I ran my first half marathon two years ago at the RU Unite Half Marathon. Up to that point, I had run three 5k’s and a 4 mile race – that was it. Considering my newbie status, I finished with a respectable (for me) time of 2:02:15. From that point on, I went through a vicious cycle of injuries, keeping me from really “racing,” and touching that PR. I ran the Disney half in 2011 with shin splints in 2:03, had the second RU Unite get cut short to 9.55 miles due to flooding, and my only other half marathon up to this point was this past year’s Disney half which I ran as part of the Goofy Challenge.
So, when I signed up for my third attempt at the RU Unite Half this year, I wanted to PR. With the training cycle I had, I knew it was possible. Most of my runs had been just around the 8 minute/mile pace, and I figured that unless I broke a bone, I was likely able to get in under 2:02 – I mean, that was my FIRST half marathon time!
The race started just as they all do; me whining as I choked down half a peanut butter sandwich and worrying I didn’t spend enough time in the bathroom. Our timing was perfect this year, as we were able to get to the start, check our bag, take a trip to the port-o-potties, and wait only about 5 minutes in the corral before starting. I lined myself up just behind the 8 minute/mile pacers, and waved my husband off who planned to run closer to the 7 minute/mile pacers. The race was rather uneventful – I kept myself between 7:50 and 8:20 paces, varying depending on when I looked at my watch. The temperature was perfect, and the rain was able to hold off despite a menacing forecast.
When we hit the mile 10 marker, I realized that all I needed to do was keep a 10 minute/mile pace, and I’d finish at about 1:50, a solid 12 minute PR. Obviously I didn’t have any intention on slowing down, but a nice side cramp, similar to the one I experienced during the St. Paddys’ 10 miler decided to come out and play, forcing me to walk for a bit. This time, I listened to my body, walked for about 10-15 seconds to make sure I was comfortable, and then started running again. Thankfully the cramp didn’t return, and I was able to slowly pick up my pace over the course of the last 5k.
I crossed the finish with an official time of 1:47:43 – nearly 15 minutes faster than my previous standing PR, from the very first half marathon I ever ran. To say I was overjoyed would be an understatement. I finally feel like I’m at a good place with running, and am no longer in the constant push and pull struggle that I’ve experienced over the last year and a half.
Per tradition, the hubs and I met up with my parents at Red Robin for lunch, and gorged ourselves on a (veggie) burger and fries – a perfect Sunday if you ask me!
I know my blogging has been a little lackluster this month, but it’s my last week of student teaching, so I’ll be back to regular scheduled programing this week!