I ran the Fort 4 Fitness Half Marathon in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Fort 4 Fitness Half Marathon
Overall Placing: 2130 / 2914
Division Placing (F 25-29): 180 / 290
Overall Placing Among Women Runners: 948 / 1560
5-mile Mark Time, Pace and Overall Placing: 59:37 / 11:56-min mile / 2315
10-mile Mark Time, Pace and Overall Placing: 1:58:08 / 11:49-min mile / 2157
Last 5K Time, Pace and Overall Placing: 38:13 / 12:18-min mile / 2079
- Got 7 hours of sleep. Got up at 6 a.m.
- Ate some oats and PB for breakfast and one 16-oz glass of NUUN water.
- Got my race gear on. And my 2:30 pacing tat (which I happily found for free at the expo Friday)
- Put BodyGlide on my feet. Life saver. No blisters baby!
- Arrived downtown at 6:35 a.m. Was at the race by 6:40 a.m. Yeah, early. husband is a creature of habit and didn’t want to be late. We had super close parking via husband workplace. So then I had oh… 1 hour, 20 min… before my race. Husband takes off on the 4-miler at 7:30 a.m.
- I sit for a while to rest my legs. Look around for the half a dozen or so other half-marathoners I knew who were taking part but didn’t see any of them! So many people.
- Then I did my stretching and a trip to the pot even though I didn’t have to go. I was figuring I should err on the side of caution in case I were to run into a Shut Up and Run type scenario. Avid readers of Beth’s blog will know what I’m talking about.
- Hit my corral and had some small talk with another first-time half runner until I realized I should move to the right side of the corral in preparation for the first turn – on the right.
- Ate a few GU Chomps and sipped my water bottle one last time. This helped my nerves and belly a lot. By eating breakfast nearly 2 hours before race start I was worried about fueling. Usually when I run at home I take off about 30-min after breakfast.
- The mayor said a prayer which I thought was really nice. I enjoy that at races. It seems these days everyone is so afraid of offending someone they fear mentioning God. The prayer kept my mind at ease. And off we went!
Fort 4 Fitness Half Marathon
Mile 1: Here I am! This mile was mostly about realizing the race had started and there was no turning back. I was really thankful for the corral system which put me in the pack with runners around my same pace. There was no pressure to run faster than I had planned, which has in the past done me in at smaller races.
I enjoyed hearing conversations among other runners, getting into my groove and warming up a bit. I complained to the husband about the cool temps when we arrived but by the end of Mile 1 I was so thankful the weather was perfect.
Miles 2 – 5: Here’s where I kept my l pace going steady and continued to enjoy the sights and sounds. The runners began to spread out a bit. I had no issues with running into anyone (except one time later in the race at a water stop.)
I had two more GU Chomps around mile 4 and made sure to get water at every stop available. Part of my race plan was to not dehydrate. I walked through the water stations and picked up my run immediately after.
I looked for police officers at each intersection to see who was doing traffic control. I was happy to see about four cops I know from my day job. That was cool because seeing as I did not have a running partner I was flying solo. I yelled out and said “Hi!” Most of them probably thought I was crazy for doing this race.
Miles 5 – 10: Best miles ever. Prior to this race I had never run more than 8.2-miles. I knocked my socks off that record. I found a great pace. I felt invincible. During this portion of the race I also passed through Foster Park, an area familiar to me in training. I felt at home. Around mile 8 or 9 one of my work/runner buddies popped out of nowhere.
Well, actually she was sitting on a street corner spectating. She ran out to me and kept on beside me for a few hundred yards. That was really cool and unexpected!! I also had the rest of my GU Chomps around this point.
Miles 10 – 13: This is where the mental game began to set in. As early as Mile 3 my left IT band started grumbling. By mile 10 it was numb. By mile 11 my whole lower body was numb. I am adamant my muscles were still strong and happy. But my IT band was not.
Fort 4 Fitness Half Marathon
It was so tempting to stop and stretch a bit or walk. But I didn’t. If I did I knew it would be near impossible for me to restart my running pace. I continued to walk through the water stops but had to kick my own rump to get going after a few steps and a few sips. There were also more and more runners starting to walk at this point. I didn’t want to join their crowd.
