I am also linking up with others who ran Richmond. Check out the link up host Courtney@eatprayrundc.com
I know this a long one, and if you don't want to read it all I listed out some highlights!
|These are my good luck shoes now|
- Got a ride to the race chauffeured in a Caddy...run buddy goes in style.
- lost my people before the race started
- tears on mile one
- happiness over the weather
- had a sip of beer at mile eight (just a sip)
- ran as hard as I could
- had a PR finish
- Honey found me at the finish line
- had a beer at the finish before 10:00 a.m.
- I got carded at the liquor store (yes, for real)
- I ate TWO donuts...
- had lunch at the Egg and I
- seriously, Saturday was a good day
- I also started to make funny noises coming down the stairs...
|I really did eat donuts...I rarely splurge like this|
I thought if I could match last years time, I would be thrilled - 2:10:06. I truly thought that was out of my reach, my goal was 2:11, I thought that was realistic. This training cycle I have struggled trying to sustain anything 9:30ish pace. A big part of that is, 90% of the training it was warm and humid.
Race morning was perfect, 45 degrees! SO, crazy gorgeous out. As I rode downtown, I tried to tell myself running would feel easier, I could push myself today, don't be scared to try...the worse that could happen is that I would have to slow down.
We got to the port of potties (I know that isn't right lol) and I was freaking out, I went like 6 times, my nerves...
Then a man in line said, "Your wave leaves in five minutes"....I went into panic mode (picture the opening Titanic scene), we were a few blocks from the start.
I needed a warm up! I have been battling the tight problem and I was in a lot of pain earlier in the week. I needed to wake my muscles up. I ran up the street and would look back and see my group. They didn't want to jog at all, but I needed it :( The last time I ran toward the wave sign (F) I turned back and they were all gone. I hopped on the sidelines and looked for them as I pinned my bib on, and never saw them.
|Found them at the finish - left to right - me, Kasey, Chris, and Robert (his 1st half)|
I finally decided to go.
According to gun time, I was about 3 minutes behind them.
My legs hurt the first mile. I was so stiff on my left side, I even shed a few tears. SO much anxiety bottled up, losing my people, thinking I was going to end up walk/running...
I started to regroup after I passed the first mile marker.
I wanted to start at a good clip, set the tone, but I didn't want to hurt myself either. I tried to breathe deep and look ahead, and adjust my pace on feel, and thankfully the stiffness improved.
Mile 2 when my Garmin beeped, I peeked at my cumulative time to see if I was under a 10 minute pace. It felt like I was, but so often when I FEEL like I am pushing, I will look down and see 10:15. I just needed to know...
After that I decided I wouldn't look at my watch until I saw the mile marker 10 sign. I had those "good day" target times in my head.
Mile marker 3 and 4 came fast...
Legs and foot cooperating.
I had been carrying a disposable water bottle with 16 oz. of Lemon Lime Nuun. Holly suggested I collapse it as I go, and it worked great. I had the bottle all smashed down in my hand. I swear it may be easier than my actual hand held. I tossed it by mile 4.
After mile 5, the course heads into a section called Bryan Park. This park is pretty, but the path is very tight. You truly get stuck and can't pass unless you are willing to run off in the woods. I seem to have a talent at finding those walls of three or four, who are running side by side, who won't budge.
In the park, I realized I forgot to fuel. I grabbed my sport beans and ate the whole pack between miles 6 and 8. I had intended to have them all gone by 10K point. I wondered if I had fueled too late...
The course comes out of park during mile 8 - it is the biggest climb on the course, a 65 ft elevation gain. My foot started to throb right before the big hill. I tried to take it easy and work on flexing my toes back and forth, my heel was burning. I knew I had slowed up, and I was feeling anxious. My foot kept aching, but my calf never got tight, so I tried to pick it back up.
Mile 8 is also where the beer family is...I took one good sip, the fizz is so refreshing.
Mile 9, I caved and looked at my watch, I was worried about how much time I had lost in the park. I was having a claustrophobic episode after being squeezed together like sardines, and feeling forced into slowing more than I wanted to.
I was stunned at my cumulative time. I was on my PR 15K pace :) I told myself, PUSH and to stop worrying about what was behind me. Last year at the 15K point, I slowed down quite a bit.
YES... I did obsessively study my splits from last year.
I ran hard. I kept asking myself can you do more?? I wasn't sure.
Mile 11 clicked off...
Oh, the mental part...
People will yell at you on this part of the course, "It is all down hill from here!" BUT it is not! Mile 12 you have a 30 ft. elevation gain and mile 13 starts with a 13 foot climb before it levels, and then downhill happens. I was trying to focus on not slowing down. My foot was really hurting in the heel area, and I felt like I was losing it. I didn't want to hear that when it wasn't true, but everyone yells it!
I heard Adam Lambert on my play list...My Heart is a Ghost Town...I thought, good song while I am tired, hit repeat when it is done, but I never did. My brain was all over the place, I couldn't focus. I started seeing places on the course, and I would remember that last year I felt really tired when I was there.
I told myself PUSH.
I kept wondering could I go faster? Try...
Mile 12, I glanced at my Garmin...I thought no way...
I kept wondering when the down hill was coming...I wondered if my Garmin stopped working. I started thinking, wait a minute, my watched beeped at each mile, right at the sign. Am I really going to finish with a big PR? I obviously was over-thinking things. I am bit frustrated as I look back, I did slow down on mile 12, and I don't think it was physical, as much as it was all the mental stuff. My brain couldn't accept how fast (fast for me) I was running.
The downhill grade at the end is very steep, 87 feet down. It is a great way to end because you are tired, but you really have to be careful not to pound your legs. I did my best and let gravity do its thing...
|The finish line area is congested!|
I crossed the line, collected my medal, blanket, and hat, but I could not process my finish time. I was overwhelmed. I had text alerts set up, so I could see my finish time, my avg. pace, but I still couldn't believe I had done it. I started to feel excited after I found Kenny and my group. It took awhile to sink in that I had run this course 7 minutes faster than last year.
|Thank you Sweet Holly for my good luck skirt!|
There it is! Half marathon number six, my new shiny PR :) 2:02:43
and my Garmin break down for you number junkies :)
and YES, mile 8 really, REALLY, bothers me to see it.
It was a good PR day for run buddy, too - 2:01:19 (9:15 avg pace)
I am curious about all kind of things, so tell me anything!
Do you ever go into a fog during a race and not really remember much?
Do you like to see your lap times as they happen, or do you try to NOT look?
Does weaving around people wear you down?
Did your PR happen completely unexpected? or after hard training?