RACE REPORT: 2013 Rutgers Unite Half Marathon

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I’d like to start by saying that this is extremely exciting for me to document, as it is my FIRST official race report of 2013. Technically, this is my first race report ever being that I’ve never written a race report before. Nonetheless, I hope that I can keep this tradition going.

Okay, so I guess I lied about my last long run being the 8-miler I did two Saturdays ago. I actually did an 8-miler 3 days later…and then I ran the Rutgers Unite Half Marathon yesterday. Sorry guys!

Anyways…yesterday was exactly what I needed to boost my confidence and really get myself psyched for the Big Sur Marathon which I will be running in exactly 5 days. Yikes.

This past weekend, my main focus was to stay calm and keep my nerves at bay before my race on Sunday. All weekend, I stayed home and just spent time with my family. I kept reminding myself that this was just a warm-up race, to not take it seriously, and to just have fun. I kept the mentality that this race would be just like any other long run I’ve done in my training.

When I woke up on Sunday morning, it finally hit me that I was running a race. I got out of bed at 6:45AM (much later than I anticipated) and rushed to get ready. I scarfed down my breakfast which consisted of a bowl of oatmeal, two waffles, and a small cup of coffee. I kept looking at the time in fear that my stomach wouldn’t properly digest all of this food and I’d vomit all over the course. Luckily, that didn’t happen.

I rushed my family out the front door by 7:20AM. Race time was at 8AM and I was starting to freak out. As we approached the exit lane for Busch Campus, we saw that a policeman was already barricading it with orange cones. My heart sank. I have never missed the start of a race before.

Panic overcame me and I urged my Dad to find another way in. He took an illegal U-turn.

He dropped me in front at the Football stadium, a bit of a hike away from the start line, and my sister came with me to carry my Nike drawstring bag. In fear that I’d miss the gun going off, I fled and told my sister to just meet me by the chute.

I anxiously checked my watch every 30 seconds as I looked around for my family. I had signed up for this race on my own, by myself, so it was just me alone standing in the chutes. It was 7:55AM and I got a call from my sister. Her and my parents made it to the starting line and I couldn’t be more relieved. The race announcer began the countdown and a rush of nerves overcome me. I took a deep breath and “Bang”…race time.

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At first, I kept debating whether or not to run with music. For races, I have never ran while listening to music, but for my long runs, I can’t go without it. To keep my mentality that this was just a regular long run, I stuck my earbuds in my ears, turned up the music and let my legs go.

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(#Prayforboston)

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(Me being cheesy, of course)

I started out really easy. My first mile was only a few seconds under 10-minutes. I gradually picked up the pace over the course of the next 2 miles. I let people pass me and minded my own business. As I got into my groove, I continued to pick up the pace. I was in my own world. It wasn’t until around mile 8 or 9 that I really started to kick into competitive mode. I watched as the runners who frantically sped past me in the beginning miles begin to to fall back and slow down. Once I hit mile 10, my legs started going. I kicked into 5-K mode and picked off every runner that was in my sight. My familiarity with the course brought little to no surprises as to where this course would end. As I neared the last straight away on College Avenue, where I spent so many of my college days, I was in an all-out sprint and finished stronger than I ever have in any other race. I knew I had so much left in the tank and I felt good about that. I saw my family waiting for me at the end of the finish line and I was overcome with smiles.

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(Crossing the line with peace signs)

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This race meant a lot to me for many reasons. I ran for Boston. I ran as an alumni. I ran to prepare for Big Sur. I ran because it’s what I love to do. I ran because it brings me joy. I ran for my family.

It’s hard for people to understand why people put themselves through hours of training for long distance races such as these. It’s personal. Everyone has their own reasons, but at the same time, these reasons also bring runners together to form a community. Runners understand each other on a deeper level because of these reasons.

I couldn’t be more satisfied with my performance yesterday. I’m confident in my training and I’m ready for Big Sur. I received my official iGift for Big Sur Marathon today. Reality is sinking in day by day. I can only hope that my first marathon goes as well as I’ve trained for it

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(Reality sinking in)

To conclude this race report, my official time for the 2013 Rutgers Unite Half Marathon was 1:46:53. Oh and did I mention I set a PR by 2 whole minutes? Yes, I indeed did!

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2013 Rutgers Unite Half Marathon
Official Finish – 1:46:53
Chip Time Finish – 1:45:49.5
Overall: 539/3976
Women: 120/2029
Age Group 20-24: 19/340

Back on my feet

Surely, it was only a matter of time before I started running again. And yesterday was when that time came. All day yesterday, I had a battle going on inside my mind about when I should finally get my legs moving again. It was the fear holding me back. My lungs felt strong again. My cough was dying down. I could breathe through my nose. But the fear of sickness rushing back terrified me. I couldn’t stand another day of stagnancy though. The more I started at my calendar, the more it taunted me, showing the few days that I had left to train.

Once I got back to my apartment after work, I sat for a few minutes, contemplated the consequences of running too soon, changed into my gym clothes, and sprinted out the door. Just knowing that I was going to run again made my heart flutter. I repeated to myself, “Take it easy, take it easy, take it easy” I didn’t want to push myself too hard after just recovering from being sick.

I got in an easy 3 miles in 29 minutes yesterday. I didn’t care about the time. It just felt good to get back in the game again.

Today, I ran again. It was not in my original plans. I was going to take today as a cross-training day where I would just go to Zumba to get some form of cardio in. My eagerness overcame me. Just knowing that I was well enough to exercise again made me excited to get out the door and move.

I got in another 3 miles today in 28 minutes. It felt amazing. I felt invincible. Suddenly, the misery and pain that I had experienced from being sick completely left my mind. My mindset had completely shifted back to training mode.

As I continue my countdown to my Spring races, I realize that I am now officially 17 days away from the Rutgers Half Marathon and 24 days away from Big Sur Marathon.

I don’t know how time went by so fast, but I’m starting to get the butterflies finally. These races are coming and they’re coming soon.

One month away

Yesterday marked the official first day of Spring, which is a very exciting day for some people. Today, however, marks a very exciting day for me personally.

Today, I am exactly one month away from my first big race of the Spring Season, the CGI Unite Half Marathon, at no other than my Alma Mater, Rutgers University (Ru Rah Rah!)

Long before I knew that I was going to run the Big Sur Marathon, (or before I even contemplated running a marathon in the near future) I had my sights set on a half marathon. I wanted to dip my feet into the waters first before diving an extra 13 miles deeper.

As I’ve been documenting my training, I have been emphasizing my focus on Big Sur because it requires much more time and dedication, but I never emphasized the significance that the Rutgers Unite Half Marathon holds in my heart.

During the middle of my junior year at Rutgers, when I really started getting back into the mindset of being a dedicated runner, I had made it a point to run the Rutgers Half before I graduated. Essentially, I only had one year to complete that. Clearly, I’ve failed.

However, the fact that I officially signed up for 2013 compensates for my guilt. Although I’ll be running as an alumni, I’d still say that’s quite special. I would have liked to actually run for a PR in this half, but I also have to keep in mind that I’m running double the amount of miles in exactly one week from then which is why I’m using the half as my last long run.

I’m in crunch-time mode right now, and as I’m getting closer to these big races, I’m doing nothing but filtering out any negative thoughts about how I will perform.

The countdown has officially begun!