I had zero confidence going into this race. Confident that I could finish it? Yes. But I had been talking about getting a PR at this race, and I had no confidence in that. I didn’t sleep well and I woke up feeling tired and sore. I thought to myself, “Going into a half marathon with sore legs… that should work!”
I also felt weird. I didn’t have anyone that I planned on running with. I’ve run a half marathon by myself before, but I also had friends and family waiting around and cheering me on. This morning I ate breakfast by myself, got ready, and headed to the race solo. I knew I would run into my running club friends there, but I had no idea what was in store for me today.
When the race started, I was in a pack with a few of my running friends. All friends that I know consistently are faster than I am. We started off running at what felt like a pretty comfortable and slow pace. I looked at my watch and realized we were running at a 10:40 pace. WHOA. I hadn’t seen that pace much lately! When my watch beeped for a walk interval, I didn’t want to stop. I was running next to my running friend Dolores, and I confirmed that she was going to be doing 5/1 intervals. I decided I’d stick with her for a few intervals at least, so that I wasn’t the only person stopping to walk.
I was surprised by how good those intervals felt. Dolores kept asking me if I wanted to switch to 3/1, and told me she’d keep running with me. I told her I felt good so as long as she still felt good, I’d stick to her intervals. And we stuck to them for more than half of the race.
This wasn’t my first time doing a Run For Your Heart race, but it was my first time doing the half marathon. I wasn’t sure what to expect. Since it is in the city where I live and work, I thought it might be kinda boring for me. But I also thought that it would be a cool way to see our city in a different perspective. I was wrong about boring, and I was right about the perspective. The race has several “out and back” type portions to it, so we were able to wave and cheer on our friends that were ahead of us. I loved this! And the volunteers were so abundant, and they were so awesome! They cheered us on and kept us going. They all looked a little cold, but so happy and spirited. It made the miles fly by.
We got to the river walk and Dolores started to struggle a little bit. She told me this part was for her the most mentally difficult part of the race. I definitely understood where she was coming from. It felt like that turn around was never going to happen. It finally did, but around mile 10 Dolores stopped, and I kept going. I looked back to check to see if she was okay and she was still walking and running, so I took off. Somehow I was managing sub 10 minute mile running paces at that point. It was like I got a second wind!
I kept with my 3/1 intervals (we switched to them somewhere on the river walk) until the very end. I was really happy with the fact that I was able to maintain the 5/1 intervals for so long, and then keep with the 3/1 after that. I felt like I finished the race strong! As I neared the finish, I could hear the announcer and I could hear the cheers of other runners and spectators. When I saw the finish line, I saw so many members of my running group. They cheered for me, telling me I looked awesome, pushing me to finish strong. I saw the time on the clock and I pushed it to the finish… I got a PR!
I ended up with an official time of 2:37:10.97, a pace of 12:00 minutes per mile. My A goal for this race!! (My B goal was to beat my best half marathon training time of 2:39:05 and my C goal was to beat my best half marathon official time of 2:39:47.) I am surprised, happy, proud, tired and sore. I kept thinking as I finished up those last 3 miles… man, I really like half marathons. Especially half marathons with beautiful weather like we had today.
So today was my first time running the Run For Your Heart Half Marathon, but it definitely will not be my last. I would highly recommend this half marathon to anyone – it is a small race, but not a lonely one. The volunteers and other runners are motivating and helpful. And it is for a great cause and helps out the local Saginaw community. All in all… another great race as part of my training for the Detroit Free Press/Chemical Bank Marathon… 6 weeks to go!