This race began as my goal race for a sub-2 attempt. When I decided to train for my first marathon, I put my sub-2 goal on the back burner. I've learned that increasing mileage and speed at the same time doesn't work out well. In the past week or so I've done tons of calculations (my pace apps on my phone are probably in my top 5 used apps list) and had mostly decided that I'd be happy with anything that made this my 2nd fastest half marathon. That really gives a lot of leeway because I've crashed and burned a lot in my previous 6 half marathons. But then the day before the race, Robin and I agreed to try and run together for a goal of 2:06, which would be a PR for both of us. It was in the 60's at the start and 70's by the finish. In short, too hot for much of a PR, if any PR at all. I haven't run in weather this warm this spring, outside of maybe a couple of afternoon 4-milers.
We started in corral 6, and were off not long after the official start. Jake made it just in time to take the camera from me.
It was very difficult to pace for the first few miles. My Garmin was giving me erroneous data, like paces in the 6's, so I had to rely on mile splits and total time at each mile marker. At about 2.5 miles, Robin admitted that today wasn't her day. We'd agreed to part ways if one of us was "on" and one wasn't, so I kept on. I put in my earbuds and started my 5k playlist (no variety, but all of my current favorite songs, and I zone out anyway, so it's not like it really mattered). I looked at the elevation chart. I knew it was pretty much all uphill for 8 miles, then downhill the last 5. I guess it's like childbirth and you forget what that's like. I'm sure cumulatively it took it's toll on my legs, but it didn't feel awful. I think I hit every other water station to refill my handheld bottle. I started with water, refilled with water, then Gatorade (I never do Gatorade, but I missed the water tables and my bottle was empty so I figured it was a better option than dehydrating- I also took salt at this stop), then water two more times. I really focused on hydrating because it was hot and I was sweating a lot. Around mile 10 or 11, I took beer from somebody just hoping it would be cold. It wasn't. I finished it anyway. It was around the 10 mile mark that I knew I might be able to squeek out a narrow PR if I pushed hard, but the heat and sun was really tiring me, so I eased up on the pace and took walk breaks at every half mile. That really helped and I was able to pick up the pace and push hard through the finish chute. My time was 2 hours 12 minutes and 17 seconds.
I downed a bottle of really cold water, got an ice cold towel for my neck, a package of pretzels, and chocolate milk before finding Jake. We hadn't made plans for where to meet, so I headed toward the beer garden and the letter "O" where we meet last year. Found him! We got my beer and headed for the truck. Last year I remember hurting and feeling so stiff after finishing and the car felt miles away. I'm pleased with my time, but even more pleased at how much better my recovery is a year after my first half marathon. I was able to eat lunch on the way home, get a short nap before Nana brought the kids home, and I feel great. I'm not sore and I'm not exhausted.
I went back out for a short run in the evening while the boys rode bikes and Lauren ran with me. It was slow, but it brought my mileage for the day up to 16.
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