Sunday, December 8, 2013

Half Marathon recap

It's been over a week two weeks since I ran the Shiner Beer Run and I am definitely still on a high.  I keep thinking about it and it just doesn't seem real - guys, I RAN A HALF MARATHON.  That was 13.1 miles!!

In case you forgot the huge smile that resided on my face for days and days.

When I got up that morning at 4:30, I hopped in the shower first.  I just can't ever seem to get going to 100% without a shower, and I know that may sound weird to shower before a half marathon, but I knew I needed to be at 100% considering the farthest I had ran in training was just 7 miles.  So I showered, checked the weather what felt like a hundred times, and decided on my race gear.  No fancy pic of my clothing laid out since I mostly just stood around in my robe until I had it figured out.  I ended up wearing my favorite capris, a nike sports bra, my splits59 tank, a pullover from Target and my trusty Adidas trail running shoes. No, this was not a trail race. Yes, I did all my training runs in them so I stuck to what I knew.  I also happened to dig around in my closet at the last minute so I found my headband/earwarmer, some mitten-glove hybrids, and my rain slicker from biking.  I threw on some tall socks and my UGGs, grabbed my gear and hit the road.

The trip took about 2 hours so I was glad that I had a full water bottle plus a spark ready to go.  I ate some toast with PB2 and a hardboiled egg in the car.  When I got to the race site, I ate half of a Stinger Vanilla Waffle and my phone said the weather was just 39 degrees. Yikes!  I picked up my race packet and returned to my car to seat in the heat while I got ready - put on my bib, listened to pump up music, and check social media.  When we had about 15 minutes until race time, I got out and made my way to the Port-a-Potties for what I hoped was one last time.  All those drinks were going through me!

I thought I might see Kristen or Meg before the race, but I didn't and honestly I think that was good.  I was so nervous but was in a really good headspace - this race was for me.  I didn't have B come with me or drag my friends out to cheer me on. I think I wanted this first (and possible only) half marathon to be about me running just for me - just to prove to myself that I could.  It wasn't about finishing because people were waiting for me or any other factors.

The race itself was tough but not as tough as I imagined feared. I didn't take any pictures during it, mostly due to the rain and not wanting to expose my poor fingers to the cold. I don't have those fancy gloves that work with touch screens.  I honestly thought that I might have to crawl or be carried across the finish line, so my goal was just to finish without stopping or having to walk.  I did have to stop about 3.5 miles in for the bathroom - there was just no way around that one.  With each step on the pavement, my bladder felt more and more like it would burst.  Around the 3 mile mark I told myself I'd stop at the next port-a-potty so I did. And even though I waited for about 7-8 minutes in the freezing cold and it made my watch time very different than my chip time I am so glad that I decided to stop.  And I'll say this - the race was very well populated with port-a-potties and fuel stations.  At nearly every mile there was a water station, some of which were handing out GU, and most of those also had a port-a-potty.  The problem? Only one port-a-potty per break. And there were a few thousand runners.  I saw quite a few guys just dodge behind a bush but I did not have that option. Thankfully, I only had to stop once.

The course was really hilly which I haven't trained for.  Houston is pretty flat so I just accepted it.  There was about a 3 mile stretch (post potty break) that was straight into a headwind, up and down hills, and in the rain. Those miles were pretty miserable but I just keep trucking along.  It was before the halfway mark but after the restroom stop, so I was pretty good about passing up people, and I think that mentally made up for the rough conditions.  We hit 6.5 miles (halfway) right at the bottom of a hill so it was quite literally uphill from there.  Then we encountered "Manure Mile" which wasn't really manure but was a mile or so of dirt road with lots of big rocks to avoid.  Then it evened out for a bit while we ran between two graveyards (a little creepy with the weather) before entering what I call "the park from hell".  We ran through a park, which meant back and forth on these little winding footpaths. I should have taken a picture.  Going in, you could see all these runners just crisscrossing across an area that was maybe 100 yards across.  I felt like I wasn't making any progress and would never get out of there.  The worst part? You could see a pretty big hill that you had to go up once you finally finished.  Without a doubt, this was the hardest (and slowest) part of the race.  Once we were out of there, it was just a few miles left through neighborhoods and back to the brewery.
Pretty legit running shot. And that's my pacer friend behind me!
Throughout the race, I had paced myself with another runner.  She'd speed up past me and I'd stay behind her, then I'd speed up ahead of her for awhile.  As we were coming up to the final 0.1 miles, with the finish line in sight, she was ahead of me but started to walk. I grabbed her arm, a total stranger, and told her we'd finish it together.  
Totally dorking out while crossing the finish line
This should win some kind of finish line contest.
We powered through the finish line, where I apparently felt the need to jump up and punch the air in excitement, and then I promptly moved to the sides where I started my Kim Kardashian ugly cry. Full on, baby.  The adrenaline and emotions were overwhelming.  I could not believe I had earned that metal around my neck.  This was really the only point where I wished I had some people waiting for me, because everyone else did, but it was such a small thing that I quickly got past.  I hobbled over to a line (because my momentary pause to ugly cry made all my muscles freeze up) and waited for the free food with other people. Once I had my bratwurst, I made my way to the beer line where I came upon Kristin and Meg!  That was even better than I imagined!

Lindsey, me, Kristen and Meg enjoying the best beers of our lives!

Attempting to not freeze to death while enjoying the libations
Look who found me after the race! I wish I could remember her name but I will never forget her!

Bloggers do breweries... think I've stumbled upon a great idea! Who's in??
We drank some beers, warmed up near the grills, almost got kicked out of the brewery tour, and overall celebrated some new friends and accomplishing some kick ass goals.  Then I started the long drive home and promptly took my first ice bath.  I can't say how much it helped because I don't have any half marathons without it to compare to, but I can say that I was able to move the next day and that my friends is a win.  But I think B too a little too much joy in pouring that ice over me!


Thanks for all your love and support during my training and on race day! From my bloggy friends, to my IRL friends, my family and B - I never would have attepted this, stuck with it, or completed it without you.  I can't wait til the next one!

Cait, the half-marathoner :)

PS - I almost forgot all the stats! I stopped my watch during the bathroom break so my time was 2:45:49 and my average pace was 12:49/mile.  I think chip time put me somewhere near 2:53:30 or something. My fastest mile was mile 2 at 10:34 and my slowest mile was mile 1 at 14:38 aka "the park from hell".


  1. Awesome pictures, and an awesome accomplishment!!

  2. You did awesome, I want to do one in 2014, you inspire me to start training. Do you use any apps for prep?

  3. You look so great in all your pics - seriously, I never would have guessed you were running/had just run 13 freakin' miles! Congratulations!

  4. Seriously?? Your longest run before a half was just 7miles?
    Awesome!!! I am going to check out a half Training program. Who knows? I maybe up for joining the brewery bloggers next year ;)

  5. I will never, ever, EVER in my life forget when you passed Meg and I out on the course. You looked so dang strong! We were totally proud of you, even though we weren't 100% who we thought you were =).

    You can't pay me enough money to try an ice bath. I'll stick with post-run massages.


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