Sunday, November 8, 2015

Race Report - Marshall Half Marathon

The Marshall University Half Marathon - my first, my PR race, my "hometown" half. The one I've returned to every year (returning to the scene of the crime, so to speak; returning to the race where the half bug bit me).

I had big plans for this race this year. Big plans to return to the land of finishing under two and a half hours (which would result in being able to be in a faster corral for the Princess Half, which would allow me the time to go slower and take pictures with all the fun Disney characters along the course. But that is another story, for another post (look for it in about 110 days)). 

I trained; I struggled and worked hard to bring my pace back down into the 11 minute mile range. (Important point to remember - pace is individual to the runner; what is slow for one is fast for another; what is fast for the other is slow for yet another.) And right now, it's fast for me. But I was confident that I could sustain it for the full distance. I could run hard and finish the race in under 2:30. It wasn't going to be easy, but this was the year I was going to embrace the hard work. As I said, I had big plans... 

But, you know what they say about "best laid plans."

I woke up Saturday morning feeling kind of crappy with a sinus headache and other body aches. But I wasn't giving up; maybe I'd feel better in the morning. So I went and picked up my race packet, I planned my outfit (which was difficult; wasn't sure what the weather would do), and I prepared to race on Sunday.
And woke up at o-dark thirty on Sunday, feeling worse than Saturday (with a slight fever to boot). But I went to the race anyway. I was going for it.  I could do this.

Mile 1 was ok; slower than I wanted, but ok. Mile 2 I got way too hot in the long sleeve shirt (and since my car was conveniently parked in the stadium lot along the course, I ran to the opposite of the street, safely ditched it in the back seat and returned to the race). Pace was faster, even with the slight detour. Miles 3 - 6 got progressively harder. I kept up with my 2 minute run intervals, but was slowing down - my body ached, I felt more tired than I should have. I made the decision to mostly walk the limestone path/Ritter Park section. I knew my goal was gone and I just wanted to finish in an upright position. So miles 7, 8, and 9 were mostly walking ( although I did manage a run for the photographer 😜)
Once out of the park, I started running through portions of my run intervals. It was slow, but it was a run.  At some point in mile 10, the first marathoner went flying by, making this whole running thing look way easier than it is (how DO they do that? So fast, so smooth, so seemingly effortless.)

After mile 10, I started having issues with my shoes feeling too short. So I imagine I was limping along for miles 10-12, running when I could, walking when I couldn't. I couldn't figure out if I was more hot or cold (weird being both at the same time, but I was), and I really just wanted to be finished. A couple more full marathoners passed me, and the ones coming towards me on their 2nd loop were encouraging, as always (runners are a good group of people).  

They helped me mentally through mile 13 towards the stadium; I think I actually managed to run the full 2 minute intervals for that last mile - I had people I had to pass (there's always at least one in a race that I arbitrarily decide I have to beat) on my way to the finish. So off I went, down the cruel little hill ( always painful, more so this year with my shoe issues) and into the stadium. I sped up a tad, passed a few other runners, and finished. Only 22 minutes later than I hoped and planned (and just 7 minutes slower than last year). But I did finish, and that's really what's important. 

The race didn't go at all as I planned and it wasn't the race I wanted - I was slower than i planned, I walked more than I wanted, I was sick with a sinus headache/body aches/fever, I ended up with some blisters on my toes, and I've got a toenail that's going a little black - but I finished. 

Race Stats
Marshall University Half Marathon
Sunday, November 1, 2015
Finish time: 2:52:31(garmin); 2:52:54 (official)
Place: 850 of 1,012; 464 of 589 women; 77 of 95 age group