Let’s rip the band-aid off and get to the tough part first.
I wanted to finally do my first sub 3-hour after having open-heart surgery. (Yeah, yeah. I know it was almost 4 years ago and I should be doing ultra-marathons and such now… I’m working on it!)
So, I wanted to finally do a sub 3. Time: 3 hours and 44 seconds!!!
Okay, now let’s talk about the race. (Let me just mention, that I thought I made it in under 3. So, I’m gonna tell the story from my perspective, and you can come along disappointment trail with me! :-))
I did everything right leading up to this. I’ve been training a lot, and seeing improvement. It’s slow, but it’s forward-moving. Overall, I think that’s what matters.
I got a great night’s sleep before the race. I’ve been generally restricting my calories, because I’m trying to lose weight. But the day before the race, I bumped them up to store some extra energy. I thought I gave myself a good mix of mainly carbs, but throwing protein in there.
I drank a bit of pickle juice before the race, ’cause I noticed that helps my endurance on longer runs. (I think that’s due to the sodium.)
I stretched out great – not over-doing it, but totally limber and ready for a long run. I got to the start line with enough time to spare so that I wasn’t rushed, but not so early that I was just standing around forever.
I prepped that a real half-marathoner! And I was ready, baby!
I started in the same corral as the 2:50 pacer. My goal was to keep her in my sights as long as I possibly could and to always keep the 3 hour pacer in my rearview. As far as I was concerned in this race, he was something I just wanted to run away from. It was as if a big giant dog was holding that 3:00 sign. (Obviously, with my huge fear of dogs, if a dog catches up to me, I die. So this was serious business.)
I kept the 2:50 girl in my sights almost ’til we hit mile 9. A bit after mile 8, I caught up to running alongside of her. Anyone who had been running with her fell off a while ago. So, she was just running basically alone at this point. (Though it did look like a friend she knew came over to say hi at one point.)
Anyway, I ran up beside her and said, “I know no one’s running with you anymore. But just know, I’ve been watching you this whole time and having you in my sights has helped immensely. So, thank you!” She seemed really happy about that.
But let’s back up again to the beginning of the race.
Before the race, I wondered, should I just try to stick with the 3-hour pacer, or should I go it alone? Obviously, I ultimately decided to go it alone – which I don’t regret at all. We could make an argument that maybe he could’ve gotten me there. But there were lots of hills in this race. And because the incline was constantly changing, I liked being totally in control of my pace.
But in the very first mile, I went out fast (for me). I was only a bit over 11 minutes. And I thought, “Did I make a huge mistake not running with a pacer because I’m going out so fast?!” But then I thought, “I train all the time. I know what I’m doing. Everything is fine. Let’s see if I can be slightly more controlled in mile 2.
And this is where I’ll pick up tomorrow.