Race morning kicked off at 5am with a large mug of coffee, PB&J, glass of Nuun, and sparkles.
I took my time getting ready and felt completely relaxed when I left the house at 6:15. By 6:30 I was parked near the start and a heavy dose of nerves had hit me like a freight train. I was less than prepared for a great race, but this wasn’t my first race. It wasn’t my first half marathon. I had finished a race twice as long and my nerves weren’t half as bad as they were that morning at 3M. I don’t know what it was, but my stomach was in knots.
At 6:35 I made my way to the start and arrived just as the National Anthem was being sung. I positioned myself in the middle of 6,000 runners and took a few deep breaths in an attempt to relax.
Once the starting gun went off, my nerves started to subside and were replaced with waves of excitement. My first half marathon of 2012 was underway!
Obviously I had no idea there were pacers for the race because before I knew it, the 1:50 pacer had passed me. A quick glance at my Garmin showed just below a 10:00 min/mile pace. It didn’t feel too fast, but for the first mile I knew I needed to reel it in.
It’s worth noting I set my Garmin to only display 2 stats on the screen: total distance and average pace. I was too nervous to run without it while trying to PR, but needed not to be staring at my current pace for the entire 13.1 miles. I compromised with distance and average pace, and only allowed myself to check it when I hit a mile marker. Best. Decision. Ever.
We were able to watch the sun come up during the first mile and it was a gorgeous sight. The weather was perfect, a cool 42 degrees, which made it a great morning for racing. My playlist kicked ass – super happy with it. I didn’t skip a single song during the entire race!
By shifting the focus away from current pace, I was able to concentrate more on running comfortably and working on keeping my breathing under control.
At the 10K split (1:02 – hmm, pretty damn close to my 10K PR …) I ate an orange Gu Chomp. I’ve trained with these on countless runs, but for some reason my stomach let out a giant EFF YOU this time. It was enough to make me consider walking until I felt better, but I powered through. After a few minutes, the death feeling thankfully went away.
Miles 1-7 10:08, 9:55, 10:10, 10:11, 10:03, 10:00, 9:57
It was at this point I realized I still had not been passed by the 2:10 pacer. Was I really in front of them? I was pretty pleased with my performance up until that point. Aside from the Gu Chomp incident, I felt awesome and was confident I could hold this pace until the finish.
After mile 7, things started to get tough. I didn’t hit “the wall” but I was running out of steam. Of course I had a full package of Chomps, but I was nervous to see what would happen if I ate another. My A Goal was within reach, but could easily slip away if my pace slowed or I stopped for a few walk breaks.
Miles 8-9 10:14, 10:16
I caved and tested the waters with another Chomp. I was in the clear – for about three minutes. I was desperately looking for a port-o-potty just in case but there were none to be found. I took a few sips of Nuun from my handheld and hoped it would quiet the demons in my stomach. No dice.
The farthest I’ve ever run without a walk break was 7 miles. I tried to convince myself since I had beat that previous record, I could take a break to walk. Then I saw I was nearing mile 11: almost done! I wouldn’t allow myself to walk. I had come too far.
The 2:10 pacer passed me. Way to kick me when I’m down.
Miles 10-12 10:36, 10:16, 10:36
My pace was slowing considerably, but I wasn’t going to give up. I wasn’t going to walk. The finish line was SO close, I just had to suck it up and power through. I pumped up the volume on my iPod to drown out any negative thoughts. My heart was set on a brand new PR and it was going to be mine.
Official Finish – 2:14:32
Six minutes under my 2:20 time goal,
nailing a new PR by 23 minutes.
To say I was happy would be an understatement. I was ECSTATIC. Never in a million years did I think I would hit my goal. Maybe it was the Sparkle Skirt? I think 23 minute PRs are made of blood, sweat, and sparkle.
Incredible race, 3M – I’ll definitely be back for round 3 in 2013. Well run, small race (capped at 6K), awesome volunteers, flawless logistics. If there was something to deduct points for, it’d be the race shirt. I’ll review that, as well as the expo, in an upcoming post. Overall, phenomenal day. Or maybe I’m just biased due to that MONSTER PR…
Up next: AUSTIN!