Heartbreak Half Marathon

Hey guys–I finally did my race recap!!!

If you’ve been a regular follower on my blog you know that I had kind of large expectations for my half last Saturday—the WI Half Marathon in Kenosha, WI. While I did not publicly announce it on the blog until a couple weeks ago, during the 12 weeks of training I was aiming for sub-2 hours as my “A-goal”. This may sound slow to some of you but for someone who couldn’t run more than 4 miles a year ago, this was huge for me. So I’ll try my best to recap what happened on what I have dubbed Heartbreak Half [don’t worry the ending is happy!]

countdown calendar complete!

Friday afternoon I drove home so I could head to Kenosha with Sam. She had VIP down at the hotel and her and her hubby were so sweet and allowed me to stay in the hotel with them and their kiddos (THANK YOU SAM!). When we got there we headed straight for the packet pick-up. The bibs were soo pretty!

pretty #

 Being that this was a small race, there wasn’t really an expo. Which is probably good as we all know the shopaholic in me would have came out and I would have made purchases. Don’t worry though I didn’t come out empty-handed 😉

 Then we walked down to the start line and figured out where our families should meet in the morning and where we could expect to see them. Looked like I’d be seeing mom 3 times throughout the course—win!

lighthouse by the start

 After a nice, slow walk it was time for CARBO LOADING. We went to Fazoli’s and it was so stinkin’ delicious. I got the Baked Spaghetti with Meatballs… and I may have had 3 of their delicious, warm, gooey breadsticks. Yum. With numerous cups of water as I felt a bit dehydrated despite drinking two big Powerades that day.

sooo cheesy

When we arrived back at the hotel I started laying out my gear and getting all race-day preparations taken care of.

fuel belt, Gu, ipod, clothes, pace band–ready to run!

 I was in bed by 8:30 and probably was sleeping by 9:30…another win goes into the book. Slept very sound, and woke up at 4:50 right before my 5:00 alarm. I felt incredibly rested.

 Sam & I shared the quietness that morning while her husband and kids were sleeping. We were able to mentally prepare and eat our pb & banana sandwiches. This has been my pre-long run breakfast of choice for a while now. It’s perfect. I paired it with a second banana and some Gatorade. I was properly fueled and ready to go.

 We met up with Sara and walked over to the start line. I was so excited—the time was finally here. I went to the gear check to drop off our SUPER ‘classy’ gear check bag (we definitely used a Best Western laundry bag…). & Sam had to use the fabulous port-a-potties. She was 3 deep in line with 5 minutes until start time. She showed all the people behind her how it’s done and was out of there in about 2 minutes flat. Way to go, Sam! 😉

 We jogged over to the start line and got on the side where we knew our families were for photo-ops! It was great to get one of all 3 of us.

we all wore pink 🙂

 After the picture I started breaking away. To get under 2 hours I had to keep 9:09 pace. Most of my training runs were around 9:10-9:20 so I figured with race-day adrenaline this was totally feasible. It was kind of crowded but I started weaving through people and got in a comfortable pace and groove.

 Miles 1-4 were just how I had hoped. I felt strong and confident, was jamming to my awesome playlist, and keeping my mind where it needed to be.

jock jams

I saw my mom around mile 3 and was so smiley!

well not super smiley, but focused!

Unfortunately, things didn’t stay as smooth. I’ve had a reoccurring problem since January where my feet go numb—it feels like I’m running on needles. Yes, this started at mile 4, which meant I still had 9 to go and I couldn’t feel my feet. (I’ve experimented with different shoes, tying shoes looser, etc.) I actually took a spill at one point because my feet were so numb. But I was not going to get a DNF. Afterall, I wanted my medal & had worked too hard to not finish. My mantra going into it and during all the pain was “Screw it, Run through it”… it worked in my book.

 However, with numb feet I knew that my goal was not attainable. Not even close. On top of the numb feet my calves started acting up as well. Starting at mile 5 I had to take about a minute walk/stretch break every mile. I made a new goal of 2:10 and really thought that was possible. The first time I had to stop these super sweet ladies yelled, “You look strong, you’re doing great!”… not even that was enough to get me through this pain. But I continued thinking of my mantra—even if I wasn’t running non-stop I was running through the pain. I kept going when I hurt. Screw it, run through it.

