All these past years of running have finally paid off!!!!! I have completed my first half-marathon and it was amazing!! I signed up with the encouragement of some veg strong friends that I met when I did Rugged Maniac this past summer. I started looking up races and signed up for the Yonkers Half Marathon without knowing that it is one of the hardest races in the US. I followed a 12 week training program by Hal Higdon and combined lots of running with some cross training as well. It was tough both physically and mentally but it was totally worth it in the end.
The day before the race was probably more difficult than the race itself! I was off from work and therefore was stuck home all day thinking and thinking and thinking about the race and hoping not to psych myself out. I just wanted the day to be over so I could wake up and race! When I get anxious and nervous all I want to do is eat – EVERYTHING! I was watching tv, stretching, walking around, trying not to overeat and give myself a stomach ache.
Thankfully, 9pm came around and I was able to go to bed and attempt to sleep. I managed to fall asleep pretty quickly and go up nice and early at 5am. I made a large batch of green smoothie to drink and ate a banana. I got to the race early so I could find a parking space and pick up my pre-race packet which consisted of my race bib and t-shirt. Since I was doing the race by myself (no family or friends at the race with me) there was more waiting around.
The waiting around involved a lot of people watching, from people putting on compression socks to men putting bandages on their nipples, I got to see a lot of different pre-race rituals.
FINALLY hundreds of people got to the starting line for some last minute announcements about the route and where we even had a moment of silence for the victims of the Boston Marathon. Then the race began at 8am sharp.
The two weirdest things I saw at the beginning of the race was a man running with a tutu on and holding a “magic wand”. The next was at around mile 2, a man ran past me juggling three balls – don’t know if he did it the whole race but I saw him run for about half a mile while juggling.
The route wasn’t too bad, with water stations at every mile and only a couple hills to get over. It was certainly different from what I expected. I was happy to see runners net to me, behind me and in front of me at all times. For some reason I though after a couple of miles I would be all by myself and everyone would have separated. There was one girl with a bright pink shirt on that I would pass some times and she would pass me then be way in front of me and then I would catch up to her. By the last 2 miles we were neck and neck and she kept me going fast!! By the last mile I lost her completely behind me and kept running fast making it to the finish line.
At the end of the race there were people there handing us metals and the shiny blankets to keep runners warm. They also had food for all the runners including bags and bags of bagels and lots of fruit.
Overall the race was an incredible experience and made me so happy that I signed up for. I have two more half-marathon races coming up before the year 2013 ends in the winter time. I have continued my running and have even added in gym workouts to build up my core and upper body strength.