In the days leading up to the race I actually felt like I was going to vomit at any given point from nerves. When my husband asked me if I was nervous about beating my time, I explained that I was actually pretty confident that I would beat my time, but I was more nervous about getting hurt in the process. I also had set a big goal in terms of a finish time, and while I knew I would PR, I didn't want to just beat my time, I wanted to beat it big. The other part of my nerves was centered around running the entire distance without walking. I had successfully run my 10 mile training run without walking but I still would need to hold it together for an additional 3.1 miles after that. I focused on not thinking about it, the miles were in the bank and I had to just trust in myself and body that we could keep it all together. I was super thankful that at the last minute my husband was able to come along and run the 7k course.
After a terrible nights sleep in a terrible motel in Davis we made our way over to the race site. It was so easy, it was almost silly. We parked about a block from the start line under a shady tree since Tacoma would hang in the car until Scott was done with the 7k. We hung out for a little bit before I said goodbye to Scott and Tacoma to go warm-up and stretch.
|Tacoma just excited to be along for the ride|
The first three miles were great and uneventful. I was running sub 10:30 miles and felt great, I was hoping I might be able to maintain that pace and have a really big day. I also knew that I didn't want to start the game of calculating finish times with only 3 miles in. I had to remind myself that I was running my own race and not worry about being passed or what might come in the future. The plan was to take in a gel every 3.5 miles. In addition to passing mile marker signs, telling yourself you have something to do every 3.5 miles is just another way to break up the long run into mini goals.
Miles 4-8 my average pace started to fall with each mile logged. I wasn't too worried as I was still running under my goal. I knew that if I just kept chugging along I would be fine and still have a great day. These were mentally the toughest miles. We ran out along Highway 113 in Davis. One side was green and the other side was freeway. I think because I knew just how far we needed to run out and how far we needed to run back to get to mile 8 is what mentally made it difficult.
|This is what it looked like minus the CalTrans workers|
|Totally saw this sign and thought "there's a CHP office there"|
I was stoked to see mile 8. When you talk about mini goals getting you through the miles, the mile 8 marker was a big one for me. There was a timing mat here and I knew Scott would be checking the online tracking to see when I hit that point. Unfortunately, the real time tracking didn't update that point until after I crossed the finish line. Oh well.
At mile 9 my pace got peppy once again. I was dreading the 10 mile mark, because that is where classically your shit just falls apart. I was feeling good and thought, maybe today would be my day, maybe miles 10-12 will not suck after all. Then it happened, it started as a really stiff ankle and it slowly worked it's way up my right leg to my knee. Holy hell, that hurts. I tried altering my gait a little to work through it and that seemed to help, but I was sure that I would pay the price somewhere else for that. I made all sorts of promises to my body; "Hold your shit together until the finish line and I promise we won't run next week". "Let me finish at goal and I swear no more long runs." I was schedule to take in a gel at 10.5 miles but I took it at 10 miles hoping that might help. Eventually the pain eased up and I was able to get back to pace. Looking back, right before this happened there was a small section of concrete bike path that we ran on, I'm thinking that may have been the culprit. Concrete is not a welcome site around mile nine.
The last 5k of the race was a ridiculous round about. Every time we started getting closer to the finish line we would wind around and head back out. Even though I knew how many miles I had left it just always seemed so cruel to be so close and then head away from that direction again. At one point a course monitor gave me a high five and told me to keep om going! Seriously, whoever you are, you're awesome, it meant a lot emotionally. As we came back though the park around mile 12 I spotted the official photographer and seriously almost started tearing up, I knew I was close. Scott caught this photo of me from a distance as I spotted the photographer.
If I thought I was happy to see the photographer I was ecstatic to see Scott and Tacoma!
I had no idea just how much winding around I would be doing, but obviously Scott knew because I saw them again.
|How much farther????|
Seeing the finish line and hearing my name called over the loudspeaker was so gratifying!
The nicest part was getting a huge hug from Scott as I crossed the finish line. It felt so good to be done and to know that not only did I meet my goal, but I came in under goal at 2:18:26.
I'd love to tell you all that it gets easier but it doesn't. This was my third half marathon and each one has brought its own challenges. There is a constant drive in me to do better each time, which is the driving factor behind doing one every other year. I'd probably seriously hurt myself if I did them more often. Even though mid race I told myself I never wanted to do another one, I'm sure I will indeed have one on my 2016 race calendar. It's like childbirth, after a certain amount of time you forget just how painful it was.
Thanks to Emergen-C for selecting me to be part of their Ambassador Team this year. I have been drinking it every day to do my best to stay healthy for race day and avoid the germs that the kindergartner brings home everyday.
Also, this is a freaking great and fun race! A Change of Pace puts on this event and I can't say enough about how well organized and easy it was. Packet pick-up was a breeze, people actually lined up according to pace for all three races, the shirt is cute and the medals are insanely huge and come with a detachable charm to wear as a necklace. The volunteers and course monitors were over the top friendly and supportive. I mean seriously, it doesn't get any better than this!
Finish Time: 2:18:26