Yesterday, I ran my third half marathon in a year: the DRC Half Marathon. Coming into this race, I had mixed feelings. I knew the distance wouldn’t be an issue as I’ve been running longer distances with my DRC pace group, but I had a terrible long run the week before and on top of that, I hoped to make a personal record with this race. Setting a PR with this race meant I wouldn’t be running with my pace group, which also had me very nervous because I’ve grown accustom to having their support on our long runs together. But I knew I had to at least give it a shot and if all else failed, I could drop back and know that there were familiar faces to keep me going behind me.
The morning started our cool, in the high 50’s. I stayed bundled up in a fleece hoodie until moments before the race started.
Just before the start, I shoved my fleece in my CamelBak and headed up to the 2:00 pace group. I knew I was capable of running this fast if all the conditions were right (very cool weather and no hills or downhill are among the items of having perfect conditions), but I wished there was a 2:05 pace group, which would have been better place for me if all the conditions weren’t just right. This race is pretty notorious for being a hilly half marathon for Dallas, and while my training has definitely prepared me for the hills, maintaining a sub 9:00 mile on all of them was a huge concern for me.
The horn blew and we were off! By mile 2 I was hot! It was warming up quickly and the sun was shining strong. I was grateful I wore a tank top for the race! (When I got back in my car after the race, my car registered the temperature in the low 70’s, so it definitely warmed up very quickly!) Things were going well for me with the 2:00 pace group until we hit mile 3.5. There was a sharp turn (you know, one of those turns where everyone bunches up to stay on the inside) followed by a long hill. I got cut off at the turn, forcing me to go very wide and that, coupled with the hill, I fell back from the 2:00 pace group. But I kept reassuring myself, as long as I stayed between the 2:00 and 2:10 pace groups, I would PR. The miles ticked by and I hit the half-way mark. I looked down at my Garmin: 1:01. Wow, those first 3.5 miles really had me zipping along, which brought me to mile 6.55 at just a smidgen over 1 hour! (Makes sense, right? Running with the 2:00 pace group would put me at 1 hour at the half way mark, but I was still shocked to see it!)
Early on, my left arch was bothering me. Actually, it has been bothering me for a while on the long runs and I know exactly what the problem is: I have an arch support just in my left show which I put in when I got my new shoes. Both shoes have inserts, but the left one has an extra arch support because my left foot rolls in at my ankle. Initially I had the arch supports in both shoes but after a few runs with it in both, I removed the arch support from my right shoe because it was bothering me. The left arch support was fine and didn’t give me any trouble until a few weeks ago when we had our 17-mile long run. Ever since then, it has been causing me all kinds of pain in my foot, but I’ve left it in, thinking that part of the issue was the slower pace. Well, a few miles into this half marathon, I realized that the pace really wasn’t the issue that the damn thing needed to come out of my shoe as soon as I got home!
At mile 8 I hit the last major hill along with an energy crash. I debated bringing my ShotBloks because I normally don’t eat anything until mile 10 on our long runs, but I am SOOO glad I decided to bring them! I popped one in my mouth, chewed on it, chugged some water from my CamelBak to was it down and by mile 9 my energy and pace were back up. The same thing happened at mile 10. Another energy crash (each ShotBlok is only 30 calories and at a rough estimation, I’m probably burning 70-75 calories per mile). So I popped the second ShotBlok and sure enough, another burst of energy, enough to get me to the end.
As I reached the 13-mile mark, I ran into one of the guys who started in my pace group but moved up. I was so ready to finish the race with him, but as we turned the corner, about 20 or 30 yards from the finish line, he got a crippling leg cramp and told me to run ahead. I picked up my pace (although I was no longer capable of sprinting at this point) and crossed the finish line, only to see my pace leader, Carrie, waiting at the end with my medal! What an awesome way to finish the race!! I ran right up to her, gave her a big hug and said, “I am SO happy to see you! I think I’m going to die!” She instructed me to get some water, which I was very eager to accept!
I stuck around at the finish line to cheer my fellow pace group buddies on as they came through the finish line. I tried to snap pictures of them as they came through, but I was sort of far away and looking into the sun, so it was hard to see them coming through.
So many people in my pace group PR’ed! Despite the hills and the warm weather, it was a great race for a lot of us! After hanging out at the finish line for a while, a few of us headed to the food tent to fuel up. Mmmm, pizza and breakfast tacos. I normally don’t eat a lot of the post race food that is offered, but I devoured everything that I snagged after this race!
Oh, and I’m forgetting a very important part of the recap! I did set a new PR! I finished at 2:04:36! That’s just over 5 minutes off my best time leading up to this race! And, this course is actually long. It’s 13.3 miles instead of 13.1, so my time is actually even better than that if you are comparing 13.1 to 13.1!
Just 5 weeks to go until my first full marathon! Once I got home, showered up, settled in, and looked up my official time, I brought my time into a pace calculator to estimate where I’d be for the full based on my half time. It puts me right at 4:24:48, which is fairly close to what I’ve been training for (4:30). Fingers crossed that all the right conditions will align for the full, but honestly, I will just be proud of myself for crossing the finish line, no matter how much time has passed.
Oh, and one last note before I sign off for the day, the official pictures will be up later this week, so I’ll snag them and put them in my Marathon Training Week 16 post! Sorry for the lack of pictures in this recap post. I promise, action shots will be up soon!