Haunted Half {Recap!}

I hope everyone had a good weekend and if you celebrated Halloween, you’ve recovered from your sugar coma 😀

I ran Phoenix’s first Haunted Half Marathon and even though it was advertised as “Phoenix,” it was actually in a suburb right next to where I live, lol! That was one of the reasons I was enticed to run it. That, and the medal. Seriously.

Anyway, I had heard about the race a long while ago but was iffy on it because it was three weeks after Chicago and I wasn’t sure I’d be up for 13.1 miles. Then about a week after the marathon, my friend posted there was a Groupon for the race and an additional 20% off making the entry fee under $40. I was sold. A bunch of my friends were also running it and I knew it’d be a lot of fun. Plus, medal.

My husband and I headed to the “expo” on Friday and maybe there was more inside Sports Chalet but packet pick up booths were outside and there wasn’t anything else there to see. No vendors, no nothing. The swag was pretty sweet though and considering I’d gotten a deal on my entry free, I was very satisfied.

Cotton V-neck tee, gloves, KT tape, and scary bag

Cotton V-neck tee, gloves, KT tape, and scary bag

They also had a little photo op thingy which of course I had my husband snap a shot

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The race was seriously right down the street from me, so I woke up the next morning around 4:30ish which is my usual wake-up time. I got dressed and realized there were several “firsts” happening with my outfit. It was the first race I would wear with full compression socks–up til then, I’d occasionally race in calf sleeves. It was also the first time I’d be racing in a skirt–a buddy loaned me a really pretty Sparkle Skirt, which I pulled over some shorts.

Then, because I figured I needed a third first (since you know, everything comes in threes), I brewed me some coffee. I’ve never had coffee before a run or a race. It was 5 in the morning and the race didn’t start til 7; I figured it was enough time and coffee sounded amazing at that moment. It certainly tasted amazing.

The course was a point to point so I arrived early enough to get on the first bus that would take us to the start. I met up with several run club buddies and we chatted as the bus got lost several times.

We finally arrived at the start which was at a familiar place near mountains I often run trails on. It was dark and very cold (for AZ) and volunteers gave us runner’s foil to wrap ourselves around. We found the porta potties and another first happened: I was the first one to use the porta potty. My friend, who was in the potty next to me, shouted, “Make sure you lift the seat!!” And thank goodness because that would’ve been a complete and total disaster.

I had quite a few friends pacing this race and I planned to stick with two who were pacing the 2:00 hour group. I was hoping I was in 2 hour half marathon shape and wanted to see how I could do at that pace. As I hung out with my buddies, I ran into Kindal @runningwithstrength, an Insta/blogging buddy that’s local. She’s got a marathon next weekend so this would be a training run for her and planned to run with the 1:55 group (she’s speedy).

But about 30 minutes before the race started, the coffee I had had worked its magic and I needed a porta potty fast. Unfortunately, many people needed a port potty fast and it took me well over 30 minutes to get to one. Kindal and I were in line together and we looked at each other when the announcer counted down the start–we were gonna miss the start!

We really needed to go so we stayed in line (10 porta potties=not enough, race directors!) and about 5 minutes after the start, Kindal and I crossed the line. We agreed she’d pace me for the first 10 miles and then she’d go on ahead.

Another appeal to this race was the course elevation–

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It mimicked the start of Phoenix Marathon.

And like with Phoenix, we’re always cautioned to not start off fast…. And we never listen.

Miles 1-8 went like this: Wooohoooo!!!! I got this!! Sub 2 BABY!!!! Yeahhhh!!!!

Screen Shot 2015-11-01 at 3.54.37 PMMiles 9-13.1: Whhhooaaa!!!! Wind!!! Wall!!! Why??!!! What was I thinking??!!!

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We made a right turned heading north at mile 9 into a breeze and by then, I was already so tired that trying to maintain a 9 minute pace seemed impossible. Kindal tried her best to get me back on track but when we reached mile 10, I wished her luck and knew it was going to be a tough 3.1. (She finished in 1:55 like a total badass.)

I tried to do math in my head to see what I needed to do to sneak in under 2, but thinking so hard was making me feel worse, so I just kept running as strong as I could. Luckily, no cramps were happening, but the legs were just tired. When I reached mile 12, I told myself to run this last mile fast and the only fast I could muster was a 9:30.

