Sep 30, 2013

Race Recap

Thank you all so much for the well wishes and birthday love, y’all know how to make a girl feel special!

Yesterday was, in a word, awesome.  I had an amazing experience, so very different from my first half, and I’m so thankful that I didn’t let that first one deter me from trying again!

I headed to Providence on Saturday afternoon, where I had a hotel room for the night so I didn’t have to get up at 3am to get to my race on time.  Saturday was the health/fitness expo which we had to attend for packet pick-up, so I decided to buy myself a little early birthday present.


I didn’t wear it on Sunday because I didn’t want to try something new for the first time, but I’ll give it a go on one of my training runs later this week.  I also did something a little crazy…I changed my corral to a faster pace! When I signed up back in March, I had no idea what to expect, so I put down that I expected to finish around 2:45.  My training runs had me coming in much faster than that, so I made a last minute change from the number 10 corral (2:45) to the number 8 corral (2:15-2:30). 

Saturday night was super low-key: I met up with my amazing friend Liz (who convinced me to sign up for this run back in March!) and we went out for a nice Italian dinner.  Liz was just as cool in person as she is online, but the poor thing had gotten a nasty cold the night before and was not feeling 100% for her first half L I’m so proud of her for pushing through it anyways, she did great despite having to stop every mile to blow her nose!

After dinner we headed back to the hotel where I got my things ready to go for the next morning, and was in bed by 9:30.

My alarm went off at 5am, and even though I felt like I had to get up every hour to pee (I was trying to stay well hydrated!) I did feel like I slept pretty well. I grabbed all of my stuff from the room and headed out by 6am to make the 15 minute drive into downtown Providence.

I met up with Liz and her roommate, and we hung out for a bit and hit up the bathrooms one more time before heading into our Corrals for the 7am start time.  This is the worst part.  Just waiting.
They didn’t get started right at 7, and they had wave release times for the corrals, so I think by the time I actually got going, it was closer to 7:30, about 7 minutes behind the first wave that was released.


I started off strong, but steady; I knew I didn’t want to wear myself out by going out too fast, but I could see that 2:15 pace group ahead of me and thought for a fleeting moment that maybe I could hang.  And then we hit our first hill.  I realized pretty quickly that the pace group was sprinting on the flats (close to an 8 minute mile), and then taking it slower on the hills; I can’t run like this.  I need to be at a steady clip for the majority of the way, and given that the first 5 miles of the course were mostly uphill, I lost sight of that 2:15 group pretty quickly.  Oh well, I figured so long as I came in under 2:30 I’d be thrilled (especially since that was my goal for my first half, which I ended up finishing in 2:47 because of the crazy heat!).  After that first 5, there was a lot of downhill, which was actually not as great as you would think…some parts were so steep you really had to slow down to make sure you didn’t injure yourself!  Around mile 6 I was feeling in the groove…and I totally got a runner’s high for the first time mid-run.  I got goosebumps on my arms, my eyes starting welling up with tears, and I thought to myself…”look at you! You’ve done so much this year, you have so much to be proud of!!”  Around mile 10, the course loops back on itself, so I was passing by runners who were 2-3 miles ahead of me…this was the toughest part of my run.  When you see runners going the other way on the road, mentally you think, well I can’t have much more to go before I turn around and I’m running on that side of the road! But it was pretty far…I think 2 miles total, but it’s hard to say.  My running apps were about ½ mile ahead of the course markings, so it made those last 3 miles pretty tough…Id’ get an audio update and say to myself, awesome, only 2 miles to go! But then I didn’t see the 11 mile marker right away; it was about 5 minutes before I did, and then I had to say the 2 mile thing all over again!

Then, as a cruel joke, the last big turn before the finish line was a pretty steep hill…to the point where I thought about walking up it.  I thought to myself “that finish line is right around the corner, you haven’t walked once yet, don’t give up now!”.  I put my head down and pushed through, and sure enough, I turned the corner and there it was, the finish line! I sprinted that last stretch to get myself there as fast as my legs would take me, and when I finally stopped to walk on the other side, I thought I might collapse! I grabbed my medal, some water, and chocolate milk and started to stretch before I remembered to turn off my running apps.  They both logged that I had run far more than 13.1, so obviously they had skipped at some point.


I checked in with the official numbers later in the day, and this is what I saw for my official time:


HOLY CRAP!! I CAN’T BELIEVE I PULLED THAT OFF!!! That’s about a 10:40 pace, waay faster than I’ve ever run that distance before, especially when you consider all the hills involved!  I have to admit…I’ve got a bug now…I want to do it again and finish under 2:20!

I’m so happy I decided to do this for my birthday, it’s such a great way to compare my progress from one year ago, when I was barely able to run 30 minutes straight without walking, and even since June when I ran my first half and ended up having to walk/run the last 5 because of the insane heat.  Either way, I feel great about yesterday, and I’m thinking about doing something crazy and signing up for another one in a couple weeks!

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