Medal Monday – Palm Beaches Marathon & Half – December 3, 2017

Disclaimer: I’m promoting Palm Beaches Marathon & Half as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

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I signed up a year ago after it was announced that the 2016 race would not be held but that they were under new management and offering a low race price and free in training shirt for signing up for this new Palm Beaches marathon & half. At that time I booked a host hotel and planned on spending the Saturday in the Palm Beaches before the race. A week ago I traveled to the Space Coast Half marathon and decided against staying overnight at another hotel. No other reason really than just getting to sleep in my own bed the night before a half marathon. I knew going into this that I would be forced to drive up the day before to pick up my packet. I guess that is one way to get the surrounding county residents to stay in the palm beaches for the weekend but it was just not really possible this year. Maybe next year if I do the race again.

Anyways onward to the packet pick up stuff, it was held in a small building in a big mall like complex known as City Place in the downtown WPB area. Parking in a nearby parking garage was a breeze and parking was free for the first 60 minutes which is another plus that I wish most races would have. I didn’t plan on spending more than maybe 30-45 minutes to pick up the race packet so I could get home and get some other Saturday morning errands done. Found some signs pointing to where packet pickup was and followed some runners (their shoe choices are usually a dead giveaway!). Also had my toddler in tow so we werent quite as fast as normal but still did not take long to get my race bib and race shirt. Probably about 5-8 minutes, no line to pick up my bib and then went into this rotunda area where we picked up gear check bag and then the race shirt in another area. The full marathoners had an option of short sleeve or long sleeve shirt, which I thought was pretty cool. Not that this race ever gets chilly enough to require a long sleeve shirt afterwards but still nice for training purposes in the winter months. Half marathoners get an orange shirt and the full marathoners got a royal blue shirt. In the past some of the shirts I have gotten for this race are nice and some kind of boring, this one leans towards maybe not so interesting. So we walked around a bit and looked at some of the booths but this expo was tiny compared to the ones I am used to from Miami Marathon and even Space Coast Marathon had a larger expo with more to see. Maybe since it’s the first year for this crew they are just getting started and didn’t have as much experience in race expo stuff. They had a good variety of race branded gear from what I saw but I rarely purchase race shirts at expos. During the race though I saw a lot of those shirts being worn so must’ve been pretty good quality for running in. Right before I left I asked one of the official pacers to take my pic with my toddler in front of the official backdrop, he saw my Volee shirt and said “Oh Oiselle girls, head up wings out!” so he was definitely familiar with Oiselle!

Now for race morning, I woke up super early at 2:45am in order to be ready to leave my house by 3:30am for the drive up to West Palm. I took the Florida Turnpike and was able to get a prime parking spot very close to the starting line by 5:15 am, which is perfect because I love being at races at least an hour early. It took me 3 minutes to walk over to the port a potty area, I brought some Starbucks napkins with me anticipating no toilet paper but I guess I was early enough to get to be the first user of the port a potty! Hooray, it was almost like breaking the tape in a race, being able to unwrap the toilet paper for the first time in a port a potty. I have never done that before! And every runner knows that its hell to have to use a port a potty after 50 other people have used it, ICK! Just my luck as soon as I left the port a potty area I walked by a regular running water bathroom, FACEPALM! Yeah so I kept that bathroom in mind later on when the race was getting close to start time to get in a last minute pee, of course at that time the toilet paper was in low supply and the line was long but still less stinky and dark than those port a potties. I met up with an Oiselle Volee teammate, Amy right before and we walked over to the start/finish line. In the past for this race the starting line was a bit farther down the street but this time it was the same as the finish line so that was something different but convenient for me.

