Let’s start with some things that went right:
- Got to the race on time.
- Nearly perfect weather (it rained the last 2 years)
- Found friends before race.
- Didn’t start too fast!
- Had an amazing first 7-8 miles.
- Found friends after the race.
- Got to cheer in a lot of running group friends!
Sunday I woke at 5:45am (old-6:45, thanks Daylight Savings Time). I got all my stuff together and got out the door by 6:15. I parked by 6:35 (it’s amazing how fast you can get around early in the morning when there’s no traffic) and was texted with a meeting place to find some friends I would be running with.
First goal: Don’t start off too fast. Goal accomplished. A congested start (no corrals) and an uphill first mile will help keep your pace in check.
Mini hill out of the way, time to pick up the pace and get closer to goal pace. During the second mile I felt great! Like I could definitely sustain the pace. I enjoyed the following several miles of the race. There were some good cheering sections and some familiar faces in the crowds from the running group. I have two Honey Stinger Chews at about mile 4.25.
Hooray! Running is fun!
Random Timing mat at 5.5 miles had me at 47:11 or an 8:35 pace. Perfect!! On target for a 1:53-ish.
Next came the beginning of slight discomfort, also the beginning of a slight incline which lasts for about 2 miles. I start to slip back from a few friends, but another running buddy felt more comfortable at my pace. I hadn’t given up though, and said I was still going to try to keep up.
Had 1 more energy chew around mile 6.2 and another at mile 7.2
Enter side stitch. Something I have rarely had before, and never for more than a minute or two. I decided I would grab some Gatorade at the next aid station, which was a little after mile 8.
Mile 9. This is where it’s supposed to get easy, as the course becomes a slight downhill from this point for the next 3 miles. Hoping side stitch issue resolves itself. Side stitch feels no better. I walk a little around 9.5. I begin thinking about running the tangents of the course along the curvy bike path because I need something to think about other than my left side and my non-relaxed breathing.
Mile 10.2 ish. I’m walking again, trying to breathe deeply and I get a pat on the back and a “come on, Amanda” from a running club friend leading the 4 hour marathon pace group. Bummed… I’m supposed to be ahead of them. Happy for the encouragement, though; I feel like crap. He asks if I drank too much water; I say I don’t think so (only had a few ounces from my handheld plus a few sips of Gatorade). I start running again with him, he tries to coach me how to relax my breathing. I focus on my diaphragm but still can’t relax my breathing. Below my rib cage feels like a giant knot. He asks me if I’m feeling better and I abruptly find myself stepping to the right and stop myself from yakking. I realize everyone and their brother behind me will see it. I am beyond the point of “I hope I don’t have to” and I am instead trying to find a spot where I can do this where it will be slightly less obvious.
Mile 10.6 Found a spot to the left where there was a cut out in some grass. Blech. I swish some water in my mouth and I begin running again.
Mile 11-12: Amazingly I’m running a sub-9 pace again! Maybe I can turn this around a little!
Mile 12-13: I came up from an underpass to see some familiar faces cheering me on from the running store where I worked but despite the pleasant surprise, I felt like butt. They were yelling things like “looking strong” (They were lying).
I took a couple quick walk breaks only after I was out of sight trying to feel better.
I heard my 4-hour pace group friends just ahead, directing the 2-hour half people where to branch off, and I really want to catch up to see them again but I wasn’t quite fast enough.
The half marathon splits off and it’s a slight uphill that I was not prepared for. I walk a little more so I have some energy left for the final stretch. Once I could hear cheering from the finish area I picked up the pace until the finish line (last nubbin is .19 miles...clearly I did not run the tangents).
Chip Time: 2:00:09
I know 2 hours would have been a glorious half marathon time back in June, and it wasn’t that awful of a time considering how the last five miles went, but: meh. 95% of my training runs felt better than this race; it just wasn’t my day for a PR.