When I turned the last .1 corner, my teammates were along the side and their cheers gave me a surge. I stopped my watch just before I crossed (I didn’t want a watch stopping finish photo, lol!) and headed straight toward my friends. I needed their hugs.

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We were right near the insta results and I saw my name and time– 2:05:xx

I shook my head and everyone told me I was okay. This was a fun race, no pressure, 3 weeks post Chicago. So I got over it, grabbed a beer, and admired my medal.

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The medal. IT OPENS.

And when I got home, I told my husband about my race and he asked me about the difference in Garmin time versus race time; four minutes was a lot. I realized I hadn’t even looked at my watch time; after I crossed, I went immediately to my friends (thank goodness for autosave). But I told him my watch kept beeping way before the mile markers so I figured the course was off (longer). He said that was still a lot of time difference so he went online and sure enough

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You’d think by now I’d know to look at Net Time and not Clock Time…oh, Helly….

Even though I was sooo close to a sub 2 and maaaaybe could’ve done it had I had the ability to do math and get my butt moving, I’m really happy with this time.

I wanted to run this race for a few reasons: 1.) the medal 2.) assess my half marathon skillz 3.) have fun

Check, check, check! 😀

–Ever got your times mixed up?

–Ever ran a race mostly for the medal? (I’m not usually so medal influenced but for some reason, I thought this one was pretty cool, lol!)

–How was your Halloween? Costume?

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Did you R.I.P?

Another Brother Update

In case you’re interested in brother news, he recently ran the Columbus Half Marathon with an ambitious goal…..

But before I get to that, if you’re unfamiliar with my brother’s badassness, I wrote about his weight loss here (80 pounds now and counting!!) and about his first half marathon ever here (where he almost beat me!), and his most recent 5k (where he did beat me, my PR that is!).

310 to 233

310 to 233

Me and the bro after his first half marathon

Me and the bro after his first half marathon

After his 5k PR (and 5th place overall AND 3rd in Age Group win!!)

After his 5k PR (and 5th place overall AND 3rd in Age Group win!!)

So his goal for his second half marathon ever??? Sub 2 hours.

He was pretty nervous leading up to the race having felt he hadn’t trained as hard as his first. I assured him that his paces during his training all projected a sub 2 finish. He had it–he just had to keep telling himself that (really, Helly? Listen to your own advice!!)

My sister and her friends had driven up to Columbus for his big day and made him some pretty sweet signs, LOL

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And I made sure I registered for runner tracking not caring it would be 4 in the morning my time–heck, I’ve woken up earlier than that to run! 😉 I actually woke up a little before my alarm and sent him a quick good luck text.

Then my phone buzzed that my runner had crossed the start line ❤

I didn’t want to obsessively track the little dude on the course line, so I hit my pillow and when I felt he was about 5k in, I checked.

He was on pace!!

At mile 9, still going strong.

My phone beeped not too long after that. He was cramping. I texted him telling him he was doing so good, to not stop now!

But I began to worry. He didn’t have a lot of wiggle room as he’d been hitting the paces right on.

It was going to be a close one.

And then…my phone beeped again.

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HE DID IT. I screamed to my husband that my brother had done it!! He ran a sub 2!!

I immediately texted him, wishing I was there to give him the hugest hug.

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I never doubted him. He’s been shocking the hell out of me but not once did I not think he could do this. He is so amazing and such an inspiration. I keep telling people that he is what hard work will do. He is the anything is possible.

I texted him a little while after the race to see how he was feeling.

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He is my champ. ❤

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I hope everyone has a great weekend!! Who’s running, who’s racing? And who’s dressing up??? I’ve got a Haunted 1/2 tomorrow 😀 HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!

❤ , helly

The year that was two thousand unFOURgettable teen

And it’s here!!! The last day of 2014!!

This has been an incredible year for me personally and in my running life. I honestly don’t think I’ll ever have such an amazing year as this and I don’t even want to try. This year will be its own very special year in which I accomplished so much and did so much…

Here’s a look back at the year that was 😀

1. January My first sub 2 hour half marathon 1:58:11

This was such a special race because my husband and I trained so hard for this. It was also 6 months post partum and to have met my goal so soon after giving birth made me feel like a total badass

yay!

yay!

