Full story: I woke up this morning and couldn't stop thinking about my favorite high school teacher. Strange. But Mr. Powell once pulled me aside after hearing me complain about not being good enough to do well in a certain class. He talked to me about self confidence and how I should have more of it. He told me I was capable of more than I gave myself credit for. His words have remained with me and I often remember them.
I was so nervous going into this race. I worried that my training was not enough. That I hadn't put in the amount of effort I needed to get what I wanted out of it. I knew the course was hilly and hard.
I was also excited. What if I set out to do what I wanted to do? It would feel so amazing.
Basically I was a basket case. Par for the course.
After waking up super early and getting all of my pre-race stuff done I headed downtown to the race which was only a few minutes from my house. After a last stop at the port-o-potties I headed to the start. Already it was exciting because I got to meet a few local bloggers. First were Bang and Melanie, two ladies who I just love talking to over Twitter. Next I recognized Jolene, whose blog I love. It was great fun to meet them!
My plans for the race were to start out conservatively because I knew the second half had some major hills and a lot of twists and turns. Take some nutrition every 40 minutes or so. And to run my own race.
Miles 1-6: These were relatively easy for me because they are part of my normal running route. I have run this part of the course numerous times. I knew where the hills were and how bad they would be. I knew where the flat and down hill sections were. I knew where the turns where. Basically, I knew exactly what to expect - where to speed up and where to rein it in. To keep myself from starting out too fast I had some Bob Marley on the ipod. By mile 5 or so it was full on booty music. It is amazing what the combination of a down hill and Britney Spears can do for one's pace!
Miles 7-10: The real hills, in my opinion, started around mile 7. My basic strategy was to start each hill at a run but not be afraid to walk some if I had to. I basically spent these miles walking some steeper hills and then speeding up on the down hill and flats to stay near my target pace. Mile 8 was the toughest for me and ended up being a full minute over my goal pace. Luckily, I had some time banked from the beginning of the race.
|Clever signs like this one where |
posted on some of the hills.
Miles 11-13: Some mental math told me I had to run these miles at 12 min pace to get to the finish line at my goal time of 2:35. Sounds easy enough but we weren't done with the hills yet and I was fading. Brent and the kids were at mile 11, which was awesome because I wasn't expecting them until the finish line. Luckily they were on one of the steeper hills so they walked with me for a little bit. A kiss from each of them and I was on my way again. Mile 11 was the slowest of the day, but I did the math over and over again and knew that I had a good amount of time in the bank. Once we got within a mile of the finish I dug deep and got it done. It was great to have Brent and the kids at the finish line too!
Goal time: 2:35
Final time: 2:34:33
A half marathon PR for my post-baby running life!
Let me just say that in general I do not consider myself a sappy person, but when I crossed the finish line I burst into tears. I was so freaking proud of taking over 5 minutes off of my time from last year. I felt so much stronger than I thought I would. And for the first time since I started running again 2 years ago I achieved a race goal I set for myself. It was (and still is) the most amazing feeling!
We spent some time hanging around after the race to enjoy the fantastic weather and atmosphere. Also the kids liked the bouncy house. And Hannah used me to get the cups of pretzels and jelly beans they had out for the finishers.
Honestly, this was one of the best days of my running life.