I ran my final half marathon of the season yesterday. I tend to sign up for “just one more” long distance race upon finishing a big race – racing is addictive. But at mile 9 yesterday, as I was tracking to set another PR/PB, I told myself, “this is it – no more this year.” It felt good to say it. It felt good to repeat it to myself. The decision was made.
This half was a real struggle, probably because I was running pretty fast (for me). The first mile was slow due to the sheer number of runners (6,000+), but miles 2+ picked up pace and I was decreasing my average pace every mile. The course was pretty flat and wide, so it was easy to set your own pace and go. I passed the 2:00:00 pacer in mile 4 so I knew I’d come in under 2 hours (the pacers will bring their group in a couple/few minutes before target time). I was tracking a solid 8:50 pace for MILES, and as I told my friend, once I get to mile 8 or 9, it’s downhill from there.
But it wasn’t. 😉
There was a NASTY hill at mile 11 (see elevation map) and I did what I never do…. I walked. I ALWAYS walk the water stops but besides those, I do.not.walk. But I had to. And I walked a few times between miles 11 and 12.6. Yes, I walked in the final mile. I was BEAT. I wasn’t sure where my husband and kids would be, so I felt shamed while walking and would never walk for long – I didn’t want my kids to see me walking! At 12.6 miles, I told myself I needed to run for, “no more than 5 minutes” and I’d be done. So…. That’s what I did.
I crossed the finish in 1:56:44 with an average pace of 8:55! All I wanted from this race was “to finish in the 8’s,” even if that meant 8:59. I did it, even though I was convinced all weekend that it wouldn’t happen (I’ve been fighting a cold AND I haven’t run a long run longer than 7.11 miles in the last 3 weeks). I did set a new PR/PB from my prior best (June 4th) by 2:09 – that’s a whopper of an improvement and I’m thrilled!!!! I took 9 seconds off my average pace (was 9:04 on June 4) putting me safely “in the 8’s.”
My division and overall stats were the best they’ve ever been, (I think):
40/350 division (W40-44) = top 11.42%
328/2737 all women = top 11.98%
916/4378 overall = top 20.92%
This race had timing mats at the halfway mark (finally!!!) and I had another negative split by a long shot:
6.5 mile split 1:00:36 = 8:59 pace
6.5 mile rank = 43 (passed 3 in my division in second half of race)
The BEST part of this race is that my kids and husband watched me cross the finish, which hasn’t happened all year for my distance races because of complexity in getting there. I didn’t see them, but they saw me (I’m told I was hobbling in at the finish – I believe it!)… And that makes me happy!