The last time I ran a half marathon was October 2008 and I felt I could eek out a PR at that distance before this year was over. I had run the most consistent and highest mileage EVER, IN MY LIFE for the past 8 weeks. The totals went like this starting the week of 9/28-10/04.
Week 1 - 43.53
Week 2 - 42.20
Week 3 - 47.43
Week 4 - 35.69
Week 5 - 52.46
Week 6 - 46.49 (2 hour trainer ride at 5 Seasons)
Week 7 - 30.54
Race Week 38.25
I had debated running until this Wednesday after the fiasco last Friday. I had definitely felt out of sorts for a few days after that, but after dropping a 7:16 mile and feeling it had taken a lot less effort than I would have imagined, I bit the bullet and signed myself up.
I got home from work last night a little after 11:00pm, popped a melatonin (they work like a charm for anyone who has an alternating sleep schedule like myself)and was out a little before 1:00am.
The weather seemed to be perfect for me. High 40's, low 50's, no wind. There was a record number of runners this year, so parking was diverted up a hill to the RTA. I wasn't sure if I could get back to my truck before start time, so I threw my gear in my bag and headed out prepared to temporarily abandon during the race hoping that no one wanted my Asics or sweaty warm-up clothes. I, of course, forgot my gels in the truck, but thankfully IDUTRI was there with a stand selling some.
I saw my friend MF right before the start. I hadn't seen her in almost a year because she had moved to Columbus. She was putting up some really great times in the half marathon going sub-1:30:00.
The race started a few minutes late, but before I knew it I was racing. It felt strange. I had not done any speedwork and the only time I ran sub-8:00/miles was on the four 3 mile tempo runs I had done. I was definitely aware that pacing would be difficult at a sub-8 pace today, so starting out I tried really, really hard to run easy and not push it like I was in a 5k, but even with the first mile being short I think I still ripped the first couple miles off way too fast.
I never checked my splits on my watch, but I did try to listen to anyone calling out times at the mile markers. There wasn't a lot of jockeying and the runners spread out quickly and it seemed I was more toward the front than the back. The pack was definitely behind me. I felt as relaxed as a person racing can be. I heard the 5 mile timer call out 36:30 and I had an "UH OH!!" moment. My fastest 5 mile time by itself was 36:59. I think I psyched myself out a little when I heard that. No way could I run faster than my 5 mile PR for 13.1! Stupid Brain!!!
I just kept on trucking knowing, I had definitely put time in the bank for my PR. My stomach felt heavy today and I had a slight pain on my left side in my ribs, so I waited to take a gel until mile 8, usually I take 2 gels in a half, but today I stuck to the sport drink for my sugar. I was hoping to go as close to 1:37:00 as possible but as I hit mile 8 on the second loop my legs were starting to poop out. The wind had picked up a tad, but there was no one to run with, except the guy behind me, who ran off me. I slowed, but he didn't pass, so I slowed some more...he passed me then. It was a great excuse to try to conserve some energy. I kept thinking I will pick it up at the 10 mile marker right after the turnaround, but I knew deep down I would not be able to pick it up and hammer it today. No matter what I did now, I would be struggling the last 3 miles and it was going to hurt, so I picked the pace back up and just tried to hold on. I did note though that I PR'd at the 5 mile, 10k, 9 mile and 10 mile distance as I heard my times called out. I felt a huge boost of confidence that I would certainly PR, but when they called out 1:15:xx at the 10 mile mark I knew I was gonna be fighting like hell the last 5k for that 1:37:00. I forced myself to run harder and refused to look at my watch! My watch was not going to dictate my effort today. I was going to run the best I could all the way to the finish even if I missed my goal. I was sucking wind and honking and wheezing like a goose!! I was actually kind of embarassed. The noise was annoying me so it had to be annoying people around me.
I finally made it into the parking lot area where the finsih is less than a half mile away when some guy shouted 1:36:00...BOOM!!! He burst my bubble. I couldn't make it to the finish in 1:00 min. Why that SOB?!?! Nobody asked him to call out time there. He wasn't even at a mile marker. He was like that guy at the NERC 5k series races that stands about .1 mile ahead of the 2 mile marker. He calls out the time you want to hear at the 2 mile marker, and then you go " oh sh&t" when you realize you're already behind your goal with over a mile to go.
My quads hurt, my lungs hurt, I was a hot crabby mess!! I ran for the finish, finally closing in on a ton of runners. I heard someone yell my name as I saw the clock at 1:38:xx. F*CK!!!! I refused to let it hit 1:39:00. I hauled ass and clipped off a 1:38:46 on my watch. I had PR'd . Hell YAY!! That was 2 races in a row and with 2 PR's. I am really pumped I PR'd and as much pain as I was in I had really missed racing. I am very amazed (and proud) of how some of my girlfriends can move their skinny little asses, so much faster. More power to them!! My ass is the only thing that didn't hurt below the waist when I was done! Ouchie :( But I really did enjoy myself today.
My Watch Splits
Mile 1 7:22
Mile 2 7:15
Mile 3 7:21
Mile 4 7:32
Mile 5 7:15
Mile 6 and 7 15:06
Mile 8 7:47
Mile 9 7:35
Mile 10 and 11 15:35
Mile 12 7:30
Mile 13 7:41
Last .1 :46
Official Time: 1:38:44 (2 seconds faster than my watch, always nice when that happens)