OUC Half Marathon: OUCh {Race Recap}

Half Marathon #15 is DONE.

Oh boy, that hurt. BUT Half #15 is DONE. #OUCHalf

This race was full of blunders, humidity, and hurt. It was both mentally elating and frustrating, which is also how I would describe running this entire year, so it’s fitting that this would be my last race in 2013.

But, let’s start at the very beginning…

I swear Evan KNOWS when I have to wake up early, because the kid was up a gazillion times that night. The last wakeup was at 4:20, which really sucked because I had my alarm set for 4:45. Good thing he’s so freaking cute.

The morning went as planned. I got up, got dressed (after trying on several shirts – I was still ‘meh’ about my outfit, but it worked), pumped, ate a Clif Bar, and headed out to get Paula. I got to her house around 6:10 and we were downtown and parked by 6:25. Yeah, local races with plenty of free parking right by the race start don’t suck.

After a porta-potty visit, we lined up. Like last year, it was a madhouse and we ended up WAY behind where we wanted to start because we couldn’t push up any further in the lineup. I really wanted to start at the 9:00/mile marker, but we were behind the 10:00+ marker.  I feel like if Track Shack wants this half marathon to grow every year (like it has) they are going to have to start assigning corrals.

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This was pretty much the same view behind us as well. We were same dab in the middle.

In any case, about 2.5 minutes after the start, I crossed the start line and I was off. And here’s where the blunders began…

Remember how I asked if anyone had a Garmin to borrow? Well, Victoria kindly volunteered one of hers – and I chose the the Forerunner 10 so that I could test it out. I THOUGHT I had figured out how to use it the night before, but it was evident during the race that I did not. It wasn’t until I was about a quarter mile in where I discovered I didn’t start it. Derp. So much for that.

Still, the first 3 miles ticked by. I started out slow thanks to the congestion and the Garmin, but quickly gained some speed. From what I could tell, I was averaging a 8:50-9:00 pace for miles 2 and 3. I kept telling myself not to push too hard, but those miles felt easy so I went with it. I know it’s not always a good half marathon race strategy, but I find if I go out fast I tend to do in the long run. I hit the 5K mark at 28:20 — a 9:07 pace.

By mile 5 I was loving life. That is typically my sweet spot and this race proved no differently. Around that time I started strategically planning when I was going to stop for water (and walk) and take a gel. I had decided NOT to bring my own water and just rely on the water stops — I now kind of regret that decision and it’s a decision I’ve regretted before — so maybe this time I’ll actually learn? The water stops were supposed to be about 1.5 miles apart — and  most of the time this was true. Except the 2-3 that were more like 2 miles apart. This wouldn’t have been an issue if I took water at every stop, but I decided to stop at every OTHER stop. Fail.

That said, the miles continued to tick by. I hit the 10K mark at 56:37 (9:06 pace). Despite the fact that it was getting warmer and it was SOOOOO humid I just felt better and better.

My next blunder occurred around mile 7 or 8… my right shoe was untied (despite double knotting my shoes). I quickly pulled off the side of the road to retie it (and tighten the left one as well). Unfortunately, I tied the right one TOO tight and it continued to hurt the rest of the run. FAIl. Again. Also, stopping and squatting down during the middle of race?? Not a great idea for my hip flexors apparently.

Still, I was able to get back into a faster pace and somehow hit the 15K mark at 1:25:34 (still a 9:06 pace). By mile 9.5 I thought that Victoria’s Garmin MIGHT really have magic PR juju (she PR’d the crap out her marathon last week!). I wasn’t on course to PR, but I was on course to sub-2. Which I wasn’t aiming for all (my goal was to knock 10 minutes off my Baldwin Park Half time).

And then things fell apart.

For starters, I missed a water stop. I mean, I didn’t miss seeing it – but for some reason they had Gatorade first and then water. I asked for water and they shouted, “It’s up there!” and so I kept running. And then I realized (after I passed the stop completely) by “up there” they meant “right next to me.” So, I turned around and ran back. For about 2 seconds I thought about just skipping the stop, but I haven’t had water in about 3 miles and I knew I needed it.

And then there were the hills. I know, I know – Orlando is flat! But I swear to you there were lots of mini hills those last three miles and they were brutal. Especially combined with the damn cobblestone we also have to deal with. I felt like around every corner was a hill. At some point I even shouted (probably getting some weird looks) ENOUGH WITH THE HILLS! Needless to say, this was not my favorite OUC Course (they change it every year due to city ordinance – so you never know what you’re going to get!).

