Sunday, April 26, 2009

My First Half Marathon Race Report, part 1

   
Well it wasn't pretty, but I finished the OKC Half Marathon.....for my race report I wanted to present it in the form of my Lessons Learned from Running My First Half Marathon:

  • I am slow….ok, that isn’t so much something I learned, because I already knew it, but it’s something that got re-confirmed…..I am amazed at the speed of the elite runners in these races….the winner of the mens marathon finished the full marathon before I got finished with the half….my chip time was 2:34….my 10K time was right at 1:00, but I could not run at all the last 2 miles due to severe calf cramping…..by the way, the guy that won the marathon—it was his first marathon, which makes it even more amazing (not that he beat me, but that he won)....anyway, the time was slow, but I guess now I've got a time to beat….
  • I can finish a half marathon---yes this was my main goal for this race….it almost didn’t happen under my own power though….seriously, the calf cramps were so bad the last mile that I needed someone to walk with me for 100 yards or so, and I actually considered hopping in a golf cart, but I was a quarter mile from the finish and sucked it up to finish under my own power...not sure if I could finish a full marathon after this, butI am confident that I could finish another half…..
  • You should drink plenty of fluid prior to the race…this is  part of what caused my cramping, I believe, along with the hot weather and humidity….I made the mistake of not drinking anything pre-race, mostly because I wasn’t thirsty……I did drink at about every water station, but with the extreme humidity it wasn’t enough and I got horrible calf cramps….
  • There are a lot of runners out there….it was so cool to see so many runners in one place…..they announced 19,000 for the race (probably all the race events combined), and it felt like it…..literally it never really thinned out until like mile 11 or so, and even then it just thinned out a little….I was running in a pack of people the whole time….
  • Oklahoma has hills….and I think we had most of them on this race….the course description said that it was a flat course, but don’t be deceived, there were several really good hills…not San Francisco type hills, but tough  hills to run nonetheless….
  • There are a TON of volunteers that make these races work…..I was so impressed with the volunteers and organization of this thing…amazing, really….
  • I’m not sure if all the hype during the run is beneficial......it was almost sensory overload for me to have live music, belly dancers, life size cut outs of Darth Vader, etc during the run….too many distractions and mentally I had a hard time focusing….don’t get me wrong, I think all that stuff was cool, but my training  takes place early morning with no distractions on quiet roads…this was quite the opposite, not something I am used to, and I wondered if it all was really necessary……
  • I really enjoyed the several parts of the race that ran through some neighborhoods….there were a lot of people sitting out in their front yards cheering runners on, handing out water or candy, and spraying water with a hose to help cool you down….I thought that was really neat….
  • The plastic GPS chip that times your race is pretty cool….it didn’t look like I expected, and it didn’t come with instructions on how to put it on, but I think I figured it out and attached it to my shoe….….also they had a way to get email/text alerts during the race, which I thought was a great idea, especially if you have someone waiting at the finish line for you, it gives them an idea of when you’ll cross the finish line….
  • The GU packs that are handed to you during the race are already opened….I ran by one water stop and grabbed two Gus, ate one and stuck the other in my pocket….by the end of the race I had a GU-ey mess in my shorts pocket….yeah, I'm smart I know...
  • The post race massage is heaven…..after running that far, and especially after cramping, I really wanted a massage, and there was a good sized massage tent at this race....and they were doing a great job of getting everyone massaged, I only had to wait about 20 minutes, and the masseuse focused on my cramping calves….it makes me think I should go get a massage sometime, I’ve never had one…..but this one was great…
  • There is a lot of littering on a race course….I know it’s not really preventable, but I was in awe at how many plastic cups and empty GU packs were littered all over the course…..
  • I learned again how much I love my Garmin….I'm still loving it just because it's new, but using in a race setting gave me a whole new affection for it....it was awesome to be able to glance down and check out my pace at any time during the race…..I did, however, forget to disable the auto-stop feature (that stops the timing when you stop, like at a bathroom break or stretch break), so my Garmin time was off from the chip time…..
  • There aren’t many purple wicking shirts, evidently….the one thing I was wanting to get at the Expo was a purple shirt (K-State color), but there weren’t any…I asked one of the vendors and he said “I guess there isn’t a demand for them.”   I am sure there are some out there,  and I'm sure I’ll find one, just didn't get it at this Expo…..the Expo was kind of disappointing overall too, really, it was very crowded and didn't have much interesting runner stuff unfortunately….

