Race Recap: Iron Girl Half Marathon
I'm Lauren, an Iron Girl half marathon finisher--WHAT?!!! I can't tell you how special it was to cross that finish line--to complete something that seemed impossible, to push your body past its boundaries, to quiet your mind of "can't". It was a great day and I officially have the race bug. In fact my next race is less than 3 weeks away--the Mermaid Series sprint triathlon is up next!
Iron Girl Columbia was the perfect race for a first time half marathoner. There were approx. 300 participants which is considered a small race . Parking and onsite registration were a breeze and the post race celebration was tiny which meant no lines for food!
The race supports the Ulman Cancer fund for young adults and a portion of the proceeds go to support that foundation. WholeFoods was a big partner and they were there with post race food and drinks. Yoga and massages were offered after the race too.
My family lives on the opposite coast so my local support team (BF Oscar) and I woke up before the sun on Saturday morning, 4AM to be exact to make the trek out to Columbia. I'm so thankful that those around me support my every desire no matter how big or small it may be. I'm a lucky girl to have a strong support team both near and far!
I had a late work day the night before and barely got in 4 hours of sleep so I was tired when that alarm went off. Nonetheless I got up and quickly got ready for the 13.1 miles ahead of me. The weather was supposed to be around 75 with showers in the evening. Based on that I decided on this outfit:
Nike run rival shorts: these are lined and loose fitting with a fitted waist band and draw string. They don't rub against your against your skin and are super light weight.
Nike dri-fit knit neck sports bra: this seamless bra is breathable and has sweat-wicking technology. It is recommended for those who aren't as gifted in the chest area. It is my most used sports bra. I also have it in pink.
Lorna Jane diamonds tank: a slim fitting, moisture wicking, cut out tank that is perfect for running. This paired well with my high neck Nike bra.
CEP progressive calf compression sleeves: these help increase blood flow and add muscle support for race day. They make a huge difference in recovery. I have ran some distance runs with them and without them--I will never go without them!
FEETS cushion socks: these ultra soft cushioned socks provide arch support and contain an extended tab so the back of your ankles don't rub themselves raw during the race.
Brooks Pure Connects: a light weight stability shoe meant for those who pronate (your ankles roll in when you run). Not a good shoe for wet terrain--I learned this the hard way.
Nike AW84 dri-fit hat: a light weight adjustable running cap that is moisture wicking and machine washable.
Nathan's Running belt: this is not ideal for a BA phone. It was a pain to continue to pull it out and change a song or look at the time. I am still on the hunt for a phone holder!
Premium running gear is vital to a great run! Don't skimp on paying extra for name brand apparel and shoes, it is so worth it.
Once I was ready, I lathered on SPF and ate an almond butter and pumpkin cream cheese sandwich on whole wheat bread and a BAI antioxidant drink during the 1 hour drive to Columbia. I was an early bird and one of the first to arrive. It was still dark out once we arrived so parking and registration was quick. After I put on my race bib and placed the timing chip on my shoe, that left me with 30 min before my start time.
As the lot filled with participants, I started to get anxious. I had already been awake for 3 hours and I was ready to hit the ground running! The event had an MC and live DJ so that helped keep everyone entertained and get that energy level up for the run ahead.
Everyone corralled in the starting chute according to pace. With a goal of completing the race in 2 hours, 9:15 was my goal pace so I started in the 9:30 pace group (there is no 9:15 pace group). The gun went off at 7:15 and off I went for my first half marathon. The weather started out great, no humidity, a slight breeze and temps in the low 70's. The first track of my 2 hour playlist was brought to you by Beyoncé. Tell me this wouldn't do it for you at 7:15AM!
Mile 1-4: I recently read in Women's Running Magazine that the first mile of a run is the most important. Your body is waking up and you should really pace yourself so you don't tire yourself out towards the end. With that in mind I stayed with the 9:30 pace group for the first 2 miles. My adrenaline was high so it was tough not to take off and run fast right at the start.
It started to drizzle slightly at mile 3. I picked up the pace a bit at that time and was feeling good about the miles ahead. I skipped the water station the first few miles and had Gatorade every stop after that.
Mile 5-7: I felt a bit more at ease with every mile the Enodmondo app notified me of, that meant one mile closer to finish. The app also says the average pace you are running so it was a great reminder to either pick it up or slow it down in order to finish and reach my goal time. The drizzle was continuous and left the pavement wet. I quickly realized my shoes were not meant for wet conditions.
At mile 5 I was at 45 min of non-stop running. At this point your body starts using glycogen as fuel. This is when your body needs glucose to keep stimulating and fight fatigue. I threw back some almonds and dried cranberries at this point--the almonds were hard to eat and probably unsafe to eat while running but you know what they say, "you have to risk it to get the biscuit". My mouth was dry and I didn't have anything to wash the almonds down with at that very moment (not the best choice).
These miles were the sweet spot for me, I didn't feel fatigue at all. I did slip and fall somewhere around mile 6 at the water station. I landed on my knee hard with Gatorade in hand (didn't spill a drop) and scrapped my knee. Again, the adrenaline was still high so I got up quickly and kept running. As long as my leg was still there I was moving it forward to the finish.
Mile 8-10: This is where I got on the struggle bus. My legs started to feel heavy, I was soaked from the rain, my head was telling me "no more", my lower back was aching and the course got hilly! These were my slowest miles of the race.
Mile 11-13: With a 5K to go, my second wind kicked in and my legs were taking off faster than my body. Mile 12 and 13 were my fastest miles of the race at 8:24 pace. Once the app told me I was at mile 12, I got a bit emotional. I was really doing this thing, the finish was within reach!
I crossed the finish hands in the air at an official race time of 1:58:38--just under my 2 hour goal!
I bet you're wondering if I will do a full marathon next. I'm wondering the same thing too. Only time will tell!