Veteran’s Day Half Marathon Recap

First postpartum half marathon: done!


It was a little bit of a last-minute decision to sign up, but I’m really glad that I went out there and did it. I have a goal winter half that I’ve been training for, and one of my friends suggested running the one this morning as a “practice” for the distance, with just enough time to forget how much it sucked and taper before my goal race.

“But what if I get there and I want to RACE?”

“Then picture me, running past you at the mile 8 medic station while you’re crying or throwing up.”

“Or both. Simultaneously.”


I told myself that I’d go out there with the goal to finish, run most of it, and to give myself an idea of how the next half will go.

Lovely weather for a race, right?


(I know it’s much colder other places, but I’m a weenie)


Tucson suddenly got the “it’s winter now” memo, decided to skip fall entirely and catapult into the freezing range. I didn’t have any winter running gear (besides my ear cover headband thingy) and didn’t want to make the mistake of dressing too warmly (which I always do), so with the help of the girl at Fleet Feet, picked up some arm sleeves that came with gloves – easy to remove without dealing with reattaching a number bib- and new running tights.

Race stuff

Last night, I laid out all of my race stuff, filled the Camelbak and put it in the fridge, made an eclectic playlist,




and woke up nice and early to head down to Sabino High School (my rival high school! Cougars for the win).

So how’d it go?

It was awesomely terrible and triumphant.

For the first portion of the race, I picked a comfortable pace and was so stoked to see how much EASIER it felt than my training runs at Sabino Canyon. Most of my distance runs have been at a steep incline, so the flat course felt like a dream. That is, until I got to mile 10, where I hit my wall.

My playlist ran out, I started doing the walk-run combo since my not-so-fresh legs started to feel heavy (teaching 4 classes yesterday did me no favors, but that’s entirely my fault), and the girl who was my “rabbit” the entire race also started to walk.

I started to give myself a mental pep talk. It’s times like this when cliches -while they can be soooooo lame- can be really helpful.

“You can’t have light without darkness.”

“You can’t have happiness without sadness.”

“You can’t have triumph without challenge.”

Race stuff 2

And then of course, there’s the necessary cliche of comparing my race experience to labor.

I have an interesting habit of internalizing certain memories, making sure to soak every possible detail in, because I know I might need them at a later time. Like when I nuzzle my head down to smell Liv’s hair each time I put her down for a nap, reaching over to rub the Pilot’s back and reminding myself that he’s here now, only to know that he would be deployed a week later, and a certain point in labor when I was pushed to my max and frightened, and I thought to myself about my next big race.

At that point in time, I was draped over a hospital bed seriously thinking that I was going to die. To distract myself, I thought about what my next big race would be like. I was thinking that I’d probably pick a half marathon and that Liv would be almost a year old (is the time really here? Insane….) and that she’d be waiting for me, either at home or the finish line. The pain I was going through was temporary, and that the reward of having a healthy baby girl would be more than worth a little bit of hard work. For my next race, I would need to remind myself of the moments where I really was challenged to the extreme, be thankful for my family, the ability to run, and push through.

So that’s exactly what I did.

Around mile 12, I reached into the Spibelt, re-started my playlist, then sprinted to the finish line.

Final Garmin time: 1:59.

When I finished, I felt pretty good. My legs and hip flexors were tight, but I didn’t feel like I pushed too hard (thanks to the walking). We’ll talk again when I have to go up and down the stairs all day tomorrow πŸ˜‰

After crossing the finish line, I got my medal and tech tee, chugged a bottle of water and was greeted by a legit post-race breakfast:


beans, tortillas, eggs and salsa.

They also had smoothies, bananas, peanut butter sandwiches, music and freebies. I ate my food, caught up with a few friends who also ran and headed home,where my sweet baby girl, husband and Bell were waiting for me <3

I’m excited for my official return to racing, and for my upcoming winter half. Word on the street is that a certain Pilot is running it, too.

Hope you have a very happy Sunday!



What’s your current workout mantra? Any new power songs I should add to my next playlist??

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  1. Jackie on November 11, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    Congrats on your half marathon! πŸ™‚ also Happy Veteran’s Day to your husband and yourself!

  2. Anne on November 11, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    Congratulations on your race, I can’t belive you completed a half after teaching four classes!

  3. Joey S. on November 11, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    Congratulations on your first half post-baby! You did great. I’m a new runner and totally inspired by your effort and attitude. I really need to sign up for my first race. My kids are 9 and 11, but I still remind myself that after labor, I can do anything I put my mind to. Thanks for posting your playlists. I need to get my iPod set up now for those runs without friends or my running club. πŸ™‚

  4. Brooke ( on November 11, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    Yay! congratulations! I love race recaps because they are always such an overwhelmingly positive experience. Great job.

