Champaign Half Marathon Recap

2 May

I have officially finished a half marathon! 

It was quite the experience and I am so happy to be able to say that I have done it.  The experience was one of a kind and I learned a lot from my 3 months of training, the race, and the post race hours. It has been a long weekend so this post may be a little lengthy.

The plan was to drive to Springfield (where my family lives, 3 hours from me in Chicago) on Friday afternoon/evening then wake up and drive to Champaign Saturday morning (hour and half from my house in Spfld) for the race.  My dad and sister were running the race with my so I wanted to be with them the night before and all go to the race together.

To say I was a basket case on Friday would be an understatement.  I was so nervous and freaking out all day for really no reason but I ended up in tears several times throughout the day.  I felt much better when we finally got to Springfield.

My sister getting ready to leave the house

Looking my prettiest at 5 am

After getting about 6 hours of sleep we were up at 5:00 am to head to Champaign.  I ate my normal pre long run meal of two pieces of peanut butter toast and banana slices.  I also drank a full water bottle (24 oz) of water on the drive to Champaign.  The half was set to start at 7:30 and we pulled into town around 6:50.  Parking took a little bit so it was about 7:15 by the time we got in line for the porta potty’s.  Oh and it was FREEZING.  The weather report said it was going to be high 50’s and sunny but it was cloudy and so windy.  I ended up  making Sean go get my long sleeve shirt from the car because the tank top and shorts I had on was not cutting it.

Waiting in line for the potties


Trying to loosen up in the cold

Clearly I was not impressed with the porta potty

I was freaking out that we were going to miss the start but they ended up starting the race a little late so we lined up on the edge of the crowd just in time.  We did not really get a jogging warm up or a lot of stretching in which I was not happy about.  I’m not sure if it effected what would happen later or not.

The goal I had in mind was to run the first 5 miles in an even 9 min pace, try to pick it up for the next five then do my best for the last 5k.  That planned worked great for the first 5 miles. I was running right along with my sister and dad having a great time.  My legs felt great, there was awesome crowd support and I warmed up and wasn’t freezing anymore.  I didn’t even listen to music for the first 4 miles which I almost NEVER do.

  • Mile 1: 9:07
  • Mile 2: 8:50
  • Mile 3: 8:57
  • Mile 4: 8:49
  • Mile 5: 8:57

It was really nice to have my sister and dad there because they kept me on pace.  If I would have been doing it by myself I probably would have gone faster these 5 and died.  After about 4 miles my legs realized they were running and my hips started to feel really tight.  I told myself that at mile 5 I would stop take a GU and stretch really quick.  If I could have made myself not stop at 5 I think I would have been a lot better off because once I stopped I lost my sister and dad and then was all alone.

I walked for about a minute and quickly stretched.  Once I started running again the hip pain hurt more and more.  I started getting really discouraged and mentally I was a mess.  I knew that I wasn’t on pace any more and even though I was still close I was too wrapped up in my hip pain.  I tried to talk myself into running for 10 minutes, then I could stop and stretch.  This worked for a while but I didn’t always make it the full 10 minutes

  • Mile 6: 10:07
  • Mile 7: 10:26
  • Mile 8: 9:43
  • Mile 9: 9:51
Mile 8 and 9 I kept seeing people I knew so that was really helpful because I talked to them for a few minutes and that kept my running for longer.  Mile 10 was really rough, I think this is where I actually sat down on the side of the road to try to stretch my hip out.  Nothing was helping and trying to just maintain a slow steady pace hurt worse.  I decided to just try to run faster, take a 30-60s walking/stretch break then run again.  I walked through all the water stops and took the other half of my GU at mile 10.
  • Mile 10: 11:59
Once I got passed the horrible mile 9-10 I realized I only had 3 miles left.  I knew I was going to finish at this point so I just tried to do my best with run/walk/stretching until the end.  I texted Sean at one point to tell him how much pain I was in because I needed some encouragement.  He told me to just hang in there and finish strong and that helped.
  • Mile 11: 10:49
  • Mile 12: 10:53
  • Mile 13: 10:19
Once I passed mile 12.5 I kept counting down the tenths.  I knew I was running the course about one tenth over so I wouldn’t be done until my watch said 13.2.  Once I saw the sign that said only .1 left I took off and sprinted to the end. The race ended on the 50 yard line of the U of I football stadium so that was pretty cool.  My last 0.2 according to my garmin was at a 7:43 pace with a best of 5:26 pace.
After the race I felt awful. I really thought I was going to throw up for a while and I was freezing.  I didn’t really do anything besides sit on the stadium bleachers for the next hour with my family.  Not stretching or icing was an AWFUL idea.  We finally left the stadium area and went to lunch where I ate some fries and half a grilled cheese sandwich.  I was not feeling food at all.  Sean and I then drove back to Chicago and when I first got out of the car walking was so so painful.
My dad and sister finished together in an awesome 1:57:20.  The exact time I wanted to finish in.

The 3 finishers

Our awesome supporters (Mom, brother and boyfriend)

Thanks for coming and sending me supportive texts 🙂

Overall I am proud.  I am proud I finished and ran that far.  I know that I am capable of running faster than that which is the frustrating part because during training my long runs all went great.  I did 12 miles 24 minutes faster than I did 13.2 in, so therefore I KNOW I could have done better.  But I know that it just wasn’t my day.  I have no idea what is wrong with my hip.  I am going to take this week off from running and see what happens or if I need to go see a PT.  My legs have never been in so much pain as they were yesterday so even though I walked a ton there was definitely some effort in that race.

