Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Recap: My 1st Half Marathon

I did it!!  
Where do I even begin?  

On Saturday night, one of the participating hotels gave us runners a free pasta dinner.  I ate 2 big plates of pasta, a little fruit, and a small slice of chocolate cake.  Ok, ok, 2 slices.  I definitely think this meal helped fuel me.  Eating a carb heavy meal is a must the night before a big run!

5 AM - he was pumped.. 
On Sunday morning we headed out at 5:15 AM to make it to the shuttle leaving from our hotel lobby.  If you ever wonder if big resorts leave the lights on overnight, they do not.  It was pitch black and we couldn't even see where we were stepping!  It was kind of cool though, because we could see about a million stars in the sky.  

We arrived 15 minutes before the gun fired, and when we headed off it was still dark.  The pain that I worried about in my right foot was still there, but it was a steady, dull pain and was pretty bearable until about the last 3rd of the race.

My almost husband
The route was nearly perfect!  I never realized how much land one can actually cover when running 13.1 miles (21 km).  We ran through the Punta Cana village (shops and restaurants), a residential neighborhood, and past a golf course all before hitting kilometer 5.  At that point we made a turn down a straight road and I saw that we were running directly into the sunrise.  I remember seeing the bright orange light on the horizon and thinking, UH OH.  But it held off a little while longer as we ran through an area filled with luxurious beach homes - this was probably one of my favorite parts of the route.

Soon enough, we were at the beach, which is where I got to watch the sunrise {perfect timing}.  We ran along the shore past a beautiful Six Senses spa (I thought it was its own hotel!) and through the PuntaCana Hotel's property.  The sun had risen (and so did the humidity) but the view was a beautiful distraction.  
Part of the beach run (insert sunrise here)
View from our balcony (we also ran here)
Once we we passed the hotel, the ecological reserve, and some horse stables (around kilometer 15 of 21) we were back on a main road.  This is where things started getting tough.  I swallowed an energy gel, which definitely boosted my mental energy, however the pain in my foot was starting to worsen.
A says its looks like im walking - I am not!!
At kilometer 17, I noticed that my left knee was causing me pain.  Since I've never had any problems with my knees before, I'm sure that it was because I was running more heavily on my left leg to compensate for the pain in my right foot.  I started slowing down, a lot.  The last 2 miles of the run were brutal and there was no shade from the blaring Caribbean sun at all!  It seemed to never end, and although I finished without ever stopping to walk, I ran the last mile with a major limp, like a person on crutches minus the crutches.

I felt so relieved when I crossed the finish line!  I'm a bit disappointed in my time (2 hours and 26 minutes), but considering the circumstances I know I should feel proud.  When we finished they gave us free ice massages.  This was probably the high of my weekend.  :)

Where we relaxed (in the shade) after the run
Although I still can barely walk today, I am so happy that I did it!  If anyone is a runner and is thinking about coming to the Dominican Republic in the springtime, I highly recommend coordinating your travels with this race!  They do it every year around the beginning of April. 

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