Navy-Air Force Half-Marathon: Run Like You Feel It

In my opinion, this is (was) the perfect race day: sunshine, no humidity, 65-70* and a course that starts on the National Mall (biased, my favorite city). What makes it better? Taking a bike from door to start-line, seeing the sun rise over buildings and quiet streets, with D along for the ride.

Seriously. The clouds were cotton-candy blue and purple; we cruised down on our two wheels in cool morning air, a race + brunch with friends on the agenda. This life is good.

Navy-Air Force Half Marathon gearNavy-Air Force Half Marathon morning 2

The only factor that didn’t follow suit? Choosing a bowl of vegetable chili + fries for dinner the night before (where was my race-day-prep brain? Not a clue!) and a slightly unsettling race-day morning stomach (see: dinner decision…oof).


Ah well. We’ve got some miles to tackle…

Navy-Air Force Half Marathon _ usNavy-Air Force Half Marathon Monument morning

The gear: lululemon Run: Speed shorts & Run Swiftly tech-tee (my absolute favorites), Nike Pegasus 28+ purple shoes  & D’s Nike watch (for time).

The fuel: banana + peanut-butter breakfast (+ H20, of course); water at mile 9 (thanks to D on the bike!).

The test: run a PR without the handy-dandy Garmin keeping me on track; use old-fashioned addition & subtraction along with a stop-watch. Remind myself what it feels like to race; find that dig-deep pace and stick with it.

The execution:

I started out running by feel and trying to keep things in check – don’t burn too much too fast, don’t get too far behind. The first visible mile marker was for the 5-miler – not that we knew this, being the first thing we saw either way. My instinct said there was no way any of us were running an 11 min/mile pace, ergo these flags are way off… or the Nike watch has gone rogue (please no!).

We finally saw the first red marker (i.e. for the 1/2-m), “3”, and the 23:30 that my screen read was a huge relief. Good to go…

From there it was a do-math + zone-out game. D & Ivan zipped around on their bikes to see us gals a few times and snap some photos. I kept adding “7:30” to 1-13 to make sure I wasn’t doing anything crazy, too-comfy or slow. At mile marker 6, the clock read “45:00”.

Another 45 minutes = 12 miles + 1.1 mile @ 7:30-ish = 1:38-ish? Whoop! Keep it goin’…

Navy-Air Force Half Marathon _ Independence Ave

Hey, sunshine!

By the turn-around point on Rock Creek Parkway I was in that mid/late-race low where the pace is catching up to me and the “4 miles to go” doesn’t work any mental countdown magic.

By the time we hit the “10” flag, my math & watch were in sync and there was no letting anything slip from here on out! 3.1 miles…

By the time we hit “12” I was so pumped to be exactly on schedule (1:30), but so ready to be done that I started counting light poles & white stripes on the road. Must. Distract. Self!

By the time we hit the corner with less than 0.25 miles to go everyone was yelling “It’s downhill after this!” and we were all responding with perked ears, legs & feet. THANK YOU, course planners! Genius.

Navy-Air Force Half Marathon PR face

Whoa, that was tough…

Mission accomplished!

I hit my goal, PR’d by ~30 seconds, and was too surprised that there were no major issues to really let any of that sink in. Sweet relief. It was done, my speed was tested and I got a hint of what’s to come in the next 6 weeks before MCM.

Navy-Air Force Half Marathon _ PRsNavy-Air Force Half Marathon us_finish

Fellow racer + PR’r, favorite race-supporter!

Navy-Air Force Half Marathon finish time

It’s no Garmin shot, but it works. Lap functions have yet to be figured out here.

Navy-Air Force Inaugural Half-Marathon

1:38:24 , 7:31 min/mile avg.
AG (F 25-29): 8/231
Overall: 177 / 1732



Filed under about me

18 responses to “Navy-Air Force Half-Marathon: Run Like You Feel It

  1. Way to go with the PR, and running it without your Garmin! I think this is a sign of good things to come for MCM!
    I’m glad your stomach didn’t bother you too much race morning.

  2. Mamacita

    Good job!! We are proud of you. Love, Mamacita and Dad

  3. So impressive, Heather! Way to really push it. Your race paparazzi got some great pics of you too. 😉

  4. Congratulations!!! Killer PR and you did it without a Garmin, too! You are SO strong. Look out, MCM!

  5. way to go, heather!! i am so happy to hear that this is a good race! i am definitely going to look at adding it to my schedule next year. it is perfectly timed for mcm training!! you are going to do so great at mcm! i’ve been meaning to email you to try to meet up for a run – things have just been so crazy lately! no matter what though i would love to see you at mcm if we can swing it 🙂 xxoo

  6. Awesome job, and congrats on the PR!! Glad you had a great race. I somehow didn’t know about this half; I probably would have done it too. Next year!

  7. That lack of (correct) mile markers was kind of disconcerting at first. I thought about you and your Garmin-less-ness. But everything worked out! Yay PRs!

  8. J

    Congrats on the PR! Awesome job with no garmin and the lack of mile markers!

  9. Damn girl!! You kicked ass out there! Well done!!! You are my Half hero!!!

  10. WAHOO! Congrats, it was PERFECT!

  11. Congrats on the PR! I’m so impressed with the time and that you managed to do it sans Garmin. I think I am far too reliant on mine.

  12. Hi Heather — Very much enjoyed your blog entry on the race — and very nice job running without the garmin or the tunes. I just stumbled on you while searching for general “chatter” on the Navy-Airforce HM, which I ran as well yesterday as well (about 4 min’s behind you and a new PR for me too!) I got into running seriously about 3 years ago after having a heart attack at the age of 41. I had a terrible diet (40 lbs. overweight) and did not exercise. Never ran a race before the age of 41, but yesterday’s was my 9th HM. 20, 30 and 40-somethings think a heart attack can’t happen to them. Wrong. Anyway, as you might imagine, I’m big into proper diet and running these days so I’ll be sure to keep tabs on your great blog from now on. Keep up the great blogging and racing. Hope to see you at a race one of these days.

  13. Damn girl you are so speedy!! I say it all the time but I am SO in awe of those speedy legs of yours!! Love it!!

  14. I always get chills reading your recaps because I can feel the energy and adrenaline that you must have been feeling on the course! You are so damn speedy and I’m so inspired by your ability to set goals and crush them each and every time. I know that you train smart, fuel well and take care of yourself mentally (yoga!) to be able to run the way you do – sounds cheesy, but you’re honestly such an role model! No wonder you’re a lululemon ambassador. 🙂 xoxo

  15. Lauren

    Yay! Good job sister!! I can’t wait to run with you again!! 😀

  16. Wicked!!! without the handy-dandy Garmin – and you beat your PR, that is impressive!! This is the best recap, I love your breakout, so helpful for fellow runners.

    You are just a running machine! SO proud of you!

  17. lizard151

    Dang, nice work!!!

  18. wow wow wow! aewsome job! you are SO speedy! Love the last pic of you at the end of the race, your face says it all – wow, that was hard but you DID IT! Awesome work!!

Let's Hear It!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s