the top hump and then I just let gravity do its thing and I was FLYING down that hill!  I could see the last turn I had to make and I could hear the spectators cheering for everyone… I made the turn and could see the finish!!  I almost started crying I was so happy!  Had I seriously just ran 13 miles?!  Wait… what did that time say?!  2:10?!  HOLY CRAP!!  Forget the goal time of 2:30 and GO GO GO!!!!  I pushed as hard as I could and seriously dug down deep… I’m sure I looked like I was moving at a snails pace to everyone else but I was in pain as you can see in the finishing photos) and going as fast as I could! 

                  official4 official5

I crossed that finish line and had an instant PR of 2:13:06!!! 

They weren’t taking pictures of crossing the finish line, just in the home stretch.  A uniformed army man put my medal around my neck and I was trying not to puke all over his shiny shoes.  It was the best I could do to shake his hand and say thank you!

My parents found me… they had been able to walk back from mile 10.5 to stand at the finish line to see me finish!  They hugged me and I started crying… I was seriously an emotional mess!  Happy, crying, heaving, gasping…  What had I just done?!  I HAD RUN MY FIRST HALF MARATHON!!  13.1 MILES IN 2:13:06!!  I was elated!  I’m still kind of on a high from last weekend! lol


Well, after catching my breath and wiping my tears I walked through the food line and got as much food and water and Gatorade as I could hold.  Then we went and sat down to watch the awards ceremony.  The lady who had come in first finished in a time of 1:24:46!  How fast is that?!  I chowed down on all my food and didn’t stretch… mistake!  But I had fun talking to my parents about the race and just being around all the other finishers!

Me with my parents:


After I decided to get up, I went and had my official finisher photo taken and then got my medal made into a necklace so I could wear it everyday!!  It might have been weird to wear the medal everyday!


This is the medal front and back:


This was seriously one of the best days of my life!  Was I in pain? YES!  Was I tired?! YES!  Was I on top of the world? YES!!!  We left the race and I took my tennis shoes off in the car because I left my flip flops out there on accident and this is what I saw:

DSC00373Yes, It’s gotten a lot better but I think I will lose a total of two nails from running last week!

Lessons Learned:

1) Don’t wear new shoes to race in!
2) Grab the first flavor of GU available just in case they don’t have the flavor you’re waiting for!
3) Take flip flops with you in your after race bag
4) Don’t start out to fast so you have energy at the end and can take pretty finishing photos
5)  Register with just a “Z” as my name if it’s going on the bib so that people can cheer for me by name too!  (only one person tried, and she did get my name right!)
6)  Take a handheld or belt next time because I got a little thirsty in between stations and it would’ve been nice to be able to drink whenever I wanted

Things I disliked:

1)HILLS! (mainly the one at 12.5)

Things I liked:

1) hills
2) the mile markers had a running time on them
3) The live music
4) The GU and water stations
5) The crowd!
6) The medal and charm
7) the servicemen handing out the medals
8) the food!


Finish Time:  2:13:06
Pace:  10:10
Overall Place:  936/3883
Overall Gender Place:  921
Age Group Place:  71/230

This is the elevation chart… although it lies… It definitely wasn’t all down hill halfway through!  Those hills at mile 11 and 12.5 were ridiculous!  A lot of people and “veteran marathoners” were complaining about it online.  And here are my nike+ stats:


Fastest Pace:  6:20/mile
Slowest Pace:  26:28/mile (walking)

We went back to the hotel where it took my mom and I a total of 6 tr1ips to get enough ice to make the “cold” water cold and proceeded to take an ice bath and put on my recovery socks.  After a little lounging around my parents and I headed over to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum!

Next:  Women’s Running Magazine Half Marathon Race Recap Part 4:  Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum!  (Last post I promise!!  It will also be mostly pictures!)


  1. You did awesome!

    I love the two handed wave. The best running pose EVER!!

    YAY for you!!

  2. what an amazing story and excellent advice!

    You are so young and doing so well - there is so much in your future!

  3. Incredible story of perserverance and attitude! Carry your own GU from now on. No matter if they say they have it on course!

    Great run!

  4. Okay, I officially wanna do this race next year now!!!

    2:13:06?!?!?!? You rock!!!!!

  5. Awesome, awesome, awesome! Great job on the race. I also love that you picked up someone's headband and then ran to catch up with her!!

  6. love the story from start to finish! fabulous! the medal is amazing and how fabulous to have a charm that you can make into a necklace.

    i'm totally with you on the emotional finishes :) i was crying so hard at the end of my last race. it's weird though to be out of water and still cry. a dry cry. :)

    so proud of you! good work girl!

  7. Way to go "Z"! You crushed your goal and with no running, that is awesome! I loved reading your recap. It is really making me consider doing a half now, but just one!

