Let me rewind a bit. I set a pretty lofty goal at the beginning of the year to PR in every race distance I ran in 2014. I knew it was a possible goal, but a big one. I also knew when I set that goal that my half marathon PR would be one of the toughest to break. My current PR (at the beginning of the year) had been set in May of 2013 at Boston Run to Remember. I had tried to surpass that number of 1:46:48 multiple times, with no luck. Just as it's larger counterpart (the marathon) the half can be a tricky one. However, I knew I had it in me. I knew I was capable. I knew I could do it.
Today started as every other race morning does. I had to drive about an hour to get to the starting line. I played some music loudly in my car to get pumped up, and of course had to make a bathroom pit stop on the way. When I got to Hampton I met up with my friends who were also running, warmed up in their car, waited in line for the bathroom, and eventually headed to the starting line.
My friend Lori was running the race and we briefly talked ahead of time about starting in the first wave of people who hoped to finish under 1:50. She had never finished a half under 1:50 and that was her big goal. I was secretly hoping to PR, but would have been happy with a sub 1:50 finish. We found each other at the start, she nervously chatted while we waited for the green light, and I listened while trying to keep warm. It was cold in the shade and the wind. Maybe 45 degrees. My legs and hands got pretty cold while waiting. I tried to keep them warm, but it was tough. Before I knew it it was time to go and we were running.
|beautiful morning for a race|
I thought maybe I should start a little slower than my planned pace of 8:10 to get my legs warmed up because of the cold. However, as I started running a bit I felt ok and decided to go with whatever pace felt manageable, no matter what it may be. I think the first mile beeped right at 8:10. OK. I'm ok, I thought. Lori and I were running very close together and it was helpful to have her in my sight.
When I ran Boston 13.1 a couple weeks ago I felt amazing through the first 10 miles. I was riding a high and felt like nothing could stop me. I believed I could PR. Then mile 10 hit and I crashed. Hard. Today I didn't feel that same high, I didn't ever feel like I could run forever. I knew I would have to fight for it, but I was ready.
As the miles went on I managed to run at a consistent pace... 8:00, 7:59, 7:59. 7:58, 8:00... I felt strong, but it didn't feel easy. I made mini goals for myself. I pushed. Lori was a step ahead of me most of the time but it kept me fighting and motivated to stay with her. The first 10 miles went by relatively quickly and then mile 10 hit like a brick wall...again. I kept trying to do the math in my head of where I was and how fast I had to run to finish under 1:46:48. It kept me motivated knowing I was well within reach.
Mile 11-12 felt the longest and most painful. I tried to embrace the pain and not fight it. I knew if I slowed down and gave up I'd regret it. I kept pushing. Once I hit mile 12 I knew I could do it if I could just hold on. I kept wishing to see the finish line, and when I did I had just enough left in the tank to pick up my pace. I crossed that finish line at 1:45:27. I almost couldn't believe it.
|PR's all around|
This race is extra special because not only was it a physical PR, it was a mental PR as well. I still have a lot of work to do in the last couple miles, but overall I was mentally stronger in this race because it physically felt more difficult. I could have, and wanted to at some points, slow down and give in but I didn't. I fought hard for that race, which gives me a lot of confidence going forward.