Well, folks, today was the big day of justice. The half marathon I’ve been training for since January (and registered for back in October, I think!).
I woke up at 4:45 bright and fresh. Usually I don’t sleep well before races, but last night I was OUT. It was glorious. I took the dog out and had a breakfast cookie. The only little snafu was that I couldn’t find my favorite sports bra to wear—I thought I’d laid it out, but apparently not. So, I had to clash a bit and wear my kelly green one with my lime green shirt. Such is life. We left around 5:45, because our house is about 45 minutes from good old Olathe, Kansas.
Have you ever wondered where your Forerunners and Nuvis are developed and made? Well, look no further. Behold, Garmin Headquarters!
It would have been pretty embarrassing for them if our Forerunners didn’t get satellite reception.
But thankfully they did.
After a successful Port-A-Potty stop, I made Tim take pictures.
See? Lime green.
So, I did not bring my iPhone, so I have no pictures from the course. Sad. But here are my impressions of the race.
I decided that my strategy was going to be to try to hang with the 2:10:00 half pace group for as long as possible. I didn’t want to go out too fast, and the pacer was adamant about a slow pace for the first two miles. (She was AWESOME, by the way.) I knew I could hang with them for awhile, at least, so I wanted to at least try using a pacer for awhile.
The gun went off. Miles 1 and 2 were a breeze. After half a mile, I turned my iPod off because I realized everyone in the pace group was chatting and I figured, hey, human contact is good. I chatted with the pacer, who was giving great tips about nutrition and pacing, as well as a Garmin employee and a couple that’s getting married in three weeks. The weather was perfect for racing—cool, breezy, probably high 50s-low 60s, with not a cloud in the sky. However, we were REALLY annoyed when the first aid station was literally out of water. Really? How hard is it? Andplusalso it’s not like we were in the back of the pack. I was thankful for my handheld water bottle at that point, though I chewed gum for the first five miles to keep my mouth from getting cottony as it is wont to do in races.
At mile 3, we picked up the pace so we were running just sub-10:00 miles. I felt good and like that was a sustainable pace for me for the rest of the race. We kept at it for mile 4 as well.
At the aid station at the start of Mile 5, I took a Chocolate Gu. At this point, the pacer REALLY picked up the pace. Like, a lot. More than I’m comfortable with for a long run. At that point, I started thinking, “okay, hang with her as long as you can, but this is probably not going to last.” I kept within sight of the 2:10 group through the end of mile 7, at which point we hit an aid station and I just couldn’t keep up with them anymore.
Mile 7 was kind of “the wall” of this race for me. I could see the pacer slipping further and further away from me, and I knew I still had 6 miles to go. My “friends” in the pace group kept passing me by and I started feeling a little desperate and edgy. Luckily, at that point, two nice women about my age came up and introduced themselves and really encouraged me to keep going. They were shooting to stick with the 2:10 group, too. They stuck with me for awhile but eventually moved on. It definitely got me through a bad point in the race!
At mile 8 I started feeling better and just focused on sinking into a nice, natural pace for me, about 10:00/miles. I figured I’d banked some time with the 2:10 group and even if I kept up a slower pace of my own I would still finish strong with a great time I could be proud of! I could also see the end in sight.
As my Garmin beeped at the start of Mile 10, I heard someone say “hi, Brie!” and lo and behold it was Sarah from Still A Runner! She recognized my florescent green shirt and it was officially my first meeting of a blog reader. (Sarah’s hardcore and ran over 20 miles today!)
Miles 10 and 11 kind of blurred, though I remember thanking a lot of volunteers (especially one REALLY enthusiastic guy with funny sunglasses on) and giving a lot of high fives to kids. I remember thinking, “hey, this is not that bad at all!” several times. Then I thought about the various things I thought could go wrong (ankle/knee/shin issues, pooping/barfy feelings, incredibly painful blisters) and realized that none of them had! That alone made me feel great. I also saw someone with a Team in Training hat on and thanked her. It was also cool to have the, “hey, every step from here on out is a PDR” moment at mile 10.4.
Mile 12 was difficult, mostly because it was straight uphill. Not a steep one, but a slow incline that was not the most friendly at the end of the race. There were also some bridges that sucked. I did a bit of shuffling/power walking up them. Finally, for the last half mile, I just started counting down on my Garmin—.50 left. Now .49 left. And so on, and ran the whole way to the finish line to finish strong.
You can kind of see me here. I’m a tiny green dot behind the old lady’s head.
Coming up on the finish line…
And I’m done!
(I should note here that I had a bit of a gear issue as these pants were a little big in the waist and kept sliding down on my butt. So I’m sorry if anyone saw my buttcrack today.)
My splits were:
- Mile 1: 10:47
- Mile 2: 10:24
- Mile 3: 9:45
- Mile 4: 9:50
- Mile 5: 9:08
- Mile 6: 9:27
- Mile 7: 9:23
- Mile 8: 10:02
- Mile 9: 10:08
- Mile 10: 10:31
- Mile 11: 10:42
- Mile 12: 10:20
- Mile 13: 11:22
- .17 nubbin: 1:46
Garmin total time: 2:13:40 (still waiting on the chip!)
Or in picture form…
I totally teared up like a goober at the end.
Side note: the Bondi Band was AWESOME. It did not slip once during the race and I had to touch my head a few times to see if it was there. It’s not the most attractive look, but I will probably be a huge sucker and buy more of these because they are awesome. Every other fabric headband I’ve tried pops off the back of my head within 30 seconds, even the super-sporty rubber-grippy ones. Go buy one.
Another side note: there was almost zero crowd support for most of this race, so I’m looking forward to my next half which should be pretty packed. The people who were out cheering were very nice, but there were long stretches of the course on boring suburban roads without anyone there. The course was also very narrow at times, and I found myself tripping over road cones more than once.
While I got half a banana and water, we saw a cute dog eating an orange slice. Tim took a picture. There were lots of cute dogs along this race route, and my pace group probably thought I was mildly challenged because I kept pointing and yelling “AWW LOOKIT THE DOG.”
I was also happy with my decision to bring a handheld water bottle, especially given that the aid stations were, you know, out of water at times. I zipped my inhaler in the pocket and stuck a Gu in the outer pocket. (I grabbed another Gu at mile 9 from the aid station, but didn’t end up needing it.)
My first-ever finisher’s medal!
And, because I’m a realist…my battle scars.
A black toenail on my right foot, second toe. (I think my second and third toes on my left foot are going to blacken too.)
My right foot. I blistered mainly in the forefoot area and some in the arch.
And my left. Not too bad.
I also have some chafing from my sports bra and in the buttcheeks. Shoulda Body Glided, but it’s never happened in the past so, well, now I know.
Overall, I feel really great. I feel like I was well prepared and absolutely nothing went wrong. I had a kinda-sorta time goal of 2:10, but I realized how ambitious that was and I do not feel at all like my race wasn’t a success today because I didn’t meet that. I know a sub 2:10 half is in my near future (and maybe even a sub 2:00 in the less-near future) and I am glad that I finished strong and ran a great race today.
Now…I’m off to take a nap and demolish half the kitchen…AS A HALF MARATHONER!
Thank you all for your kind comments and tweets! I definitely think about them when the going gets tough.
Filed under: fitness | Tagged: half marathon, running | 38 Comments »