Monday, December 9, 2013

Half Marathon Recap!!

OUC Orlando Half Marathon & Track Shack Lake Eola 5k
Check and check. I've officially run a half-marathon! After two failed attempts due to injury, this past Saturday I was feeling healthy and strong and completed the 13.1 mile run at the OUC Half Marathon in Orlando, Florida. It felt so good to accomplish a goal I've been trying to accomplish since my junior year of college.

The morning of the race, Brett and I both woke up at 3:30 AM feeling pretty rested. I had originally set my alarm for 5, but I woke up excited and after lying in bed until 4 decided to just get up. I ate a breakfast of overnight oats with chia seeds, oatmeal, cocoa powder, banana and almond milk. While eating I started stretching out my sleepy legs and didn't stop stretching until I needed to get dressed and pack a few things before heading out the door. 

It was still pitch black outside when we left the house at 6. We played some pump up music and were at Lake Eola before we knew it. We found parking pretty easily and had about 40 minutes of free time before the race started. We headed straight to the port-o-potties because the lines were extremely long.  Brett brought my road bike so he could get around the coarse easier and cheer me on as much as he could during the race. I wanted to wait as long as possible to use the bathroom before the race, so I watch the bike while Brett got in line. After about 20 minutes I started getting worried that Brett would take too long and that I wouldn't be able to go before the start of the race. I decided to get in line with the bike and I'm so glad I did. Brett took the bike from me soon after and I continued to stretch while waiting in line. About ten minutes later I still hadn't made it to the front of the line and the national anthem began to play. I was getting really antsy by this time.

I finally became my turn and I went as fast as I could and rushed to join the crowd of racers. There were so many people that I only weaved my way up to the 10-minute mile pace marker before the starting canon went off. Even though I wasn't able to start at the 9-minute mile pace marker like I had planned, I'm happy in a way that I didn't have any time to wait around and get nervous. The craziness of waiting in the bathroom line and rushing to the start crowd of runners kept me from getting nervous about the race. In the end I even think it helped me meet my goal of a 8:30 minute-mile pace because I was motivated to catch up to the 9-minute mile pace runner.

The first mile went so quickly as I had to weave in and out of tons of people and try not to step on anyone's toes. By the second mile there was more space to run as each runner began to spread out and find their own pace. The weather was great and for the first five miles or we ran in shade because the sun was still waking up.

Brett was such an encouragement throughout the whole race. Because he had a bike, he was able to see me and cheer me on at so many different point during the race--almost every mile or two! He even recruited other people near by him to cheer for me. Hearing them yell always gave me an added boost of energy.

Around mile five I had the slighted feeling of nausea, but nothing too intense that it affected my pace. At mile eight, however, it got a little more intense. I have this odd problem with light when I'm running. If sun light is flickering because of trees or buildings and I'm constantly running in and out of sunlight, I get nauseous. Thankfully, I was still able to maintain a good pace. I just wasn't able to pick up my pace like I had hoped. It's so hard to know what causes nausea during races. Was it something I ate? Was it the strobe light affect from the sun? Was it just excitement? I so wish I could know so that I could prepare better for whatever race I run next.

I never once looked at my iPod during the race to check my pace. I had done the math before the race to figure out rough estimates of what my time should be at certain mile markers if I wanted to finish with a 8:30 minute mile pace. I was still close to my goal by mile 11 and just tried to maintain my pace despite the nausea. 

Over all my stomach was the only real problem I ran into. My hips started to get a little sore and my index toe on my left foot felt bruise, but they didn't hold me back.

The last mile was probably the hardest. My nausea was getting worse. I just kept telling myself that I was so close and I would be able to stop soon. With about a few tenths of a mile left, the most encouraging girl running behind me starting cheering me on and encouraging me to keep going. She may have been the reason I was able to keep up my pace.

I continued to run, trying to keep up with a girl in front of me. As soon as I rounded the last corner and saw the finish line I finally mustered up the will to increase my speed. I wanted to stop so bad and kept feeling like I might lose it, but soon enough I heard my name announced as I crossed the finish line. When I stopped I had a moment of dizziness, but felt pretty good. I got my medal and grabbed some water and orange slices. I looked for Brett as I walk off the nausea and was soon feeling pretty good.

After I found Brett was met up with another friend who had run the race and talked about our different experiences as we stretched. I kept saying, "I can't believe it's over." It amazes me how much time I spent training for this race and then, just like that, it's over! Of course, as soon as my nausea was gone I was talking about my next goal: a marathon!

The Results:
Place: 555
Age: 24
Div Place: 22
Gender Place: 147 out of 1763
Net Time: 1:51:14
Pace: 8:29.4

I just barely made my pace goal of 8:30! And I also got this souvenir:

I hope a marathon actually happens. As of right now I'm going to continue upping my mileage in hopes to run the Miami Marathon at the end of January. I'll also add in more cross training to decrease my chances of injury. The thought of running a half-marathon and more each weekend to continue training for a marathon is daunting, but I know I would be ecstatic to accomplish another goal so soon. I'll keep you posted!

Of course, Brett and his sweet self planned a restaurant for us to go to for brunch after the race. He found a vegan restaurant called Ethos Vegan Kitchen located in one of my favorite parts of Orlando: Winter Park. After getting our fill of vegan cinnamon french toast, sausage tofu burritos and chocolate soy milk, we walked over to the farmers market and picked up a bunch of fresh produce for the week. It was a great day to check another thing off my bucket list!

Any tips or advice for a first time marathon runner?


  1. How fun!!! I ran my first half marathon in May, and I totally understand everything you said! Our times were even super close - I finished in 1:49! I get nauseous too when I drift in and out of sunlight. The pics of you are great - love the thumbs up! It weird that you're in a tank top and shorts - here in Michigan you can't go outside without 2 layers on! That restaurant you went to after the race sounds fantastic too. Where are the pics of that? haha. I want to run a marathon someday. I'm not sure when though! I know what you mean - it would be crazy to run a half marathon every week!

    1. That's awesome you did one in May! And it's good to know I'm not the only one with weird sunlight/nausea problems. Sadly I didn't take any pictures of our food that day, but it was delicious! Hope you're staying warm in Michigan:)


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