Official Half Marathon Pictures

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Yes, I ordered them.  Don’t judge 😉  Here are my FOUR fave 🙂  ENJOY!

Bottling it up: My first Half Marathon

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I wish I could bottle it up:  the feelings, both physically and mentally, the emotions, the love, the whole thing.  Running my first half marathon was one of THE BEST experiences of.my.life.  I LOVED IT.  It was such an amazing feeling of accomplishment.  I am so thankful (especially during this “”thankful time of year”) for my body and its capabilities, my mind, my City, my friends, my family, and especially my “superfans.”   I couldn’t even begin to recap the race mile by mile.  In all honesty, it just flew by in a wonderful world wind.    So much so, that I wonder if I got the “runner’s high” (that I even have a hard time believing!).  I am truly addicted.  I can describe certain moments, which I will, but the whole thing sorta blurred together, almost like my wedding, which I can slightly compare the depression after it to that of after the half.  Anyway, first things first:  THE START…

Husband drove me as far as he could down 22nd Street (he then booked it home to grab my Garmin to meet me with which I realized I forgot, but subsequently decided not to use) and I then walked the rest of the way (only a few short blocks) to the start.  I then searched for the porta-potties and began the line-waiting process.  As I waited, I bumped into a friend in line (very funny because as you can imagine, there are a LOT of people there) and fixed all my “gear”…think re-tied shoelaces, fixed bib, set up i-pod, etc.  I crossed the start line at 7:18 (almost eighteen minutes after the first starters).  NOW,  here are some things that were memorable along the race route (you can find the map here)

The first few miles were a blur. I was getting into my rhythm and preparing to see Husband shortly into the race.  I saw Him and Oscar at Headhouse Square at the beginning of mile 4.  Oscar was absolutely adorable and was being SUCH a good boy!  Husband’s smiling face was such a welcomed site and he had made an AWESOME sign that CRACKED me up:

OK, so obviously this is ME not him holding the sign, and I am at the finish line- we had no time for pics at mile 4!

I was so thankful.  I am so blessed.

The race continued on and I knew that I would be seeing my parents and aunt around mile 5 so that mile went by SOOOO quickly.  Well, unfortunately I missed them.  Or they missed me.  UGH.  But either way, it sucked.  I was SO disappointed.  Here are the posters they had made me (SUPER cute, MOM!):

LOVE THEM.  So, it sucked to miss them, but it was exciting to anticipate it!  BUT, guess who was there to save the moment; as I turned the corner onto Walnut Street, there were Shiya and Scott!  What great friends!  I crossed the road safely and hugged them both.  I then traveled along on my merry way.

I used several distractions throughout the race that I found helpful (and odd)…

– Whenever I felt like I was “going too hard” and needed a lil’ rest, I’d get my phone out of my (AMAZING) fitness belt (even better than the SpiBelt, I think) and texted my fam to update them on my coordinates 😉 hehe.  Seriously, I do have an extreme knack for multi-tasking.  🙂  Really.

-I did mathematical computations of “race times” in my head- I know-I’m a dork.

Anyway, back to the race…

The race was going smoothly, even through those crazy hilly miles by Drexel.  I use lifesavers as “fuel”- I dunno- might seem weird but I really like sucking on them and getting a slow stream of sugar directly into my blood…slow is the key word.  I like that.  I can’t do the Gu thing.  Too much too fast for me.  Anyway, I ate one at miles 8, 10 and 12.  I made sure to eat them when I knew a water stop was approaching, as they make me thirsty.

OK, so then came “that dreaded hill…” you know, the one by Centennial Hall in Fairmount?  Between miles  9 and 10.  Fun.  I knew Husband would be waiting at the top of the hill- he planned it like that (how awesome, right).  So I PUSHED.  And there they were!  My two fave boys!  Here are some pics he took of me- we didn’t get any of them!  Boo!

