Hi, I'm Petra and this is my weight loss/fitness blog.
I used to be on Weight Watchers from January 2011 to October 2012, dropping approximately 45 lbs. I've made the transition from unhealthy and unhappy to athlete and this is my journey to becoming a healthier, happier me. I frequently post about my exercise (mostly running, yoga and lifting), the foods I eat, recipes I liked and my daily struggles. You'll also find the occasional tree hugger post, (travel) photography or anything else I find worth remembering and collecting.
I follow most blogs back that follow me. However, I do stay away from blogs that promote EDs, unhealthy methods of weight loss or negative body image.
Feel free to say hi any time!
Today was the day of the More & Fitness Magazine Women’s Half Marathon, which officially marked my first half marathon race. I was nervous, but still managed to get a somewhat good night’s worth of sleep. I went to bed around 10:30 and was up at 5:30 this morning to shower, eat breakfast and get out the door. Breakfast consisted of bread with peanut butter and a banana as well as some cheese and blueberries. I really wanted oatmeal instead, but I’d never had oatmeal pre-run/race before and you know what they say about mixing up things on race day. I ate a little more than I usually do, thinking I could use the extra fuel.
I had packed my bag the night before and finished all my preparations (laying out my outfit, pinning the bib to my shirt, attaching the D Tag to my shoes, packing some food to eat mid-race) so all that was left to do was refill my water bottle, dissolve a tablet of Nuun and out the door I was.
The start was close to where I usually enter Central Park and it was a quick walk, which I really enjoyed. I dropped my bag off, used the porta-potties and went ahead to find my corral.
Walking toward baggage, I found myself wishing I was passing mile 12 already.
This is the bathroom line, minutes before the start. Crazy!
I was still certain that I should not be in the green corral, so I told myself to take it easy, start slow and run my race. As we were waiting for the gun to go off, I got very emotional for whatever reason. I was stressed out. I was scared and I had no confidence in myself. Seconds before the race was about to start, I was close to tears.
Just as we were about to go off, it started to drizzle a little bit. It stopped by the time I crossed the start line and the day turned actually really nice. The temperatures climbed to the 60s. I raced in a t-shirt and shorts and more than once did I wish I’d worn a tank top instead.
The first few minutes felt all right and I thought I was getting into the groove. My toe felt fine and nothing else was really bothering me. I tried pacing myself and not let myself be influenced by all the women passing me by. I ran the first three miles at a barely-sub 10 min/mile, something I had done numerous times in training.
My feeling of dread/fear never went away and just as I was headed toward mile 2, I actually thought to myself You’re not enjoying this. And honestly, I didn’t. I hated being there, I hated this race, I hated how hard it felt. I hated not enjoying it. Every step felt hard and around mile 4, I developed a really strong lower back pain (I barely ever have lower back pains during runs) and my legs were tired and heavy. It almost felt like hitting the wall - at fucking mile 4. Have fun with the other 9 miles, I thought.
I wanted to cry even more. Partly because I was genuinely upset about not enjoying what should have been one of the highlights of my life. My first half-marathon on a beautiful day in one of the most beautiful cities/parks of the world! Instead I was tired and miserable. I got angry because I knew exactly why my performance was going to be so poor.
You can’t work 12 hour+ days for weeks and weeks, getting too little and only poor quality sleep and then expect your body to work as if you’d just come back from a long, relaxing vacation. I was exhausted and spent before I even put on my sneakers this morning. Today I paid the price of what I’d been doing to my body. Around mile 7, my toe started hurting really bad too, but at least the back pain had gone away. Mile 8 saw side stitches and at mile 10, every single bone and muscle in my body was screaming at me - except for my knees. My knees, my usual trouble spot, were surprisingly fine.
I took my first walking break around mile 3, sooner than I had planned. After that it went somewhat downhill. I couldn’t get back into a rhythm of running/walking. Every step was hard and I couldn’t tell whether it was my body or my mind telling me to slow down for a walk. So many women passed me by and while I tried to concentrate on my race, I couldn’t help but get discouraged. At one point I was so frustrated that I asked myself Why even bother? It certainly hurt my time - I know I wasn’t pushing as hard as I could have.
Another thing I struggled with was the heat. It was hot too early and once the initial drizzle had cleared, the sun was beating down on us so hard with no shade in sight. I didn’t hydrate aggressively enough and I hadn’t hydrated properly the days leading to the race. I also think I didn’t eat well enough during the week. I ate carb heavy last night, but I think I should have eaten more carbs on Friday already.
As I was approaching mile 7, the winner sprinted past me. We ran the full loop in Central Park twice and I was struggling through my second loop, when she passed me - as if she’d just started a 5k. I was in awe. Everybody cheered on her and she ended up finishing in 1 hour 13. This is sick.
I made it to the finish line eventually, but especially the last two miles were a struggle and I needed to take more walking breaks than I should have. I didn’t have any energy to finish strong/sprint. After the race, I picked up my medal and post-race refreshments. I was starving so bad that I scarfed down my apple and bagel. And then I felt sort of sick.
I’m still waiting for official pictures, but I had someone take a picture of me immediately post race:
My legs look so skinny! Me gusta!
I stretched, suffered from cramps, didn’t dare sit down (I never would have gotten up again) and went to the festivities tents to get a massage. I then schlepped myself home and stopped by Bouchon for an iced latte.
My official time is 2:26:48 and the pace is 11:13. This puts me at 4459th place out of 7088. At first I was incredibly disappointed. I could have pushed harder. Physically, I probably had it in me. Mentally, I didn’t. Even that horrible 14 mile training run where I ran the same course had a better pace.
I had three major goals for this race:
I failed miserably at the latter two.
But I’ve thought about it and given the circumstances, my result isn’t too bad. The course was difficult. I wasn’t rested. My nutrition wasn’t perfect leading up to the race. I didn’t have enough racing experience to hydrate better and the weather took its toll on me.
I finished. That’s all that matters. Had anybody told me a year or two ago that I’d ever be able to run longer than five minutes, let alone complete a half marathon, I would have laughed. Very loudly. But now I am that girl. I am that girl who runs half marathons. I’ve come a long way and I’m proud of that.
I have another half marathon next month, apparently with an easier course. Who knows, maybe I’ll PR?
After the race, I relaxed a bit and had a cup of Icelandic yogurt with a banana because I couldn’t make myself eat lunch. I napped and then I headed out for some retail therapy. I spent a small fortune at Athleta today, buying a new bikini, a skort, shorts, a headband and running tank.
Official race pictures here.