|Can you tell I'm freezing!?|
|Waiting for the race to start.|
|Notice dad and Thomas' shark fins on their heads.|
|Taking off at the start.|
|I look like I'm in pain and it's because I was so cold from standing around for so long!|
|These are all pictures mom took. I was waiting on the professional pictures to post, but they still aren't up and mom's are really good so I'll just add more later when they're available.|
I went through mile 2 in 6:49. I was glad I went out and ran the 3 mile loop of the race before you get onto Riverside since I was leading the race. I definitely never expected to lead the race, I just wanted to be familiar with the loop going into race day. We pulled away from the other girl in this section of the race. We went through mile 3 in 6:57. I was excited about how the race was going and was pleased to have someone to run with. We made it across the bridge and when we turned onto Riverside and were running into the wind the other woman tucked in behind me. I realized she was going to draft off me into the wind but I didn't mind because I was running for time, not place. I went through mile 4 in 7:02.
A little after mile 4 we moved from the road onto the paved trail. I knew the wind would be stronger running down closer to the river. Mile 5 was 6:57. The wind was definitely slowing me down a bit but not considerably and I was getting excited that a PR might be in my grasp. I just felt so strong! Mile 6 was 6:55. I ate my Gu around 6.5 miles and switched over to see what my overall time was on my Garmin. I saw I would be super close to a PR if I ran the same split for the 2nd half of the race as I had run the first. I had averaged 6:59 pace for the first half. Then we went up a little hill and hit the windiest section of the course. Miles 7 and 8 were the toughest and I went through them in 7:17 and 7:08. I took water at a couple of water stops. There were chunks of ice in the water which made it difficult to drink. I wasn't expecting it at the first stop so I went to drink it like normal, pinching the cup, but the water wouldn't come out because the ice was blocking it's way. I tried chewing up the ice and that didn't work very well so I ended up just tossing the water at the first stop. The next time I took water I didn't pinch the cup and drank it that way which worked better but sloshed water on my face.
I knew we would hit the turn around a little before the 8 mile marker and then would run a little bit back on the trail before we came across mile 8. My watch beeped for 8 miles and I still hadn't hit the turn around. I figured I just remembered the map incorrectly. I was definitely pleased when I finally saw the turn around and knew I'd get to finish out the final 5 miles of the race with the wind at my back! It felt good to turn around and have the wind at my back. I could feel that my legs were a bit fatigued from running into the wind but I still felt strong. I knew I could finish with a negative split and was pretty sure I'd be super close to a PR. It was fun to see the half marathoners still running out on the course. Jeremy cheered for me and told me I was 1st. Thomas cheered for me too. I got a lot of support and cheers from runners I didn't know too which was fun. Mile 9 was back down to 6:49. The wind at my back didn't speed me up as much as I had expected but I knew as long as I could stay under 7:00 pace I should PR. I kept thinking, "I'm really going to do this! I'm going to PR! 11 years later and I'm finally doing it!" When I hit mile 10 I got excited, knowing I only had a 5k to go. On the way out my watch had beeped for the mile split right at the mile marker on the course. After the turn around I noticed my Garmin was registering about a tenth of a mile long at each mile marker. I was a little worried but chalked it up to the mile markers being placed in the wrong spot.
Going into the last 5k I was excited and really wanted to pick it up but also didn't want to start my kick too soon. I went through mile 11 in 6:53. Then we met up with the 10k runners and I started having to weave a bit around them. I started to feel tired and mile 12 was the toughest of the race for me. I told myself I was almost to the last mile and these were the miles that would make or break my PR just like at Route 66. I told myself not to let myself lose a PR in the final 2 miles like I had at Route 66. I checked my overall time and figured if I could run around 7:00 for the last 2 miles I should be under 1:31:30. I was rounding up my time to the nearest minute and giving myself a minute to run the last 1/10th of a mile. I always like to give myself a cushion when I figure out what I need to run, especially because I usually end up with 13.18 or so from weaving and turning on the course. Mile 12 was 7:02 and I was relieved it was still close to 7:00. I had felt like I'd fallen off pace more than that. Then we went to cross the bridge and it was the only area of the course that was a bit slick. I was weaving around 10k runners and trying not to slide or fall which was stressing me out since I was trying to run a PR. Looking at my overall time going into the last mile I knew if I could run a 6:50 last mile, I'd definitely run a PR. I was giving myself 6:50 for the last mile and 40 seconds to finish out the last tenth of the race, again rounding my time up to the nearest minute. Each time I wanted to slow down, I told myself, "Don't lose that PR!"
