13.1 miles; 2 hours and 17 minutes, which averaged 10:30/mile.
I don't really know where to begin with my recap. Even though it was only Saturday, I already feel like the whole experience is a little hazy in my mind.
First off, the weather was a pre-race concern (ie, it was going to be too hot). But in actuality, it was fine. I mean, a little colder would have been better. But it never felt too hot and the sun never felt like it was barreling down on me. And on the positive side, we didn't get that cold air lung thing that sometimes happens when you run in really cold temps.
Another pre-race question I had was which corral to choose for the wave start. I could go with #9, which was a 10:30-10:54 projected pace; or #10, which was a 10:55-11:19 pace. I had been training around the upper end of a 10 minute mile, so either would have probably been fine. I went with 9 and think it was a good choice. (And as it turned out, I didn't see a pacer the whole time I was running. Thank goodness I had borrowed a Garmin from a friend and was able to see my pace that way.)
So...on race day. After one last trip to the bathroom, Jonathan and I lined up together in corral 9 and got near the front. It was finally our turn, a countdown from 10, and we were off! (A minor glitch was that my Garmin had switched to auto-save mode right as we left the gates - I had to mess around with it for about 30 seconds, but no harm was done.)
The first couple miles were great. I felt strong and fast. In fact, I was around a 9 minute mile, sometimes faster. I had this big question in my head: if I go this fast in the beginning, am I going to have a major crash later? I decided to risk it.
Around mile 4, I saw Jonathan ahead. I knew I could catch up, so I didn't take my eyes off him and finally did. We checked in with each other, and then I was off
I took my first Gu (with caffeine) at the 5 mile water station.
Miles 5-7 went down North Parkway. There were 2 pretty big hills that I walked up, but other than that, no real surprises. From about mile 7 to the end, I started taking walk breaks when I felt the need. Miles 8 and 9 were through Overton Park. I know at one point in there, I had to have a talk with myself because I was starting to get a little drained. (It's hard to explain, but the drained feeling is almost more mental than it is physical.)
I took my second Gu (no caffeine) at the mile 10 water station.
I walked a fair amount between miles 10 and 12. It was weird because on one hand, I knew I could just slow down a lot and maintain a jog until the end. But instead of doing that, I decided to take walk breaks and run fast when I was running. This was fine for me because I had no reservations about walking during the race - it had never been my intention to run the whole time.
By the time I got to the last mile, I told myself it was go time. I think I might have walked a tiny bit in the beginning of the mile, but the last 3/4, I took it into high gear (or at least the highest gear I could muster up at that point). Not to toot my own horn, but I passed a lot of people at the end. I just kept telling myself, "it's almost done, you're almost there, it's almost done and then you can walk." A wonderful aspect of the St. Jude marathon is that the last .5 miles are downhill and then you run into the Redbirds stadium (our minor league baseball team).
All in all, I'm not sure there's anything I would've changed about my experience. I broke two rules of long-distance running on marathon day: 1) I wore new shoes I'd never run in before; and 2) I wore a new shirt I bought at the Expo when I picked up my race packet. Both caused no trouble.
I think the funniest thing about the run was what I listened to in my headphones. So as you know, I only listened to podcasts when I did my training runs. Never music. Before the half marathon, I tried to download some old episodes of This American Life to listen to during the event and for some reason, I couldn't get them loaded onto my iPhone (user error for). Before the race, I figured I would listen to the one episode of This American Life I did have and then listen to a Stuff You Should Know podcast. Then for the last 3 miles, I would listen to my "pump it up" music list.
Well, when it first started, I wanted to listen to music; the atmosphere was so fun and excited, I didn't want to go right into something serious. And as I got into mile 2, I realized the music was working for me. So during the whole thing, I only listened to music. And maybe that doesn't seem all that crazy, but you have to know, I only have 15 songs loaded on my iPhone. Since I didn't plan to listen to anything, I didn't upload more songs before the race. And because they are completely absurd and so incredibly random, I give you my half-marathon "playlist."
Everybody Talks - The Neon Trees
I'm Yours - Jason Mraz
Dancing in the Dark - Bruce Springsteen
Love Me Do - The Beatles
Hey Ya - Andre 3000
All My Loving - The Beatles
I Saw Her Standing There - The Beatles
Country Grammar - Nelly
Gangsta's Paradise - Coolio
Roll Over Beethoven - The Beatles
Me and the Major - Belle & Sebastian
And then the "pump it up" aspect..
F You - Cee Lo Green
Dynamite - Taio Cruz
Low - Flo Rida
Stone in Love - Journey
HA! Gangsta's Paradise is what makes me laugh the most out of this list. The reason I have some of these on my phone is because they are supposed to be songs whose beat corresponds with either 10-minute miles or 9-minute miles (and I had uploaded them before a 4-mile race we did a few months ago
So yeah - there it is. My first half marathon completed. Definitely won't be my last. I'm waiting for all the immediate soreness to g