spoiler alert... i ran another half marathon (as if that wasnt obvious. or surprising). 3 half marathons in 6 weeks, something ive never done before (nor will i probably do again. maybe). i had planned to run the maine half marathon as a training run for mdi marathon, but as we know that just didnt turn out the way i had planned. does anything really turn out as planned these days?! i blame the kid.
but anyway... i dropped the full marathon to the half at mdi so i knew i would be running two halfs within two weeks time. this usually would be nothing for me, but after having henry (despite feeling pretty good with my running) i didnt know what to expect. maine went very well... i felt good, paced myself evenly and conservatively through 10 miles, and kicked it up for the final 5k. knowing the mdi course was a lot harder than the maine course, i hoped for sub 2 hours and really surprised myself with a time 4 minutes faster than at maine. my pace was all over the place, but overall i was very happy with a 1:50 there. i knew i had gotten back to the shape i wanted to be in where i thought i just might be able to squeeze in a new half marathon PR. i was only 2:08 away from my PR at MDI... how well could i do on a less hilly course? well, there was only one way to find out, and i didnt want to wait all winter. so two days after mdi, after letting it all sink in, i signed up for another half. 12 days away.
i decided not to advertise it. sure i told a few people but this was something i was doing for myself and i didnt want to psych myself out and tell everyone. of course as the day got closer i grew more and more nervous. i had a great speed workout last week, going sub 8 minute miles for 5 miles and it felt effortless. a 10 miler with super fast strides (6:40 pace) felt strong. i knew i was ready. but my mind sure played its tricks on me, something i am used to as a (sometimes highly competitive) runner. i had to keep reminding myself that i wasnt going out there to win, i didnt care if i placed in my age group (especially in an all womens race!), this was just for me. if i did it, great. if i didnt, whatever. there will be more races. but as a runner, you're constantly striving to get better... and i knew i could do it. shut up mind. suck it up princess. and i got great advice from friends who did know about the race...
she might have been a bit excited since she was about to embark
on her third marathon in 6 weeks... and you all think IM crazy?!
(and then she texted me from mile 24 of NYC marathon to find out how i did)
(and still ran a 3:49. hrumph you jerky fast people... lol jk, love her!!)
i ran the "all women and one lucky guy half marathon" in 2011 with my friend liz. it was beautiful weather, the course was (from what i remembered) gorgeous with some rolling hills, and it was FUN! an all womens race is certainly a much different feeling than the races i usually run, so i was excited to do it again. my mom stayed the night at my house sat night and got up with henry at 3:30am (thanks a lot daylight savings) so i could get some sleep. it had been almost 70 degrees on saturday, but when i woke up at 6am it was 41. brrrrrr (but perfect running weather!!) the race didnt start until 11am, which is nice in some aspects, but i didnt know how to properly fuel and that made me nervous. i had some coffee after i woke up, and had two pieces of peanut butter toast shortly after 7am, hoping this would satisfy me (not so much... by 10am i was starving. and grumpy).
i left the house at 8ish and drove down to massachusetts, alone. yep, no one wanted to run with me! (it would help if a) i told people i was running (i would have found out that i knew a few people who were going to be there and we could have car pooled...) b) people didnt have to work for a living. or have kids they needed to shuttle around. dumb work. kids are ok) and c) everyone else i knew was running the streets of NYC. and they were all running stupid fast! i have really fast friends... i was hoping that would help me today. anyway... not a bad drive, a little over an hour, but i was bored so of course i played pretend like i was on american idol and sang the whole way down. i also stopped at the liquor store in new hampshire to use the bathroom to avoid port-a-potties... well, the bathrooms were being remodeled and they had a line of port-a-potties instead. ah, the glamorous life of a runner. hashtag fail.
the packet pick up was very basic and easy... i grabbed my bib and tshirt and headed back out to the car to keep warm. oh and it was raining... shocking. as i was getting to my car i happened to see my friend betsy and went back inside and hung out with her and her sister/friends for a bit. they were all eating and i was jealous as my stomach was raging mad starving, so i went out the car and ate a little bit of my honey stinger chocolate waffle. i had gone to dick's on saturday to get GU and they didnt have espresso love! i ended up getting two peanut butter and one chocolate, and also grabbed the chocolate waffle. i hadnt been training with them but i figured if i ate that at mile 10 id maybe not puke til the race was over? oh well. but anyway, the few bites of the waffle seemed to calm my stomach down, and with 20 minutes left to the start i loaded up my water bottle, stripped off all the million layers of clothes i had on, and went to the bathroom one more time before heading to the start.
they played the national anthem (i cried, duh). then we sang happy birthday... to... ? someone? no one really heard who it was for so that was awkward when it came time to say "happy birthday dear...." everyone was kinda just like uhhhh.... and then we were off. oh wait, first they introduced the one lucky guy that was running with us... i couldnt see where he was, but he was behind me in the crowd. i was pretty close to the start line because i didnt want to be last like at mdi and have to weave through a lot of people.
