Monday, November 11, 2013

Jenks Half Marathon

I would like to start this post by saying how extremely proud of my husband I am!  He has come so far in such a short amount of time with his running.  He ran his first 5k about 2.5 years ago running 3.1 miles without walking for the first time ever and finishing in 33:19, an average of 10:43 pace.  Last year when I decided to run a half-marathon while pregnant (with the okay from my doctor) he started toying with the idea of running a half-marathon himself.

This fall he decided to take the plunge and we signed up for the Jenks Half-Marathon.  He had some hiccups with his training and only hit an 8 mile long run before race day.  He powered through the race and only walked for 1/10th of a mile at around the 11 mile mark.  He finished the race in 2:16:35, an average pace of 10:25 per mile!  Meaning he finished his first half-marathon at an average pace about 20 seconds per mile faster than his first 5k.  That's a lot of improvement in his short running career.
So proud of my love!

Going into the race this weekend my goal was to beat my time from the Prairie Fire Half Marathon.  That meant I wanted to run under 1:38.  At the Prairie Fire I averaged 7:27 pace, so I planned to start out on Saturday around 7:30-7:40 miles and pick up the pace during each quarter of the race.  I didn't have specific goals for each quarter of the race other than to run a little bit faster each quarter.

We had been a bit worried it would be super windy because we'd had a red flag warning which meant a high wind day that week.  When we walked outside that morning the wind wasn't too bad and was coming from a direction to where only a few sections of the course would run into the wind.  The temperature was in the low 50's at the start of the race.  Perfect short sleeves and shorts weather.  The race was very small with only 362 runners.  Some pros of it being a small race: super cheap entry fee ($35), we could arrive later to the race as it wasn't too congested, we parked in the parking lot right next to the race start, and not as many people to weave through at the race start.  Some cons: large gaps in runners and not as many people to run with, streets were open to traffic (which wasn't a problem like I thought it would be), very few spectators (the only crowd support was at the start, finish, water stops, and a few cars who happened to drive by and honk or cheer).  Overall I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the race.  I would definitely run it again.
Everybody in our race shirts after the race.

Thomas and I stood next to each other at the start, but couldn't find Jeremy.  Thomas took out a little bit faster than I did, I caught up to him, and we ran the first 2 miles together which was nice.  The race started out by the high school and ran down the street I drive multiple times a day as it's the way to Carter's daycare from my work.  My plan was to run the first quarter of the race in 7:30-7:40 pace.  The first mile was a little bit fast at 7:23, but then I eased into a good pace and ran the next 2 miles at 7:35 and 7:32.

During the first 3 miles I had decided my goal for the next quarter was to run somewhere in the 7:25-7:35 range and I'd shoot for a range 5 seconds per mile faster each quarter.  I did really well hitting that pace for miles 4 and 5, running 7:33 and 7:23.  Then mile 6 there was a very long, although gradual incline and I struggled a bit.  The race had really thinned out.  I had passed the 2 women I had been catching up to and the closest runner was a man about 10 seconds ahead of me.  I went through mile 6 at 7:37, a little bit over pace.  At that point I was worried I would struggle to pick the pace up during the 2nd half of the race.
Carter and Adelynn ready to cheer everyone on!
As I started mile 7 I ate the Gu I had been carrying with me and I got a 2nd wind.  It also helped that after a couple of smaller, but long hills we had a downhill.  I wanted to hit 7:20-7:30 pace for the next 3 miles and went through miles 7-9 in 7:24, 7:19, and 7:13.  During mile 8 I caught up to a female runner ahead of me and got excited thinking maybe she would be my buddy this race like Sasha had been at the Prairie Fire, but as I pulled up beside her and told her good job I could tell she was struggling and she made no attempt to keep up with me.  We came up to a water stop and turned back onto the road leading from my school to Carter's daycare.  At this point we were starting mile 9 and a woman I hadn't seen yet in the race passed me.  I decided to try to keep her within distance, but after a 7:13 mile she already had a large gap built up.  I knew I wasn't going to be able to stick with her.

I got excited as I started the last quarter, knowing how close I was to the finish and that I was on pace to run a postpartum PR.  My goal for miles 10-12 was to hit 7:15-7:25 pace.  I felt great during miles 10 and 11 running them in 7:16 and 7:13.  A man directing runners where to go informed me I was the 4th overall female.  Then we turned down a street with the wind at our face for mile 12 and I struggled.  There were 3 men running about 10-15 seconds ahead of me, drafting off each other and I watched them jealously as I battled the wind.  I tried to power through it, but I was tired and had no one to run with.  Mile 12 was 7:22 and I knew it was time to pick the pace back up.
I was excited to see my little guy with a little over half a mile left!
Mile 13 started as we turned down a different street so the wind was now blowing at our sides.  My legs were feeling worn out after powering through the wind, but I did my best to push the pace.  As I was approaching a hill I looked to the right and saw Carter, Adelynn, Chris, and Candice standing on the corner waiting to cheer me on.  I was so excited to see them and yelled to them.  Adelynn loved that I cheered back at her and started to come out into the street with me.  I pushed up the hill and as I turned the corner with a half-mile left I saw a woman ahead of me.  I must've slowly been catching up to her the last mile because I hadn't seen her in a while.  I got excited knowing she must be 3rd overall female and although I felt very tired I really started pushing to catch her.  The race ended on the track and I caught up to her as we were turning the corner onto the track.  We had to take a step up onto the track and the rubber felt so soft and weird after running nearly 13 miles on pavement.  I felt like I was sinking into it.  It was fun finishing on the track though and I pushed as hard as I could into the finish.  I ran mile 13 in 6:56 which I was very proud of.
Starting the lap on the track.

Evidence that I did, in fact, stop my watch.
My gun time was 1:37:05 and my Garmin registered 1:36:51 which averaged out to 7:21 pace.  Something must have been off with the chip time because it showed 1:35:51.  I know there was no way it took me over a minute to get to the start and I had started my Garmin as I crossed the start line and I'm pretty sure I stopped it as I crossed the finish line, so I'm going with my Garmin time.  The man I had run by must have counted wrong because I finished 4th overall female, winning my age group.
Checking out my finish time.
Jeremy, Thomas, and Ty were all in the same age group.  Jeremy finished 10th overall and 2nd in his age group with a gun time of 1:26:59.  Thomas was 5th in the age group with a gun time of 1:50:24 and Ty was 14th in the age group.  Jeremy and I received mugs for our age group awards.  Candice and Chris ran the 5k and Candice also won an age group award.
All of us with our age group awards, mugs!
One of the best things about finishing, Carter snuggles!
Sharing my banana with Carter.
I was pleased with my time.  I definitely felt more tired after this race and put more effort into the first half of the race which made my legs heavier during the 2nd half.  Although I've loved both of the fall half marathons we've run, I'm ready to stick with shorter distances until spring.  I am surprised that Ty is already talking about which spring half marathon he wants to run.  Hooray for a good experience in spite of a lack of training! 
Carter enjoying Uncie Tommy time.

1 comment: