On October 27th I ran (with Jennifer) the Chosen 1/2 Marathon in Greune, TX. I wanted to do a half marathon before the marathon in December as a test run, to make sure that I am on track to meet my primary goal - qualifying for Boston. This race fell around the right time and was close enough we could drive in the same day.
Jennifer picked me up at 5am, FIVE AM, and drove us down to the race. I had picked up the packets the day before and paid a little extra for premium parking, so we were able to park close to the start and stay in the car a long as possible. It was about 48 degrees and we spent most of the time before the race debating on what to wear - shorts or pants or crops, long sleeve or short sleeve? We both went the warmer route but probably could have sucked it up with short sleeves or shorts. We were right at that sweet spot of too cold to stand around waiting for the race to start but just warm enough when the sun peeks out.
My GOAL was to run between 7:45 and 7:50 pace and finish in 1:42. Jennifer had looked at last year's results to see what the competition might look like. She planted some little seeds that I might have a good chance of placing, which I hadn't really thought about. But my goal was all about Boston, and I did NOT want to run stupid.
The 1/2 marathon started after the full marathon kicked off, at 7:15. We ran the first mile in the dark before the first rays of light started to peek out. I found it very hard to gauge my pace the first few miles. I wanted to run fast to warm up, but knew the course had some rolling hills I should save my energy for.
Mile 1: 7:50
Mile 2: 7:35
Mile 3: 7:53
Mile 4: 7:35
The hills! I do not run hills in training, there aren't many opportunities in my flat neighborhood. The few on my regular route are more inclines than hills. I am staying within my goal pace but it's a struggle.
Mile 5: 7:46
Mile 6: 7:47
Heading to the turn around point of the out & back course it's now light out and the road is scenic along the river. There are camps and empty tubing spots and no cars. I finally see the leaders making their way back and I count the women - there are at least 8 in front of me. After I make the turn I see Jennifer and she's holding up all 10 fingers saying "10! 10!" I know she means I'm 10th woman, which is pretty kick ass.
Mile 7: 7:39
Mile 8: 7:38
This part of the race is enjoyable, I get to see the other runners in both directions and get lots of enthusiasm from the other women out there, and get to check out what all the girls are wearing too.
Mile 9: 7:35
Mile 10: 7:51
Stupid hills on the way back are just as challenging. I get passed by 2 women pretty quickly here and do not pass any others. I figure there is still a chance I'll place, but I'm super happy with my performance so far and meeting my pace goals.
Mile 11: 7: 29
Mile 12: 7:37
Mile 13: 7:25
Mile .2: 6:24
Yeah! I cranked it out at the end and finished really strong. My hamstrings hurt and my toes feel bruised from my shoes. I'm going to HURT for a few days and I know I gave 100%. My final time was 1:40:53 - knocked my goal time out and set a new PR by 4:00. KICK ASS!
I walked around a little after the race, hobbled maybe. They had a great food spread of Rudy's tacos, bagels, fruit, beer and soda. There were lots of families hanging around waiting for loved ones. I got to see Jennifer finish and also set a PR time. We hung around long enough to check the leader board and I was in 3rd place in my age group!! Woo hoo! The volunteers said awards would start in 15 minutes so I wanted to stay. Of course it was actually 45 minutes later before they just gave me my award so we could leave - Mommies have soccer and baseball games to get to!
It was a really nice race, hills and all. The volunteers were nice, it wasn't too big and they had good food and drinks. The race raises money for families going through the adoption process. Instead of a traditional medal, kids passed out handmade beaded bracelets and thank you cards.
Another race in the books, another PR and a milestone in my training plan. Great all around.