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Start time was delayed till around 6:20ish instead of the original start time of 6am, it was blamed on the full moon/king tide possibly having some of the course under water too early on. I am all for a slightly delayed start if it means that my shoes will not be soaked 2 miles into the race, no one likes running in soggy shoes. I stuck with the 4:00 marathon pacer for most the race but then fell back a bit around the halfway point. Something else new about this race was the course was different than than the past 3x I had done the race. This year we cross over two bridges, although they are not steep bridges they are still a bit of an incline. I never hardly train on bridges/hill so it was a bit of a small challenge for me, plus my hamstrings are still not healed up from Space Coast last weekend. Between mile 2-5 my right foot had gone numb, I just kept running but was a bit concerned about it since it is super uncomfortable to run with a numb/sleeping foot! Someone in the pace group I was running with decided that it would be a good idea to wear jingle bells around her waist, super annoying! Please do not do this unless its a short 5k as it is very annoying to all that are running with you, right up there with change or keys rattling in your pockets the whole time. I decided that it was getting to me and with the numb foot I needed to hang back a little bit to not hear those damn bells in my head. Around that point I saw my other Oiselle teammate & best cowbell/cheering squad of one, Tricia with her Oiselle cowbells cheering in the median, gave me a bit of a boost to get through the 2nd half of the race. The second part of the race was an out and back course that turned around by a FPL energy center and through a park beside the water. I was able to cheer on the iRun ladies, Ana & Michelle who came in 1st and 2nd overall female in the half and able to cheer on Amy who was going for marathon #8. Spoiler alert: she ended up 2nd in AG for the marathon when she just wanted to take this marathon easy! With about 2 miles to go people started talking about a fire, suddenly I turned my head and down a side street I could see a giant black cloud of smoke coming from the area. A few started running towards it but the majority did not, guess those that ran towards it were first responders doing the race. At this point in the race I was grabbing water cups from all the water stops and just ready to be done. Luckily there were plenty of hydration stops on the course and some even had gels for those who needed them. Something a bit heartbreaking about this course is that at mile 12.50 you run passed the finish line, so you see people finishing and think where the heck is the turn around point for me!?! I imagine it’s even more heartbreaking for those doing the full since it’s right there and you have to keep going, haha. Luckily it is not that way at Miami Marathon, at least you cannot see the finish line when you are breaking away to do the full.  Again I got to pass Tricia and her crazy cowbelling before I got to the finish line to collect my new shiny medal. Not my under 2 goal that I have been going by lately but only a little more than 2. Official time – 2:04:42

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At the finish line I grabbed a cold (YAY!) bottle of water and my medal. They were also giving out mini towels so I grabbed one to wipe away a little bit (no, really A LOT) of sweat before heading to the food tent. It was a small tent but the line moved quickly for the most part and they had a pretty good selection of food, the typical bananas and bagels but also pancakes/waffles/sausage options also. Oh and how can I forget, mimosas!! I definitely drank one of those down, probably a bit too fast but the orange juice actually tasted great after that long hot run and I’m sure the champagne helped a bit too! I grabbed a granola bar and went to congratulate the top 2 ladies on their awesome half marathon finish. Then I hit the bathroom for one last pee stop before heading back on the long  trek home. Personally I think I should’ve stayed overnight in Palm Beach for a little less driving and a lot more relaxing. Maybe next year?

 

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Palm Beaches Marathon & Half

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Disclaimer: I’m promoting Palm Beaches Marathon & Half as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

 

Back in 2013 I started running this race, it was my 3rd half marathon and it was a very warm one, also that year I didn’t notice but someone had dented my car while running this race. It was a rough year and even though a ton of stuff went wrong and I didn’t end up staying in Palm Beach that year for the race I still wanted to do this race again the next year.

But the next year in 2014 I was better prepared and wanted to stay in West Palm for the race the night before to avoid driving back and forth for packet pick up and then back up super early in the morning before the race. I also went with my boyfriend, little did I know I was also running for two. By the end of that years race I was feeling very crappy about how I felt at the end of the race and wasn’t sure what was wrong. A few weeks later I found out why, my first pregnant half marathon!

By 2015 this race was my first postpartum half marathon, although I didn’t get a sub 2 half that year I was feeling more confident about getting back into racing after baby. Plus my mom went with us and brought my 4 month old to see us cross the finish line. That was a great feeling, even though Phoebe had no idea what was going on at the time.

In the spring of 2016 I got an email about how the race would not happen in 2016 but then later in the year I got another email stating how the race would be under new management and would be going on again in 2017! I signed up immediately for the low price of $65, basically a steal for half marathons in this area. Also with registration I got a free In Training for Palm Beaches Marathon tech tee which was a cool perk of signing up early.

