This past weekend, I ran my first post-baby half marathon! After doing a few calculations, I figured out that my last half marathon was 14 months ago - it took place when I was 16 weeks pregnant and Brayden is now 8 months old.
I honestly forgot how challenging a half marathon could be. After running 25+ halfs over the past six years, I felt like I had this one in the bag. Boy was I wrong!
Let me start at the beginning....
This half marathon was located in Lafayette, LA - about an hour away from home. My running buddy Heather and I decided that we would drive up the night before and spend the night.
We arrived at packed pickup around 4 p.m., then spent the rest of our afternoon shopping around town!
Dinner was at Zea's, one of my favorite restaurants. Heather had never been, so it was fun to introduce her to one of my favorites!
We started off with spinach dip which was delicious!
For dinner, I had the duck, corn grits, and butternut squash. All delicious as well!
After dinner, we checked into our hotel and I set up my race outfit for the next day.
As soon as possible, I was in bed and ready to go to sleep! This was my first night (ever) away from Brayden and I wanted to catch as many zzzz's as possible. (By the way, his crazy little month long sleep regression thing has passed and he's back to sleeping through the night, thank GOODNESS!)
By race morning, we knew we were in trouble. The temps were below freezing with a "feels like 26 degrees" forecast. Y'all. I am not used to that. Like at all. "Feels like 26" might as well have been below zero to us.
We bundled up anyway (thankfully we were prepared), then headed to a local school to catch a bus to the start line.
As soon as we hopped off the bus, we were in search of a warm place to hide. That's when I heard my name - it was Lisa Green of the Disney Exchange podcast! I was SO excited to see her again!! We only talked for a few minutes, but she pointed the way to the warm spot...
...inside the registration tent, they had these amazing heat lamps!
Heather and I stayed inside as long as possible and checked out the race map.
Thankfully, I knew someone would be in front of me the entire time so I wouldn't have to decipher this myself!
With about 5 minutes till race time, we were instructed to make our way to the start.
I bumped into Lisa again and we took this really chilly "we're freezing" picture!
Before we knew it, we were walking toward the start line, then we heard "GO"!
...and we were off!
Most of this race was throughout the country and farmland. I now get the double name of the race...the Lafayette area is know as "Cajun Country" anyway, but we were literally running through the country. Well played, guys.
My feet felt like blocks of ice until almost mile 2. That's one of the worst feelings to me. Thankfully, Heather remembered hand warmers which helped my hands not feel the same as my feet!
Yep, this was our view for 90% of the race!
We hit mile five and were feeling great. We decided to do a thing where we would walk for a minute each time we passed a mile marker sign. It was working well for us until about mile 8 or 9, and that's where the race became difficult. You know that expression "hit the wall"? I'm pretty sure it's never happened to me in a half marathon, but it did on Saturday.
Again, we were still frozen and the wind was now blowing directly at us. My entire body felt fatigued, especially my legs and I felt as if I couldn't go on any longer. Heather said she felt the same way. I finished off my pack of GU chomps which seemed to help in the energy department and somehow, we made it to mile 12.
Of course I had to stop for my usual mile 12 picture!
After mile 12, I kept saying "just 1 mile to go....just .8 to go...just .5 to go..." and I had to remind myself that I ran this far, I could run until the end.
Thankfully, we were pre-warned about the "rolling hill" right before the finish line...however, this race had more hills than just the finish line, especially for someone who runs on nothing but flat terrain back at home. (We literally have NO hills!)
My IT Band also decided to wait until around 12 and a half miles before giving me a fit. I was grateful it waited that long!
We crossed the finish line at an official time of 2:26 minutes...not my best, not my worst. I am currently at the point right now where I'm wondering how in the world I was in such good shape in early 2015 to run a sub-2-hour half marathon. It's CRAZY how much a baby changes your entire body and mindset! Weight wise, I weigh less than I did when I became pregnant with Brayden however, my body was in better racing shape. If I don't ever get back to that former self, then I honestly don't care. It might become a goal in the future and it might not. Right now, I am just focusing on staying active and spending as much time with my little guy as possible! I can't ever get this time with him back and it's going by so fast...I just want to hold onto it and slow down time, but that's not possible.
After chatting with Lisa a bit more at the post-race party, we decided it was time to thaw out and head back to the hotel. You know it's bad when you stay frozen the entire race. We still aren't sure why we made the decision to throw our jackets away mid-way through the course! Lesson learned!
After returning to our room, we cranked up the heater, took showers, ate a few bites, and got ready for the day. The hotel even offered us a late checkout, which we were so grateful for!
You see that huge muffin? I purchased it at Whole Foods the night before the race! I was only able to eat half of it after the race, so I saved the rest for Sunday morning!
We decided to keep our tradition alive and have breakfast at "Another" Broken Egg (even though we were in a different town)!
The food and coffee was delicious as always and we really enjoyed our post-race meal!
On Sunday, I wasn't as sore as I expected although my calves did bother me a bit. I have my next half marathon coming up this weekend, so I'm going to focus on shorter runs, my legs, and my IT Band this week so I (hopefully) won't have any issues during the race.
Thanks for following along with my journey! Hope you have a great week! :)
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