After taking Friday off, driving in gorgeous Spring sunshine, lunching/dress shopping/catching up with a very best friend, and a pizza dinner followed by a ‘What Not to Wear’ marathon and lots of magazine browsing….I went to bed prettyyyy happy.
And woke up Totally pumped for the race and Totally thrilled to see clear blue skies and a high of 60 for the day.
Luckily I didn’t have to worry about parking, thanks to my hostess! I got there with about 40 minutes to spare since I had to pick up my race packet and all that stuff. Ah, the things I learned from Round 1 – sleep in!! and dress appropriately!! Last year we were Not dressed for the weather at all (a High of 55 does not mean that by 7 a.m. it is 55. not by a long shot….), showed up about an hour and 15 min early thinking there’d be a Line for the packet-pick up (I’ll take the blame for that one) and then proceeded to freeeeeze while we just Stood around waiting until the start.
They had almost double the amount of runners this year, which was amazing because this means they collected almost double the money to donate to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Good Stuff Runners! They also stepped it up, including “Pacing groups” with goal race times. Since I never do a full warm-up before long runs, I never feel the need to go crazy before races. I wandered over to the start race and found my Pacer-guy, and waited. The sun was coming out in full-force, and the contagious pre-race runner-energy was surrounding me completely. Love.
Within the first mile of this race there’s a huge uphill stretch. It’s the only real challenge throughout the course, so knowing that you just suck it up and enjoy the fact that the lake you circle twice is flat. Right before I started the incline “Cupid Shuffle” started playing in my ears and I laughed. I threw it on the Race-mix last minute and it was perfect. There’s clearly nothing extraordinary about that song, but for whatever reason I can never get that stupid dance right. Now here I am running for roughly the next two hours and Cupid is telling me to dance around.
The first loop is the 5K route, which means the half-ers pass by the finish line on pace while some people are sprinting through. It also meant that I only had 10 miles left. Since that was the distance of my last 3 long runs (give or take), that didn’t seem at all daunting. It was attainable, and I was running right around 8:00 min/mile. Gooood stuff.
For the next 10 miles we looped around the lake twice, meaning you pass through the finish line again (3 times total). This is something I’m not a huge fan of, it’s a little mental game. Like, ‘Heyyy next time you pass through you’ll be done! But for now…don’t mind the water bottles and food set up right over there…just keeep goin’!’ Gah.
This is the first time during a race that I’ve really used my Garmin. I started the timer as my feet crossed the start-mat, and stopped it right after I came through the finish line. It’s set to give me my pace every mile, so I hear a little ‘beep’ and get an update. I started at 8:30 (re: hill!!) and from there on was right between 8:00 – 8:06. I knew I needed to go a little faster if I wanted to even it out and beat last years time (1:49:50), but I didn’t want to do this too soon and burn out completely. Mile 9 was the deciding point – I had 4 miles left, that I would try to run at at least 7:55 each. In my mind, I related it back to my typical “Speed” workout. The obvious difference being a 9 mile warm-up, rather than just one! I’ve never tried this/thought of this in a race before, so it was a Trial. Running magazines always advise that you runt he first half of the race at a ‘slower’ pace and the second half you pump it out. That was the game plan. I visualized the training plan ” 4 mi @ 7:53 “.
My time between Miles 9 – 10? 7:53. On the dot! Whoa.
Something else I never do during training is bring water or drink water during long runs. I know that if/when I train for a Full I’ll have to figure this out. But for 10-11 mile runs, I do fine. Then comes race day and there are water stations every other mile and I’m one of the few who don’t grab it unless I know I Really need it. Right at mile 11 I thought maybe it’d provide a little pick-me-up, so I went for it. Turns out “it” was Gatorade (lemon-lime) and not H2O, and “it” ended up all over my face/down my shirt rather than in my mouth. Oh yah, another reason I never grab it. That was a sticky mess, of which I barely tasted. Dangit.
Right between Miles 11-12 is right where I start to feel pretty drained every race. I was definitely pushing it to keep my 7:53 pace, and my legs were letting me know loud and clear. Within seconds I just felt that “Oh wow, can I be done now???” Up to this point, I’ve always raced just to race. Continuing to prove to myself that I can run 13.1 miles and not die, even having a little fun in the process. I’ve never trained like this (training plan, goal time, Knowing the race course, writing about training, etc…..), and I’ve never gone into a race with a Real goal. When you really push it, its exhausting and rewarding.
One runner had passed me around the same time I was speeding up, so I followed him until we had about half a mile left. He literally started Sprinting, and my legs didn’t have that in them. Instead, I focused on speeding up as much as I could without Dying during that last tenth of a mile (killer!).
As the finish line came into view I saw that clock……and a huge grin spread across my face.
- so. happy.
We don’t have the “official” results yet. So here’s what I know so far:
Clock time: 1:47:35
Garmin Stats (interesting….): Time: 1:47:22 Distance: 13. 24 miles** Pace : 8:07 min/mile
**Reading through the fine print on the course website, I found out it’s actually 13.25 miles. I thought this would be an interesting “calibration” test for the Garmin. It passed, clearly.
I was so happy passing through that finish line. I had a great race, I Did beat my time from last year!!!, and I felt proud of myself. Then I looked up and saw my best friend waving and smiling at me, and nothing beats that.
My time doesn’t beat my Personal PR, but that time came from a race that was downhill for 5 miles soo….the record-breaking there might take a while. Or another downhill race? Who knows.
My time does show that in the last year I’ve made some progress, learned a Lot, and have finally decided I can say I “run half marathons”. It’s what I do, and I love it!