What is even better is that I have a code for you to use, thanks to BibRave 🙂

Use code “PBMBR20” to save 20% on any single race – full, half, or 5k.

Sign up here!

 

A1A Fort Lauderdale Half Marathon Expo

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So since about Tuesday night I hadn’t ran since I seemed to pick up this horrible virus/cold/bad germs from my toddler with the idea that a lot of rest would heal me up before race day. Off I headed to the race expo, which is about a 45 minute drive away from my house with my toddler. I did not anticipate the traffic getting into Port Everglades and I had never been there since I have never been on a cruise. Major traffic right at the entrance, unknowing that there is another entrance to the convention center, I just went where my apple maps told me to go. I pulled into a massive parking garage with no real signage about pricing on the outside (I didn’t see anything) but with a ticket to take when parking. I had only planned to spend an hour or less anyways so figured if there was a fee it would be a low rate since I was barely there.

First con of the expo: paying to park to get your race packet. Or maybe sharing a garage with lots of overnight parked vehicles. It was somewhat difficult to find parking and pretty dark, not something I like to do with my kid in a stroller, just doesn’t seem safe. I think that in the future it would be nice if they could have some sort of discount or fee waived for packet pickup vehicles if they show their bib at the end. I was very surprised when pulling out of the garage to finally see pricing in tiny print on the cashier window. 0-1 = $3, 1-3 hrs = $6! So I basically paid $6 to park for a little over an hour! Pretty ridiculous, in other race expos I have paid way less for more time spent looking around at the vendors. I was hardly there because after 30 minutes or so I was starting to feel very weak due to being sick and needed to leave.

Actual packet pick was so easy, there was no line for my last name initial and got my bib and shirt in a minute or less. Everyone was nice and fast, no issue here. In fact I would say this was one of my pros of this expo: speedy packet pickup. If I wasn’t interested in looking around and taking some pictures I would have been out of there in 15 minutes or less, which would be good for someone in a rush.

Backing up to as soon as I stepped into the expo, there was some massage tables and people getting massages to the right of the entrance and some Lexus cars to the right. One of which was wrapped in all the participants name, which was pretty cool in my opinion. I found my name quickly and got a pic with it. As soon as I was done I walked right to the pack of the room and picked up my race packet. There were plenty of volunteers helping direct runners and visitors, which was nice and helpful. Usually expos are such a huge mess of everyone crowding around certain booths and just generally a headache. This one was set up well with enough space for me to push a stroller through without any issues.

I walked through every aisle, checking out different booths with other race info and tried to hit up a couple of photo ops in the process. Also got to try a few new things, one that really stood out was the Yasso Frozen Yogurt booth, where I got to try a chocolate chip yogurt bar. Yummy, and of course I shared some with my toddler because I did not want a meltdown to happen. They also gave me some coupons, which I used when I went to Publix right after the expo to get some groceries. I love finding new food favorites at race expos. There were a few more things and some wheels to spin to win certain things. I spun the wheel at the Publix booth and chose a snack container because with a toddler, snack time is all the time!

Another pro of the expo was the cool 13.1 and 26.2 signs that were set up so runners and their families could take pictures by. I liked that and liked it even more that I didn’t have to wait in line to get a pic with them. I didn’t realize till later that there was a wall behind that for runners to sign their name and write things on, I missed that part.

I would say that the expo had a lot of pros but a few cons like the parking fee situation. I did not collect as many freebies as are available at some expos but I really do not need any more junk. I have enough plastic promotional water bottles to last me a lifetime at this point!

The night before the race I kept going back and forth about whether it was smart to run the race while still feeling very sick and congested. The decision was made for me when my daughter kept waking up multiple times during the night and even after giving her tylenol to get her fever to go away, the temps kept spiking to the temp of 102.9. It was at that point that I said it was not safe for me to run in my current health plus I was going to have to take my baby to the ER to get her high fever checked out. So at 3am I made the decision and a few hours later when the fever was still very high I took my daughter to the children’s hospital to get checked out. Her diagnosis was upper respiratory infection with the beginning of an ear infection. I have since been to get checked out myself and they are ruling what I have as an upper respiratory infection with some water in my ears. My recommendation from the dr has been rest and lots of hydration as well as an inhaler to get rid of this cough. Luckily I have been doing that because I really, really want to get better and miss running.

