Guest Post: Meet Darlene

December 16, 2014

I’m so excited to be a guest blogger on my friend Sara’s blog.  I ran my first half marathon at the San Antonio Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon on December 7, 2014.

I lived in San Antonio for about 7 years before moving back home to West Monroe, LA last year, so I was super excited not only for the race, but also to see all my friends and go to my church.   I was very nervous and hesitant about signing up at first, but I decided I would regret not doing it, so I went for it.  I work a full time job and have a 4 year old son, so I can’t really follow a “traditional” training plan.  I have to run when I can; goal was 2-3 times a week.  During the week, I would try to get at least 4-5 miles every time I ran, and then on the weekend I would run 8-10 miles, depending on how much time I had to run.  So before the ½ marathon, the longest I had ran was 10 miles, but I had been able to do that at a consistent pace for several weeks.  The shorter days have really caused a time crunch for adding mileage. 

I knew Sara wasn’t running, so I asked her if she would want to go to the expo with me on Saturday morning.  She didn’t hesitate at all to agree.  I picked up my bib and my shirt and saw the countdown clock, and it all became real.  Sara and I walked around looking for all the samples and had fun in all the photo booths.  All of the gear, advice and sheer volume of the expo can be a little overwhelming, but we laughed a lot and had a great time. 

Then came race day. Weather was about 50 degrees – perfect running weather :). I had been training with Gatorade and Gatorade Prime Energy Chews, so I planned to stick with that even through everyone was talking about and pushing the GU Energy products.  I ate a potato/egg breakfast taco and was at the AT&T Center by 5:30 Sunday morning to catch the bus to the start line.  I had my fuel belt, my music and my running app ready to go.  I took a Gatorade Recover Protein Shake with me and left it in my bag at Gear check inside the Alamodome to drink it afterwards.  Race start time was at 7:30.  On the bus, I met a lady name Erika and we stuck together until race time.  Just talking to other people regarding training, fuel, pace, etc. can make you second guess yourself pretty quickly, but you just have to focus on yourself and not think too much.  Once in the corrals, I did find my friend that was running with her running group.  It was her first half marathon as well. We talked and were all giddy as they were counting down the corrals to start until ours came up. 

It was our turn!!!  I always start out running too fast at races and then I can’t maintain the pace.   There were so many people running at one time that the beginning pace was actually slower than the remainder of the race.  You had to zig zag and navigate through people until you were able to settle on a pace.  All during the race you were constantly surrounded by people. There was also a constant presence of spectators cheering everyone on from the sidelines.  It makes it much easier to keep going and is much different than training.  On Saturday, Sara was talking through my run plans with me, and she asked if I had a throw away jacket/long sleeve.  I had to ask what she was talking about.  It’s cold when the race starts, but you quickly get hot, so you shed clothes.  She brought me a jacket that I could throw on the side of the road when I needed.  I took it off at about mile 2 and tied it around my waist, but I finally had to let go of it completely around mile 7.  I tried, Sara :).  After the race, someone will pick them all up and either toss them or donate them, so no waste.   Race was going smoothly until we hit hills around mile 6 at the San Antonio Zoo and Trinity University.  I chose to walk the hills and not exert the energy required to run since it wasn’t even half way through the course.   I was worried when I was approaching mile 10 since that’s the farthest I had trained, but I was okay and kept running.  I hit the wall around mile 12, but by then I my feet were hurting and my legs were numb, so why stop now?  I kept to my original plan, which was to eat an energy chew before the start, at miles 3, 6, 9 and 11.5.  I drank the Gatorade from my fuel belt and got water at each water statin.  Took one sip of water and then poured the rest on the back of my neck or on my head to cool down.  I was pumped when I turned the last curve and saw the finish line!  So close, yet still seemed so far away.  Finally, I cross the finish line!   So happy!! 

After the race, I got my medal and took my picture.  Turns out, it was cold outside and my legs still thought I was running :). I make my way to the gear check to get my Gatorade recovery drink and to stretch out my legs.  I was very happy with my pace and my time with the run since it was my first, and even happier that I did it on my terms.  It still amazes me how many people were there and that we’re all crazy together.  I had so much fun and I’m extremely glad that I decided to stick to it and was able to  complete my first ½ marathon. 

In fact, I already have the next ½ marathon on my calendar!

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations Darlene! What an awesome accomplishment! Can't wait to hear about your other races :)


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