I had my last fuel, a GU Espresso Love energy gel around mile 10.5 or 11. I had thought I would look forward to this (I love espresso) but at that point in the race I took it because it was part of the “plan.” I’m sure it did give me a boost, but I was so busy focusing on my numb lower body that I don’t remember. I kept running although my pace definitely suffered at this point in the game and my stats above show it.
Around mile 11.5 someone yelled out from a street corner that we had 1 mile left to go. I remember believing them. (Note to self: Spectators may be spectating for a reason and have no idea how far a mile is). They were wrong. When I came up to the 12 mile sign I nearly pissed a fit.
When I got back on South Calhoun I knew my territory and knew how close I was to the finish. There was a small down hill portion that gave me hope. Also I began to see people leaving the event with medals in tow. “Uh, where’s my medal?”
Oh yeah, I have get done with this first to get one!!!I wish I could say I sprinted the last mile, or even the last few hundred yards. But my lower limbs and hips were hurting so bad at this point the best I could do was go “faster” as I entered the stadium.
As I saw a camera guy I was able to do a little fist pump. Then the announcer yelled out my name. “Say what?!” (I had no idea they do this.) Then my husband yelled my name. I saw him from the corner of my eye as I crossed the finish line.
Fort 4 Fitness Half Marathon
- As soon as I stopped running my legs thanked me! I got a banana, apple and a bottle of h20 and immediately got into the camera line with my medal. I didn’t feel winded at all. My endurance held up wonderful during this race. Now I just need to find a way to get my IT band to hold up.
- I wiped some sweat off my face (I’m a salty sweater, as they call it) so that my post-race photo would look decent. Later the husband informed me I still had salt above my brows and in my “smile lines.”
- I was so thankful of taking water at every stop offered and for fueling before and during this race. By using the water stops I avoided bringing a handheld with me. I did, however, carry my fuel in my hand until I consumed it. But that worked fine. I made sure to note all that here so I can remember what I did that went right!
- When I met up with the husband he had a bag I had packed with some items including flip flops. What a life saver!
- Another life saver was my pacing tat. While I didn’t make 2:30, I did come very close. Keeping track of my time with my watch and comparing it to the tattoo at every mile kept me honest. I thought it was a great tool to have!
- I also took a half of a GU Brew recovery drink after the race. And I ate the banana.
- When I took my shoes off, however, I saw one toenail was very pink. I began to panic. “Is it going to fall off?” Well, so far it hasn’t but it’s still sore along with my other toenails. (Note to self: Trim toenails next time) I felt some rubbing as I got into the last few miles. Here’s to hoping the toenail remains intact.)
- Got home. Showered. Used some recovery bath salts to sooth my legs. However, the salts seemed to sooth my rump more than anything else! No joke! So I’m not really sure if the salts helped me any.
- I felt great. A little sore but no biggie. Until I sat down. I took a nap for about an hour. Then I read for a while. When I got up things were RO. The tightness in my legs hadn’t gone away, especially my outer knees and hips. The tops of my ankles even hurt a bit… I’m thinking from the hills. I started to hobble around the apartment and the husband gave me the nickname “Hobbly.” The hobbling continued into Sunday but lessened after a good night’s sleep (9.5 hours!). I hope the hobbling goes away by Monday or Tuesday at the latest.
- I made sure I didn’t binge after the race. I had some more small snacks and then a normal dinner. For a treat the husband and I got Baskin Robbins. And I topped off the night with a glass of wine.
Would I do this again? Yes! Am I hooked? Yes! I am so proud of myself! Here I thought I would be barely getting by, doing a run/walk ratio. Instead I ended up running the whole thing! (My water walks don’t count toward that) And I beat my previous long-run record by nearly 5-miles.
It was hard though. I’m not going to lie. There were times at the end where I wanted to walk the rest of the way. Or even walk just a little bit. But then I told myself if I did that would be saying my whole summer of training was for nothing. I did not want my training to go by in vain. I pushed on and persevered. And I’m happy I did.