It was great getting to meet a couple other bloggers, Fair Weather Runner and Running Briefs...we had dinner at Spaghetti Warehouse together with about 20 other people the night before the race...my buddy  Adam was there too, and it was a fun blogger meet up...

Okay, this post is way too long already, so I'm going to end it here...if you made it this far congratulations...... my next post will be part two and will have a few more details and lots of pics!

31 comments:

Hi! I'm Erin said...

Congrats on finishing! Races are quite an experience, aren't they?

TiredMamaRunning said...

Excellent job, Oz.....congratulations! I was tracking two of my marathoning gals at OKC/watching the coverage via one of the local TV station's live streams, and that weather was absolutely brutal-hot, humid and windy! (Not like you need me telling you-but don't discount how well you did to deal with the conditions of the day.) Here's a virtual high-five for you for getting through it all!

I will let you know if I ever find a good purple or K-State moisture-wicking shirt, too. Under Armour made one at one point (we have one) but it's long sleeved.

You did it! Hope you recover well.

RunningLaur said...

Congratulations on your first half - that's so exciting!

Sounds like you'll have to try a smaller race for your next one, (there will be plans for a next one once your calves loosen up I'm sure :) ) there will be less litter, distraction, messy gus, and maybe less hills! It's so much fun to try races and find out what works the best for you.

Great work!!!

d.a.r. said...

Congrats on running your first half!! I am dying to get down there and run it next spring. It just conflicted with my exam schedule this year. That's a great time for your first, especially with the conditions.

ShutUpandRun said...

Great job with your first half. I was laughing about the GUs already being open. I can see where that's a convenience unless you put them in your pocket for later. Sounds like a great race overall!!

Lisa Slow-n-Steady said...

YAY YOU!!!

You finished faster than I did on my 1st marathon (and faster than the one I didn't finish). My point simply is that you did GREAT!!

Diana said...

Sounds like you had a great day with your first 1/2 mary! Congrats on sticking to it and not settling for DNF!!
Looking forward to part II...

BumbleBeeRunning said...

Congrats on your first half marathon! That's an awesome accomplishment.

Rookie on the Run said...

Sounds like you had a terrific time! I was laughing at some of the things you learned, like the GU-ey mess... ha ha! I'll remember that when I run the Rock 'n' Roll.

Darth Vader... really? Why?

I'm looking forward to reading Part II!

joyRuN said...

Congratulations!!!

That's cool that the GU was opened for you - I distinctly remember not being able to open mine at mile 20 of the Philly Marathon for 10 minutes - frustrating!

And I hear you on the sensory overload along the course - it takes getting used to when you usually run in the quiet :)

Great great job!

Mark Berry said...

Great posting, Oz Runner - and great race. It sounds as though you learned much from this - that will really help as you do it again (you are doing it again???). You can mitigate the cramping with gels at regular intervals throughout the race, more sports drink (just don't mix gels & sports drinks - gels won't metabolize as quickly as they do with water), or endurolyte replacement pills (I've never used them, but my faster brother swears by them). Hope the gel pocket was in the back of your running shorts! Looking forward to part II. Mark

Jess said...

Congrats on your finish!

Heather said...

Congrats on finishing your first half! Way to go!

ShirleyPerly said...

Congrats on finishing your first half marathon! Hot weather & hills can definitely make for a tough race. Look forward to hearing the rest!

Jamoosh said...

Great job. It's great that you finished and learned some lessons for your NEXT half marathon.

