Well, I did it! The Soaring Wings Half Marathon was a success and I’ve joined the sub-2 hour half marathon club! I officially have a new half marathon PR of 1:58:13. The race was fantastic, and I loved every second of it, almost. I’m still shocked at the pace I maintained, even through the hills and the lack of training the past few weeks. I slightly gave up on my long runs, but I am so glad I did so much speed work instead because I think that helped me more than anything, especially for the hills I didn’t exactly prepare for!
Here are the breakdowns, and then I’ll tell you ALL about the race!
1:58:13 chip time
1:58:06 garmin time
13.17 miles garmin
9:02 avg. pace chip
8:58 avg. pace garmin
1,180 calories burned
16/105 for my age group (20-24)
Mile 1- 8:44
Mile 2- 8:53
Mile 3- 8:53
Mile 4- 9:00
Mile 5- 8:53
Mile 6- 9:11
Mile 7- 8:55
Mile 8- 9:03
Mile 9- 8:54
Mile 10- 8:59
Mile 11- 9:01
Mile 12- 9:20
Mile 13- 8:59
Mile .1- 1:21
I think it’s pretty obvious where the hills were, the biggest ones being Miles 6, 8, and 12.
Ok, let’s break this sucker down!
I did everything right. If I could imagine a perfect race, (other than those dang hills!), this would have been it. I drank a TON of water on Friday at work, and didn’t drink any diet cokes. I ate a decent lunch, and then a larger than normal carb-loaded dinner of homemade pizza! (I’ve eaten pizza before every half marathon- what works for me may not work for you!) I made a custom playlist on Spotify to listen to on my phone, with songs I knew I’d WANT to listen to, and made the length of the playlist 1 hr and 57 mins, so I would know if I heard a song repeat I’d be getting fairly close to the 2hr mark. (Luckily, the song I finished on was actually the first song on the playlist!) I laid out all my clothes, bib, chip, breakfast, throw away gloves, shot bloks, spi belt (review soon!), etc before I went to bed and made sure there would be no confusion Saturday morning. I went to bed at 9:15, foam rolled a little, and slept great! When I woke up, I ate a banana and a Clif Bar, drank a little bit of water, foam rolled one more time, and packed up Adam’s bag with clothes to put on after the race, and some extra fuel. Oh, and I popped an Ibuprofin & Imodium, to ward off any painful shins and any possible stomach issues! (You never know!) Race time was 8am, and we were out the door and headed to Conway by 6:50. Perfect! In the car I wrote my favorite mantra on my hand as a reminder: “She believed she could, so she did!” and “Don’t give up!” under that. It helps sometimes to have some extra motivation, especially when you’re running alone!
We met up with some friends who were also running/spectating the race, finished putting on our bibs, and made one last bathroom trip! I will say, the Soaring Wings people did do a good job of having an ample amount of porta-pottys! The line went by super quick! Before we knew it it was time to line up in our corrals. By this point I was super in the zone! I darted off to get to my corral so I would have no idea where anyone I knew was. I didn’t want to have in the back of my mind where other runners I knew were because then I’d constantly think “will I see them?” “are they behind me? “did they pass me?” “is that them right there?” I just wanted to be alone and have no distractions whatsoever! They sang the national anthem, then we said the pledge of allegiance, then the wheelchairs were sent off, then the regular corrals were started. I started in the 1:50-1:55 corral, which was labeled as an 8:50 pace. I knew that would be pushing it, but I didn’t want to get stuck behind anything slower.
Mile 1 felt great, and I had to tell myself to slow down and be conservative. The last thing I wanted was to set myself up for failure. I knew I could probably stick to something in the upper 8’s and I would be fine, and I promised myself I would let up if I thought it was going to make me more tired later on. Starting out too fast is the worst thing you can do in a long run! Mile 1 was fairly flat, and then mile 2 was also pretty flat. Somewhere between Mile 3 and 4 I remember there being a decent hill but nothing too crazy. Around mile 4.6 the course looped back by the starting line so I was able to see Adam and throw him my headband since I was plenty warm. (I tossed my gloves somewhere around mile 3.) When I passed him I was sticking close to an 8:50 average, and was feeling great! I felt like this pace was a good pace to settle into, give or take a few seconds, and I didn’t feel like I was breathing too heavy or was going too hard by any means. Mile 5 also felt great, and then Mile 6 we hit another pretty good size hill, and my pace slowed quite a bit, ugh! But since Mile 6 was up, Mile 7 was down and flat, and then Mile 8 was back up another hill. I somehow confused Mile 8 with Mile 9 and when my garmin beeped at Mile 8 I could have sworn it was supposed to be Mile 9, so that made the race CRAWL for the next mile or two! (side note- NONE of the miles were marked!! thank goodness I had a gps on!) Mile 9 and 10 were both back in the 8’s, and I knew if I could keep as many miles as possible UNDER 9, then I would be good. I knew I needed to be faster than a 9:09 average to get under 2 hours, and so far I had only hit one mile that was 2 seconds slower than that, so I knew I was making good time. Mile 11 was right at 9:01, and I tried so hard to get it under 9 but I just couldn’t budge it, then Mile 12 was ALL UPHILL. Completely. The entire mile. Who mapped this course anyways?? My pace plummeted to 9:20 and I inevitably stopped to briefly walk through the final water stop, now wishing I hadn’t, but that last hill was miserable! Mile 13 was downhill and flat and I knew I just had to get it under 9 and maybe Mile 11 wouldn’t cost me too much. The last .1 was flat and you could see the finish line, so I picked it up as much as I could. I crossed the finish line at clock time 1:59:32, and I knew I started at least a minute+ back in the corrals at the start line so I knew I was for sure under 2 hours! I grabbed my medal, a handful of snacks and water, and Adam was there to give me a big hug and high five! Mission accomplished. All but 5 miles were under a 9:00 average, and two of those were just right at 9:00 and 9:01. I’m already looking forward to running a FLAT route and getting each mile split in the 8’s! I know I can do it!
All in all, it was a GREAT race and a great course. We ran through a really pretty park, through some awesome neighborhoods, down some pretty country roads, and back into town. It was definitely way more hillier than I anticipated, but only because I had heard so many mixed reviews on how “hilly” the “hills” were. I think on a flat route I could shave off at least 2 or 3 more minutes! There’s always another goal to beat…the curse of a runner. I keep playing the “what if” game with myself, and thinking “what if mile 12 wasn’t uphill and that mile had been another 8:53 pace, then my time would have been 1:57 something!” Ugh!
Either way, I’m proud of myself for setting my goal and going and making it happen. There will always be “what if’s” but that’s the fun challenge in racing, you never know what the course will give you! Every single race is SO different!
Half marathon #5 = DONE.
Now onto my full marathon on December 7th! I think I needed this good race to really pump me up about it and get me excited. I was really nervous up until now, but now I think I have the confidence in knowing that I AM capable of pushing myself and I AM capable of doing anything I put my mind to.
St. Jude, I WILL cross your finish line in one piece!
6 weeks to go!
My next race is a 5K on Thanksgiving morning, the Franklin Turkey Trot!
**Thank you for all of your encouragement on my last post!! You guys are the best!**
Did you race this weekend? Have you ever run a race where you surprised yourself? What is one big running goal you have?