Saturday, April 6, 2013

Striders Half Marathon

Photo: This morning's race. Love these people!

Well, another race in the Striders Winter Racing Circuit has come and gone.  It was a great one!  I had big hopes for this race, I set a goal of hitting a sub-2 hour half marathon for some time this year, plus, I have always enjoyed half marathons!  In my opinion, they are a great distance.  You can train for one with out killing yourself, but it is still quite an accomplishment to do one!  I also think that since my first organized race ever was a half, I have always had a fondness for this distance.

This was also my birthday!  I turned 34 today, and I must admit that the first thing that comes to mind is the fact that I will move up an age group next year (WOOHOOO!) and it was perfect to start it off with friends from my tri group who greeted me up at the start with birthday wishes and hugs.  Seriously, these are the best people ever!  How did I ever race for 2 years without these fun people?

Pre-race I had breakfast of a slice of bread and a banana.  I woke up early enough that I could fill the gas tank and make sure that I could get up to this starting point that I wasn't familiar with.  They had Ogden Canyon closed, the normal way that I would have gone to get up to Eden to the start, so having to go over Trappers Loop I made sure to give myself enough time.  Luckily all I had to do was get over the loop and follow all of the other traffic that was out that morning with race stickers on their cars to get to the right place :)

I got up there, parked my car and used the restroom.  I made sure that found my way to the buses.  I was nice to sit on those since it was cold out.   I am never quite sure how to dress for these things.  They have gear drop bags and those are helpful, but I still didn't know how to dress for the race itself.  I decided that since it was going to be in the high 30s, low 40s for the start of the race that would wear gloves, a t-shirt and a throw away long sleeve layer.  I dropped my coat in my gear drop bag and luckily found someone with throw away gloves, which were a better option than the ones I had and wanted to keep.

I was pleased to see that they had pacers for this race!  They were in 5 minute increments from 1:30-2:30!  I was surprised to see this for a small local race that was put on by a running store!  I decided that I would try to stick with the 1:55 guy for as long as possible that if I couldn't keep up with him, I had at least established a strong start to beat my goal of 2:00.  I realized that keeping with these guys would mean sticking with an 8:46/mm pace, but I was willing to try!

The first half of the race flew by.  I had my Gu at miles 3 and then not again until mile 9.  I had only water at the aid stations.  I found that the 1:55 pace group was too fast for me, at least to maintain past the first half.  At about mile 7 they got away from me and I decided to try to keep them in sight and not let the 2:00 hour group pass me.  I could tell that I was going hard, but I also found that I could keep this hard pace!  It was faster than I thought I could do, but it felt good!

We got to mile 11 and I really started to feel like I was on empty.  I could tell that my pace had slowed and before I knew it, the 2:00 group was right behind me.  I started to feel deflated.  I really wanted this PR.  I knew that I had given it my all, but I really wasn't sure there was much left to give!  I just had an empty feeling like I could collapse, and I still had a couple of miles to go!  I started to examine if another Gu would help, or if I just needed to suck it up.  I started doubting my strategy to go out so fast, and then I just hit a moment where I thought, "STOP!  This is all mental, and you are LOSING at this point.  Suck it up!  You either want it, or you don't".  I have heard a quote saying, "Run the first third of the race with your mind, the second third with your legs, and the final third with your heart."   I think that was what set in.  My body was done.  My mind was going all negative on me, so I just decided I wanted it bad enough to pull it from somewhere, and though it sounds cheesy, it was my heart!  I so wanted this!  I hated to give up so close to the end.  I honestly felt like I was in a true race where my opponent was that 2:00 hour pace group and I wasn't going to let them win!

I kicked it into gear and went for it.  I am not sure where it came from, but it was pure adrenaline.  I rounded the final corner where I could see the finish.  I saw the race clock and it read 1:58:30.  Granted, I knew that with chip time, I had a few seconds over that to spare, but still the visual was very powerful and I just ran as hard as I could to literally beat the clock.  When I finished, my watch said 1:59:46.  I was thrilled to not only beat my PR that was previously 2:08:42, but also my goal for this season to at some point hit sub 2 hours!

I found my group and they congratulated me.  Everyone had a good race yesterday!  The finish line food was amazing...fruit and yogurt parfaits, hot chocolate, bagels, Great Harvest bread.  I was in Heaven and probably had too much :)  I was also thrilled to get a finisher's medal!  I was told we would get one at the end of the whole series, so I wasn't expecting one today, so bonus race bling is ALWAYS a plus!

I was able to check my final time and the final results are as follows:

FINAL TIME: 1:59:36
AGE GROUP: 25/63

I am so excited to see this progress.  Running at that pace means I averaged a 9:07/ minute mile pace for 13.1 miles!  I feel like running has improved for me, and slowly the other sports follow suit.  What's next for me?  The Salt Lake City Half Marathon is just two weeks from today.  I was viewing it as my other chance to beat sub 2 if I didn't hit it today.  Now I will go and just have fun and see what happens.  In the meantime,

Happy Training All!

1 comment:

  1. You are such an inspiration! That is exactly how I feel about the half marathon distance! It's my favorite! So happy for you!