WTF Wed, Getting lost for 12 hours running your first half marathon!

Last night MacGyver and I went to Costco to pick up the essentials and by essentials I mean a 30 pound bag of dog food because really, what else could two people actually need from Costco?

snack city bitch

Besides eating all the snacks, while we were there we walked around checking out all the holiday gift items and I noticed they were all the same as last year.  Unfortunately MacGyver did not.  Well, not until I pointed it out to him AFTER he suggested he get a few of them for me as Christmas presents.  That’s when I reminded him that he already did, LAST YEAR!

He asked me if I was sure

uh duh

And then he asked me what I did with them?  I assured him we no  longer had them.  At first he asked me if we used them or if they broke and then he thought about it.  I mean seriously how would you use a yonana frozen treat maker so much that you’d actually break it?  Or a fancy super-sized dish drainer?  Then he said, ‘those were not very good gifts and you returned them huh?’

duh

Let’s not last minute shop at Costco this year sweetie, okay?

I read a story yesterday about a woman who ran who very first half marathon over the weekend near my vacation house in Venice.  Her very first half marathon.  FIRST.  Remember that.  Now, y’all remember back to how nervous you were the very first time you ever ran a half marathon.  Remember the jitters?  The unknowns?  Remember how unsure you were?

Now, keep that in mind and let me tell you about Melissa Kitcher.

Melissa Kitcher

She ran her very first half marathon this past weekend and she chose the Trail Hog 13.1 which is a trail run at the T. Mabry Carlton Reserve.  This is not an easy race and it is definitely a trail.  There are roots and shrubs and bugs and mosquitoes and there have even been panthers spotted in that reserve.  It’s a beautiful place and I’m sure the course if spectacular but I’m not sure I would have chosen it as a first race but Melissa did.

Somewhere around the third mile Melissa took a wrong turn and that’s when things went downhill.  By her own estimates, Melissa says she probably went about 7 miles off course and then turned around and headed back when she realized she had gone the wrong way but by that time she was lost and realized no one was looking for her.  She had brought along a cell phone but it stopped working before the race even started.   She had no choice but to keep going so that’s what she did.

Melissa’s husband called the race director at 4:30 when she didn’t return and a search party located her 12 hours after the race started!  How’s that for a first half marathon experience?  It hasn’t stopped Melissa, she says she’ll be running the Sarasota Half Marathon in March and Melissa, if you want, I’ll run it with you, I’m directionally challenged myself, probably more so than you, I’ve gotten lost during a regular race on a route in my own neighborhood that I run weekly!

Melissa ended up running over 16 miles in those 12 hours on some pretty bad ass trails so in my opinion she’s one pretty tough runner!

WTF it’s Wednesday and that’s one heck of a first half marathon story!

Tell me about your first half marathon story!

Why I didn’t P.R. or How I Became a Die Hard Runner at Mile 10

Well, I guess I missed a post yesterday, didn’t I? Sorry about that, I had an excruciating migraine headache probably due to stress or worry or something, but in case you’re wondering, no, I didn’t get a P.R. at the Blue Moon half Marathon yesterday. I finished in 2:06:54, official chip time.

blue moon half medal

I’ll have a full recap and review for you tomorrow but in the meantime, let me tell you briefly why I didn’t PR.

Last week, Mom and I were running around a lot and even though I was able to run, I didn’t run as much as I would have liked and I ate sort of crappy. I didn’t realize just how crappy until Thursday or Friday of last week when I got stomach cramps while running and so I tried to clean up my diet at the last minute.

Unfortunately, on Saturday I ate 3 bagels because we were busy and they are quick and easy and hello, carbs! I just didn’t think about the fact that my bagels have 7 grams of fiber each…yeah, I know, but all I was thinking is carbs for the race and I didn’t eat anything after 9 on Saturday evening so I thought everything was good.

On Sunday morning I woke up feeling great. Because of the time change I woke up at 4:30 instead of my usual 5:30 and couldn’t go back to sleep. No worries, I got up and started to prepare for the race. About 6:30 I started to get worried when I realized I hadn’t been able to go to the bathroom but we had to leave, so off we went and at start time I still hadn’t been able to go. My biggest worry was that I would get cramps and have to slow down. Little did I know…..

I started the race strong and was holding a 9:05 pace all the way through the 8th mile. I was well on my way to a sub 2 and I felt strong and was ready to push harder and finish the last 5 miles.

Then mile 9 happened.

Mile 9 will forever be emblazoned in my mind as the desperation and countdown to humiliation mile. My lower stomach began to cramp, my hands became clammy and sweat began to form on my brow.

Two minutes to blast off, we are approaching Defcon 1, Elvis is leaving the building! IT’S GO TIME! Must find restroom NOW.

I ran to the next volunteer and then stopped and asked where the nearest restroom was. She wasn’t sure. I seemed to remember the pre race email stating there was a restroom at mile 9.5 or 9.75 so I continued on and slowly started to run to the next volunteer, where is the next restroom?

She told me but guess what? I couldn’t find it. Mile 9 was finished in 10:35 and I was now pissed. I was waisting precious time. My sub 2 was disappearing before my very eyes. Desperation was at an all time high!

As mile 10 began I knew I had precious few minutes left. I thought about running across 6 lanes of traffic to hit the McDonalds, or darting behind the homes along the course. I thought about the embarrassment of NOT finding a suitable place and what that outcome would be, and then I did the only thing I could do. I found a trail that looked like it led to a park or an area that might have had a bathroom and so I followed it, except that it only led to another road and a bunch of houses on the other side. Lucky for me there was a thick patch of trees in between.

