I’ll start this blog the way I seem to start just about every race blog I write.
I ran my 15th Half Marathon on Saturday.
I didn’t go into this race with very high hopes. I went in with no expectations at all actually. I gained 6 pounds while I was at Disney World and I’ve been on a carb-restrictive diet for a week. I had no idea how those 2 things would affect my performance so I decided to just have a good time, enjoy spending time with my friends and be happy with whatever the outcome was. I also knew though that I wanted to try my best, whatever my best was at that time.
Chickamauga still haunts me a little bit since what is to date my very worst run ever happened there also. The one where I got lost in a rainstorm, chased by a pitbull and somehow ended up on the interstate. I ended up running 12+ miles on a hotel treadmill that day.
Saturday morning was coooooold. It was less than 40 degrees before the start of the race. We walked around and took some pictures to pass the time before the race started.
Finally at 7:30 the cannon fired (actual real life cannon … super awesome!) and we got going. What a freakin’ gorgeous morning!
My feet were so numb to start that it felt really weird to run on them, and my shorts were slipping down a lot … I kept having to hike them back up. Minor annoyances though. I was totally in awe of the beautiful scenery and focused on how freaking fantastic I felt.
7:53, 7:42, 7:29, 7:34 …
Somewhere around mile 4 I overheard something that stuck out in my mind for a while. Someone cheering on the sidelines yelled to her runner friend, “Your pace is right where it needs to be. Now just fall asleep”.
For some reason I fixated on that thought. The thought of “falling asleep” or mentally checking out while running. It has happened to me on a few occasions where I felt like I literally “lost” miles, but not often and not really ever in a race. But guess what? While fixating on the thought of it … it happened.
7:43, 7:43, 7:40, 7:39 …
At mile 9ish, I woke up. I saw the 1:40 Pace Leader not too far ahead of me and did a mental “WTF! You serious? 1:40 pacer? For real?”
Then the math started. “Mile 10 … I have 3.1 left to run, if I can hold atleast a 8 minute pace I’ll be done in about 25 minutes or less … what is 25 minutes from now?” … “1:40! Nooooo”…
“Ok, 2 miles left to go, if I can hold 8’s I have 16 minutes left … what will that make my time? 1:41?” Holy crap.
This is what I usually do in my mind for most races. Almost the whole race. I concentrated on where I could push a little harder on the flats and downhills and where I needed back off a bit.
7:42, 7:36, 7:48 …
I knew at this point unless something catastrophic happened there was no way that I wasn’t going to PR. My current PR was 1:42:20.
Once I realized that, I went balls to the wall trying to see exactly how far under that I could manage.
My official chip time ended up being 1:40:57!
Once James and Kaitlin finished their Full Marathon we headed out for some much need food.
What a great day! I definitely felt like Chickamauga owed me something after my disastrous run there last Fall. I guess we are even now.