Prairie Fire. Then I came back at the Route 66, finishing about 5 minutes faster in a high 1:35. I kept thinking it was possible I'd have the same thing happen here. If I ran 5 minutes faster than the Aquarium Run that would be a high 1:29. But I also knew I was running after a super long taper and tried not to let myself use that experience in 2015 to get my hopes up.
I set an Uber up to pick me up between 6:15 and 6:30 so I could make it to the race start well before the 7:00 start time. I set my alarm for 6:00 but I woke up at 5:15 so excited for the race I couldn't fall back to sleep. I went ahead and got up. I had plenty of time to eat my Clif bar, drink my Nuun, and get dressed. I also knew I'd have some time to finish getting my nutrition in on the drive to the race. I was ready early so I decided to do some pre-run yoga from Yoga by Adriene on YouTube. It was just a 7 minute video which put me ready for my Uber right when it arrived. We decided it wasn't worth me running with my phone so I left it in a bag by the door for Ty to bring me when he came to pick me up. He'd talked about bringing the kids out around 8:30 to see me finish but I wasn't sure whether they'd actually make it to the finish area in time or not. Since I didn't have my phone we decided I should take my mace just to be safe. I was a little worried because I memorized the license plate number before putting my phone away and it wasn't the right car. I didn't want to get in but the guy looked like the one shown on the app and he had an explanation as to why it wasn't the right car. I had my mace so I went ahead and rode with him and it ended up being fine.
I finished eating on the drive and threw away my water bottle when we got there. It was a little bit chilly just standing around in my tank and shorts. I wished I had worn a long sleeved shirt to drop at the start, especially because the wind was so strong and chilly. I actually thought about running a warm up because I was so cold. Since I've never run a warm up before a half and I was running this one as a bonus half after a long training cycle I decided not to push it by adding extra mileage. I found a bush down by the river to stash my mace in and was pretty confident no one would find it and take it. I was right as it was still there when I was finished and went over to get it. Then I found a place to do my calf stretches out of the wind so I kept from getting too cold. My stomach was feeling a bit off and my Clif bar didn't seem to be sitting very well in my stomach. I was a little worried about how it would feel once I got going. I headed over to the race start with about 5 minutes to go before 7:00. They said the race would start at 7:00 sharp and it did which was perfect. At the start line I saw a woman who I had seen doing a warm up and drills before the race. She looked fast and I noticed her eyeing me and checking my bib to see if I was in the half or full marathon. I enjoyed that because I always feel like I am a bit on the heavy side to be a fast runner so I felt good that she picked me out as her main competition.
|I guess being 4th overall and running a faster pace for my half than the marathoners, I should have started up farther.|
Mile 4 was 6:52 and I was excited with how easy that pace was feeling. I went through mile 5 in 6:55 and was pleased knowing I could likely pick up the pace on the way back with the wind at my back. I went through mile 6 in 6:56 and saw the guy leading the race come back by so I knew we were close to the turn around. I was having a little bit of a mental pep talk with myself that I started to feel a little rough around mile 6 of the Aquarium Run and since I was feeling so good at 6 miles here, even running into the wind, that hopefully I wouldn't fall apart again. I switched my Garmin over to the next screen so I could see my overall time and overall pace at the 10k mark. I went through the 10k in 43:15 and knew I was off pace for a sub-1:30 but was pretty sure I was on pace for a PR. I ate my Gu a little before the turn around and it went down fine. It actually seemed to calm my stomach a little. When we hit the turn around I looked and was at 45:40. I told myself if I could run 44:20 or under for the return trip I could run under 1:30. My Garmin showed I had run 6:59 pace on the way out which was exactly what I had hoped for in my wildest dreams hopes before the race. I started attempting to calculate what I pace I needed to average on the way back but then realized I was calculating for a 10k and not for 6.55 miles. I was able to pick the pace up when I turned back for the return trip but then could feel that my legs were tired from running into the wind which made the return trip a little harder. The woman ahead of me had seen me behind her at the turn around and really took off. I was maybe 45 seconds or so behind her at the turn around. Within a mile or so of the turn around I caught and passed the guy she'd been drafting behind on the way out.
