Tuesday, December 11, 2012

My first Half Marathon - Santa Hustle Daytona Beach

I did it. I actually did it, completing my first half marathon 2 months ahead of schedule. This past weekend, I ran the Santa Hustle Half Marathon in Daytona Beach with my boyfriend Gabe, best friend Keri and her husband Jeff. It didn't go as I dreamed but I crossed the finish line. I renamed Alicia Keys song, "Girl on Fire" Monday morning to "Glutes on fire". I am a bad stretcher and am deeply regretting that as we speak.
Five days before the Santa Hustle Half, I woke up with a sore throat and itchy ears. Those are my first two signs of getting sick. I almost overdosed with Emergen-C and took Advil Sinus every night before I went to bed (including race-eve).
Keri and Megan
I put my reindeer antlers and Sparkle Skirt on and met up with fellow reindeer's Keri and Darlynn. Dar ran the 5K version of the race and I have to say how proud I am of her. She did two 5Ks in two days. Keep at it girl! Speaking of 5K runners, I ran into one of my friends from the Daily Mile, Marsha. I also saw Meghan from Married to Merry (who should have won the Santa Hustle costume contest). Good job ladies!
Megan, Keri and Darlynn
The Half Marathon started at 9am and it was a grueling 80 degrees. I was concerned from day one about the start time being so late. Also throw in the fact that the entire race was on the beach. 13.1 in the sand is not fun regardless of how hard packed the sand is. With that said, and having hints of a cold, I started the race with zero negativity and had to fight off emotional tears when we crossed under the Welcome to Daytona Beach sign on Main Street. This was it, I was actually going to run a half marathon in my home town!
Megan and Gabe starting the race
Mile 1. Water station a little earlier than I expected. Took a quick sip, we were at a 10:15M pace. All was good. I was rocking out to Christmas music with my best friend and boyfriend beside me.

Mile 2. Our pace was perfect at 10:30M but nothing else was right. I had a shortage of breathe. I was feeling dizzy. Lord was it hot outside. I felt the urge to walk so soon and this really worried me.

Mile 3. I was slowing down and told Keri to go on without us. We saw Gabe's parents, I seriously thought about having them drive me to the halfway point. I was ready to quit AT MILE 3. I run 3 times a week and I haven't been this weak so early on since my first month running. Was it the allergy medicine I took the night before that was making me so dizzy? Was it the heat? Was it the sand? What is going on here!

Mile 4. We took frequent walk breaks. This is not normal for us this early on. Quite a few beach goers asked what we were running. I am sure it was an interesting sight to see all the Santa's running the beach. With our training, we usually don't walk until we get to mile 4. I knew something was officially wrong with me at this point.

Mile 5. Did I say I wanted to quit yet?

Mile 6. How did we get to Ormond by the Sea with red itchy sinking sand?

Mile 7-10. Who can I call to pick me up?

Mile 10. PUPPY!!!! My Mom and Gabe's parents waited for us to come back through and Mom dressed my dog Deezyl up to match me (notice there are no other runners anywhere around.....). This moment was the happiest I was all race. That and when Miss Piggy's version of Santa Baby came through on my playlist.
Mile 11-12. I have all about given up at this point. I am walking to the finish line. Everything hurts. I hate the sand.

Mile 13, I find my friend and old roommate Tara who was sent out by Keri and Jeff for a search and rescue mission. They were concerned when the THREE HOUR mark passed and I hadn't crossed the finish line yet. Speaking of, the cop who was directing traffic along A1A quit his duty right when I got there. I heard him tell the volunteer that our safety was on her hands. Not only was I past three hours but we had to wait an additional 3 minutes before we could cross the street to the finish line. This upset me a little being there were at least 50 people behind me. A1A is a very busy street.

Crossing the finish line with my doggy
Mom met me across the street so I could cross the finish line with Deezyl the reindeer dog and Gabe. I have to say, I have the sweetest boyfriend on the planet. He is a much faster runner than I on any given day. My normal pace is a 10:30M and his is a 9:15M. He stayed with me during the entire race which ended up being  a total of 3:13 at a 14:47M. Going into the race, I had visions of us finishing under 2:20. I was nearly an hour over my goal.  Gabe handed his bib and medal over to me and continued to run an additional 7 miles after we finished. My man is a Marathon Man!
Team Reindeer: Deezyl, Megan and Keri
For me, this race was a pure case of finishing vs. time. I really considered quitting when I saw my Mommy at mile 10. Then it hit me, I am not a quitter so buck up and do what I need to do to cross that finish line. I refused to get a DNF on my first race. Who cares what that stupid clock says. I was out there and I ran my first half marathon in the sand. Not everyone can say that. Keri finished the race in 2:36 (13th in our age group), Jeff finished in 2:30 (9th in his age group). Awesome job team Harris!
Jeff, Keri, Megan and Gabe
All in all, this was a fun race. It was neat seeing everyone dress up as Santa. We would love for this race to come back to Daytona next year with a few changes, most importantly starting earlier and changing the course up. For those in other cities that the Santa Hustle is visiting, I suggest you checking out the race series. I was very happy to add this medal to my collection and I will never forget what it took to get it.


15 comments:

  1. I had no idea this was your first half Megan! (I'm slow sometimes, what can I say) Congrats on sticking with it and finishing. I know that after just the 5k I was SO happy to be done.

    And who did win the costume contest? ;)

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    1. Yes, it was my first half :) Very happy to be done with it. I am not sure who won! I asked, so hopefully it is announced.

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  2. Congratulations on finishing. I hate running in the heat so all my runs are in the morning. Good for you for finishing. I would have been weary about the weather, sand and gone in with negativity LOL

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    1. Thank you so much :) Trust me, I was the Queen Bee of negativity around mile 4. I was throwing a hissy fit out there. I know next year, they will have the start time much earlier.

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  3. Way to go!!!! I would have bailed for sure! And I love that your puppy was there to cheer you on :)

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    1. Thank you Liz! If I could get puppy to attend every race, I may break records according to my boyfriend. Apparently, I was walking, limping, whining and then I saw him and ran a long distance to get kisses, lol!

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  4. LOVED reading this!!!! So cute how you documented your thoughts each mile. And you seriously do have a great bf! Oh, and I would've been walking come mile 3...soooo you are a badass in my book :)

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    1. THANK YOU! I really appreciate it! A 14MM is not a badass but at least I am not a quitter :) xoxo

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  5. You did it!! So awesome, congrats! (again)

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    1. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! I just signed up for two rock and roll halfs. You and Joe interested in traveling? I have discount codes :)

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  6. You are awesome and are an inspiration! I am so glad to have been there with you! At the beginning!

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    1. Thank you :) Keep at it, you will be running a half with me in no time ;) (my goal for you btw).

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  7. Congratulations on finishing your first half!! That's awesome. :) And that is adorable you ran the finish line with your puppy. Too freakin' cute.
    I can't imagine running on the sand. I hate even walking on it!
    I see you have the race bug already signing up for two RnR halfs! Are you doing St Pete??

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    1. Thank you Beka!! My dog was the highlight of the race, lol!
      Yes, I am doing the St. Pete half! Have you signed up yet? I cannot believe it. We originally planned on NOLA but being St. Pete is 2 weeks prior, I figured why not!

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  8. Well done, Megan! My philosophy is that it's a successful race once you finish without puking, fainting or dying. Here's to the next one!

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