  5. Eva on November 11, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    Congrats on the great time and finishing! Most people I know (other than my husband and his running crew) don’t even finish in under 2 hours, both girls and guys. πŸ™‚ Hope to see you at a race in Tucson one day! I’m training for a PR in the 5k for Tucson’s Race for the Cure in April 2013. It’s so much more well run than Phoenix’s in October.

  6. Erika on November 11, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    Congrats on the successful run……I love how you always take a challenge and put it in perspective…..Hope I can do the same for my race in a couple of weeks πŸ™‚

  7. Averie @ Averie Cooks on November 11, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    Gina, congrats!!!!! What an accomplishment to do a half marathon, post partum or not, but doing one post baby just adds to the sweet victory. You go girl! You look fabulous and nice time!

  8. char eats greens on November 11, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    Oh where would we be without the cliches though?!?! I’m glad they helped you get through. That’s an awesome postpartum time…be proud!! Ok, so if the pilot is running in a half with you, then I totally can convince my hubby to do it. I’ll just put the word on the street that SO many bloggers husband’s run races with them…he’ll never know the difference πŸ˜›

  9. Michaela on November 11, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    so happy for you!!
    you ROCK and are such an inspiration!
    was getting my yoga in yesterday and absolutely loved it πŸ™‚ even my flatmates commented on how different and calm I looked!

  10. Lisa on November 11, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    Great job Gina! That is so awesome! It’s so great when those past memories and moments can help us break through a barrier and power through to the finish! Hope you and your family have a beautiful Veteran’s Day together!

  11. Courtney on November 11, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    Great job! Good for you, lady!

  12. Coco on November 11, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    After reading this post I want to sign up for a half marathon too. I’m so out of shape now 6 weeks postpartum that 20 min run seems so hard. I will keep in mind those challenging moments in my life and my baby girl when I run a race. Thanks for the inspiration.

  13. Lisa @ RunningFitnessHealth on November 11, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    Congrats girl! Post partum run, amazing accomplishment πŸ™‚

  14. sonia the mxigarian on November 11, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    posts like these help remind me that it is possible to do a 1/2 and get hrought it. that even other people hit that WALL and manage to break it down.

    congrats on such an awesome run! you rocked it πŸ™‚

    • Rebecca on November 11, 2012 at 5:15 pm

      anyone (providing good health of course) can run a half. I used to be able to only run a lap or two around the track and I just completed my first half in September.

  15. April on November 11, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    congrats on your speedy post-partum race! that’s definitely an accomplishment πŸ™‚ yum, what a delicious bfast- better than the usual bananas and bagels!

    • Fitnessista on November 12, 2012 at 12:04 pm

      amen to that- the breakfast was the best part!

  16. Nicole on November 11, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    Great time, beautiful post! I’m so looking forward to the day my body lets me train and complete my first half after baby – and first half ever.

    You’re inspiring!

  17. chrissy on November 11, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    quite an accomplishment!!! congratulations!

  18. Sara Lake on November 11, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    Wow, I’m so impressed! Endurance running is something my body hates, although I’ve done a lot of rehab on my achey bits. Might be time to give it another go… maybe. Good shoes are the thing. I think you’ve posted about that probably 20 times already so I’ll do a blog search and see what I can find.

    I’m in the getting back into stage of resistance training and yoga. My mantra is a variation on your various ones: ‘you have to go through the hard stage to get to the easier one’. That is.. if you give up because it’s hard (because you’ve been lazy for months), it never gets easier.

    • Sara Lake on November 11, 2012 at 5:12 pm

      And, were you drinking your carbs and electrolyes while racing? (5-8% carbs, 250-500mg/sodium/L). Makes such a difference to stamina. Also, caffeine (6mg/kg, can take before or during the race). Standard protocol for elite endurance athletes. πŸ˜‰

      Just say if you want carb-loading instructions. I’m fully spec’d on nutrition for athletes, but unfortunately there just aren’t that many around here to offload my plans onto.

      • Fitnessista on November 12, 2012 at 12:03 pm

        thank you!
        i love the heed powder but stopped putting it in my camelback because it’s hard to wash out the taste!
        i had 1/2 a mocha clif gel around mile 6.5- is there anything else you recommend?

