Half Marathon- Post Race

I’ve been terrible at updating my blog about the half marathon and I have to admit,  I started to get really drained out with running and was ready to just be done. Well, the weekend of the half marathon was this weekend and I was not very optimistic about the race. My training had been terrible (at least, according to me) and I hardly ever reached my goal for the weekly miles I set out to achieve.

I drove up to Greenville on Friday and got to spend some time with my sweet former college roommate. We grabbed dinner and I attempted to carb load for the big day. Afterwards we spent time time downtown at Spill the Beans in good company and played Dutch Blitz. We left about 10PM and I was ready to get some sleep so that I would be well rested before the race.

I woke up during the night on Friday about 1:40 and felt wide awake. I guess the anticipation of the race woke me up but I managed to get back to sleep. I ended up waking up at 5:30 and had a cliff bar and a banana and left my friend’s apartment around 6:30. There was a cold front coming through our state this weekend, so it was freezing on Saturday! I mean… there was ice on my windshield and that is the first time i’ve seen ice this season. I only had on shorts and a long sleeve shirt. I borrowed a jacket to wear, but the chances of actually keeping it on while running was slim since your body temperature quickly warms up with all of the running activity. My best friend, Kevin, from college was also doing the half marathon and he met up with me 10 minutes before the race so that I could give him his racing bib. Here is a picture that we took literally minutes before the race.

 

Kevin and I before the Spinx Half Marathon

Kevin and I before the Spinx Half Marathon

 

Kevin decided to run the first mile of the race with me but I knew he would carry on alone after that because he runs at a much faster pace than I do. After mile 1, he gave me a little pep talk. He told me to not worry about anyone else’s pace during the race, take baby jogs if I have to– but baby jogs will be better than walking– and that I could do it. Little did I know that his pep talk would echo through my head during the entire race.

I couldn’t get my nike running app to come on before the race, so I only knew how far I was going according to the mile markers. I approached mile 4 and thought that the first 4 miles seemed easy enough- when normally that is the hardest part for me. Around mile 6, I saw Kevin’s mom, sister, and aunt cheering on everyone running through. Kelly grabbed my arm as I ran by and yelled, “Good job Kristina! Great time so far!” It was such an encouragement to me to see someone cheer me on during the race. There were so many hills through the race, especially around 8 and 9, that I wasn’t sure how much more I could do. I got into my little groove and luckily made it up them pretty well. I got to mile 10 and thought, “This is the most I have ever ran and I have 3 more miles to go. I can do this!” I didn’t see a mile marker for awhile and I was running up hills so I felt discouraged because  I thought the race would never end! I ended up meeting back up with Debbie right before mile 12 and it was such a Godsend. I was feeling so tired and worn out and ready to walk, but Debbie managed to encourage me the last mile. She told me that she wanted to cross the finish line with me and I knew that I could finish it. There was only one mile left, how could I quit now?! The last mile felt SO long, but finally we approached the stadium. The finish line involved us running in the stadium and around the outside of the field and almost crossing home plate. A wave of emotions crossed over me and I teared up because I set out to do something that I could have never dreamed of doing.  It is truly by the Lord’s strength that I could even run the whole distance and perform the way that I did. I even finished far above my goal time at 2:14!

This experience has been incredible and I’m so glad that I was able to do it. I’m not sure when i’ll do another half, or if I will… but I will never forget the day that I ran my first half marathon!

 

Right after the half marathon!

Right after the half marathon!

Peach Festival

This weekend I traveled to Greenville to visit old friends and to participate in a 10K at The Peach Festival in Gaffney. I signed up for this race earlier this summer because I wanted something that would motivate me to train for another race, while still training for the half marathon. On Friday, I nearly talked myself out of doing the race. For some reason, I was not motivated at all. I almost used the rain as an excuse and even the distance (the race was a 50 minute drive from the location I was staying at in Gville). I knew I would regret not going to the race, so I mustered up enough energy to make the drive early on Saturday morning for the race.

The registration mentioned that the first mile was uphill and the last mile was downhill, while the rest of the race was just through residential neighborhoods. The registration neglected to mention that the entire race pretty much consisted of rolling hills. I didn’t feel prepared for the hills and felt mentally exhausted as I approached each one.