Anyway, seeing them (AND THE AWESOME PR SIGN):

Taken after the race 🙂

Carried me through to the finish line.  I breeeezed down the hill with the thought that I could “make up some time” 🙂  And then, out of nowhere came mile 12.  But, my friends, I tell you, this was NOT easy. I really REALLY had to push through this last 1 mile and change.  It was SO hard and took all of my mental and physical stores.  I dug deep and pulled it out. But the urge to walk was SOOOO strong.   I fought it though, finishing strong, at 2 hours, 2 minutes and 25 seconds.  WOOT!  I felt amazing.  I still feel amazing.

At the finish line

As I crossed the finish line (and collapsed into a heap of exhaustion and wonderful emotion), the marathon winner was crossing!  2:21 something for him,  Crazy!  Anyway, it was seriously one of my top five favorite days ever.  Thanks for all your support!  Especially my superfans 😉  I am so lucky. So blessed.  Now….which race will I do next ?!?! Just kidding!  Well, not really!

Mission: Accomplished.

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Yesterday was an amazing day.  I would say it was definitely a top five “best day ever.”

"Self-camera-portrait" at the start line

Jessica Downes #24421

Philadelphia, PA

Age: 30 Gender: F

02:02:25
Distance HALF MAR
Clock Time 02:06:00
Chip Time 02:02:25
Overall Place 3043 / 8404
Gender Place 1485 / 5369
Division Place 267 / 915
Age Grade 53.8%
10K 0:57:52

MORE RE-CAP TO COME!  Until then, tell me about your experience if you ran or watched!

When it finally turns to EXCITEMENT!

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It, being my crazy nervousness, finally turned around yesterday as the Expo approached.  Ok, go ahead and make your shopping jokes now (I can hear my Mom now, “of COURSE shopping gets you excited”).  They are warranted and probably true.  LOL.  Don’t judge.  Anyway, as you can see (and probably everyone in the city of Philadelphia) I was BEYOND pumped.  And I wanted my picture with EVERYTHING (nothing new really).

Exhibit A: At the beginning of the post. Exhibit B: Here

Exhibit C.

Exhibit D.

OK, ANYWAY, I also wanted to BUY one of everything.  I LOOOOVE race Expos.  I think some of that is due to me being a race newbie and the only other real one I went to was for Broad Street.  Yeah, ok, bad argument.  Pretty much anything that involves shopping is my favorite, especially when you add the element of RUNNING!  🙂 So here are a few of my finds. I HAVE to say that One More Mile was BY FAR my favorite stand.  They had the FUNNIEST BEST sayings on their products.  Some of my favorite sayings were:

Those were actually a pair of race gloves but I got this saying on head band

Got this tote 🙂

This shirt...

This magnet

I also got a t-shirt that says, “If found on ground, please drag across finish line.  LOVE it!  Some other sayings I loved:

I thought they said “RUM”

Running is cheaper than therapy

Toenails are overrated

Runners are Phunner

LOVED that stand.  OK, so among my other purchases:

The YURBUDS are for REAL!  They totally work.  Mine are always flying out of my ears, especially if it is windy out.  The women looked at my ears and goes, “oh, you’re a size 6.”  And I was!  Pretty cool talent, no?  Anyway, definitely check them out.  They work.  They cost 20 bucks.  TOTALLY worth it.  I also bought CRAZY compression shorts from a company I am forgetting the name of but will update when I retrieve them to find out.  Along with those (that ALSO totally worked to ease my inner hip pain by compression) I got a sports bra by the same company, some Arctic Ease tape (amazing as well- it is cold and feels wet almost, but is not, and is better than ice because you can keep it on from 4-6 hours and it wont damage tissue like ice due to its temperature).

The long sleeve tech tee official race shirt all runners got- love it!

