Thursday, April 11, 2013

half marathon recap 3.0

Since it's been almost a month since my last half marathon do you think maybe I should finally recap it here for documentation? Otherwise it won't ever get done and I'd like to remember the details especially because I got the PR I wanted.

BTW I've determined that as long as you're still getting PRs at every race you're either still a beginning runner or you're practically headed to a professional running career.  What do you think?

I ran Wrightsville Beach Half Marathon on St. Patrick's Day.  I trained for it with a group from Fleet Feet and only three other girls from my group were actually going to be running the race, but my mom and sister were going to go with me for support.  It turned out to be a pretty good girls weekend and Julianna even came along which was fun.

we enjoyed a brief time on the beach after the race was over

Anyway, this year there were two start waves for the half marathon and I was placed in the later group starting at 6:45 am.  I caught a ride to the starting line with my friend Arika.  It was her first half marathon and she was pretty nervous.  Her sister drove us and dropped us off with her friend and right before we got out of the car she prayed for us which was really special to me.

blurry 6 am phone photo

I had written my pace times per mile on a paper and then photographed it and set it as the wallpaper on my phone.  Since I always carry my phone in my hand when I run this worked out to be a great way to keep track of goal times.  Like last year, I set three goals

It's my own personal belief that it's good to have 3 goals: 1 you'd be mad at yourself if you didn't make it, 2 you'd be happy if you accomplished it, and 3 you'd be thrilled if you were able to meet it. Last year my goals were to complete the race, to complete the race without walking, and to complete it in under 3 hours. My goals this year were to finish in 2:45,to finish in 2:36, and to finish in 2:30.

I started out with a couple of girls from the group. I knew that we'd possibly split up but I told them that I was going to do my best to finish in under 2:30.  The weather was a lot warmer than we'd been used to during training but we felt prepared since everyone kept warning us of that possibility.

I took a picture of this guy at the beginning and you can't tell it but he juggled the whole way.

My plan was to do the first couple of miles at 11:42 and the next mile at 11:37.  We did an OK job at that although due to the elevation in the beginning of the race it was hard not to go over that even a bit.  I didn't worry and just tried to enjoy the company and the scenery and keep an upbeat attitude.

Miles 4 through 9 were supposed to be around 11:29 pace and we went over that quite a bit.  Arika broke away from us shortly after mile the third mile and then when we passed my family around mile 4 or 5 my sister joined in with Kristine and I.  It was refreshing to have my sister running with me since she is usually much faster and way ahead.

Here's my final splits taken from my phone:

the Wolfpack aid station

We quickly entered the Landfall community and could see Arika up ahead for most of the way.  She actually stopped to use the bathroom and we were able to catch back up to her.  By the elevation during mile 7 we were all starting to get fatigued. 

I slowly pulled away from Arika and then Kristine saw her husband around mile 8 or 9 and we slowly pulled ahead of them.  It was exciting to see my pace group mentor from training around mile 10.  Just like last year she gave me a huge confidence boost. 

Whitney quit when she got back to Mom and Jules which was around mile 11 and at that point I had quit talking and was certainly winded.  We had picked up the pace considerably to make up the earlier time and I was clearly going to make goal. 

One thing that running with FF has taught me for usre is that having support people with you helps tremendously.  It's such an incredible feeling when you become certain that you're going to succeed and it's even more amazing when you have someone to share it with or when you know someone is rooting for you.

for some reason I snap a picture of the mile 12 sign during every half marathon

I struggled through the next two miles alone and even though I had my iPod I never started it up.  With about a mile to go I had about 14 minutes left to meet my goal so then I kinda forgot about it.  I became so tired that I wanted to quit with about half a mile to go and it was about then that I heard the cheers for the lead marathon runner.  I made myself pick it up a tad.  It was so inspiring to be running at the end of my race with all of my fatigue and effort weighing me down and then see a guy blaze past who'd just completed twice the distance in five minutes less time (the marathon wave started 5 minutes before us).

I saw my mom as I rounded the corner with 0.3 mile to go and she ran with me a little ways.  I had to wipe tears from my eyes.  Then I saw my sister and daughter again when we got close to the finish line crowds. 

I looked up at the clock when I could finally make out the numbers and I realized I only had seconds to get across the line and still beat 2:30 so I began passing people left and right at the very last stretch.  I probably passed ten people in the last tenth of a mile which may have been rude but I didn't care at that moment.

Kristine crossed shortly after me and then Arika came across after that.  I was so proud of both of them!  And I was proud of myself too! My final time was 02:29:54 so I truly cut it close.

It was another good race for the books and I think I'll always be kinda partial to this race since it was where I ran my first half.  I know I could have done better but with the extra ten pounds I'd put on from the Mexico trip and the holidays it was a good goal for me for try to break 2.5 hours.  I am throughly pleased.

For comparison here's the splits from the last half I did in December.  Much hillier, with a final time around 2:37.

Oh and these things are still 100% true even after you're third half marathon.

I'm really thinking about putting a marathon on the calendar, but I'll probably play it safe and wait until next year.  I might decide I have enough goals already on my plate for 2013.

Who wants to run my next half with me?

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