Monday, July 27, 2015

Orange Leaf Half Marathon Recap

This was a small, local race, so there was no expo for the packet pickup.  I was completely cool with that because I had no money to spend at an expo anyway.  This race is hosted by Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt company, so the packet pickup was located in their New Braunfels store.  There wasn’t a line for pickup and me and my friend Kirsten were able to basically walk right up to the table, give our names and get our bibs and shirts.  We were in and out in less than 5 minutes.  Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.  We didn’t indulge in any frozen yogurt as there would be free frozen yogurt the follow day for all runners post-race!!!  How cool is that?

After we got our bibs and shirts, we headed just slightly down the road to our hotel and checked in.  We watched TV for a couple hours.  This was a “treat” (as she said) for Kirsten because she doesn’t watch TV and hasn’t watched TV for about 5 years.  So we watched junky TLC shows.  It was awesome.  We went to dinner at BJ’s Brewhouse.  I had never been there before but had heard great things about their pizzas.  As I said, I didn’t have much money to spend on things this weekend and had to keep my dinner tab (with tip) limited to $36 or less.  Kirsten bought us a calamari appetizer.  OMG, the best calamari I have ever had.  It was so smooth and buttery.  Not rubbery at all.  I got the mini BJ’s Favorite pan crust pizza and the strawberry and ice cream “beignet.”  I say it that way because an ACTUAL beignet is served topped only with powdered sugar.  I should have done what Kirsten did and gotten a McDonald’s hot fudge sundae with nuts on the way back to the hotel.  Oh well.

Here’s my flat runner:

We watched more junky TV until it was time to try and go to sleep.  Kirsten had no problem dropping off to sleep.  However, I had slept until 11:15 (hooray being pseudo sick with allergies and sinus issues) that morning so I had a lot of problems falling asleep.  Part of the problem was the a/c was set to 70° and I was warm, so I got up and clicked it down a couple degrees and that was better.  I finally got to sleep but woke up a few times during the night.

4:45am came early.  We were going to stop and grab me an iced coffee at McDonald’s on the way to the race start area.  We got parked and chilled in the car for about 5 minutes before Kirsten announced she was going to go do her warm up shuffle.  I almost joined her, but decided not to.  Maybe if it was a 5K I definitely would have joined her.  We had gotten to the race start way early so we got super close parking.  There was a short line at the portas, but I mostly went out of habit.  Then we went near the start area so I could do my leg swings and other warm ups I do.  While I was doing that, a guy wearing a Half Fanatics shirt came over and let me know they were doing a group photo in a couple minutes if I wanted to get in it.  Of course I did!

Shortly after the photo op, we made our way to the start line.  Like I said, this is a very small race.  There were 381 participants this year. 

Okay, so let me tell you how this race went.  Kirsten was pacing me and we were hoping for a 2:15:00 finish for me.  That meant we had to do a 10:20 pace for the majority of the race and then kick it up a few seconds per mile for the last few miles.  I felt great at first.  Around mile 2.5, it started feeling harder and my breathing was more labored.  We slowed down a little.  Finally, around mile 4.5, I told Kirsten to go on and run her race.  I ran for about a mile with a nice lady named Donna at about a 12:00 min/mi pace before I had to stop and walk.  I got emotional when I stopped to walk.  I haven’t walked in a race beyond walking the water stops since Helvetia last June.  I was so disappointed in myself.  But, then, what do I expect?  Honestly.  I haven’t run more than once a week the last few weeks, the few weeks before that I hadn’t run more than twice a week.  I was far from trained for this race and I attempted to run like I was trained.  Mistake.  Biiiiiiig mistake.  And I paid for it.

Everything was okay until mile 8 when the wheels started to fall off and I ran a 13:59 mile.  Ugh.  I had taken a Stinger Ginsting gel at mile 5 and hadn’t felt any difference…no little boost at all.  I was taking in the cups of Gatorade at every aid station that had Gatorade.  My back started cramping and when I would take my walk breaks I had to stretch it.  Probably around mile 9, I noticed that it felt like I was developing blisters on a couple of my toes on my right foot.  At about mile 10.5, I discovered I had to go to the bathroom.  Ugh.  Mile 11 the wheels straight up fell off the cart.  A 15:16 mile.  What the heck?  Seriously?  I did pick it up a little after that and mile 12 was 14:58 and mile 13 was 14:51.  I ran the final .23 at an 11:31 pace.  I refuse to WALK across the finish line.  This was my second slowest half marathon EVER.  The only time I ran slower than this was at my very first half marathon after I hadn’t ran at all for 6 weeks.  So, I guess that running just once or twice a week is NOT enough to keep up my fitness levels.  Duh, right?

Kirsten had told me when she took off from me after mile 4 that she would run back along the course and find me to help me finish strong.  So, I figured any time after mile 11.5 I should expect to see her running back toward me.  However, she didn’t do it.  She was waiting near the finish, probably about 100 feet from the finish line.  She told me after she finished that she was actually starting to get worried.  She saw the guy in the Half Fanatics shirt that had approached me pre-race about the group photo and asked if he had seen me.  He said “the girl with the tattoos?  Yea, she’s right behind me.”  Haha!  Kirsten said it is a good thing I like to dress up for my races…makes me easy to spot!

I was 103rd out of 200 total females and 15th out of 22 in my age group.   Heh, at least I wasn’t dead last, right?  And, even better than that, at least I finished!  As my friend Kirsten posted in response to my Facebook post about this race, I “sucked it up and finished.”  And, really, that is ALL that matters.  I embraced the suck and I did it.  I’ve said it before…I NEVER regret a run or a race.  While I was running this race and it was sucking, I had the realization that even though it sucked I was actually still having fun!  Yep!  It’s true!
Just past mile 1 on the way out (this was an out-and-back course) there was my favorite sign.  But, at that point I was still going for a PR.  Well, on the way back, I had clearly abandoned any chance of a PR, so I decided to stop and snap a photo of it!
Kirsten snagged 2nd in her age group!   So awesome!  She ended up finishing in 2:02 and some seconds.  Her friend that runs with her in Rogue got 1st in her age group.
I was so happy to run into Donna after the race.  I truly do love running and how it brings so many people together.  Donna and I had some great conversation in that one little mile we ran together.  It got me thinking a lot about things I need to do to make myself a better version of myself.  So, thank you so much Donna!
Overall, I’m very happy with this race.  There were aid stations almost every single mile.  All had water and most also had Gatorade.  I would definitely like to do this race again next year and see if I can keep up my training up until the time for the race and THEN start my break from running for the year.

Best funny from this race?  My shorts were on backwards the entire race!  I discovered this fact when I was using the porta post-race.  Hahahaha!


  1. Ugh, I think most of us have gone into a race undertrained, and it totally sucks. I remember that feeling of misery, but sometimes you just need to suck it up and finish and take lessons away from it.

    1. yep, suck it up and finish was definitely the theme "song" for this race


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