Life Lessons From My First Wolf Hollow Half Marathon

 

Hiya Friends!

 

How are we doing this post-Turkey day?! If you’re in New England, I hope you have power and are enjoying our first batch of snowfall as much as I am. And by enjoy, I mean staying under the covers and ignoring the world outside.

 

Or are you out shopping/running Grannies over for George Foreman grills and reindeer flannel sheets?

You know, I think Black Friday didn’t get it’s name from all the shopping bonanza going on. No, I think it is a call to wear all black for the slimming effects after getting turkey drunk and stuffing wasted.

 

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Or atleast that’s my definition. If you’re looking for me, I’ll be the one looking like I’m about to rob a bank.

 

I hope you have nothing to do for the rest of the day, because this will be a bit lengthy. Might as well get all the running and half marathon recap-age in one post for my selfish purposes of only having to look back to one for all it’s glory.

 

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You might as well just bring the whole pot of coffee as you snuggle in for my Wolf Hollow Half Marathon recap, and what running 13.1 miles taught me..more than hating and loving running at the same time. Trust me, it’s possible.

 

I’ve taken you along for the ride through training, my fueling freakouts, and 5 AM running wake up calls, so I’ll just get to recapping race day. It all started on Saturday evening…(swirly flashback transition here.)

 

8 PM

 

Like any good race virgin, I set out my outfit, loaded up my fuel, filled my camelbak, and posted on Instagram.

 

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Normally the loom of a race the next morning would put me into the worse night’s sleep, but having my phone crap out on me made for an especially lackluster night. I was terrified of sleeping through my ipod’s alarm since I use it to listen to podcasts to lull me to sleep, so waking up about every hour it was.

 

6:45 AM

Luckily my internal alarm was set for work anyways, and got up early. I immiediately chugged a big glass of water, ate a banana with peanut butter, but could only stomach a quarter of my larabar. I opted for half a cup of coffee to get things moving.

 

7:15 AM

Two bathroom trips later, I suited up for the race. The day looked to be a warm one for New Hampshire this time of year, 45 degrees and sunny. On went some Procompression socks, leggings, shorts, sports bra, tank, neon pullover, camelbak, and Garmin.

I was a little nervous I was going to be too warm with my fleece, but opted for it mainly for the reason so my loyal fans could spot me in the crowd.

 

7:30 AM

My chariot arrives as Papa John escorts me to the race. We wanted to get there early enough since a football game was going on the same time as the race. Really?! Any other time would have been fine, but it wasn’t too big of an issue.

8:15 AM

We sit in the gym to stay warm, while I sipped on some of my Emergen-C in my camelbak. The nerves are starting to settle in.

 

8:40 AM

I am so happy to find my loyal supporter and biggest fan Hannah waiting for me at the start line. I have her to thank for all these great photos! I shoot to the porta potties for one last visit before the race.
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8:57 AM

Realize how bad of an idea it was to wait so long for the bathroom. I make it out with just a few minutes to spare before start time. I find MJ right before the race starts for a quick hello/goodbye before I fumble to get my ipod on and in my camelbak as the pack starts to move. Bad and rookie beginning, but I’m off!

 

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I’ll break it down by mile since my concept of time was absolutely incoherent.

 

Mile 1: 10:04

After my rocky start, I realize I am actually running a half marathon. 13 miles ahead of me. No turning back. What the hell am I thinking?! The sun is shining, it’s warm and I know I am going to be too hot.

 

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I can start to feel my left calf start to bug me. Remember that time I injured my leg after Insanity? Little white lie I never told you, it never fully healed. I ran through it, relying on compression socks and ibuprofen to get me through after each run for the stubborn fact that I was running this race no matter what. Running with pain didn’t help my cause. This was going to be a lonnng race.

 

Mile 2: 10:05

Settling into the groove, and making our loop around the high school and back as the 5k racers start heading out. I see Papa John, Lisa, and Nicole and cheer them on. I get to see my loyal supporters before heading into the woods for the trails. A good little mood boost to take my mind off my leg.

Mile 3: 10:35

Feeling good, I settle into a rhythm. I never even take a glimpse at my Garmin to check my pace, and try to remind myself that my time goal is: FINISH.

Mile 4: 10:25

I take my first bit of fuel: 3 dates, each chased with a slug of Emergen-C. I power up our first hill, feeling strong and telling myself I need to get a shirt that says ” I eat hills for breakfast.” I love hills.

Mile 5: 10:17

I love running! Despite being warm, I feel amazing. I soak in the sites of  trails, Nashua skyline (aka a mill building), and feel a part of this big running community.

Mile 6: 10:28

Still feeling strong as I revel in the coolness of the path underneath a bridge. We approach close to the halfway mark! Thankful I snuck in that last potty visit after seeing a line at the porta-potty on the trail.

Mile 7: 10:26

I hate running. The loop around a soccer field starts with two minor hills, soon followed by two back to back steep, rocky hills before we loop back to our beginning point on the trail for another round. I power up the hills until descending back into the woods and realizing I would have to do this all over again on almost dead legs. They already hate me.

