I already wrote at length about where my head was at the week of my fourth half marathon. The short version: I was stressed, exhausted and convinced I would fail. Fast forward to the morning of: I woke up smiling, dancing and ready to race.
The weather conditions weren’t looking great. I prefer cold temperatures but was worried about the wind. It ended up being about 30 degrees with 15 – 20 mph winds. I planned on wearing a throwaway shirt but also bought some throwaway gloves and a head wrap for my ears at the expo Friday. At the last minute, I put on a scarf, intending to toss it at the start but ended up wearing it for the first mile. I lost the gloves in mile three and wore the throwaway shirt all the way through mile 8.
My plan was to start out somewhat fast but not too crazy. Fellow runner Meggie and I talked about this at one point during training – negative splits are ideal but if you start out too slow, it can seem impossible to get up to where you need to be later in the race. My goal was 10:40 for the first mile and work my way down from there.
I clocked in at 10:20 as we passed Lucas Oil Stadium but decided to keep going strong. In mile three, my Garmin was acting super weird and said I ran an 11:45 mile, which I knew wasn’t right. I decided to ignore my watch at that point, listen to my body and gauge where I was at compared to the running clock at each mile marker.
With every mile, I realized I was running pretty consistently close to a 10:00 pace. Part of me was nervous I had gone out way too fast and would crash in the second half. But part of me was super excited, felt great and told myself to settle in and hold on as long as I could.
I made it to Meridian Street, which all Monumental runners love and dread as you know you’re in the homestretch but it’s a straight shot for about 2.5 miles til the final few turns. I couldn’t believe I was still maintaining my pace and realized for the first year I wouldn’t get passed by the full marathon leaders.
At 13th and Meridian, I saw my friend Julia and her band. I got super excited and shouted at her, then yelled at myself to conserve my energy for the final grind. I can’t tell you enough how much it means to see friends out on the course. If you have runner friends, I encourage you to get out and cheer them on.
Once I turned onto New York Street, I couldn’t wait to get to the end. All the fears about failing were washing away with each step I took toward the finish line. I dug in and gave it all I had into the turn onto West Street. I heard my family screaming for me, gave them a big wave and sprinted across the finish line.
That’s 5:29 faster than my previous half and a 10:01 average pace. INSANE. My goal was 2:15 but I thought maybe if everything came together perfectly I could get close to 2:10. My race was about as perfect as it could have been. Sure, I maybe could have pushed it harder in the last few miles to shave off a little but I was ecstatic with that time.
As always, I have to give a big shout out to my friends and family who supported me, listened to me obsess over each training run, talked me off the ledge that last week and braved the cold to greet me at the finish line. I may have been running alone but you were all with me every step of the way.
I’ve got the Derby half in April, which will be my first out-of-town race. I’m sure there will be some smaller races between now and then. And now that I have access to treadmills at my company’s fitness center, I’m hoping this will be the first off season I actually maintain my base (like I always say I’ll do…).
People keep asking when I’m going to run a full. I’m always looking for the next challenge and that’s certainly next up when it comes to running. I’m just worried about the time and energy it takes. I was really stressed out this training season balancing a busy work schedule, travel, and more and that and was just for a half. I don’t know that there will ever be an ideal time to train for a full though so I may just have to get over it and sign up for the Monumental full in 2015… (!!!).
Did you run the Monumental? How was your race? What’s next for you in the off season?