So in the end… those last three miles killed me. I even thought “Why wouldn’t I want to run another marathon??” and “Why am I running this race??” It’s funny how quickly positive running endorphins can turn into negative ones. I knew I had missed my opportunity to sub-2 by mile 12, but I was still within my goal of shaving off those 10 minutes. So, I pressed on. I was determined NOT to walk and finish with a smile on my face.

After what felt like an eternity, I turned the corner onto Robinson St. — searching the crowd for Dan and the kids. At first I couldn’t see him and was worried that he didn’t make it in time — until I saw a beaming, chubby face being lifted into the air. There is really nothing better than seeing your very own cheerleading crew at the end of a race. Except perhaps crossing the finish line, which I did in 2:03:33. (9:21 pace)

I walked very, very slowly through the chute (I was hurting!) and finally caught up with my crew.

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About 2 minutes later I heard my name — and there was Katy!

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She totally rocked her race — and I can’t say I didn’t have little race envy.

We chatted for a little bit, waiting for Paula to finish.

Finishers! So happy @eatwatchrun and I ran into @kwidrick (who kicked major ass).

One things was for certain – despite the smiles in this picture we were ALL hurting.

We completely skipped the after party this year. I probably should have grabbed some ice and a beer, but instead, I dropped Paula back home and had breakfast at Keke’s….

Fun at Keke's! #betterthancoloring #starving

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We had to wait a little bit to eat,so it was more like lunch — but it was well worth the wait. I kind of forgot that post-race meals are FANTASTIC.

Despite hurting and having somewhat negative feelings towards toward this race there were a lot of race highlights…

  • Great parking! This year I parked in the garage behind the race and it was completely stress free and close to the start.
  • Amazing National Anthem. I’m not sure who sang, but she did a great job
  • Enthusiastic spectators. We ran through primarily residential areas and it’s always great to see people come out and cheer us on! I especially excited to see one of my book club friends out cheering with her three little girls (her husband ran it and came in 4th place! Wow!)
  • Great race signs – and the “Beer stop” at mile 11(ish?). I was very, very tempted to grab a red solo cup and chug. The guy next to me did and he managed to manage his pace the rest of the race.
  • Beautiful scenery and lots of shade and lakes. I think I said this last year too – Orlando is “The City Beautiful” for a reason.
  • Seeing friends during the course and at the finish! I ran into Kristina around mile 8 (literally), saw Katy at the finish, and I tried to meet up with Amanda too – but sadly that didn’t happen. Racing is always better with racing buddies!

While 2013 wasn’t the best year for me in terms of running – I’m happy to be in a place where I feel like I’m “bouncing back” after having Evan. This half marathon proved to me that I have some speed left in me and I have a feeling that 2014 is going to be GREAT year for racing. So in summary…. bring on 2014! I’m ready for some PRs.

Comments

  1. says

    Nice race! I don’t know how you can run without carrying fluid. I only do that for 5Ks and that’s usually something I regret :)

    Don’t you hate how babies try to sabotage races? I don’t know how they know, but they do.
    Kara recently posted..5K PR and Crafty Stockings

    • says

      I just hate carrying a water bottle and felt silly about wearing my vest for just 13 miles… but yeah, I won’t do that again. It’s not as big a deal when it cooler/less humid (because I’m part camel), but that was definitely a fail. You’d think I was a rookie or something!

      And babies are such saboteurs. Adorable, sweet saboteurs.

    • says

      Hee! I JUST say the #OUCH yesterday when everyone was tweeting (instead of the #OUCHalf). So fitting, right?

      I love racing with you too. Just sucks that yesterday was a crappy day. Don’t forget the silver lining… no underwear = less clothes.

  2. Maryellen says

    Awesome run..even though it hurt .. it made you stronger..healthier..happier.. can’t go wrong there!! Love ya!!

  3. Sara B. says

    Good to know I wasn’t the only one hurting – I gave in at mile 10 and took an unnecessary port-a-john stop. :-(

    Thought I spotted you in one of the Sentinel’s online photos (#39?) – check it out.

    • says

      Yes – that’s me! Why am I the only one looking at the camera? How am I looking at the camera?? I usually look away from cameras because I look like an idiot (see picture for proof!).

      I was so ready to throw in the towel at mile 10, but just kept thinking “less than 30 minutes to go – less than 30 minutes to go!” I’m so thankful that was true.

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