Mile 8: 11:32

I realize I do not like loops during races. I take the second half of my fuel and some sips of Emergen-C. The warmer weather is making me more thirsty which scares me of cramping, but take more sips anyways. I can feel myself getting slower and hotter.

Mile 9: 11:30

I contemplate starting to walk. The sun is beating down with no shade in sight, and can’t roll my sleeves up any higher. I refuse to stop to take my jacket off because remember, I’m stubborn. I pound on as my inspiration music dedicated to those who supported me start. First up is Papa John’s with “sweet Home Alabama.” I try and channel in on our road trip to Bama as we blared this upon crossing the state line. But then I remember I’m running, and hating it.

Mile 10: 11:28

I perk up a little as MJ’s song came on, “Show Me Love” by Robin S. It makes me want to dance, so I push a little harder instead.

Mile 11: 11:29

Downhills aren’t as beneficial on dead legs. Instead of using them to open up and use momentum, I fear my legs will collapse under me and proceed with caution. I can feel myself fading, and pop another date in for a pick me up.

Mile 12: 11:48

Here come the hills. I think of how hard I want to push myself to finish strong for the last mile, but remember those damn hills. My legs are dead. I push up the first small hills as much as possible, and regret not walking through the last water stop. But I keep on, motivated solely by the fact that I didn’t want to keep my friends& family waiting.

I approach the final two hills, which feel all the more relentless. I trudge up the first one, barely moving at the top but still technically “running”. I finally can take it no longer, and break down into a walk. I immediately regret it, but simply could not run before that final hill.

Mile 13: 11:43

I force myself back into a run. I know the end is near, and push myself as much as I can muster.

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The song of my life comes on at the perfect time as I approach the final 1/4 of a mile left. “Sweet Disposition” by the Temper Trap hold some significant meaning in my life, and now holds so much more as it pushes me through to the end. I’m sorry, but passing people you’ve trailed behind for 13 miles right at the end of a race feels so damn good.

 

 

I see Hannah and am so overwhelmed with joy to see those faces there waiting for me at the end. It actually brings me to tears as I write this to see how much support these people have given me, and are the reason I even kept going during the race. The fact that they stood there for a good two hours just to see me running for maybe 2 minutes means so much more than I can express.

 

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I finish, ready for death as I am handed my medal and a bottle of water. As much as I want to collapse, I NEED to keep walking. My left calf has now blocked all communication with me as it screams in refusal to walk. I ignore it the same way I have for the past 6 weeks of training.

 

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I am just so thankful for it to be over, and vouch that it will be a long time coming until my next one. But first, FOOD.

 

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IHOP it was because it has been ages since I had a “real” pancake. AKA not one made from eggs and banana. I refueled with some protein in a ginormous omelet, too many cups of coffee, and split this stack of pumpkin pancakes with MJ and Evelyn. I love pancakes. I smell like the inside of a gym bag. I’m dead tired. But I love pancakes.

 

I come home to the most amazing shower and the most amazing gift from the most amazing friend. Not only does she come before her early Thanksgiving to stand around the cold for me, but she pampers me with wine and the softest socks infused with Aloe. I love this girl.

 

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And now my leg actually refuses to work. It pains to walk on it, and am still limping around like a war vet almost a week later. I know I had it coming, so much needed R & R is in need whether I like it or not.

 

As far as Wolf Hollow goes for my first race, here’s what I liked and didn’t like about it:

 

Pro’s:

-Really well marked trails

-Lots of water stops (even though I didn’t use them personally)

-Beautiful terrain

-Relatively small (about 900 runners)

-Great weather (despite being overdressed)

 

Con’s:

-Not enough porta-potties

-Very hilly

-Rocky terrain

 

Running 13.1 miles has so many more meanings for me than running 13.1 miles. Training has helped show me I can accomplish anything I set my mind to. I can do hard things. I am perseverant. I am stubborn. I have a great support group, and know who my true friends are. I am grateful.

 

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Running has helped me through my life as things got tough, and didn’t turn out the way I had planned. It was the only thing in my life that stayed constant. And I needed that. It’s been a metaphor that life is a long, tough road, but sticking to what you really want will get you there no matter the speed. And those who truly care about you will be there waiting for you at the end….with wine.

 

Overall Pace 10:54 Finishing Time 2:22:39

 

While I was a bit disappointed with my time, I’m not going to beat myself up over it. I ran a damn half marathon! I can now say that. And just like any other racer, I am already over my hatred for the sport and thinking of my next race. But I may need to get this leg healed first.

 

Okay, so I lied, and there will be another posted about all my rookie mistakes, supporters, and running tunes, but 2000+ words is a book series in Sinful Nutrition talk so that’s enough for now. You deserve a medal of your own for making it to the end.

 

Make it a great day!

What pushes you through hard times?

If you ran a half marathon, what would you reward yourself with?

**Disclaimer: I received a free race entry in exchange for this post. No other compensation was provided. All thoughts and opinions are my own.**

11 thoughts on “Life Lessons From My First Wolf Hollow Half Marathon

  1. I am very proud of you Motor and your never say quit attitude. You have many more races ahead of you and you know we will all be there to cheer you on and be waiting for you at the finish line no matter the conditions. Love you Motor

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