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My planned attire for the A1A half marathon and race bib.

 

 

Sunday afternoon I spent having some serious FOMO about those A1A race medals but also reading about multiple incidents of people needing medical help from the hot and humid conditions for the race. Still sad I had to miss the race but there’s always next year!

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to A1A Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

 

 

 

Honor Our Veterans 5k – November 5, 2016

This weekend was jam packed with races so I’ll start with the first race of the weekend and make another post about the 2nd one. This 5k was kind of a last minute race. I had originally planned to do a free 5k it was on Hollywood Beach, which is about a 45 minute drive for me. When I found I could get a discount on this race I decided it was a better idea to do this one since it’s only 5 minutes from home and I would most likely be doing it alone with Phoebe. It worked out great, just kinda sad that there were not awards for age groups because I totally would’ve placed in my age group. I am proud to say that it is now my fastest stroller 5k to date!

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When I walked outside Saturday morning I knew it would be a great race day because the weather was cool for once and not raining. I got there about 45 minutes early to pick up my race bib because with the timing company they used for this race they take back their timing chips after the race so only bib pickup the day of the race. I was a little nervous because this was the same company who timed the Derby 5k back in April and who totally left me off the results. I got my bib and took Phoebe with me to the bathroom, not an easy task in a tiny bathroom with a big running stroller but I got it done. As I was heading back to the starting line I overheard some college guys joking about how they would keep up with me and be fine for the race. I laughed in my head about this and thought “yeah right!” Later during the race I saw the group again and they were a mile BEHIND me, hehe. Their shocked faces were just the right amount of fuel to push through at a much faster pace for the next mile. Also the owner of Go Run, Doug passed me while on his bike pacing the top guys and mentioned that I had great form, it really helps when you get praise like that from a top runner. There was a lady in front of me the whole time but during that last .50 I managed to pass her and stay ahead of her. Sometimes like in Ragnar I like to count the amount of people I can pass in the last mile. Like usual, Phoebe was asleep after the first mile and continued to sleep for another 30 minutes after we finished.

Later when I checked my nike + run club app I discovered that I had ran progressive miles the whole race! That is amazing for me because I usually run the first mile the fastest and get progressively slower during a 5k. When I finished I grabbed a water for my Nuun, a granola bar, and a banana and went back to the finish line to cheer on the rest of the finishers. Overall I think it was pretty well organized and due to the small field of runners there was no weaving in and out to get through the walkers and slower runners, which is a pain with the stroller.

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Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da

I haven’t updated in a very long time, but I promise I will get back into this blog now that I’ve signed up for a ton of Fall races.

Life lately in a short summary. Met an amazing guy on National Running Day, very fitting because he is a runner too! So all of my long runs have been with him lately instead of solo at the park in a million loops. Definitely helps the miles tick by when you have someone to talk to and get to know. Signed up for all the Florida Storm Series races, now I just have to wait to run them! Have been getting faster in my training runs and can’t wait to see how that makes my race times. A few weeks ago I was supposed to do a race on an airport runway but it got postponed/canceled last minute sadly.

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Last night went to a fabulous event in Wynwood that incorporated running & yoga, two of my favorite things! It was held at Pilathon, a pilates/yoga studio in the heart of Wynwood. We started the event by learning some Chi Running techniques from Bryan Huberty, it was pretty cool since I believe I already run Chi style. We ran around looking at the sweet art on the buildings in Wynwood & then did some sprint intervals. I definitely do not do sprint intervals and even though it was supposed to hurt, it felt good! I really need to start doing sprint intervals on the regular. Artist, Ron Sanchez took our group pic by a large Bob Marley wall painting stating Loveism beside it. Afterwards we ran back to Pilathon and hopped up on the roof for some rejuvenating power yoga with Cat Haayen. This was the 3rd time attending this monthly event and every time we do different things & new yoga moves. It’s always fresh and getting that high feeling from staring up at the sky while quieting the mind is heavenly. Also holding my guy’s hand during shavasana was pretty awesome too.

running selfie taken by Mr Run Club :)

Running selfie taken by Mr Run Club 🙂

Group shot with Bob Marley.

