I signed up for an open half marathon a few months ago. I haven't run one since 2008. I thought my PR was 1:29:50. Looks like I was delusional. I went back through the blog and found it and it was 1:32:54. So, it looks like I ran faster than that off the bike at NOLA this past year. Opppp, Nopppe, just looked that up, and I went 1:33. I SWORE I had broken 1:30 somewhere, sometime. But the only race I can find is Harvest Moon the first year I ran it, and I ran 1:28:50 off the bike, but my Garmin showed that as 0.4 miles short. That's pretty short...I can't really give myself that one. So, I've been running with faster people recently and I've gotten faster. Yup, a miracle, I know. I wasn't sure how long I could hold onto the speed that I seem to have found, but I wanted to go for it. This is new territory for me so I feel a bit like a baby deer, overly optimistic and kinda wobbly. But hey, I'll take overly optimistic any day.
One of my new run buddies Carolyn was signed up to race too, so I was excited to have a her out there with me. She's on her way to Boston and we are very equally matched in the run department, so we lined up side my side.
Off we went, the weather was gorgeous and I was in shorts and a tank top. Oh happy day! It's March 3rd in Colorado and I'm in shorts! This course is a doozy. It's 3 miles flat across a dam, then 1 miles super steep down, then 2.5 miles false flat downhill. My friend Todd called it a Credit Card race, as in you put the money on the credit card, then you have to pay it off, ie come back uphill!
(can you find the two nuts on the left side?)
The race started, off we went, and I was flying and it felt EASY PEASY, Like effortless, form felt great, I was breathing HARD, but I was ON IT!.
I hit the turn around at 42:15 and this is an exact out and back course. Miles 1-6 were: 6:30, 6:34, 6:27, 6:17, 6:22, 6:35
Then we start to feel the false flat uphill, and it takes a bit of wind from my sails. 7 and 8 were 6:44, 6:48. Okay, that's cool, it's all good.
Then I look down, we are starting up the bigger hilly sections, and my pace does not match my perceived exertion. That's when I start to dig deep. I'm getting passed, people are pulling away from me rather quickly. Miles 9 and 10 are 7:25, 7:40. Mile 10 was the really big hill that we came down. It was a doozy, and I hurt bad. My calves started to cramp around mile 9. I'm not exactly happy with my Newtons at that moment.
Then we get back on the dam and I think, okay, back to sub 7s, you got this. But I felt like I was running on the bottom of the ocean. After the race all I could think was that it was like a turtle running from a slug. He's RUNNING for all he's worth...but he's a turtle...so...
I fought so hard. I got passed by many ladies and I fought to run with each one. But my mile splits were 7:11, 7:15, 7:10. Ouch! Carolyn found me again with a quarter mile to go and she sprinted on past. We finished within 15 seconds of each other.
So, I now have a new PR in the half marathon. I don't have to go searching any more for it, it's now 1:29:07.
I looked back at my race and I CLEARLY made some HUGE pacing mistakes. But you know what? I wouldn't take them back. I didn't know how deep my new speed was, but now I do. If I had gone out more conservatively, I still wouldn't know. At this point in time, my ego is strong enough to handle an internal combustion (somewhat, okay, maybe 70% strong enough to handle it).
I would rather take risks and learn lessons, than run yet another safe race. I must admit, it's a bit embarrassing to go KaBoom in a race. You're "that girl" that went out too hard. I knew every lady that passed me was shaking her head going "she went out too hard." I've been that girl, shaking my head at others as I passed them easily in those final miles. But I think, to be that girl again, sometimes it helps to have a race like this every once in awhile. The kind where you drag yourself home and lick your wounds a little.
Despite any wound licking, I had a really fun time out there. I loved racing and I'm so glad I was healthy, happy, and fit enough to tow the line.
It's the A races that you want all this stuff worked out for. These half marathons that are a few steps from your front door, they are on the schedule to learn, to take risks when there isn't anything on the line to lose. So, I'm really happy to have a new PR that I can build off of. I hope to run another, FLATTER, half marathon in the future, maybe cut that PR down by a little bit.