    • Fitnessista on November 12, 2012 at 12:02 pm

      my shoes are TOAST after that race. i’m so ready for new ones!
      i like your mantra, too πŸ™‚

  19. Rebecca on November 11, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    Well done Mama!!! Wicked time too!

    Awesome-sauce all the way!

  20. RunEatRepeat on November 11, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    Great job!!!

  21. Ashley @ My Food 'N' Fitness Diaries on November 11, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    Great job Gina! You should be so proud! πŸ™‚

  22. Jennifer on November 11, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    Silly and superficial but my ‘push thru’ thought is always and forever ‘bikini, bikini, bikini’. I’m in South East TX and climate wise have literally been able to wear a bikini some weeks in January (although they say we’re actually supposed to have a real winter this year). So year round when I don’t want to workout or start giving in before it’s over I just chant to myself ‘bikini, bikini, bikini’ as many time as needed. Silly and superficial but it works.

  23. Kathleen on November 11, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    Congrats on a great race! After reading your post and a bunch of others who raced this weekend I’m super jealous…can’t wait to get out there next weekend. Thanks for the inspiration! πŸ™‚

  24. Sarah on November 11, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    My mantra is from finding nemo. Dory always says ‘just keep swimming, just keep swimming’ and I change it to ‘just keep running, just keep running’. It always helps saying it in her voice cause it makes me laugh and smile so I don’t feel the pain πŸ™‚

    Congratulations on your half!

  25. Emily @ on November 11, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    Way to go, Gina!!! Sounds like a great race and you should be really proud of your time!!! Can’t wait to hear about your next race!

  26. Jenny on November 11, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    Congrats on the half marathon, I am 3 YEARS postpartum and still scared to complete a half marathon! That breakfast looked absolutely amazing by the way ;). Keep up on the amazing work, and the inspiring!

    • Fitnessista on November 12, 2012 at 12:01 pm

      thank you so much, lovely πŸ™‚

  27. Lisa O on November 11, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    Congratulations on such a huge milestone! And way to go on the time, sub-2 hours is definitely smokin’. I do similar visualisations when I’m racing – such as “in half an hour, I’ll be kicking back with an iced coffee thinking how awesome that was”. I’m excited I’ll be able to visualise my baby girl at the finish line of my next race too! Well done xx

  28. Katie on November 11, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    Congrats! That post race breakfast looks great too.

    Does this mean I’ll see you at the Tucson Marathon in December….? Yay!

    I wasn’t ready for it to be this cold this fast – there was no in between!

    • Fitnessista on November 12, 2012 at 12:00 pm

      perhaps yes πŸ™‚
      and seriously, the random cold is not appreciated

  29. Holly on November 11, 2012 at 8:42 pm

    Congrats on the race! This really makes me want to sign up for a half marathon!! You are such an amazing mamma!

  30. Stellina @ My Yogurt Addiction on November 11, 2012 at 9:50 pm

    congratulations!!! I just downloaded a lot of songs from your playlist too! Thanks, and you look fab πŸ™‚

    • Fitnessista on November 12, 2012 at 12:00 pm

      thank you!! hope you enjoy the tunes πŸ™‚

  31. Allison on November 12, 2012 at 12:42 am

    My sisters and I adopted the term #FLAB in regard to running, working out, and in general….life. What does it stand for? Fight Like A B****. πŸ™‚

    • Fitnessista on November 12, 2012 at 12:00 pm


  32. Lucie on November 12, 2012 at 1:24 am

    Congratulations, that is amazing! My favorite songs are ‘Turn me on’ by David Guetta and Nicky Minaj and ‘Move in the right direction’ by Gossip.

  33. Sarah M on November 12, 2012 at 1:25 am

    Congrats! I hope someday I can run that far.

    Also, I have to thank you for inspiring me to go to yoga today. It was my first class in a while at a new gym and I was nervous, but I just kept telling myself “think of Gina’s Namaste November.” The class totally kicked my butt, but it was so worth it.

  34. Bek @ Crave on November 12, 2012 at 2:00 am

    If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you! You can feel sore tomorrow or sorry!

    Congratulations on the awesome time and finishing your first half marathon- after having a bubba! I’d love to be able to do a half marathon one day but I’m afraid I couldn’t run the whole time..and then I’d just feel way too disappointed probably.

  35. Caitlin on November 12, 2012 at 5:15 am

    I ran my 1st post pregnancy race yesterday too! OBX Half Marthon! The whole time I just kept thinking the fast I get to the finish the faster I will see my baby girl!! Congrats!

  36. Mandi on November 12, 2012 at 7:15 am

    Congratulations! What a great play list.