Mile 7 was 6:51 and then mile 8 was 6:41. Around the 8 mile mark the sun finally came out and I was so glad it had been cloudy up until then. I really started to feel the heat and I felt like the sun started to effect me. By the time I finished, my face was bright red! I hadn't looked at my watch other than to see my mile splits and check my overall time at the 10k point so I decided to keep my watch flipped over to overall time and pace. Mile 9 was 6:44 pace and I told myself when I got to mile 10 and had a 5k left I'd check to see what I needed to run the last 5k in to run under 1:30. We had the hill at the Gathering Place to go up again and it got me a bit this time. I struggled to get up and over it and could see the woman ahead of me really pulling away on the downhill. After the turn around when she took off I knew I wouldn't be able to catch her but it was fun to have her close enough that I could focus on her. She started pulling away enough that I couldn't see her as well. Once she really gapped me it was much harder to keep pushing without anyone to run with. Mile 9 was when I really wished I had Jeremy to run with again. I really missed him at this race and that's when I missed him the most! I went through mile 10 in 6:53 and knew if I could run the last 10k in 21:00 or under I'd be able to run under 1:30. At first I felt 6:45 pace was doable but once I went through mile 11 in 6:52, I knew it was not going to happen, especially considering I would have to run into the wind for the last mile. I started to feel a bit rough during mile 12 but nothing compared to what I've experienced in the past at Route 66 in 2016 and the Aquarium Run last year in 2018. I had hoped to run my last mile the fastest for the Strava Last Mile event but I knew with the Bermuda Triangle and the wind, that was a tall order. Once I knew sub-1:30 wasn't going to happen, it was hard to keep pushing. I told myself to go for under 1:31. Mile 12 was 7:03. There was a water stop with a mile and a half or 2 miles in the race and I was hot so I went ahead and took water. It was a bad pass so it all spilled and I had to reach back and grab some Nuun. I normally only drink water during races but I wasn't worried about taking Nuun since it doesn't sit on your stomach like Gatorade does and I had no trouble with it.
When we turned back into the wind, it was really demoralizing. It felt like the wind had picked up during the race but it also may have been that I was tired so the wind felt worse. I was coming up on 10k runners who were making it to the turn around and I felt like I wasn't blowing by them as quickly as I should have been. When I made it to the last half mile I started picturing running that section of the course during the Race Into the New Year and how I had really rocked the finish. This area of the race was where I struggled the most with running all alone. There were also no spectators out on the course and I didn't realize that was making the race harder until I came up on the finish and got a huge 2nd wind when people started cheering for me. Mile 13 was 7:21 but that was also likely not really my mile split since I lost satellite connection during that mile. I felt like I had slowed down and was concerned I wasn't going to finish in under 1:31. When I turned the corner to the finish the clock was at 1:30:30 so I knew I was going to break 1:31. I heard my friend Audrey cheering for me and I felt a huge rush of emotion over what a victory this was, especially with how scary it was to come back to race after the Aquarium Run's fall apart finish. I gave her a big smile and started pumping my fist. I knew that would slow me down, but I didn't care. I finished the last portion of the race in 6:20 pace and finished in an official time of 1:30:41. I heard someone yell my name and looked up to see Ty approaching. Carter and Elise came running over to see me right after I was handed my medal. I was pleased that even with my last mile I ran a negative split. My first half of the race was 45:40 and my second half was 45:01.
|Me and Audrey.|
|Me and the kids with the Golden Driller statue replica.|
|Audrey took live photos so on my phone Elise's hair is whipping around in the picture. So. much. wind!|
|Best support system ever!|
|So pleased for this PR!|