Monday, March 3, 2014

The Woodland's Half Marathon Race Recap

So, yeah, the Woodland's Half Marathon, let's just say it wasn't my favorite race ever.  Not because the race itself wasn't fun, but because of my lack of training.  I did not train for this race AT ALL and I paid for it that hot and muggy Saturday morning.

My day started at 4 am when I woke up and ate breakfast (PB toast) and drove to the race site.  I didn't know what the traffic and parking would be like, so I made sure to leave no later than 5:15 am.  Luckily, I found parking easily and walked over to the finish line to check my bag.  It was sprinkling a bit at this point, so I stayed under a canopy and stretched until it was almost time to go.

The race started with the National Anthem and we were off!  I ran for about a mile straight before I stopped to walk, it actually probably wasn't that long (I didn't have my watch).  I was struggling already and I knew that I had  a looooong way to go before I could finish this thing and I was seriously thinking about calling it quits right then.  I saw my friend Sarah at mile 2 and she had a huge smile of her face and encouraged me not to quit.  Around this time I also met a group of women that were doing a 1 minute walk and 1 minute run the entire way, and I asked if I could stay with them and they said sure.  I am so thankful for them because without them, I would have not finished.  They were running for a little girl at their school who has spinal bifida, and I believe their entire team won an award for the most money raised.

I had my hand-held water bottle with me the entire time, but I still took cups of water/gatorade at some of the stations.  My stomach started to feel like I was going to throw up multiple times on the course, I think it was the humidity and the lack of training that almost did me in.  Luckily, my new friends wouldn't let me stop and encouraged me to keep going.  When I was training for my marathon or even other half's, I never realized how long a half marathon is. LOL.  That distance is a monster without training.  Note to self:  Do not attempt a half marathon without training ever again.  I have a half marathon coming up in April, I need to actually train for that one.

The finish line was a small portion on the water way, but not as much as I would have liked.  There were a lot of people at the finish line (being close to the mall in all), but the course it self was lacking people.  I finished, got my medal, took a group photo with my new spinal bifida friends, and then headed to the food line.  The food selection was great in my opinion (but I heard they were running low for the marathon finishers that finished after 4 hours), you had the choice of either 2 breakfast tacos or a chicken sandwich from Chick-fil-a, and also they had cookies, fruit, muffins, and drinks (I got chocolate milk).

While in line for food, I saw my blog friend Tabitha!  We have been blog friends since last year, but this is the first time we have met in person.  I went with her to her team's tent and we chatted for a bit, then I said good bye and headed to my sisters house to shower and nap before we went to a wedding that night.  I showed my medal to my nephews and they were unimpressed.  Thanks kids. :/ LOL.

Cons of this race:
Overall, I think it was a well organized race, but it did have its down sides.  A few things that I didn't like (and that I saw others complaining about on the race FB page) were packet pick up was only on Thursday and Friday before the race, and no race day pickup.  For those of you who do not know where the Woodland's is, it is about 30-45 minutes (depending on traffic) from Houston and on a Friday afternoon after work, it is about 1.5 hours.  I understand with 7,000 people running a race and trying to pick up their packet the morning of the race, it might be difficult to have it on race day morning, but if the race wasn't forever far away, then it wouldn't be too bad.  I usually look at that before I register, but this time I didn't notice that.

Also, the 1st water stop on the 1/2 course wasn't well stocked, they seemed to be very unprepared for this race.  Luckily, I had my water bottle with me, but others had to stop and wait until they could pour them a cup.  Crowd support on the course was lacking and the course itself was a bit boring and not much to see.

Finishers Medal to add to my collection:

I noticed right after I crossed the finish line that it had a ding in the black part of the medal, but I didn't want to turn it in because it gave it character and a little black sharpie will fix it right up.  Plus, it sort of summarizes how the race went and how I felt afterwards--beat up!

Now, before you see my time for this event, realize that my PR is 2:25 and when I train I can be much better, but there is no excuses for my lack of training.  I should have done better and it is 100% my fault that I did so poorly.

Overall finish time:  3:09.25
Age group rank:  #377 out of 417

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