I really appreciated all the support I’ve gotten from my blog readers via comments and twitter.  My family and boyfriend have been amazingly supportive as well.  I am going to write a separate post later on my race anxiety because I clearly have issues with this and hope that the more I do races the easier it will get.

If you are still reading, thank you 🙂 I hope anyone who did races this weekend had an awesome time!

19 Responses to “Champaign Half Marathon Recap”

  1. Allison @ Runs A Latte May 2, 2011 at 9:45 am #

    Congrats, Ashely! I know how frustrating it is to be prevented from running your best because of hip pain. In fact, my hips have started hurting right before my big race this weekend! You did great with the cards you were dealt. I think taking some time off from running and stretching a ton should help your legs recover, and next time you run a half, you’ll easily crush this time.

    I love that you ran with your dad and sister! I wish I could get my family to race with me!

  2. Kimberley May 2, 2011 at 9:48 am #

    AHHH goodjob… what a great accomplishment! 🙂 YAY you go girl!

  3. katshealthcorner May 2, 2011 at 10:15 am #

    Great job girl!!! I am so proud of you!! I’m sorry about your hip though. Are you going to do another one?

  4. Danielle May 2, 2011 at 10:43 am #

    Congrats girl!! That’s a HUGE accomplishment that you finished! You will get that 1:57 next time!!! I feel your pain about your legs hurting and not feeling well. I was the same way after my first half, but it gets better!!! Be proud of yourself!!!!!

  5. cbrady3 May 2, 2011 at 11:41 am #

    Congrats on your first half!! Finishing the first one is what’s important, and now you can focus on speed for your second..and third and fourth! Way to go girl!

  6. Alexis May 2, 2011 at 1:27 pm #

    Dear SpoonfulofSmash,

    I am very proud of you for running and finishing your FIRST half marathon. I am insanely appreciative for you for encouraging me to run it with you :). Had it not been for your constant and sometimes frightening texts and phone calls pushing and encouraging me to go out and run I can honestly say that I would have not done this half. I am very lucky and greatful to have such a motivating/motivated determined and strong sister. I am very proud of you for finishing. I know it isn’t where or how you wanted to finish but the most important thing is that despite being hurt you DID finish! There will be more half marathons that you do…and I am sure that your times will only get faster! You are the greatest sister a girl could ask for 🙂 Thank you for all of your help/encouragement/advice and motivation. It is safe to say I would NOT have done it without you! BE PROUD. CLEAR EYES FULL HEARTS CANT LOSE!!!!

    ❤ always

    p.s. kindly make me a new workout schedule up to June 18th. Strength, insanity, long runs all included. By 4 pm today.

  7. movesnmunchies May 2, 2011 at 1:40 pm #

    CONGRATS!!!! you did so well- im even more excited about my half now!!

  8. Kelly May 2, 2011 at 3:07 pm #

    Congrats, lady! I know it wasn’t exactly what you wanted, but I think you have a great attitude about the race and learned a lot for the next! The race anxiety tends to ease a little with experience, though I think we all get it pretty bad sometimes 🙂 Hope your hip is feeling better today – I’m sure some PT would help.

  9. Ali (Student On A Health Craze) May 2, 2011 at 3:36 pm #

    Congratulations on running a half marathon!!!!!! I’m sorry it didn’t go entirely to plan, but your time is still MORE THAN respectable, and you finished! Woohoo!

  10. Sarah S @RunningOnWords May 2, 2011 at 7:47 pm #

    Congrats on finishing! I’m sorry that things went south, but you still ran 13.1 miles despite pain and misery and I think you are total bad@ss! Way to go, girl!

  11. Amy @ Second City Randomness May 2, 2011 at 11:04 pm #

    Congrats girl! You finished- and that’s a HUGE accomplishment! A couple people I follow finished this race and it looked like a good time!

    Enjoy your rest this week… it’s well deserved!

  12. ShannonH May 3, 2011 at 9:49 am #

    Awwww I’m just so ding dang proud of you! I got a bit teary-eyed reading your recap of the half!!! It’s hard overcoming those pains. Great job!!! Looking forward to celebrating more milestones with you in the future.

    Love ya!

    PS – way to go Alexis and Bob as well!

  13. jeri May 3, 2011 at 11:20 am #

    great job on your half even if it didn’t go as you had planned. figure out your hip stuff and get that sub 2 time! 😀

  14. Rach @ This Italian Family May 3, 2011 at 11:57 am #

    Congrats, girl!! Way to go! I know it wasn’t exactly what you wanted, but you still rocked it! Way to be. 🙂

  15. Kristen @ Random Ramblings May 3, 2011 at 8:15 pm #

    Still an awesome time despite all the troubles! Congrats!

  16. Mom May 4, 2011 at 10:58 am #

    Well Miss Ashley I gotta say another blog post that made your mommy tear up… that is why it took me days to comment cause I couldnt stop crying long enought type either that or I am still trying to figure out how to use my new iphone ;o)

    I am so very proud of you and your sister Alexis and what a beautiful post she wrote you as well. It is true I DO HAVE the greatest kids in the world and I could not be more proud of all of your accomplishments and looking forward to the many more to come. Way to stay strong and beast this first half out!
    mom :))

  17. the dawn May 9, 2011 at 2:35 pm #


    congratulations woman!

    seriously, i always tell people that the first race is just to be survived, and then you have a starting point, a time to improve on. then you get to figure out what went wrong and how to fix it. its way more satisfying to come back after a disappointing race than it is to just have a great one the first time.

    you did it! congratulations!


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