my plan for the race was to try to run consistent and try try try to stay out of my own head. i needed an average pace of 8:17 per mile in order to just PR by one second (i think... different calculators tell you different things... but that was what i was going with), and i wanted to keep my miles between 8:10s and 8:15s if i could. the first two miles were pretty downhill/flat and i felt great. i distinctly remember thinking in those first 2 miles "im totally going to do this!" dont ever tell yourself that in the first two miles of a race, unless youre running a 5k. i should know that by now.
mile 1: 8:09
mile 2: 8:11
mile 3: 8:11
things were going pretty much right on plan, i didnt start out "OMGifeelsoooooogoooooood im going to run ALL THE MILES sooooooooo fast!!!!!!", so that was a bonus. my legs felt strong. my breathing felt good. alright. keep on going...
but i was starting to get hot. it was maybe 45 degrees, but the rain had stopped and the sun came out. i had on a throwaway shirt, arm sleeves, a tank top and shorts (fun fact: this is the first shirt i have actually "thrown away"... usually i just stash it somewhere and go get it or keep wearing it. this one was my 2007 maine half marathon shirt. i contemplated wrapping it around my waist but i thought it might annoy me. i thought about that race real quick... knew it wasnt my first half or my first marathon... and ditched it near a tree. RIP maine half marathon 2007 shirt). i kept my gloves on because my hands were still cold but it felt nice to get rid of that extra layer. i took my first GU right after mile 3 as well... i had taken one 15 minutes before the race started during a short warm up run, and instead of doing every 45 minutes after that i decided every three miles i would take one. it took me til mile 4 to eat the whole thing but at least i wasnt feeling hungry anymore. my handheld water bottle was (as always) bugging the shit out of me... i had run out of water/gatorade at mdi so i filled this thing right to the top, which made it very heavy. but i paced myself drinking it, and still had some left at the end.
mile 4: 8:13
mile 5: 8:18
mile 6: 8:16
there were a few hills along miles 4-6, but i was still keeping a good solid pace. i had set my watch to show me overall time, distance, current pace, and average pace. i hated having to keep checking it, but i wanted to make sure i was staying on target. through mile 5 or 6 i had maintained an 8:10ish average pace, but each hill i went up the average pace went up by one second, which was irritating me as it got closer and closer to 8:17. right around mile 4 the one lucky guy passed me. the women around me chatted it up with him and i stayed close behind him for about a half mile... we got some great cheering along that half mile! it was also during these miles that i started thinking i couldnt do this anymore. i didnt want to do this anymore. shut up mind! suck it up princess! everyone around me looked like they were running effortlessly, making it look so easy. i felt like my legs were going to fall off. i also felt like i was running side by side with people in a completely different climate... i had my tank top and shorts, everyone else was dressed up like they were in a snowstorm in alaska! it was almost comical.
the course had a greater elevation loss than gain, so there were some good downhills that i was able to shake out my arms and gain a little speed. on the flat areas, however, i felt like i was running through molasses. that was cool.
mile 7: 8:20
mile 8: 8:33
mile 9: 8:04
clearly miles 7 and 8 were tough... see the times and elevation chart above. at mile 7.5 it was a slow climb for awhile but i felt like i was still running pretty strong despite slowing down. i had taken another GU shortly after mile 6 and just tried to stay out of my head and continue counting down the miles. i wanted to just make it to 10 and try to see what i had left to give, which wasnt a lot after having run some pretty strong miles leading up to it. i decided not to eat the chocolate waffle at mile 10. i felt alright and drank some more gatorade and figured if i felt like i was slacking i would eat at mile 11. when i got to 11, i still felt alright and just wanted to finish. it was right around then i realized i really was going to get the time i had hoped for... unless my leg suddenly happened to fall off or i just flat out gave up. which, lets be honest, still ran through my head. but i knew that the people who knew i was running today were waiting for my text and really hoping i would PR, and who wants to disappoint their friends?! i started crying, obviously, but it was short lived. i just wanted this race done, and i wasnt going to give up now.
mile 10: 8:19
mile 11: 7:57
mile 12: 8:04
the last mile (well 1.21 miles) was hard. both mentally and physically just really really hard. i kept skipping through songs to find the perfect one to push me (im not even sure what i ended up listening to. florence and the machine i think). there was a girl walking and i encouraged her that she could finish, that we were almost there, dont give up, etc. (then she ran and passed me! but then walked again and i passed her. i need a race plan like that i think). i could see the clock ahead of me and i pushed it as much as i could but i saw the clock pass 1:48 shortly before i crossed. i had a huge smile on my face knowing i had PR'd, and then i felt like i was going to fall over.
mile 13: 7:46
last 0.21: 1:35 (7:35 pace)
betsy came over and saw me and we celebrated our great races. i also ran into a friend from high school (who said she reads my blog! haha hi alison!!) we went over to check the official times... 1:48:00. haha seriously?! im clearly happy with my time, but would have been nice to have a 1:47:xx. oh we're never happy, are we?! thinking back on the race and looking through my splits, i know i ran a really solid race. i also feel like i know where i can improve and learned a few things along those miles that i will use for the future. but for now ill smile with my shiny new PR... and rest for a bit.
half marathon #18
official time: 1:48:00
12th out of 111 age group
80th out of 772 overall