It has been a crazy week, but I am finally taking a minute to collect and record my thoughts about the half marathon. I was very anxious about the race following my difficult 12 mile run in Central Park the previous week. I was worried that I was going to burn out at mile 10 and that I would not be able to keep a decent pace. I had to keep reminding myself this was a TRAINING RUN and that I had to leave something for the weeks of training I had left to do.
Our hotel was about 3 blocks from the starting line, and we arrived in plenty of time to find a place, warm up, and get settled. The fam was with me, so I didn’t have to worry about checking a bag. I said goodbye to them and told them I’d see them in about 2 hours. I’ve never been in any remotely big race, so this was my first experience trying to deal with the packs of people and getting past slower people to find a spot and set your pace. The first mile I dodged my way around a lot of people until I settled into an open slot. Reached mile 2 and saw I was running 8:30 second miles. Way too fast I told myself. Got to mile 4 and more of the same. Too fast I told myself. This is your training run. Slowed down a little in the next 2 miles, but by mile 6 was still running around 8:45 miles. Much faster than my training pace, but I felt great. I was breathing easy, and my legs felt rested and great. So, I decided to keep going at that pace. I resisted the urge to follow along with some other runners at the 8:30 pace. That was where I drew the line for my “training run”.
I did not die at mile 10. I slowed to about 8:50 but still felt good. And at this point when they called out the time at around 1:30 I realized that I was going to come in under 2 hours. That gave me an extra push of motivation to hold my pace. I still had fuel in the tank when we hit the mile 12 marker, so I lengthened my stride and decided to push it on out for the last mile. I started passing runners left and right. I crossed the line at 1:55, but chip time was 1:54:06. I had finished my first half marathon!
Lessons learned from the race: (1)Running the race is a lot more fun than running laps around my neighborhood .(2)I am not good at slowing down my pace, but the adrenaline of the race really does pull you along faster. (3) I am faster than I think I am. (4) I am still slow and have a lot of room for improvement (why are so many fat people still beating me…this is unacceptable?!?). (5) Oh crap, that is only half the distance I need to run in a few weeks! The half was fun, and I will definitely be doing more. I hope I feel the same way about the marathon.