I have been a bit MIA lately, and now I can tell you why. The past week I have been preparing for my first half marathon, and I was not in the best of moods, I must admit. I did not want to write anything about the half marathon before it happened because I was worried that I would not finish. But now that it is over, I can report back.
Thankfully the half marathon was a fantastic experience. I was really stressed out leading up to the event, but thankfully everything went smoothly. It was a beautiful day, the course was gorgeous, and I felt great most of the time.
My mom was great at documenting the day before the race – we drove down to Newport Saturday morning to pick up my bib #, check out the expo and walk around a little bit. I was stressed out, so I am glad that she thought ahead enough to take some photos of the expo experience.
Here I am picking up my bib # and (sort of lame) swag bag:
Mom took this picture of me with my bib #:
At the expo there were massage therapists set up to work on the runners. The day before the race it was a dollar a minute, the day of the race (after the finish) the massages were going to be free. I paid for my massage at the expo the day before. Totally worth it!
After the expo mom and I drove a bit of the course, to figure out where the cheering squad was going to set up on Sunday morning. We found a great place right on Ocean Drive. The only question was how busy was it going to be the day of the race, but we figured it would be worth a try. The point we picked out was almost exactly half way though the course, maybe a little bit over. I thought it would be a perfect place to see people during the race!
After driving the course we drove to Prov to pick up AFM. Once we all got home, AFM and I went for a nice walk around the neighborhood to keep my muscles loose. I was supposed to be resting, but I had a lot of nervous energy and had to move around a bit. The walk was perfect.
Mom made an amazing pre-race dinner for my sister and me that we all enjoyed. Pasta, meatballs, sauce and garlic bread! We ate around 6:30 the night before the race. I have recently read that it is better to have your ‘big’ pre-race meal for lunch rather than dinner, but the dinner worked out perfectly for me. 🙂
For the record, there was salad on the menu, too, but I opted out. I did not want to have a lot of fiber or raw veggies the night before the race. We all went to bed pretty early on Saturday night.
The day of the race the alarms in our house started going off pretty early in the morning. Actually, the first alarm went off at 2 in the morning – by accident. Mom accidentally set her alarm for 2 instead of 4. Thankfully I did not hear this alarm – but my sister did. The first real alarm went off at 4. My alarm went off at 4:30 AM. I had all of my things laid out, so the morning went pretty smoothly.
Mom and AFM snapped a shot of Sarah and me getting ready:
We all got into the car at 5:20 to head down to Newport and the drop off for the runners. It was really early, and it was pitch black out when we left. We saw a beautiful sun rise about an hour and a half later…
Eventually we all got to the start… One of my best friends CF, met us at the shuttle and we got one last shot of us all together before the race started:
We were all layered up because it was early in the morning, and the race went along the ocean, so it was pretty cold at first. We all warmed up quickly though. I was really lucky to have CF as my running buddy for the entire half marathon. It was great to have someone to chat with the entire time, and he is always very encouraging when we do races together. Somehow I did not need to listen to music at all during the race. We just enjoyed the scenery and each others company.
CF snapped a great iPhone photo of me running along the ocean. The course was so beautiful and the day was perfect for our run:
Our half way cheering point worked out perfectly, too. Mom, AFM and CF’s parents were there to cheer for us. AFM filled up my water bottle for me and mom handed me 1 Advil, both were very helpful. I handed off my ‘throw away’ long sleeve shirt to AFM, too. I was happy not to have to leave it on the side of the road!
Eventually we got to the finish. It was a long race, but it all went really well. My knees started getting sore around mile 10 – but at that point I knew I only had a 5K left in the race. I put my mind to it and powered through to the finish. I was so happy to have my medal, and a piece of pizza after!
It was great to have the cheering squad there at the finish line:
I am really glad to have the first half marathon out of the way. It is definitely something I will always remember. I am definitely planning on running the Newport half marathon again next year. If you are looking for a great marathon or half marathon to do next year, I would highly recommend this one. You cannot beat running among mansions and the ocean on a beautiful October morning. It was the best!
Thanks to all of my family and friends that helped me get to this point – you all are the best!