OKC does a great job with their event - excellent choice!

Missy said...

Congrats, that rocks! Wow, they opened the GU packets? That's actually very cool...maybe no so much for your shorts BUT they sounded very prepared.

I, too, had sensory overload this weekend. I know exactly what you're talking about. It was so loud that I couldn't hear my inside voice:)

Fair Weather Runner said...

YAYAY! CONGRATS! Can't wait to read the next post. That weather was brutal! Good job.

Fair Weather Runner said...

oh and the marathon never really thinned out either, it got better when the halfers split off, but even still, up until mile 23 it felt congested.

Running Jayhawk said...

Congratulations on finishing!! Just remember, speed is relative.

Chic Runner said...

YAY for you finishing! :) Sounds like a smaller race would be better, I like those a lot too, then you can get more into it :) You are always so insightful and I love it. :)

Candice said...

Congratulations on your finish! And what a great/funny post. I totally agree about most of the things you said. The weather was crazy brutal. That wind was unbelievable. I finished a good 20-30 minutes later than I'd hoped to. Don't be too hard on yourself...I knew several seasoned marathoners there whose times were way past their usual.

I thought the race was really well organized also. I never took advantage of the gu (can't stand it!) but I really enjoyed the misters and aid stations! Way to go for finishing it out! That takes a lot of willpower:) Can't wait to read part II!

IzzyBubbles said...

AWESOME JOB!! The weather was brutal, and I totally hear ya on the hills - I was NOT prepared for that. I am really disappointed I missed the life-sized Darth Vader cutout, although I did see a life-sized Paris Hilton that I really didn't undertsand. The gu thing is hysterical - I actually didn't have to grab any on the course because I managed to carry enough, but I had to tear mine open with my teeth because my hands were so sweaty. I guess that's the trade-off!!

I Run for Fun said...

Congratulations! Awesome! Hills can kick your butt. Way to go!

Chad in the AZ Desert said...

Congratulations on finishing your first half! I'm sure you will learn a lot from this race that you will use in future training and racing. Hydration and nutrition probably takes longer and more races to learn than anything else in running because everyone is different. More fluids and more salt will probably cure the cramping.

RunToFinish said...

you did it!!!!! Congrats and yes you certainly learn a lot at that first race, i remember thinking how the heck are those people finishin the marathon while I'm just doing 13.1!

we gotta find a kstate purple at some running shop

Marlene said...

Congratulations on your first half! What an accomplishment! I hope you find that purple tech shirt!

The Happy Runner said...

Congratulations! Great job on your first half!

Take it easy and rest those legs.

Ashley said...

Sorry I'm late getting to this.

GREAT accomplishment on your first half - exciting!!! Don't dwell on your time. I was slow during mine too, but I did what I went there to do - finish it. Plus, I'm pretty sure that every one I do from here on out will be a PR. ;)

K, I have to go read part 2 now cuz I want to hear the rest!! :)

Lisa said...

Congratulations!! You did great! That was a very good time considering the heat.

I agree with you about hydrating prior. I often start the day before.

Just to let you know... they don't always open the Gus for you. That is actually very nice. I have only been in two races where they provide Gu and neither of them opened them.

I HATE the littering. The dixie cups I don't mind so much because they are usually clustered around the aid station near trash cans etc. The random Gu packs drive me nuts. I make it a point to always throw my pack away in the trash, even if I have to carry it a couple of miles.

Great job on your race. I can't wait to read about your next one!

aron said...

CONGRATS on your first half marathon!!!!! so exciting :) all races (esp the first one) are about learning something... and sounds like that happened! sorry the weather sucked and you got cramps but you made it to the finish line and thats the most important thing!!! awesome job :)

Brandi said...

Congrats on finishing! Great post! There is so much you realize you don't know about a race like that until you have completed one. Great job!!!! I had cramps really bad after my first half and it was due to not mixing up my fluids. I did straight water and found out later I needed to drink Gatorade as well or something to that extent to replenish my electrolytes.