You've already heard about Hans' first half marathon, and I had a little of myself in there, but I did want to take a moment to tell you how my first race postpartum went. It went really well!
I had some personal goals going in to the race, and I was definitely using this race a way to determine how much I'd bounced back. So, my goals were:
1) No walking. I never count the water stops or stops to refuel as walking, so other than that I wanted to run the whole way.
2) Have a decent time: I told people my goal was 2:30:00, but in reality I was shooting for under 2:24:00. That was the approximate time of my very first half marathon, and I was really hoping to be slightly faster than or at least equal to that. My super-lofty goal was 2:17:00 (my fastest half to date).
3) Feel good at the finish: I really didn't want to feel like I was pushing myself too hard. I wanted to finish feeling good and happy, not like things had been some huge struggle.
The end result was pretty good. As for the walking rule, I kept it. There were times when I really wanted to walk (like up a big hill), but I just kept going. On the time front, I finished in approximately 2:18:00! I didn't reach my super-lofty goal, but I definitely reached my primary goal. On feeling good, well, I did and I didn't.
At the end of the race, I actually felt really good. I mean, I had to take a moment to catch my breath, but I was moving fine and only felt a little sore. There were a few body parts that surprised me by aching, but I'm attributing that to a slightly different body shape post-baby and a desperate need for new running shoes.
During the race, however, while I didn't feel bad (for the most part), I also didn't feel good like I usually do. There were plenty of times where continuing on was a definite struggle. I know in previous races, I've normally felt pretty good after 4 miles or so, but that wasn't the case this time. So, I need to figure that one out. Did I not feel as wonderful because I'd only trained for 13.1 miles as opposed to my usual 26.2? How much did the cold affect me? Is that why things seemed difficult at points? Was I just overly tired, both physically and mentally, from a long week? Is my body just not ready for that kind of intensity yet?
Honestly, it may be a little bit of everything. Still, I'm quite pleased overall. I went for a lovely 4 mile run this morning (the early-morning moon was awesome), I don't feel particularly drained from this race, and I'm pleased with where I am. I also know that I'll be training for the full marathon again next year. I love the Richmond Marathon, and the Half just can't take its place. Until then, I'll just keep looking for other fun races.