Ok – first things first: 1:53:31!! A new PR (by A LOT) and an awesome race overall.
The first cold snap of the season hit on Friday night; snow flurries were sighted, sleet came down and the winds gusted. Mostly I just tried to ignore the complaints over the weather; I had trained 15 weeks for this race and I’d be damned if ‘bad weather’ was going to detract from it. Cold temperatures are advantageous for so many runners anyways. This did force me to re-plan my race outfit though and I settled on a tank, arm warmers, long sleeve over that and mid-calf capris. I also opted for gloves and a headband which were essential for the moments waiting before hand. Overheating was not a problem at all during this race – I was actually really comfortable the whole way through but the second I stopped I though I’d get frostbite.
Scott and I arrived about 1 hour ahead of the 8 am start; it was still dark and we had a ~1 mile walk from the car to downtown. I was NOT enjoying the weather at this point. It was blustery and freezing. We mostly huddled in a corner and tried to maintain some heat while waiting. I eventually made my way to the start corrals; they were loosely seeded and not too many people really adhered to their seeding anyways. I tried to make it to the back where us non-seeded folks were relegated but I eventually gave up and just discreetly squeezed into corral 4.
After little fanfare we were off! There was much congestion in the first mile and I was really concerned about my pace but it eventually evened out.
These went by really fast; they had so many twists and turns through down town and the crowd was still considerably large at this point. Scott had given me pacing of 9:05 for the first 3 miles, 8:55 for the next 5 and 8:40 for the last 5. I noticed I was above pace for these miles and I tried to slow it down some, but I wasn’t too successful.
I was still feeling really comfortable in the 8:45 range here at these miles so I decided to just stick with it. The course had taken us out of the thick of downtown by now and we were running through the neighborhoods which were full of nice support.
By this point we’d split from the full marathon and were going through some more turns that I couldn’t really place in my head. I was still feeling strong and confident with my consistent 8:42-8:45 miles.
I had it in my head to try to pick up the pace at mile 10 but I wasn’t able to do it. Part of it was a small incline over a bridge but mostly I think I was still concerned about blowing up. By the time I’d reached mile 12 I really stepped up my pace (I guess I knew I wasn’t going to blow up then) and realized I could’ve probably done this a few miles back. Oh well. Before the start of this year I’d never had a race tactic at all so what can you say?
I can’t believe I ran such even splits. I never achieve this in training. You can see the first 3 miles I was still dealing with crowds and my last mile is WAY faster than the others. So I didn’t really follow Scott’s pace suggestions but either way I am super proud of my finish! I kept thinking during the race how hard my first half was (2:17, average pace 10:30) that I had to walk a bunch and how far I’ve come. I felt strong the whole way and never had any really tough parts.
My knees and hips were sore for the rest of the day but I feel fine after a good night’s sleep. Again compare this to last year where I could barely walk up and down stairs for days after. We celebrated with Ethiopian food, vegan cupcakes and my first beer post-training.
Now I have to set my sights on more races because I can’t get enough. Most likely next spring I will run the Mini Marathon and again try to take down my half PR. But for now… I’m going to enjoy a few days off from running.