Sunday, March 20, 2011

Race Report: Quintiles 1/2 Marathon 2011

Wooo hoooo!!!!! I finally did it – I finally ran a half marathon under 1:30:00!! For the last few years it feels like I have been stuck at a certain pace, which has made me question whether I could really go sub 1:30. Heading into the Quintiles 1/2 marathon this year, I knew that my training on the run had been solid – I rarely skip a run and I usually do all my speedwork. However, I felt really tired on Saturday and was on my feet for most of the day: in the morning I went to David’s Bridal for my dress fitting, then ran errands for the wedding, went dress shopping with my mom, and then hit packet pick up late afternoon. By the time I got home and was able to put my feet up it was already dinner time! We rented a movie (The Fighter) and I slept through the first hour or so of it I was so tired. Got to bed at a decent hour and woke up feeling surprisingly good and refreshed.

Race morning was slightly stressful due to running a little bit behind schedule. By the time Kurt, my mom, my dad, and I got to the race start it was 6:15. I barely had time to drop off my bag, hit the john, and get in a warm up before 6:38 rolled around and the race was off! I started close to the front of the start, but still found myself running around people at the beginning. Immediately I felt pretty good. My plan was to start at 7:00 minute miles and get to 6:50 by mile 2-3 and then hold that or drop below if I felt good. My first mile was 6:49. My next two miles were below this and I still felt good. At this point I was pretty confident I could go under 1:30 today. However, it was still scary looking down at my watch at times and seeing 6:40 and wondering whether or not I was just going to blow up later on. I figured what the heck I felt good, just go with it and see what happens. Plus, there was a strong looking female in front of me and I decided to try to stay with her for a while. She had a biker next to her who kept yelling out “First woman!” and I thought, “Man I must be doing really well!” Then a mile or so later she yelled, “First woman marathoner!” which gave me a good laugh. But, it worked out well for me b/c there was one part of the course that had a significant head wind and I just drafted behind her for that part of it ϑ Once we turned into some neighborhoods, the winds dissipated a little bit and I decided to push it harder b/c I was still feeling good. I passed a few more women and by the time I was half way through, decided to pick it up a little bit. I’d say that I started feeling the pain around mile 9. I was ok with this though b/c I knew I had done two to three 15-16 milers in training with the last 4 miles at speed, and I knew that since I made it during training I would make it to the finish line today. At this point I knew I was going to reach my goal. I found another person to draft off of by the time I got to the headwind portion for the second time – funnily enough he was another marathoner and I could barely keep up with him! I finished the race as the 4th female overall and ended up negative splitting the race which is awesome – my average speed for the first half was 6:45/mi and was 6:30/mi for the second half. Total time, according to my Garmin was 1:27:40 for 13.25 mi (average of 6:37 min/mi).

It was a great feeling to finally break through the 1:30:00 barrier and an even better feeling to do it by smashing my old PR by roughly 3 minutes! This race has gotten me really excited about how far I can go with my run because I know for sure that I can go faster than I did today in a half marathon. I was tentative on the first half of this race b/c I wasn’t sure that I could hold that pace for that long, but, now I know for sure that I can. Plus, this also gives me confidence that I can target a 1:30:00 run off the bike in a 70.3 by the end of this season! I feel like the door is now wide open for me.

Of note, it was also a great day for Kurt, who beat his old PR by 20 minutes!!!! Who does that??! He ran a 1:44 today, which is faster than he has ever run a half marathon before, including even before cancer! Looks like the vegan diet is continuing to pay dividends! My parents also had solid races – my dad finished sub 2:30:00 and my mom (who was sick and ran then whole thing anyway) finished in a little over 2:30:00. Great job and congrats to everyone out there today!

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