Someone always has to be last…

… but yesterday was not my day! 😉

in fact, it was a day of firsts:

  • first half marathon!
  • first race alone (Katie was with me, but she did the 7k and then acted as my number 1 fan- Thanks, Katie!!!)
  • first time ever using compression socks (and I’m in love)
  • first time running a long run with no music

Let’s rewind a little. First of all, all week long my left IT-Band and hamstring were super tight all week long to the point of constant discomfort. Normally I don’t get that nervous before a race, but this changed the game. I was scared  the discomfort would turn into pain and that I would have to stop racing, which I really did not want to do. I was also nervous this would prevent me from finishing within the 2:30 time limit the race had set (this time limit is also why I thought I might finish last). So I did the only thing I could: rested, stretched, foam rolled, and iced. And apparently it worked! I didn’t even feel any discomfort until about the 18th km, and it was only the normal tightness that I feel on any run that long.

Another issue I was having was music. About 30 minutes before leaving for the race, I realized that I had put my iPod shuffle through the wash. Major fail. Luckily, I have a back-up iPod (my mom won it at a conference and didn’t want it, so I got it), so I uploaded my playlist to that one. However, last time I used it at the gym, it started acting weird and would only play 20 seconds of a song before restarting it- super annoying. And sure enough, around km 4, it started doing this. I was annoyed, but the race was one 7km, which we ran 3 times. So I knew I would see Katie in 3km. The second I did, I just yelled iPhone, iPhone, and she handed it to me, so I thought I was fine. However, it started acting weird, too. I think something is wrong with my headphones- I’m certainly going to test it out before my next race! So at this point, I was last in the race, but this actually worked out to my advantage. Instead of carrying my bulky iPhone for 6km, I asked the handy dandy course biker guy (his name was Wolfgang, yep, I asked) if he could take it- and he did. And as soon as I handed it over to him, I had a moment of panick and literally almost started crying. I had never run a long run without music. It was often what got me through my long runs and always helped me keep a good pace. But now I was on my own. After maybe 30 seconds, I told myself to just stop worrying. My legs were feeling fine and I knew I could do this. And I did. I just kept running, sometimes slower, sometimes faster. Sometimes I was the last one, sometimes not. My worries all died when I finished my second lap. I saw Katie and I just yelled “I only have 7k left!” It was when I really knew I could do it (as opposed to trying to convince myself I could). And, well, it was a great feeling.

At this point, there were 5 of us in the last pack: me, another guy about my age, and three people in their 40s who were running together. One of the women wanted to quit somewhere in this last lap and the other two wouldn’t let her (she was just tired not injured) and they stayed with her the entire time. One of them always ran ahead to get her water at the stops and motivated her the entire way. It was truly a great thing to witness and also motivated me. The guy my age also almost quit around 16k, and we were all like, come on, don’t quit, we’re almost there. Around 17k, he asked me how much further, and I said maybe 4k, and that we could do this. It just showed how mental racing really is. He ended up getting a little more energy took off. I then passed the group of three as well and could see the finish line. At this point, a little boy came up beside  me (maybe 8 or 9) and said “I believe in you, you’re almost there” and started running with me saying motivating things the entire time. It was pretty adorable and definitely put a smile on my face. I amazingly still had energy and managed to finish strong with a time of 2:27:20!  I immediately walked over to Katie and teared up a bit, which I think worried her, but I reassured her they were happy tears. I heard about her race (she rocked it!) and told her all about mine. We then waited for our train back to Fulda and stretched and walked hobbled around a bit. When I got home, I foam rolled and iced (I wasn’t in pain, but it helped my tight muscles). Will I do it again? Oh ya, you bet. Now I have a time to beat!

Theme of the day!

I wrote my pacing times on my arm (I was going for 7 minute kilometers), so I could keep track at every km mark. It helped enormously, and I will continue to do this for all long races (excuse the blurry iPhone train pic)

Post race- couldn’t be more proud or happy!

I would like to thank everyone for their support. It honestly helped keep me motivated during some of the rougher spots yesterday. I’m off to the pool now in hopes of getting a good full body stretch and an afternoon in the sun before packing for my trip to Brussels tomorrow!

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5 thoughts on “Someone always has to be last…

  1. Hey Ally–
    I know it’s a late reply, but good job on the half! 🙂 I had/have ITB issues–I do this weird stretch before and after and try to cross train to strengthen my hips to help. And I swear by good running shoes determined after a gait analysis.

  2. Pingback: (Bad)Sportsmanship- Race Recap: Main-Kinzig Challenge | Hungry Ami

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