Group shot with Bob Marley. Photo credit: Ron Sanchez

With Monica & Caro after rooftop yoga. Sweaty & happy.

With Monica & Caro after rooftop yoga. Sweaty & happy.

I will be back to update my last race recaps from the Winter/Spring soon! Until then Run Happy!

Peace

Peace

 

Check out Pilathon‘s page for upcoming events

And follow Cat Haayen on Twitter

Run Wild – February 8, 2014

Running a 5k six days after my first full marathon seemed like a dumb idea when I signed up for this race about a month before. Luckily it ended up really well for me. I usually really hate races that start later than 7:30am but I did this race last year and had a lot of fun so I tried to not be too bothered by the 8am start time. Plus races at Zoo Miami are a lot of fun, getting to run by all the animals. Sometimes I even go and walk around the zoo afterwards but this year it was just too hot by the time the race was over. My aunt said she would be there but I never saw her till after the race was over, I did run into Matt and a girl from FIU Run Club. It was her first 5k race so she was pretty excited. I lined up 10 minutes before it started and the announcers kept telling people to not have their kids up at the starting line but most people did not listen. That is the issue with zoo runs, the beginning is always a mess with dodging and practically jumping over little kids or strollers but then it gets better when you get around them.

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Hop!

Hop!

I felt pretty strong despite only doing one post marathon run before this race. Another great thing about zoo races is that they almost always have finisher medals. Finished the race, jumping over the finish line timing mat, seems to be my signature move. Haha. I got water, picked up some reusable bags, coconut water, some greek yogurt and a banana before heading back to the finish line to see my friends cross the line. Then I waited on the side to see my aunt and her friends cross the finish line, cheering them on as they reached it. Afterwards we took way too many pictures and waited in line for some yummy baked goods from Corner Bakery Cafe. Then watched the awards ceremony, and they started giving awards to the top 4 in each age group! So I ended up being called up and cheered on for my 4th place finish! Wish all races would have top 5 finishers in every category. The course for this race was a little bit short, and they told everyone at the start of the race, this was a new PR for me. Who would’ve thought I would PR less than a week after a marathon!

4th place in age group.

4th place in age group.

Close Up.

Close Up.

Miami Marathon – February 2, 2014

A year ago I told my coworker that I had just signed up for a half marathon, at the time he had said soon you will be signing up for a marathon. At that time I said “No way! A marathon is way too much for me” actually believing that I could not do a full marathon. When I signed up for this race I had just finished the Tropical 5k, which is the 5k the day before the big race. There was a race blitz and I decided to sign up for the half marathon distance since it was 20% off by the time I got a chance to sign up. At the time I hadn’t even ran my first half marathon, yet was planning for a year in advance to run another one, the Allstate 13.1 Miami Beach was still a month away.

Fast forward to June, when I finally was cleared to start running again after my surgery I decided then that if I could survive such a big scare then I could run a full marathon. I started training a bit early in September since I was not sure how the holidays would go and effect my long runs. It is a good thing I did since lots of things came up the last few months of the year: a friend’s wedding & all the events that come with weddings, baby shower, unexpected races and travel. Since the Fall here is generally (not this year) slightly cooler than the rest of the year there are tons of races and I had to sign up for a lot of them I had to alter my long runs at times. For the most part I got in most of my long runs and two 20+ milers during training luckily still.

sparkle duct tape lettering, got the idea from Fannetastic.

sparkle duct tape lettering, got the idea from Fannetasticfood.com. Amazingly stayed on through sweat & rain!

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When race day started to approach and I started to taper a bit it was a very strange feeling, since I hadn’t tapered for any races since March. I will admit I might have been a bit more agitated by things around me also at the time. Otherwise I was feeling very confident in my training and the goal was to just finish the race feeling good. I’m proud to say I accomplished that goal and was able to make my final mile the fastest in my splits.

Before the race selfie.

Before the race selfie.

