Trying to stay in track with my previous race performace, I woke up Sunday morning determined to run my personal best half marathon distance. Little did I know, that was a lot of pressure.
Being more the athlete I've always wanted to be, setting a new personal best after you gave it your all on the same course the previous year means you have to give it your all and some. Also, I had just completed a half Ironman two weeks prior and my half marathon was close to what I consider perfect. Got it! Too much pressure.
I had pre-packed my race nutrition thinking I should stick to my half Ironman run plan since it worked so well, and from there, everything seemed to be going downhill. We stopped for a bagel in the morning and while I ordered a "light" thin bagel with egg-whites and turkey, I got the thin bagel but with cheese, cream cheese and green salsa. Epic fail, but I was hungry. So I ate it.
Before the start of the race, Jolene asked if I had extra GU's since she had forgotten hers. I gave her one of mine which should leave me with two for the race, but it was a little different from what I had planned but I was sure it would still work fine...
Also, I wanted to stop by the restroom before we started, especially since I ate all that cream cheese... and that doesn't sit so well on a lactose intolerant stomach. The lines were CRAZY so 5mins before the start I decided to wait until the finish.
OH SNAP! We will see how this goes...
The gun went off, we started running and I looked down at my Garmin to see a steady 8:15 min/mile. "Jo, this is a little too fast for me, I think I will slow down..." We did. We stuck to an 8:45 min/mile pace for a few miles. I skipped the first aid station at mile marker 2 knowing that I only need water every 4 miles, roughly.
After the aid station at mile 4, where I drank some water and ate a GU, we slowed down a bit to a 9:00 min/mile pace. Between mile 4 and 8 I felt a little weaker than at the beginning, but tried to stick to our pace. Once more, I skipped the aid station at mile 6 and continued on to mile 8 where I repeated what I did at mile marker 4.
Jolene was feeling weak... and the wind started to pick up, so she asked if we could slow down. I'm not going to lie, I was feeling strong and felt as if I could stick to the 9:00 min/mile pace, but my friend has slowed down for me in the past so I figured, I should do the same for her. Scared I wouldn't run my fastest, I slowed down to a 9:20 - 9:30 min/mile and it was around mile 10 when Jo said she was not feeling so well. We slowed down a bit more to a 9:40 min/mile.
The 13th mile is pretty brutal, since you finish with a significant climb a quarter of a mile long, and I tried to let Jolene pace it. Once we came down, I looked a my watch to see that I was way too close to risk it. I told Jo, I was taking off. And I did. Started a LONG sprint. I think I was still a quarter of a mile away but I didn't care, I just kept pushing it.
I crossed the finish line at 2hr1min37sec which is 2min20secs faster than the previous year and faster than any other half marathon that I've run. I have set a new personal best. Now, I guess the real pressure is on for the next half marathon... I HAVE to break two hours.