The 10k runners in front of me came off the bridge and went out onto the road instead of running on the trail. I followed them. A police officer told us to get onto the trail but I didn't want to because I'd have to run across grass and down a slope to get there and I knew that would mess up my legs and slow me down so I just kept on keepin on. Around that time I could hear mom cheering for me and I really surged toward the finish. As I turned the corner to the finish I saw 1:31:30 on the clock and knew I wasn't going to finish in PR time, I really hauled in as much as I could to break 1:32 but finished in 1:32:05. At first I figured I must've miscalculated what I needed to run the last mile in because I ran it in 6:48 and then finished out the last portion of the race at 6:14 pace so I should have been under 1:31:30. Then when I looked at my watch I noticed it showed 13.25 miles so I figured my Garmin must've been having trouble or something. I was a little out of it to think that. But I was so happy. I felt like I ran a flawless race. Everything went so well and I ran the best race I possibly could have. I didn't give up when it got rough in those last 2 miles and I got tired. I didn't coast in even though I was ahead of 2nd place by over a minute, I kept pushing and I was determined. Not to mention I ran the race from mile 7 on alone. It takes focus and determination to run a PR without anyone around to push you.
|Riding the pain train in to the finish. The people behind me were in the 10k. 2nd place was about a minute behind me.|
|On the pain train at the finish!|
|Darn that extra distance, Strava shows a new half-marathon PR of 1:31:01.|
|The left is my Strava map and the right is the course map. We should have turned just past 61st street but ran almost all the way to 58th. 8 miles should have been after the turn around but I hit the 8 mile mark before we turned around.|
|What my pace calculates to for 13.1 instead of 13.25.|
|Mom finishing the race.|
|Jeremy running to the finish.|
Going into this race I felt like I was in really good shape based on how my training runs went the two weeks leading up to the race. But all my tempos and speedwork had been slower than the fall of 2016 when I missed a PR by 14 seconds so I didn't have confidence a PR was a possibility. I think the flat course with 100 feet of elevation gain compared to a mildly hilly course with almost 400 feet of elevation gain made a difference. I also didn't think about it until after the race that my tempos and speed work this spring were all run in quite a bit of wind compared to little wind in the fall of 2016. So really my workouts were probably more comparable than I was thinking. Due to the suggestion of my friend, Sara, I ran some 15 mile long runs this season. The longest long runs I had done preparing for a half marathon in the past had been 12 miles so I think that may have also helped me out. This was also the first season I've actually stuck with strength training and completed it on a regular basis. I did a short 10-15 minute strength training workout 2-3 times per week. It wasn't much but I figure anything is better than nothing!
Having this race under my belt lets me know the PR is there and I'm excited to train to get it in the fall! I know holding out to go for it in the fall is the best decision for me and I'm definitely ready to run just base miles for a few months before I jump into my fall training cycle. I'm excited to seriously train for a marathon for the first time ever and drop some serious time from my marathon PR too. It would be super exciting to throw a half marathon PR into the mix as well. I'll be shooting for sub-1:31:35 in the fall rather than sub-1:31:06 which should have been my time here so that will make a PR easier! I'm looking at the Prairie Fire Half Marathon in October as my next half-marathon and it's really hard to wait because I just want to run another one right now! But I know it's in my best interest to give my body some down time. I also want to get my glute and hamstring fully healed. My glute started getting really tight around mile 9. I don't think it slowed me down, but it would definitely be better to have no pain or tightness at all. My next race is a 12k leg of a marathon relay at the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon. I'm running with my friends I run with early in the morning some days and it should be a lot of fun! My plan is to just keep running mileage with no tempos or speedwork between now and then and hopefully not lose too much speed. I'm hoping to run somewhere in the 7:00-7:15 minute per mile pace for the 12k. I think that's doable even without speed work. Hopefully I can ride out this training into a decent split for my team!