And that, my friends, is when I became a die-hard runner. I pulled those shorts to the side and I Paula Radcliffe’d right there. Right there amongst the privacy of those trees, I spent 5 of the most uncomfortable moments of my life, and then I ran back to the race and joined the group as if nothing had happened.

When I crossed the finish line and saw the time, I was heartbroken because I knew I could have had a sub 2 finish and I didn’t.

Later, when I told MacGyver what had happened he laughed his head off but when he finally stopped laughing he said, ‘hey, look at it this way, You still finished with a good time and you beat a lot of people, and in reality you did better than a lot of the people who finished ahead of you because none of those people had to stop and take a shit.”

Thanks honey. I feel so much better.

Please tell me you’ve had an embarrassing moment during a race? Anything? Please share it with me.

Athleta Iron Girl Clearwater Half Marathon Recap

I have to say that I was very excited, but also pretty nervous, to compete in the Athleta Iron Girl Half Marathon.

Athleta Iron Girl Half

Not being a fan of inclines of any sort since my achilles tendon injury of 2 years ago, I usually avoid them like mosquitoes, bees, large birds, and bears. However, I also tend to be a sucker for a challenge and what better challenge than running over 2 huge bridges…TWICE, am I right? I knew with basically no bridge training runs and the humidity at 93% that I wasn’t going to PR, but my goal was to finish in under 2:30 and I figured if I played it smart and went out steady, I could do it.

Arrival at Athleta Iron Girl Half Marathon Clearwater

So, the night before I got my typical pre-race, can’t sleep jitters but eventually I drifted off and not very long before my alarm rang out. The music started at 4:30 AM, time to get up! After having my pre-race meal of 1 cup of coffee, a small glass of water, and a bagel with peanut butter, I rallied the troops and we headed out. Luckily the race is less than 15 minutes from my house, big bonus!

We arrived at Coachman Park around 6AM and I immediately hit up the porta potties. No lines at that time but when I had to go again at 6:30, (yes, I pee a lot), the lines were insane. I actually stood in line for 25 minutes but at 6:54, I decided to head on over to the starting line and give up on the potty. Besides, I lived on Sand Key for 4 years and I’ve run through Sand Key Park before and I know there are a few bathrooms along the route so no worries.

Pre-race coffee pee

Athleta Iron Girl Starting Line

I got to the starting line a bit late and because I was a little nervous about the bridges, I ended up in the 2:30 pace group. We started, and I kept my pace with the 2:30 group through downtown Clearwater, but it felt really slow and even though I didn’t want to go out too fast and tax myself, I quickly passed them and made my way over the first bridge.

first bridge of Iron Girl

On my descent I passed the 2:30 group and was easing up to the 2:15 pacers. I felt great running through Clearwater Beach and the views were pretty nice. There was a guy cheering us on who had a sign that said, “This is the best Parade EVER!, HUBBA HUBBA”, I laughed out loud and it was just the motivation I needed to get me up and over the Sand Key Bridge. Thank you random spectator!

second bridge of Iron Girl

I ran the entire second bridge and pretty much propelled myself downward and then realized I was running at around a 9:50 pace! I knew I was hitting it too hard and I needed to slow down or there was no way I would finish in under 2:30. So I started slowing down, way down, and I stopped at every water stop along the way, and I walked through them, and I made sure to down as much water as possible.

Running a Half Marathon

 

By the time I got through Sand Key Park I was feeling the exhaustion of coming out too fast. I took a gel around mile 6 or 7, can’t remember when exactly, but it did give me a little blast of energy to make it around Sand Key. As we approached Mile 8 I realized it was almost time to start climbing those bridges again and I was slowing down a lot.

I ran only part of the Sand Key Bridge this time, I had to walk a big portion of it, but I sprinted down it to make up time. The run back through Clearwater didn’t seem so easy, breezy this time. I was suckin it. Negative Nancy was all up in my ear, (“slow down girl, it doesn’t matter when you finish as long as you do”..).

But as we made our way toward the Memorial Causeway, a spectator said to me, “you may finish in under 2:21 at this pace”.

Well, my competitive side took over and Positive Polly starting shouting, “2:21? Hell no, I’m going for 2:15”. And it was on, right then I pushed it, hard. I ran over that last bridge as fast as I could and I ran down the helix like a crazy woman. I’m sure I must have looked insane because I sorta felt insane at that point and I ran across the street to the finish line, and guess what?

Iron Girl Half

Iron Girl Finish

I finished in 2:15:51. Yeah, not the best time ever, but not too bad, either. Overall 410/1257 in my division 53/164!

Iron Girl Half Marathon Results

I am an IRON GIRLI AM AN IRON GIRL!!!!

What I loved about this race is that it is for women only. The promoters and exhibitors alike were all very supportive. I also loved the fact that the race was challenging. We may be flat in Florida, but we have some hellacious bridges!

What I didn’t love about this race was the lack of water stations. I didn’t feel like there were enough. This could be because I sweat like a freak of nature; or the fact that it was 93% humidity and hot. I found myself looking for water in between stations and just before the last bridge I actually took 2 Gatorades and 3 waters, and I NEVER do that. So, if I could offer some advice, I’d say add more water stations. Please?

Other than that, I loved this race and I’m looking forward to running it again next year and just maybe I’ll do even better than this year.

Have you ever run an Athleta Iron Girl half marathon?