Tuesday, October 9, 2012

5K-to-First Half Marathon 2012


My name is Fran and I thought I'd start a blog about my new adventure in running half marathons!  It was in August 2012 when I decided I wanted to give a half marathon a shot...see what I could do.  I have been been back to running after not running for about 20 years.  The kids that I helped coach track really inspired me to getting back to running.  I knew I was way out of shape when I couldn't even run a 1 mile warm-up lap.  For a couple of track seasons I mentioned to the track coach at the time that I wanted to run a 5k.  I had ran sprints (100, 200, 400 meter dashes and anchored the 4x200 and 4x400 relays and ran cross country as well).  High school was the last time I ran a 5k.  I did get the opportunity to run a 13k race in China with a group of 370 other American cross-country runners.  I didn't know what to expect running longer than I had practiced but I ran it and did pretty good.  Well, the itch to run had come back after all these years and so I started jogging in January of this year.  Getting started was crazy!  I was so out of breath after running less than a mile!  I kept at it, running my 1 mile and gradually increasing my mileage.  I got that MapMyRun app that I love so much!  One day I went from running up to 5 miles to skipping to 7 miles because I was on a role.  I have my high school coach, Len, in my facebook friends...crazy!  he still gives me tips.  He told me, "Fran, don't run too much too soon!"  He was right!

I had trained enough to where I was ready to run my first 5K as an adult, lol!

January 4th, 2012, I ran my first 5K, Young Life-26:08, 1st in age group, Joplin, MO

April 7th, 2012, Seth Carr 5K -24:38, 1st in age group, 1st overall female, Joplin, MO

May 19th, 2012, Joplin Memorial Run 5K-24:40, 2nd in age group, Joplin, MO

August 11, 2012, Back-To-School 5K-25:35, 1st in age group, South Carolina

August 25th, 2012, Free Fair 5K-25:05, 1st in age group, Lamar, MO (I really wanted to go under 24:00, but just the night before I had ran my first 6 miles and I ran it hard.  Running this 5K was a last minute thing, lol)


I had searched for half marathons in my area and the closest one that was coming up was the Mercy Day Run on 9-29-12 in Fort Scott, KS.  It was an hour drive from my house, but I really wanted to do this one.  The next half marathon would be October 14th at the Tri-State Mother Road Marathon.  I had already registered for the 5k for that event.  Anyways, by the time I had decided I wanted to run the half marathon, I began to add a mile each week from about 5 miles since I had pretty much been running around 4 miles and every once in awhile, 5 miles.  The week I ran 6 miles I ran in the morning around 8:30 and it had been hot for several weeks, I mean really hot!  By 9 a.m. that day it was sooo hot and kept waiting for my gps to tell me 6 miles so that I could stop!  My legs were weak, my body was hot and it felt like my head was going to explode!  I had no energy to do a cool down.  I came in the house and dropped in the floor, breathing heavily, thinking to myself, "There is no way I can do a half marathon in 6 weeks!  I got through the next few days okay and the next week ran my 7 miles.  It felt good.  The next week 8 and so on.  I had got to 10 miles the week before the raceI felt good and knew that I could run another 3.1 miles easily.  I knew I could finish for sure.  The following week the longest I ran was 4 miles then maybe 2 the next day and then 1.  I just know the day before I did not run.  It may have been two days before the race that I didn't run.

The night before I went to Ruby Tuesday's and got a salad bar to go.  I basically filled my container with pasta and some spinach.  I sipped on honey water and really drank more water that week than I normally do.  I kept telling myself to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!  I filled out my form since I hadn't pre-registered and packed a few extra change of clothes, socks, etc.  I went to bed by 9 p.m.  I wanted to be rested!  I set two alarms just in case. 

I woke up before the alarm went off, so like 15 minutes before it went off.  I showered, sipped on honey water and got dressed.  I wanted to leave my house at 5:00 but it was more like 5:10 a.m. or so.  Registration was from 6-6:30 a.m.  I arrived at Mercy Hospital parking lot at 6:23.  It was still dark, the crew was there signing people in, the music was blasting and it was chilly!  I went straight to register, got my bag filled with goodies, my race bib and the sensor tag that I put on my shoe for accurate timing.  They had run out of the t-shirts in my size, but one would be mailed to me once ordered.  It's a cool looking shirt.  I met a couple of ladies and asked them what they were running.  One lady was running the half.  Another lady was running the 5K.  I knew I wanted to be with the group running the half, but they started the half first and ten minutes later started the 5K people so I was able to run with the half group.  I had no idea what pace these ladies had.  I didn't ask.  I knew I was doing this race to see what I could do, run it and finish, not be competitive.  I wanted to run about a 2:05:00 or so.

When the gun went off I remembered NOT to take out too fast so I didn't.  My first mile was 11.  Yikes!  That was slower than what I had been running in training which was an average 9:23 pace so I picked it up a tad.  Eventually I would be right where I needed to be.  I was feeling good.  It was obvious that a group of three people were doing the run/walk.  They would stop in front of me.  I was wishing they would get over but they didn't.  Maybe you don't get over when doing that.  Anyways, I was feeling good.  I was enjoying the morning sun while staying cool at the same time.  By mile 6 I started to pick it up more and would pass one girl at a time.  I wasn't thirsty so refused drinks at the water stations.  Still feeling good and happy that by this point no dogs had chased me.  I had my mace with me in case.  We were running on this country road.  I thought for sure we'd have one come after us.  I was a little nervous and just wanted to be near another runner, LOL!  Mile 7 and feeling good.  Along the way this man I passed said that I was like the 4th girl.  I'm thinking cool!  I saw a girl in front of me who I thought I could catch and pass and once she stopped for a drink I really made my move, LOL!  My pace was like 9:10-WoW!  I went with it.  Didn't slow down.  By mile 11 I think I grabbed a cup of water, sipping it while running.  That girl was behind me, fairly close.  So, I'm being competitive.  I said I wasn't going to do that, but I was feeling great and no need to hold myself back.  I felt strong.  I was in 3rd place at this point, but the 1st and 2nd runner were way ahead of me.  I was pleased with where i was at, but at the same time felt that the more experienced girls were waiting until the last few miles to pick their pace up.  No one ever passed me, but my legs were getting so tired and the last two miles seemed like FOREVER!!!  I'm thinking, "Come on, I'm ready to make my way to the finish already!"  Finally, the turn to the finish.  I was happy and tried picking it up as best as I could.  I could see the clock and it read 1:54 something and by the time I crossed the line it read 1:55:09!  I was extremely happy with my time-WOW!  I placed 3rd overall female for the first time running the half!  I am officially a half marathoner!

After the race I was asked to do an interview since it was my first half.  After that I ate a couple of snacks and cheered on the rest of the runners. I decided to leave and stopped and bought a muscle milk drink.  It was good.  I was sore the rest of the day.  I was craving a steak so bad and that night I would treat myself to Johnny Corino's.  In the next couple of days I decided that I would upgrade my 5k to the half marathon so October 14th I will be running my 2nd half!  I'll be back to post about it!

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