2 years ago, in November 2011 (for those you who are math impaired, like me ;-) ) this race was my first half marathon. Today, it was my 6th. It was the race that started the "half madness" so I like to go back and do it again (this was the 3rd time I've run it; did it in 2012 too). It's a nice flat little race at a beautiful time of year.
Although this morning, it didn't feel like it was going to be a beautiful race. A 7:00am start time means an early wake-up call. 5:00 is way too early for this sleep-loving, evening running gal. My plan was to leave the house by 6, thinking that would give me plenty of time for the drive, to park, and to get to the start line.
I seriously miscalculated that one. The drive seemed to take forever and then to make matters worse, I couldn't find a parking place. At 6:50, I was fighting back tears as I searched in vain for a space. I asked a couple of race volunteer intersection watchers if they knew where I could park. They pointed me to the Pizza Hut lot and said a lot of people seem to be parking there. I pulled into the lot and got the last spot. It was now 6:55 and I was frantically getting ready, pinning my bib on as I walked/ran/busted my butt to get the start area.
I made it in time, but my head was not in a good place. I was frustrated and slightly panicked. Running the first few miles I was just unhappy and not feeling good at all. I thought about giving up at the 3 mile point. But I didn't. I pushed on and roughed it out. Hit the 5 mile mark and checked my overall time, and was surprised to see where I was. I thought "hmm, I may be able to make this a decent race after all." I was slower than I needed to be for my "ultimate OMG it would be totally awesome if I could finish in this time" goal, but I was right where I needed to be for my more realistic "this is what I know I can do" goal.
So I pulled myself together, put the rubber to the road, and got serious. Miles 5 to 10, usually the hard part of this race for me, felt strong and almost easy. At mile 10, I checked my time again, I was under 2 hours. Still on track for that goal. But miles 11, 12 and 13 were hard. I struggled a bit, but made myself run the full run interval and only walk when the watch told me to. I knew I wouldn't make the "OMG this is awesome" goal, but a PR could have been a possibility. And if not a PR then a faster time than last year. And I knew I couldn't do either if I walked more than I was scheduled to.
At PR time, I was passing my mom at the corner outside the stadium. At least year's time, I was crossing the finish line. Yep I finished in almost exactly the same time (almost to the second) as I did last year. What can i say, I'm consistent. :-)
I did meet that "this is what I know I can do" goal, because it's what I know I can do. It's what I trained for; what I worked so hard to achieve. I had some doubts at the start and for the first few miles, but I put the saying "never judge a run by the first few miles" to the test and proved it right. I adjusted my attitude, got my head in the right place, and ran the race I knew I could run if I just put my mind to it, quieted the doubts, and did it. There's a great satisfaction in that.
Marshall University Half Marathon
November 10, 2013
Finish time: 2:29:42 (garmin); 2:29:53 (official)
Pace: 11:24 mpm (garmin); 11:27mpm (official)
Place: 833 of 1,099 overall;422 of 624 women;76 of 110 age group