  37. Magda on November 12, 2012 at 7:39 am

    Congrats on your race πŸ™‚ You look very happy to be done with it πŸ˜‰

    I ran my first 10k (and first race ever!) on Sunday. It was also related to Veteran’s Day (which happens to be Independence Day in Poland). People were wearing read and white t-shirts and we created a huge moving Polish flag. The atmosphere was fantastic, there were runners, walkers, people with strollers and in wheelchairs all cheering each other on. My time wasn’t exactly the world record, but it was better than I expected (my primary goal was just to make it to the finish line in one piece ;)) and I really loved the whole event πŸ™‚ Now I have my eye on a half marathon in March, so I enjoyed reading your recap and finding some motivation πŸ™‚

    • Fitnessista on November 12, 2012 at 11:59 am

      wow, congrats on your first race!!! a march half is a great amount of time to train- you could totally do it πŸ™‚

  38. Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed on November 12, 2012 at 8:04 am

    Congrats πŸ˜€

  39. Lea @ Greens and Coffee Beans on November 12, 2012 at 10:31 am

    Congrats on your race! That’s an awesome time! I’ve been thinking about signing up for a 10-mile race in April, and this post is helping to convince me to take the plunge (:

    • Fitnessista on November 12, 2012 at 11:58 am

      thank you!! you can do it πŸ™‚

  40. Jennifer L on November 12, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    My sister has lived in Tucson for the past few years (originally from the Detroit area) and now even she complains about 39 as being so cold… over here in Detroit that’s perfect running weather! So don’t feel bad, even those who should be used to it hate it πŸ˜‰

  41. Pam on November 12, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    Great job on your postpartum half marathon!!
    It’s great that you are able to push through to the finish once you hit a wall, so much of running is mental toughness! Did you consume any gels or sports drink during your run to help fuel your body?

    • Fitnessista on November 12, 2012 at 3:50 pm

      thank you! yeah i had half a cliff mocha gel around mile 6.5

  42. Danielle on November 12, 2012 at 11:06 pm

    Congrats on your half-marathon! I love reading about other people’s experiences running them as I am training for one myself!

  43. Cassie on November 13, 2012 at 1:21 am

    Congrats on the race!

    You should add “Pump It” by Black Eyed Peas and “Champion in Me” by Three Doors Down – they’re my hands-down favorite running songs!

  44. Shaina Anderson on November 13, 2012 at 11:24 am

    Congratulations!! That’s a baller time, especially since you walked part of it! I haven’t been able to break 2:00 yet (PR 2:12) but that’s my goal for my first postpartum half. Thinking Feb for the Pasadena RnR? I’ll be 9 months pp at that point.

    • Fitnessista on November 13, 2012 at 9:25 pm

      you could totally do it!

  45. Jessica on November 13, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    Add Hall of Fame by The Script (feat to your running playlist!!

    • Fitnessista on November 13, 2012 at 9:24 pm

      downloading now πŸ™‚

  46. Lauren @ Sassy Molassy on November 13, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    Woot! Awesome job, Gina!

    • Fitnessista on November 13, 2012 at 9:24 pm

      thank you!

  47. Mary on November 19, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    Wow, a half marathon in under 2 hours with only one day of running a week?! Pretty interesting/crazy! You must be wickedly fast – I can’t say Ive heard of too many people running a distance like that (and PR’ing it to boot!) without following a little bit more of a formal training plan. Sure you’re not logging extra miles that you’re not sharing with your ol’ readers? πŸ˜‰

    • Fitnessista on November 19, 2012 at 1:37 pm

      Haha definitely not- if I run more than once a week, I overtrain w my teaching schedule. For my first half I did one long run each week and did 1:56, for my second half I tried to add in more run days, ran it slower and got injured. One long run day is my magic number.

      • Mary on November 19, 2012 at 3:33 pm

        But I thought you only teach 2 classes a week?

        • Fitnessista on November 19, 2012 at 5:22 pm

          i teach 3 days a week. some days, i’ll have no “active” classes (they’ll be stretch, pool and treadmill classes), while others are more intense, like zumba, glide, bootcamp or world beat. we have a generic schedule, but the teaching schedule changes every day based on privates booked and sick call-ins, so we never really know what we’ll be teaching until we get in for the day. that’s why we have to be prepared to teach anything at a moment’s notice. that being said, i teach 3 days a week (whether active or not), run 1 day, have 2 days off, that leaves one extra day. i’d rather use it for strength and/or hiit than an extra run day. (the days i teach, i don’t do additional workouts because i want to be with my family and am tired from the day)

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