Last Saturday, I ran my first half marathon right at home in the Hamptons. The sun was shining, the weather was gorgeous; it was the perfect day for a great race!
Before I began training for this half-marathon, I wasn’t a serious runner. I enjoyed running and did an easy three-mile run (with a lot of walking breaks) a few times a week for cardio, but I didn’t know much about long distance running. Truth be told, I was the girl who dreaded the mile run in high school, but I am also the girl that likes a challenge. In May 2013, I decided that the Hamptons Half Marathon would be my next challenge.
Training was hard, it was definitely a unique experience. I had a fantastic training plan put together for me by awesome Ultra-Marathon runner, Dennis Fabiszak. Training included: speed work, hills, and long runs, all summer long. (Plus, if you are in the area, there are free training runs put together by the coordinators of the Hamptons Marathon and Half from Memorial Day to Labor day). It was tough to wake up and be ready to run at 6am to beat the summer heat, but nothing beats the feeling of conquering a new personal record. Some days, I wanted to just stay in bed. Some days, I just wanted to quit and start walking (and sometimes I did, no shame in walking!), but I kept trudging along, and with each mile, I became stronger and more powerful.
Although I knew I had trained hard, I was definitely nervous. The race nerves started to sink in a few days before when I went to pick up my packet. Friday night, a few friends that were running with me and I had a pasta party to relax and refuel, and soon enough it was race day!
My alarm woke me up bright and early on race day (5am!) to the tune of Katy Perry’s “Roar.” I ate breakfast and was ready to go. I lined up with my pace group and we were off! The first few miles were along rolling hills, but were nice and shaded. It was pretty chilly with temperatures in the 60’s, but I felt good…until about mile 5 when I began to hit a wall.
The course flattened out, which sounds good in theory, but the shade from the trees disappeared. I’d take rolling hills over the sun beating down on me any day. The girl scouts cheering me on at the water station did help me feel a bit better, but I was definitely hurting. As I got closer to mile 6, the shade from the trees came back, but it wasn’t helping. I really thought I was losing it until I started to hear “Eye of the Tiger” and then came across the Lululemon girls! They had a great dance party going on with some awesome signs that totally re-energized me! At mile 6, I also stopped to refuel, which made a huge difference. I was happier, energized, and ready to take on the next 7.1 miles. Phew.
I happily ran mile 6 through gravel and then 7, 8, and 9 flew by. Before I knew it I was at mile 10 which meant I only had a 5k to go! At this point in the race you enter an out-and-back route, and as I was running out, I saw my friend Kristen who was about a mile ahead of me. We high-fived, and she went on to have an awesome time. The turn-around takes you to the beach, where there is some beautiful, breathtaking scenery. While everyone else was taking it in, the math nerd inside of me had just one thing on my mind. All I could think about was where I fell in the distribution of the race times, what the average finish time was, and what the standard deviation was (fyi, I am currently in graduate school for statistics).
Before I knew it, I was at mile 12! I really started pushing myself. I picked up my pace and began passing people to get to the finish line. I just wanted to be done; 20 weeks of training came down to this moment! I pushed myself to the end for a time of 2:14:35…15 minutes faster than my goal of 2:30!
I chugged a chocolate milk at the finish line and went to enjoy some post-race perks – free massages and lots of food!
Here are a few top things I learned from my first Hamptons half:
- It is impossible to take an attractive photo after running 13.1 miles.
- Who cares what you look like in a photo, YOU JUST RAN 13.1 MILES!
- It’s okay to be proud of your accomplishment and want to share it with everyone.
- It is perfectly okay to wear your medal around your neck for the rest of the day, wherever you go.
- You may plan to take a fitness class the next day. You may get to the gym and realize that yoga is a better choice.
- The first stop after running a half should be Espresso’s for a delicious, giant sandwich (or your favorite indulgence!)
- The second stop: the beach! There’s nothing else to do but relax and enjoy the day!
The Hamptons Half Marathon was a fantastic race; I would definitely recommended it to anyone running their first half. There were water stations at every mile, a ton of bathrooms on the course, and beautiful views. The course is relatively shady with some rolling hills, and it is really well-organized, which makes a huge impact. The coordinators send weekly emails informing us of what is to come, registration is a breeze, and we got our official results the same day! Perfect for a beginner like myself. Sad you missed the fun of the Hamptons Marathon and Half? No worries! May 10th, 2014 is the inaugural Bridgehampton Half, registration opens this month!
One Healthy Breakdown: Janet’s experience is so inspirational! She proves that with a LOT of hard work and dedication, that we can accomplish amazing goals. Looks like she’s hooked on halfs now! Thanks for sharing your experience with us Janet…and Happy Birthday! ~ Kiley & OHH