Waiting with Matt in Corral F.

Waiting with Matt in Corral F.

Race day morning I got up early, I’d say 3:30am and got ready to leave for the race, packing a small bag of things I might need. I got a ride with my aunt, who was doing the half marathon that day, she kept being negative about how she was probably going to get a call from a race official to pick me up from the road. Those kind of comments do not get me down, instead they just make me more determined to prove them wrong. I dropped my bag off at my aunt’s Galloway group tent and headed to the AAA to use the bathroom. When there’s a real bathroom I will take it any day over a smelly port a potty and luckily I got there just in time for them to open up another ladies bathroom. Then I headed to find the F corral where I would wait till the race started, it was a bit confusing to navigate especially with sooooo many people waiting around. Eventually I found it and sat down on the curb to wait, I find resting my legs as much as possible before the race begins helps me conserve more energy. I’ve never been one to stretch and hop around before a race and it’s always worked for me. My friend Matt met up with me in the corral and we started out the race together. I did not want to start out too fast so he kept me slow for the first couple of miles till he dropped off at the first water spot to stretch out his legs. I never really understood why people put their names so big on their shirts for races till I did the same, at first it was a bit weird having strangers scream “GO LISA” but eventually it really really helped me. I liked all the crowd support right over the Venetian Causeway, a giant mob of cheering faces. I stopped at a few water stops in the first half but all the water stops in the 2nd portion, by then it was getting very very warm. Even when the race started at 6:30am it was already close to 80 degrees so I knew I had to stay as hydrated as possible.  Basically the first 12 miles were super crowded since 75% of the people were signed up for the half marathon distance. Just around the time of the split I saw a couple people start to walk, I started cheering and telling them to get going and finish the half strongly. By the time we split off it was desolate and only a couple runners ahead and a couple behind but pretty quiet. Less cheering squads except at the water stops, usually there were cheerleaders there which were helpful and cheered for me by name. I have to say the Coconut Grove residents who were out in their front yards cheering and giving everyone water/snacks were awesome! At around mile 16 in Coconut Grove the skies started getting dark and when the wind picked up I knew we were about to get some rain. Quickly I pulled out my phone to put it in a plastic baggie so it wouldn’t get soaked and my grandma was calling. I picked up and told her I had 10 more miles to go and had to get off the phone because rain was coming. Five minutes after I hung up with her it started pouring, so for the next 5 miles I ran through the rain. Ran by an awesome resident giving out ice cold beer just before the Rickenbacker Causeway but didn’t partake in any. I just wanted to keep up the momentum because I knew if I would slow down for too long I would get lazy and walk too much. That was the hottest part of the race, there is no shade out there with Biscayne Bay beside you. Back in Brickell I passed lots of brunch’ers who cheered me on drunkenly while stumbling down the sidewalk, that was pretty amusing. I was so happy to see that mile 25 sign that I increased my speed and it ended up being my fastest mile of the whole marathon! But that last mile did seem the longest with a steep bridge just before the final .40 , I trudged over it and once I turned the corner and saw that finish line arch I sprinted to it. Never had I felt so accomplished after crossing that finish line. I got my medal and put a Nuun tablet in my water immediately and grabbed a banana from the food tent. Then met up with my aunt and her running friends at the Galloway tent to rest, I knew I had to keep moving for a bit longer so that I wouldn’t get really stiff afterwards. By that time the side of my knee was aching and I was kind of hobbling around, my IT band. Never have I had a problem with it before, but probably going those 26 miles for the first time aggravated it. When I got home later that day I made sure to ice it and put my Zensahs on, seemed to help. For the next few days my quads and hamstrings were achy but nothing crazy, so I rested and did not run for 3 days after.

Almost to the finish line!!

Almost to the finish line!!

1st Marathon medal.

1st Marathon medal.

Got my trusty Zensahs on & still got all my toenails!

Got my trusty Zensahs on & still got all my toenails!

Here are my mile splits:

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Overall I felt that this marathon experience was a great one. I didn’t worry about my finishing time, this race’s goal was just about finishing and feeling good still. I succeeded and signed up for next year’s marathon again. Can’t wait!