2. March: My FIRST marathon

Oh. Em. Gee. This was such an epic day. It was so hard and so amazing at the same time. Crossing that finish line was one of the proudest moments of my life–it made me a marathoner!

Crossing that finish line=best feeling ever

Crossing that finish line=best feeling ever

Yep, I'm a finisher!

Yep, I’m a finisher!

Seriously, how beautiful is this medal??

Seriously, how beautiful is this medal??

3. March: I froze my butt off and got a 5k PR in Ohio

This was a special race because it was the first race my brother, sister, and I ran ever ran together. My 6’2, 300lb brother crossed the finished line at a veerrry respectable 33 something! And I placed second in my age group with my shiny new PR of 24:18 🙂

My brother on the run

My brother on the run

Our after pic :)

Our after pic 🙂

My Shwings and my AG award :)

My Shwings and AG award 🙂

4. April: I have a 2 year old!

My favorite girl in the world growing up so fast ❤

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2

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Party time!

 

5. April: Um, I ran a race in MADRID, SPAIN!!!

Okay, first, I never thought I’d ever visit Europe. Second, I neeever thought I’d run a race in Europe! But, the opportunity presented itself this year and my husband and I found ourselves running a 1/2 marathon through the streets of Spain

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It was absolutely incredible and something I will never, ever forget.

6. May: I crossed the Grand Canyon…TWICE

Okay, so I never thought I’d go to Europe and I did. But if someone told me I’d hike the Grand Canyon twice I woulda told them they were crazy. Yet, I was the crazy one who actually did it!

Day 1: South Kaibab to North Kaibab. Day 2: North Kaibab to Bright Angel.

Day 1: South Kaibab to North Kaibab. Day 2: North Kaibab to Bright Angel.

 

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Looking back at the miles

 

at the finish line of the Canyon :)

and at the finish line of the Canyon 🙂

7. June: My first trail race (and first at night!)

The newb trail runner in me came out this race as I had NO idea what I had signed up for lol! This was hella hard!!!

Started with the 10 mile loop followed by the 10k loop (see mountain).

Started with the 10 mile loop (bottom pic) followed by the 10k loop (top pic).

Pre-race pic at Adrenaline 27k

Pre-race pic at Adrenaline 27k–still smiling having no clue….lol

Adrenaline 27k

Soooo happy to be done!

8. July: My little guy turned ONE!!!!

12 months=1 year in case you didn't know :D

12 months=1 year in case you didn’t know 😀

9. August: I went back to work

This was a hard decision for me but one I am very glad I made. I felt like I wasn’t ready to let go of teaching after taking a year off and I really missed it.

My bib board makes my classroom complete :) (don't mind my soda collection lol!)

My bib board makes my classroom complete 🙂
(don’t mind my soda collection lol!)

10. September: I completed 100 Days of NO Soda!!!

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Those who know me know what a big deal this was. It hard, it was tough, but I honestly think it has made a lasting impression on me as I definitely have seen a change in my drinking habits.

11: October: My dream race!!!

Holy cow, I ran the Marine Corps Marathon!!! I still can’t believe I was able to do it. It was everything I’d hoped it’d be and MORE–because I also got to meet my BRF and Sole Sister, Salt!

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Cheesin' real hard

Cheesin’ real hard at packet pick up

Best. Medal. Ever.

Best. Medal. Ever.

12. November: A humbling race

I ran the Gilbert 1/2 Marathon at 2:00:16 baaareely missing what would’ve been my second sub 2 of the year. It was a poorly run race on my part but a HUGE learning experience.

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Oh man, that’s always tough to look at.

13. December: To then run the race of my life!!

The Fiesta Bowl 1/2 Marathon proved to me that I can do hard things. It was seriously a tale of two races as the first half of the half, I struggled and was about to throw in the towel on trying to get my second sub 2 race of the year. But then a light switched on at mile 7 and I ran the rest of the race a different person finishing with a brand new, incredible, half marathon PR

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Best!

14. Last, but not least…1000 miles!

On the dot!

On the dot!

Such an incredible year for me. I’ve been having a blast blogging and while sometimes life gets busy and I can’t do it as much as I’d like, I appreciate all of you who have shared this journey with me. So looking forward to 2015!!!

P.S. I turned 30 this year! 😀

–How would you describe your 2014 in ONE word? (me? Un-Four-gettable)

–What are you looking forward to in 2015?

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Be safe out there

❤ helly