Sorry this is coming in a little late — again, I’ve been super busy (and tired) so blogging takes a back seat.
I woke up on Sunday morning feeling like I’d much rather roll over and go back to sleep instead of getting ready to go run 13.1 miles. Breakfast consisted of coffee and a banana (hindsight shows that I definitely should have had something more substantial) and I was out the door and headed for half marathon #4.
It was kind of dark and raw outside and I was glad that I had packed some extra layers because I definitely needed them. There was no denying that it was COLD at the start of the race! I met up with Amy – we did a quick warm-up walk and some light stretching before heading over to the start line. She wanted to be near the front and I decided to hang near the back of the pack as I didn’t want to get swept up in the excitement of starting out too fast. It was a smaller race (about 700 people) so it’s not like I couldn’t get into a groove right from the start. Plus my legs were feeling really stale and I wasn’t sure how I was going to perform. I went into this race with the impression that it was nothing more than a training run but if I felt good enough to possibly shave some time off of my personal best — well then so be it!
They yelled “Go” and we were off! One thing I found odd was that we used a b-tag timing system but there was no mat to cross at the start line (yet we had 5 and 10 mile split mats). I have also noticed that it takes my body FOREVER to warm up and feel decent when it’s cold outside. This race was no exception and two miles in I was hating life and seriously regretting not just staying in bed! I actually did something I’ve never done before and ate a GU at mile 2.5 just to give me something to take my mind off of how sucky I felt. I was already starting to bargain with myself like “get to mile 5 and you can take a walk break” — seriously, it was that bad! Finally around mile 3.5 was our first water stop — I didn’t carry any with me because I hate running with a fuel belt and I was definitely looking for a quick sip. Quick it was not 😦 Let’s put it this way — I literally had to stop, grab a cup and fill it with water from a cooler.
So now around mile 4 my body starts to feel loose enough to make this run less suck-tastic and I was starting to find my groove. The hills were a constant reminder of how hard this race really is but they didn’t seem as bad as they did last year. I attribute that to being much stronger this time around 🙂 There were still two pretty big hills that I decided to power walk up because I didn’t want to waste all my energy and feel trashed. Miles 4 through 10 were a breeze (relatively speaking) and I was ticking them off around a 9:30 pace and feeling good. I wasn’t feeling like I was running to the brink of exhaustion and I told myself that when I got to mile 10 I would make the decision on whether or not to really push the last 5k or just cruise. My only complaint on the last 5k was that the mile markers were way off. When I got to Mile 11 my garmin was only reading 10.5 miles (it had been slightly off the whole course but not by that much) so I wasn’t sure if I should really take off with all I had or wait until I got to mile 12. The marker mess up was such a mind game because mile 12 was correctly marked — so that 1 mile (which was really 1.5 miles) felt like an eternity (and rightfully so!). I got to Mile 12 — pulled off to the side for about 10 seconds to stretch my super tight calves and get ready to run as fast as I could to the finish. I remembered that last year at this exact point I was feeling like death and here I was now feeling well enough to amp it up and kill it in the last mile. I already knew at this point I would PR so I just wanted to give it all that I had.
I crossed the finish line with a huge smile on my face and a time of 2:07:11…..that is 3:10 faster than my time last year 🙂 I was really hoping for the 2:05-2:06 range and honestly if it weren’t for the hills, I probably could’ve accomplished that.
I definitely felt tired this week and my calves didn’t start feeling “normal” until yesterday (Thursday). I was still able to do speedwork on Wednesday and knock out 5 miles. I have 10 on the board for today but I don’t know if I’ll get all of those in or not. Trying to just run by feel and not forcing my body to do anything that will result in an injury. I also noticed that the marathon is literally right around the corner and I’m getting super excited for it 🙂
Well that’s enough rambling from me! Have a great day everyone 🙂