11 April 2010

Holy Half Marathon, Batman!

This was my first race that took place on a Sunday, and it was definitely a strange experience because I was bouncing off the walls on Saturday, waiting to race. Oddly enough, I went to bed early, though I also woke up too early and never really was able to go back to bed. You can tell how I felt about that from this picture.


For breakfast, I settled on the breakfast of champions: Yams. It works for Usain Bolt, so it'll work for me. Since I'm a Texan, my yams originated from the state you don't mess with. I paired this with a waffle with syrup and butter, plus an orange FRS energy drink that tastes like orange juice mixed with crushed vitamins. I actually drank the FRS an hour or two after the yams and waffles, which I really drank with a few cups of coffee.


Once awake and at Notre Dame, the weather was a little chillier than I expected, but it warmed up at the start of the race. A bit windy and overcast, and I really was glad it wasn't sunny.

I arrived about an hour and a half before the start of the race, so we waited around in the LaFortune center on the campus of Notre Dame, where I represented the orthodontist responsible for my smile, and who I hope will acknowledge this endorsement.


Meanwhile, I snacked on:


Chocolate covered espresso beans, a chocolate chiperoo cookie, a Gu that actually went into my pocket for the race, and water.

To end it right now, my time was 1:51:19, which was much better than I had been expecting due to the way I had been running lately. I'm very happy about this time, especially since it means I met my goal!

To continue on, here's a rundown of my splits, which are off because I missed quite a few of the markers. More on this later.

First, these guys are nuts.


A posse of Waldos! And this is why we have multi-colored duct tape, right here.


1-3 miles: 24:55 - The race started and there's no visible starting line, so I wasn't sure when to start the watch. 9 minutes passed and I didn't locate a marker. 18 minutes came and by then, again missing the marker, I went back to what I've been working on in my running, which was memorizing how I feel during different paces. I started off quickly, but not too fast. When I spotted the 3 mile mark and saw the split, I knew I was right on target based on a recent 3 miler time.

Somewhere on the course were these fools:


4-5: 16.53 - Just under an 8:30 pace. I felt pretty good. I didn't get any water around mile 2-3, so I grabbed some around here.


6-7: 17.19 - A bit of a slow down. I took a Gu around what I thought was mile 6, but unfortunately had to wait 1.5 miles before I got to the next water station.

8: 8.35 - Wow, a visible marker! And a water station! I remember feeling fine up to this point, though I started to become fatigued just a little.

9: 7.51 - I don't believe this split. A lady came up behind me around where the third mile mark should have been, and said, "10 miles to go!" I looked back to see who said it, and maybe I had my trademark look on, I'm not sure, because she apologized. Then I said, "Actually, around mile one I said to myself, '12 to go!'"

We started talking and kept pace with each other for a few miles, and we agreed that mile 9 must have been short.

Of note: Two Waldos passed me. One Waldo was hot.


10-11: 18.20 - We missed mile 10. Obviously I slowed down unintentionally, either it because we were talking to each other, I started getting tired, or because this was the trail section of the race (just a regular compact sand-gravel trail). Or all of the above.


At this point, Phyllis, whom I had the pleasure of running with for a few miles, sped up and I wasn't able to match her pace. If you're reading this, congrats on your finish!

12: 9.29 - I was definitely beginning to feel tired. To top it off, there was a bit of a long, low hill. I felt like I slowed down, but I didn't feel trashed so I probably could have kicked the pace.

13.1: 7.25 - Just after the hill and starting to feel tired. I focused on my form and breathing, which I had been focusing on throughout the entire race as I felt it was the key to not crapping out. I did start to run faster. I've been running the last mile of all my runs much faster than overall pace to work how I'd feel during a race, and it paid off. I sprinted at the end and passed three runners playing "red rover".

Total: 1:51:19.

The primary reason I signed up for this race was as an award of sorts for running through the winter. And not just running, but putting in really great, consistent mileage for me. The price was also cheap. I had been running more 10 milers than I ever had before, along with an increase in 8 milers. I wasn't paying attention to speed at all, just kept an even pace. It was winter and running in the snow is not fun, especially when you try any sort of speed workout.

The streaking in February greatly helped not just because I ran the most miles ever, but the consistency and being able to recover by the next day to run again. It worked for my body, and greatly helped my running. I began to notice that I was running a quicker pace, too.

In March, I took quite a few unintentional breaks due to a cold, then my running just deteriorated. I was beginning to be anxious about this, so I decided to stop worrying and use the rest to my advantage. I added a few fast 3 milers, a tempo run, and if I was feeling a faster pace, I went with it.

What made this race different from all others (which I've never felt anything about) is the ability to keep my pace based on effort. I guess I trusted my ability more and that was a really cool feeling.

P.S. This was a very disorganized race. I said screw it to the awards ceremony and headed over to Chipotle. After snagging />10 breadsticks and two Rockstar energy drinks. And an orange, which I never ate because I didn't have the energy to peel. There were no bananas, I'd like to add.

P.S.S. I feel it's important to mention that I raced faster wearing arm warmers, sort of like why swimmers wear body suits. Go buy some. A volunteer told me to "run like a leopard in the jungle hunting down prey!" His name was Rick something. My parents asked him if "he took requests" and it turns out that's how he knew my name, not because he has insanely good eyesight and could read the name off my bib as I ran by.


  1. Thank you for sharing your interesting story. Much respect for all the running you did. Not to mention the hard work and dedication it took to get ready. You're one determined Texan. Great smile by the way! Cheers!

  2. I loved reading your race recap. Thank you for posting. I think you did an amazing job!! Way to go! I'm proud of you and a little teary eyed. :)

  3. You know that running is bad for your knees, right?

  4. Great job on the race, loved the report.

  5. Congrats! So many good pictures :)

  6. Nice job, Christina, on finishing your first Half!! You're inspirational to all us runners out here... :o)

  7. You ran a great time! That's awesome that you were conscious of pace/effort during the race--I'm still working on that!

  8. Excellent job, Christina! You ran a great race, and it sounds like your training over the winter really paid off. And and it looks like you had a beautiful day to run. Congratulations!

  9. great recap, and an amazing race!! congrats :)

  10. Wow, great race! I love all the pictures!


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