MY FIRST HALF MARATHON, COMPLETE! {Buffalo Half Marathon 2014}

Happy Memorial Day (U.S. friends) and Happy Monday! A huge thank you goes out to all of our soldiers who fight for our freedoms.

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[This is about as good as my artistry gets haha]

It is yet the start of another brand new week. I can finally say I have completed my first half marathon, the Buffalo Half Marathon 2014. Yesterday was most definitely a day I will never forget and thank you to all of those who texted, messaged, and called me to wish me luck and congratulations throughout the weekend.

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Yesterday morning I woke up around 5:30am and did my usual morning routine when I get ready for a run. I even had my usual bowl of cereal with chex, milk, fruit, and whey protein powder. I was nervous-excited for the race and kept telling myself that since I ran this distance last week, I knew I could do it again. Now it was time to officially document my distance.

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After having one last glass of water and doing some stretching, my dad and I were off to downtown Buffalo. It was a typical car ride of laughs and giggles the whole way. As cars were piling into the city, my dad said, “only marathon runners would be driving to the city at this time.” (It was 6:30 am..haha)

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Once we were downtown and my dad dropped me off, he wished me well, and told me he would see me at the finish line with my mom. I decided to wait in line for the bathroom, but at 10 minutes to 7am (start time) I stepped out of line because I was confident I could hold it. I was determined to find my spot in the pack of people after wiggling my way through with “excuse me and thank yous” and was able to position myself just behind the 1:50 sign holder. I knew I had ran this distance last week in 2 hours and this morning I wanted to see if I could push myself a little more. Now my goal was time, not distance. A mind game I had set against myself.

Before I knew it we were off and my feet were on fire! I think since I took a break from running for 3 days my feet were overexcited to be off and running (literally haha). I was gaining speed and kept a great pace. My Garmin was averaging 8 min miles, but around mile 5/6 I had to slow it down. I knew my legs could not keep this pace the whole way. So I pulled back and the slowest mile I saw on my watch read 9:50. It is going to take some time to learn to start off slow and increase my speed overtime. It’s just I am so excited and strong at the beginning, I cannot help myself sometimes a lot of times!

I picked people out in the crowd to pass or stay with throughout certain points. Around mile 7 I stopped for some water (2 glasses) to hydrate. I usually do not drink on my runs, but I needed it yesterday. I also need to find the skill to be able to run and drink from a cup haha..When I quickly tried to grab one and keep running around mile 5, it basically ended up all over my face instead of in my mouth.

By mile 10 my excitement to finish kicked in because I knew I only had over 3 miles to go! I decided to pass the group I was sort of sticking with and run ahead. The view along the waterfront for those last few miles was BEAUTIFUL! If I was not running a race I would have taken a picture for this post.

Just around the bend after the 12 mile mark we had to climb, what to me at the time, was the hardest hill before finishing. Beyond that point and around a couple turns I could make out the finish line up ahead. Some people really kicked it into gear at the end, but my legs could not move any faster. THIS was definitely the run where I have never wanted water SO BADLY and to be honest, my feet were also bothering me on the insides and along the toes. I head my mom yelling my name and smiled as my dad shot a picture of me coming in.

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I crossed the finish line and let my whole body relax in relief as Miss Buffalo awarded me with a medal. After receiving a silver heatsheet I went straight for the water!! Then I got in line to have my picture taken and finally met up with my parents. There was a free service for all participants to get a massage by the New York Institute of Massage so after a half hour wait, my sore calves were in heaven for a good 5 minutes.

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I got up and felt like I could not walk…”Didn’t I just run 13.1 miles?,” I thought. I happened to be sitting next to a marathoner who came in second with a time around 2 hours and 20 minutes. He was looking like he was in pain, tired, and ready for a massage. He definitely did a job well done!

After grabbing some snacks and enjoying the beautiful day, my family and I were headed home. I showered, got changed, stretched a little, and we were off to our next destination– my grandparent’s cottage for the day.

IMG_0926[Siena was enjoying the car ride]

It was great to see the family and catch up all of the things we have been busy doing. This fruit bowl was waiting for me after my nap and I was a happy camper (for those of you who know my obsession with fruit bowls)!!

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The truth is: People are inspirational and thousands upon thousands made accomplishments yesterday as each runner crossed the finish line. The medal symbolizes more than just being a finisher, it symbolizes all of the hard work, determination, and hours of training each runner took to accomplish 26.2 or 13.1 miles. Yes people run for the numbers, but many also run to feel free and empowered. I loved seeing the community come out and support the runners along the whole course. There was music playing, loud cheers, and signs that said things like “run as if someone called you a jogger” or “why do all the cute ones run away?”

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[Courtesy of the Buffalo News. Click here to see more photos ]

I saw little boys playing their toy drums on the sidewalk and elderly couples on their porches or front lawns clapping for the runners. The endless support of volunteers was wonderful from the Saturday Expo to the water stations throughout the course and even at the finish line handing out supplies to the runners. We have an AMAZING community of support in Buffalo and I am so blessed to be a part of it. I had an absolutely memorable experience yesterday and I cannot wait to run again next year. This is just the first of many half marathons for me! I finished at 1:56:14. 🙂

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I am so proud of my first time–starting off my record strong, and forever feeling the Buffalove <3.

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Let’s Talk–

Have you ran a half marathon? Tell me about your experience?

Did you run the Buffalo Marathon as well? What did you think of your experience?

XOXO, Gabi

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4 Responses to MY FIRST HALF MARATHON, COMPLETE! {Buffalo Half Marathon 2014}

  1. Blog says:

    Stopping by from the Sweat Pink Community 🙂 Congratulations!! Such a great accomplishment!!

  2. kristenk says:

    Congrats! The first is totally the best! So…when is your next one? Because if you’re anything like me I know you’re already thinking about it! 🙂

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