  8. Congratulations!!! Way to o...You did amazing!!

  9. Way to go! Great job on breaking your projected time!

    I totally had the same thing happen to me on my half ... where someone at the end lied to me. FAIL.

    Nastiness on the toes. But you earned it. :)

  10. Dare I say that I cried while reading this post. Having just done my first - I totally knew how you felt on each and every emotion you described (the long road ahead, the pain, the anxiety, the joy, the need to have someone you knew, the need for a mental break, everything).

    You did amazing. 2:13 - seriously, who does that on their first time out? You do! Great job! Way to go.

    I really liked the lessons you learned - they made a lot of sense (especially to another first timer).

    Thanks for sharing your experience with us!

  11. WAY TO GO GIRL!!! You totally rocked it! 2:13 wat wat!!! :)

  12. Congrats again! Great race report and great pictures! I would have ordered all of them too!!

  13. Great photos and great report. I also appreciate your advice - I hope to put it to use in November.

  14. Wow, congratulations on an amazing time at your very first half marathon!

    I know this was an extra big deal just because of all the health stuff you've been dealing with. ::hugs::

    Whoo hoo! ::high fives::

  15. Wow, congratulations on an amazing time at your very first half marathon!

    I know this was an extra big deal just because of all the health stuff you've been dealing with. ::hugs::

    Whoo hoo! ::high fives::

  16. Great time, girlie!! That's so fantastic!
    Congratulations. :)

  17. Wowsers! Congrats! And congrats on the PR! :)

  18. THAT my friend is how you run a first half marathon. Nice work kiddo! You’ve got a nice list of lessons to apply to the next one (which is)? And not only did you post a solid time – but you looked pretty hot in your race outfit. I’m jus’ sayin’…If we’ve learned anything from EMZ and Andrew…it’s: If you’re gonna do it anyway…may as well look good while you’re at it.

    Congrats Zeneta…it’s been a blast following you through your training and to this awesome milestone. I can’t wait for the next one…

  19. Way to go and AWESOME time!!!! I hope to break 2:18 on my next one a month from now.

  20. Awesome job and awesome time! Now I want to do one! :) Oh, and I don't understand why people can't pronounce your name. I do it in my head the correct way...a few posts back you put how to pronounce it and I was right. It's not that hard people! :)

  21. Wow, that elevation looks brutal! Awesome job, congrats!! Love all the pics, thanks for sharing!

  22. What a great race, despite all the hills! You look so happy in all the photos too, congrats!!!!

  23. that first picture is are all of the others! Way to go on your first 1/2!

  24. Love the race report. It was an exciting read and there is always some funny guy...all down hill from here...or you're almost there.

    You did awesome!

  25. You are awesome, girl!! That was such a fun read, and you seriously kicked ass. Your proof pictures were so cute, too. Lucky you!

    I think about my 1st half coming up when I'm training and I seriously won't be the least bit shocked if I am also teary at the finish line. I can't wait to see what that feeling is like. Thanks for sharing!!

  26. Lovely report and great photos! I like all the detail you shared, thanks!You should be very proud.

  27. I never remember my races mile-by-mile either. How do people do that? Unless I hit a wall, then I know exactly which mile it was, the rest is all a mishmash of things.

    Congrats on your race! And your pictures look awesome (I always look like I'm dying in mine...)

  28. Grab the first Gu you're handed - good advice I'll use in a few days at the Denver marathon where they're handing out Gu.

    Congrats on finishing your first half marathon! It was a fun recap to read!

  29. Way to go Z! Oh my gosh, I felt like cheering for you through my computer! This was such an exciting race report! You did awesome....way to smash you goal time girl! I am loving all of the pictures:)

  30. Great job, Zaneta! congratulations!! you did awesome!!

  31. WOW!!!! Great job, Z!! You kicked major butt! I am not at all surprised you kicked your goal time's butt. You are a fast runner! I remember that you often run your training run at a faster pace. What pace calculator did you use for your half training plan? Haha, you need a new pace calculator. Great job, girlfriend! I enjoyed your race report!

  32. P.S. - You totally drove through Cincinnati which is totally where I live. If you ever do a race down here, let me know!

  33. Super Congrats on your Half! I love your top! Great race report, you did awesome!

  34. Way to go!!! I did a google search and happened upon your blog. I'm gonna run a half-marathon on Sunday and was feeling nervous about it!! I ran my first one in Feb up in the hills on trails and then last May was my first ever half-marathon on the street. We ran it the same time!!! I love your style of writing and could totally relate to your experience in the race. GREAT JOB!!!!!!!!!!

    Read my story here (if ya wanna):

  35. Congrats on the PR!!!! Good call on the things you learned. It took me a few races to figure all of those out.

    Wait a min..things you liked - HILLS!? you crazy


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