My goal for this race was a sub 1:35 half marathon. I came really close to my time goal. I studied this course in my head. I knew that there would be a lot of turns and loops, I also checked out the elevation profile using USATF.org. I like to be as prepared as possible going into a race. Here's a picture of the course map
Before the race
I signed up for this race a few months ago and I had the opportunity to submit my time to be placed in a seeded corral. I submitted my time and I was told that I would be in corral "B". I was satisfied because I knew I didn't belong in corral "A".
When I arrived at the expo I picked up my race packet and I noticed that I was number "17". I went over to talk to one of the race officials and I asked about the seeded corrals. I was told that the top 50 were going to be right up front. I went home thinking, "maybe I have a chance at placing in the top 3".
I had been looking forward to this race for awhile and my race nerves/jitters were in full swing. I started carb loading earlier in the week. By Friday afternoon I was ready to jump out of my own skin, and eating was kind of hard.
Morning of the race
I went to bed at 1030pm on Friday night and I woke up at 430am. I wanted to make my kids home made waffles before I left. I ate a banana and drank some coffee while the waffles were cooking. I ate half of a waffle plain and then I smeared peanut butter and strawberry jelly on the other half and ate it in the car on the way to the race. I had to choke down that waffle sandwich. I was so nervous.
I left my house at 6am and I got to the race site with 45 minutes to spare. It was just enough time to jog two miles, do some strides, use the port-a-johns, and make my way to my corral. I wore throw away pajama pants and a throw away shirt to stay warm. I didn't really need the throw away clothes, it was a really nice warm morning. I got to my corral and I felt like the guys and gals were kind of sizing each other up. I felt like some of the guys were giving me the side eye, and the, "what's she doing up here" look. I chatted with a few runners I recognized. It made the time go by quickly.
The gun went off and I found my groove. I looked down at my Garmin and saw 6:30 pace, I backed off and tried to take in my surroundings. It was pretty surreal to be running around a NASCAR race track.
I kept telling myself to stay focused and run your own race. Don't make any big surges to catch anyone. The real race happens in the later miles.
Mile 2 -7:16
The course left the race track and we were going up a slight incline the runners were becoming more spread out. I grabbed a cup of Powerade and I dumped a cup of water on my head.
Mile 3- 7:35
Mile 4- 7:25
The incline was now a decline and I tried really hard not to fly down the decline. I started to pass a few runners along this stretch
Mile 5- 6:57
Some men do not like being passed by a female runner. They will fight you to the death even though there are still 8 more miles of a half marathon to run. I had been running behind a tall man and when I would get close to him he would speed up. Eventually there was a hill and I used this opportunity to shake him.
Mile 6- 7:06
We were along a stretch of road with zig-zagging loops that let you see the other runners ahead of you. I noticed two female runners about 400 meters ahead of me. I had no idea what place I was overall.
Mile 7- 6:57
At times I looked down at my Garmin and I saw 6:45 pace and I would get freaked out. I told myself to trust my training and just run by feel. I dumped more water on my head and drank a little more powerade.
Mile 8- 6:57
The course was now headed back up the incline that we ran during miles 3-4.
There was another dude that didn't want to get picked off by a girl runner. He was a bit more obnoxious because I felt like he was weaving in front of me so I couldn't pass him. I had a few choice words with him when we almost tripped over each other going around a barricade.
I knew that we only had a 5k left and I really wanted to finish hard. This mile had a slight decline
Mile 11- 6:58
We were entering the stadium and heading back towards the track, I could see the 2nd place female in my sights.
I passed the last aid station and I made my move to catch the 2nd place female. I went around her and tried to open up.
Mile 13- 7:09
The 2nd place female came right up on my heels and I fought hard. But, in the end she had a much faster finishing kick than I did.
Mile .28- 1:57 (7:01 pace)
Garmin Time 1:36:08 (13.28 miles at 7:14 pace)
3rd woman overall
31st out of 1703 finishers.
I've had a week to analyze and reanalyze this race. I definitely have some mixed feelings about my race. I didn't meet my goal time but, I do take comfort in the fact that I did run a negative split race.
I'm bummed because the overall women's winner finished 42 seconds ahead of me. It was a very close race between the top three ladies. I wonder if I could have done anything earlier in the race that would have made a difference.
This may not have been the best race for a PR because of all of the twists and turns. I didn't hit the tangents efficiently and I ended up running a long course. I needed to average 7:15 per mile to go sub 1:35. I ended up running 7:14 per mile but, I ran a long course so that doesn't matter.
Overall I'm very happy with how I performed on race day.