 You know that super baller playlist above? I couldn’t tell you what was on it during the run. I was zoned out and unfortunately could only focus on the pain. The route was nice, right along Lake Michigan. There were a few hills. This course was set up for me to not only PR, but attain my goal as well. Not everything can go as planned even if all the stars are in alignment.

 Around mile 11 I saw my mom. I had been looking on the sides for her for miles at this point so seeing her helped. I was choking back tears cause my feet hurt so bad.

quite possibly the most unflattering picture ever

At first she saw me crying and yelled, “Stop honey, it’s not worth it”. But she knows I’m more determined (some would call it stubborn) and then continued to yell “GO, GO, GO!”.  The next mile was incredibly difficult. I was mentally and emotionally spent.

Then at mile 12.5 I got a little fire lit under my you know what that got me to kick it into the finish. There was a young boy standing at the corner giving everyone high-fives. May not seem like a big deal, but at my lowest point of the race that’s exactly what I needed. I finally smiled again.

finalllly finishing

I was able to finish the last .6 of the race incredibly strong. My pace picked up, I lifted my chin up, I even smiled a couple more times. I crossed the finish line and was so full of emotion I just started crying right there (and as I write this). I got my medal, my blanket to stay warm (the temp dropped 8 degrees during the run!), and limped to find my mom. I was so pissed off because I had so much physical energy left and knew I could’ve broken 2 hours had my body cooperated.

 When I found my momma I took my shoes off, and lo and behold I had some nasty blisters going on as well. Don’t worry, I’ll spare you that picture. 🙂

worst shoes ever

 I was heartbroken. I felt defeated. I wanted to erase the past hours and re-do it with totally different results. My final time was 2:16.37. Not nearly what I had hoped for.

bummed out karla

I stretched out and shivered for the next two hours until I waited for my first time full marathoners to come in. My mom was so sweet & bought me this beautiful USA Track & Field pullover to keep me warm & lift my spirits. I couldn’t stand up, I couldn’t walk. But when Sam & Sara got to the finish line I made sure I was there to cheer them on to the finish. I cried with Sam when she finished. She gave me a great card which made me cry more. I was a mess. But I am SO SO SO proud of these two ladies and lived vicariously through their successes.

good friends heal everything

When I got back home I took an ice bath. While I cringed at the thought of it, ice baths truly are miraculous. I’ll definitely be doing these again! Lots of foam rolling to go along with it.

… I really should start lifting more.

This may look like one big flop of a race. But in the end, I learned lessons from this race. Yes, I learned them the hard way. I’m a student, in the Army, with a part-time job, training for a half marathon. Some of my long runs didn’t happen cause I was up at Ft. McCoy. Life happens. I ran through an ‘injury’ (I’m not quite sure what to call it…). I did not give up. I’m young and new at this.


 On a happier note, I was able to shed 4 minutes off my previous time. While taking at least 7 walking breaks. That’s improvement if I’ve never seen it before. I have come a long way.

=) thank you for everything, Sam!

Next week I’m gong to go get fit for new shoes (again…grr) by someone I trust (my ex-boyfriends sister owns a running store & has ran many marathons). I’m going to ask her for a physical therapist and/or podiatrist to go to. I will overcome this.

I will be running the Haunted Hustle Half on Oct 29 this fall. I will break 2 hours. REDEMPTION!! You can hold me to it. I’m also going to do a full next spring. I haven’t figured out which one yet since it’s a little early. But I’ve moved on past the Heartbreak Half and am learning from it!

 If you’ve made it through this, bless your soul.

at least I got some sweet bling!

7 thoughts on “Heartbreak Half Marathon

  1. I’m so sorry it wasn’t your day – I used to struggle with my toes going numb, and it’s the worsth feeling ever! But congratulations on your PR!!! AND for gritting through it and never giving up – great job!

  2. Congratulations girl! I know it didn’t go exactly how you wanted it to, but you should still be so proud of yourself! You didn’t give up!! And now you have a goal if you decide to run another one!

  3. Pingback: National Running Day « myhighonlife

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