I’ve been sitting on this half marathon PR (2:14) for five years now. FIVE!! To be honest, I’m still not sure how it happened in 2012 because I never trained for the paces I ran in that race. The only explanation is I was coming off of a strong marathon training cycle and in somewhat decent shape.
In the past year, I’ve run 3M Half (2:25), Austin Half (2:41), Best Damn Race Orlando (2:30), NYC Half (2:27), and Rock n Roll Las Vegas (2:27). The only one I intended on potentially PRing at was Vegas and it was really adorable I thought I could drop some fast miles while in Sin City. And by adorable I mean dumb – very dumb.
So I set my sights on 3M this year. It’s a fast course, but just like the last five times I’ve run it – training fell off during the holidays. Before Sunday’s race the last time I had logged any miles was December 26th. SMART. Thankfully my obsession with spin classes kept my endurance up.
The weather was a little warm for my liking (around 60) and there were some lovely 30mph winds (NOT at our backs) which made running pretty goddamn difficult. But in any case, I decided to just wing it and see how I felt.
Miles 1-4 :: 9:52, 9:26, 9:42, 9:42
I really had no business running this fast this early in the race but it was comfortable so I went with it. I started doing the math after mile 4 clicked by and thought maybe by some sort of miracle I could break 2:10.
Miles 5-8 :: 9:40, 9:55, 9:44, 10:21
When I hit the 10k mark I realized I broke my 10k PR and had two thoughts: (1) I really need to run a 10k soon and (2) Melissa you’re probably going too fast, don’t die. I was taking water at every stop but when it came time to take a gel I couldn’t get it out of my FlipBelt. I knew if I stopped to figure out where the hell it was hiding I’d likely lose momentum. Around mile 8 they were handing out Clif gels on the course so I grabbed one from a volunteer. I wanted to take a salt pill at this point but again couldn’t get it out of my belt. I pulled over, untwisted the FlipBelt and dug one out. I think I lost ~45 seconds here and logged my first mile with a 10 in front of it. Shit.
Miles 9-13 :: 10:09, 11:01, 10:35, 10:29, 10:46
Annnd the wheels fell off. Despite the course being mostly downhill, there are a few hills in the later miles that feel a lot steeper than they actually are. At mile 10 the 2:10 pacer passed me and I started to mentally give up. I busted out the math again, trying to see if there was even a slight chance of eeking out a PR. The sad, soul-crushing truth: it would be goddamn close. My quads were dying, my arches were pissed, and the wind was still being a little bitch. I legitimately thought I was going to blow away while running behind the UT football stadium.
Rounding the corner heading to the Capitol building I realized I had less than a minute to get to the finish if I wanted to PR. Less than a minute with dead legs. NBD. But I somehow found another gear, kept pushing, and crossed the mat in 2:13:37.
Do I think there’s a faster time in me? Yep I sure do. But am I happy with this time? Yep I sure am. I have the Mercedes Half Marathon coming up in three weeks but have zero expectations to PR. There are a fair amount of hills and with my luck it’ll be summer by then in Alabama. So this spring I’m going to work on the 10k + 10 mile distances, and hopefully knock out a faster 13.1 in the fall.
Onward + upward!