On race day morning I woke up early, threw on my race gear and headed down to the Starbucks in the hotel lobby to get milk for my cereal that I purchased the night before at Target. I was trying to adhere to my normal race day fuel as much as possible. Unfortunately, the line at Starbucks was gigantic, so I settled for a granola bar and some sports beans. Oh and water of course!
About an hour before the race, Mr. Sarcastic and I headed to my corral. In hindsight, we probably could have made our way down there later since my corral placement caused me to cross the start line almost 20 minutes after the official start of the race. But now I know for next time! Once we got down to the race area, Mr. Sarcastic and I said our good byes and I took my place in line for the port-a pottys.
Once in my corral it was a bit of a waiting game. And more waiting. And more waiting. While waiting, I realized I needed to pee again. This never happens. I probably should have woken up a little earlier than I did but since our hotel was so close to the race I thought it was unnecessary. My bladder proved otherwise. I decided to ignore it and hoped I could make it through the race without stopping.
Here’s what happened once I crossed the start line!
Miles 1-3: Because of the tall buildings near the start line, I couldn’t pick up a signal with my Garmin until about .15 into the race. Not a big deal. I also really really needed to pee. I made myself a deal that I would try to get through the first half of the race without stopping and then re-evaluate. The first hill happened at mile 3, not a crazy one. But it was a warning of what was to come!
Miles 4-6: By mile 5 I realized that I was either going to pee myself or I was going to have to stop. Too much information for you? Lol Well, I stopped and lost a good 3-5 minutes. It was too annoyed with myself to keep track of the exact time it took me. This is the first race I have ever had to stop to use the bathroom. Oh and mile 6, was the start of massive HILLS!!!
Miles 7-9: I developed a new running mantra. I can’t tell you how many times I said this to myself, “You did not come all this way to walk these effing hills. You are stronger than that.” It worked! I did not walk a single hill. The only time I walked was when I got stalled by people in front of me and at mile 8 when I grabbed a quarter of an orange at the aid station. A big thanks to my Twitter friend @TriMeOn for telling me about the oranges. I never stop at aid stations since I carry my own water and fuel. The orange was just as heavenly as she described. In fact, I told myself that if I died at the moment, I would die happy. lol
Miles 10-12: It was about this point, that I was thinking I might actually have a chance of getting a PR. It was completely surprised by the pace I was maintaining with all the hills and with the crowd of people who constantly surrounded me.
Miles 13-13.1: A PR wasn’t going to happen but I definitely accomplished my race goals! All 3 of them. I crossed the finish line feeling stong and pretty damn proud of myself for conquering such a tough course! I also retrieved my Tiffany’s finishers necklace from the tuxedo clad firefighter. In addition to that I got my finishers shirt and a bag of food to refuel with. And once I turned on my phone, I found a sweet good luck text from Mr. Sarcastic and I got a great congratulatory hug once I saw him in person. My official time was 2:17:29 (my PR is 2:11 on a NON hilly course). Placed 615th in my age group of 2676 and placed 4779 overall out of 20,128. Not too shabby!
In all honesty, I thought this would be one race that I would cross off my bucket list and be content with not doing again. After doing the Rock ‘n Roll Vegas half, I was prepared to be disappointed with the race as that race taught me that big races can be a big disappointment. But I was actually pleasantly surprised with how great the race was. From my perspective it was well organized, the course was challenging and offered amazing views, the race swag was fab and the energy there was uplifting. I know that not everyone had the same experience that I did, especially the marathoners. From talking to other people, it doesn’t sound like it is a great race to do as a marathon but I would definitely recommend the half. And I hope to do it again in the future!