And the cool bag- LOVE "free"stuff 😉

It had a really great "hidden" zipper pocket! (It was on the back part)

OOHHHH KKKKKK…moving on.  Getting ready for the race.  I am a freak.  Here is how I pack…  I lay out my items like so:

POST RACE: (in new tote) sweatpants, compression socks, tank, new long sleeved shirt, sweatshirt, UGGS, 13.1 sticker for AFTER race 😉

Morning-Of gear: (to put on) sneakers, shin sleeves, compression shorts, running skirt, "PDR in the Making" Tank, sports bra(s), Wright socks (love them), headband

"Accesory Bag: (to bring; re-used shorts bag) i-pod, Garmin(subsequently forgot), gloves

Anyway, the day before the race was almost as fun as the day of!  Recap to come!

Do you like race expos!?!? Or do you get tired of them?!?!


 

SO nervous.

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OK, so I do realize that almost EVERY post on the blog as of late has been related to this darn half marathon I am running on Sunday. It is taking over my life.  Seriously.  I think about it hourly, and I am PETRIFIED!

I have ALREADY made my "list" for Sunday...on Tuesday.

In preparation for the race, I (of course) had to order som new gear.  For one, I NEEDED (desperately) new Zensah shin compression sleeves.

I rely HEAVILY on these babies for my darn shins, and my old pair began rolling down my leg while running!  Not very helpful for COMPRESSION sleeves 😉  So, I ordered those. I also picked up an AAA-mazing pair of compression/recovery SOCKS that I have begun wearing after my last few short runs to get my legs “race ready,” and will DEFINITELY be sporting those post-race Sunday.

Wow, that is one huge leg 😉  Hmmm…so in other news, I have a new food obsession.  HELP!  I can’t stop! It is actually a SALAD!  Boy do I wish I had created/discovered this baby when Sabrina was doing her “I love Salad Challenge!” 

Mixed greens, feta, cranberries and the secret ingredient: (not so sceret now) Whole Foods' ginger orange almonds! YUMMMM!

Seriously I am NOT kidding. This salad is incredible. I sometimes top it with Whole Foods’ ff balsamic, but it really doesn’t even need it!  HOLY YUM.  OK, and finally…in more news, fall is officially here…

OK, so…PLEEEEEAAASE tell me; How do you deal with your pre-race nerves!??!?

Girls’ Weekend: NYC

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This is my "NYC look" hehe

This weekend was a BLAST!  Shiya and I took a lil’ trip to New York City to have a girl’s night!  We stayed at the W New York and I MUST shout out to their GM, because our stay was FAN-tastic!  We were majorly hooked up and put into a ridonk suite with a WRAP-AROUND balcony!  The view was INSANE!

 

 

HI SHIYA!

Listen, we did a lot of fun things, but we also spent a LOT of time on the balcony being silly relaxing 😉 

We WERE going to attempt to hide under the sofas on the balcony, in hopes that check out time would come and go 😉

Among the treats we partook in… (is partook a word?!?!)… SHOPPING!  I actually managed to spend ZERO dollars!  Well, except for some amazing Magnolia cuppy-cakies for the Husb.

SPA-ING at Bliss…Note:  Get the “Head over Peels Scrub…” NOW.  No seriously, like NOW.

BLISS

And a LOT of EATING…

Yes, those are gummy bears from the mini-bar...don't judge!

Anyway, we had an AWESOME weekend.  I am sad it ended, but was happy to see some serious Oscar cuteness when I came home…

So, how was YOUR weekend!?!?!?

Gearing up for the Half: Remembering Broad Street

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In “taper-madness mode,”  I am finding that looking at old race pictures is REALLY helping me psych up for Sunday’s race.  Because in all honesty, I AM SCARED.  Like scared right out of my little boots sneakers.  Or is it shaking in my boots sneakers?  Either way, I am nervous.  And not a good nervous, like a HOLY COW WHAT IF I DNF (do not finish)?!?!?  Ahhh!  I know, trust the training, but I just don’t see myself being able to run 13.1 miles!  The longests I have run thus far is ALMOST 11.  And that was once.  I feel like I didn’t do enough long runs.  OY.  Well, nothing I can do now except bite my nails look at old Broad Street Run pics….ENJOY!