By mile two, I wanted to stop! I ended up walking about 1/4 of the mile for the entire race, but I just felt so defeated because I walked. I noticed that there was a girl in front of me and it appeared that her mission was to stay in front of me. She would frequently look back to see if I was still behind her or if I was close to her. As I watched her run, I noticed that hills are her weakness. I hate hills but I will run up them if they are in a race. Around mile 5, there was a huge hill and I knew she wouldn’t run up it so I pushed myself to make the run up the hill while passing her on the way. Later in the mile, she managed to get back in front of me just a little. At that point, I no longer cared about my time (since I walked, I figured that my time wouldn’t be great) because I just wanted to beat her. I have never tried to beat someone in a race because my goal has always been just to run the race and to finish it. This time, it was different. I was on the last mile of the race and ended up sprinting as fast as I could to zoom past her. I ended up with a time of 57:22 which is my fastest time yet!! I was so surprised considering that I walked some of it and stopped for water breaks. After finishing the race, I no longer felt defeated. I felt very accomplished and proud that I managed to pull out my best time out of the three 10Ks that I have done. I finished 4th overall in my age bracket for 25-29 year olds. The female in front of me had a time of 57:11, so if I had not walked my name would have been on the board as third. Oh well, there is always next time! Here is a picture from the race! Appropriately, I was holding a peach since it was the Peach Festival! 🙂

 

FINISH THE RACE

This year I strived to reach a goal that I never thought I could acheive.

It all started last Fall (2012) when I decided to sign up for my first 10K, The Cooper River Bridge Run. I spent time training from December until April with a girl from my life group. There were really hard days of thinking that I couldn’t reach my goal and there were days that I felt awesome and so ready for the race.

I can remember the race clear as day. We woke up around 4 AM in order to be downtown to get on the bus. There were about 100 buses taking racers from multiple destinations to the start line. We quickly grabbed breakfast and set out for the morning. April, Mindy and I were all in the same corral in hopes of staying together. I quickly noticed as the race started that there was no way we would end up racing together. The race started and I weaved in and out of people and eventually passed mile marker “2” with little difficulty.  When I originally signed up for the race, I had doubts about being able to run up the bridge because of the elevation. I knew that I had to focus on running one step at a time in order to not get overwhelmed as we started running 1.5 miles up the bridge. Slowly I reached mile marker “4” at the top of the bridge and knew that I could finish the race if I made it to the top.  There were many turns before I even saw the finish line, but I remember turning a corner and seeing the huge banner labeled, “FINISH.”  I was almost in tears as I reached the end because I reached a goal that I set out to acheive. I honestly never thought that I would be considered a runner and that I could do it. I experienced the “runners high” and knew that I wanted more.

This picture was taken right after I finished my first 10k!

So, now that I have finished one 5K and two 10Ks since December, I have set an even bigger goal! I have decided to run in my first half marathon.

I spent time studying to figure out which half marathon would be a good first one. After much consideration, I have settled on training for the Spinx Fest Half Marathon in Greenville. I feel a little nervous about the race because the last half of the race is a bit hilly, but I only have one goal: FINISH THE RACE.

I started week 4 of training and decided that I want to spend time blogging about my experience of training for my first half marathon.

This year I will reach a goal that I never thought I could achieve.

Misti and I at the start of week 4 of training for the half marathon!

So this is how it goes..

Well, I’ve finally jumped on board with blogging! I created a blog after hearing about about Paleo Pen Pals. Paleo Pen Pals is for people who are living a Paleo lifestyle (basically a caveman diet) and want to be challenged to create new foods that stick within the Paleo lifestyle. Essentially, you end up being paired with a person across the United States and will be sent an ingredient within the first two weeks of the month and you have to create a recipe using that ingredient.

I definitely don’t consider myself to be a great cook or to have a lot of knowledge, but I do have a passion for it. I first started doing Paleo with my roommate around August or so and found it to be really challenging, yet so great! I started eating so healthy and felt great physically since I was eating natural foods! Some of the challenges I faced mostly included figuring out how to budget for a Paleo lifestyle because as you know, healthy food is pretty expensive. Also, living that kind of lifestyle requires you to cook pretty often and it was hard to find the time to do it! I slowly weened off of the lifestyle, but still kept a lot of what I learned and just adapted it to my lifestyle. I recently came across Paleo Pen Pals on Twitter or Facebook and felt so intrigued by it! My hopes for this blog is to create and post new recipes using the ingredients that have been sent to me. Here is to trying Paleo again and learning to be creative. 🙂