28 In Fitness/ Running

Soaring Wings Half Marathon

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!

half marathon conway arkansas

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.

soaring wings

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!

soaring wings half marathon conway

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!

soaring wings half marathon 2013

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?

Follow on Bloglovin


  • Reply
    October 28, 2013 at 3:40 pm

    Amazing, amazing, AMAZING! Congrats, lady! Such an inspiration!

  • Reply
    Nicole @ Work in Sweats Mama
    October 28, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    Congrats on a great race and SMASHING the 2-hour mark! Hope this gets you fired up for the full!! Way to go, girl!

  • Reply
    Christine @ Gotta Eat Green
    October 28, 2013 at 4:22 pm

    Congrats!! What an awesome time. And you looks adorable too!

  • Reply
    October 28, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    Congratulations! You absolutely crushed it! So happy for you!

  • Reply
    Nikki @ grab your kicks
    October 28, 2013 at 6:20 pm

    i can’t imagine how much a hill at mile 12 would suck! glad you felt prepared though! sounds like it was a good race.
    Nikki @ grab your kicks recently posted…Weekend Workout WarriorMy Profile

  • Reply
    October 28, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    Great job! Great pace, love the top!
    Missy recently posted…Motivation MondayMy Profile

  • Reply
    Kristine @ Pink Cupcake Runs
    October 28, 2013 at 7:01 pm

    Awesome job!! I’m trying not to be jealous of your time ! 😉 I ran my very first half marathon this past Saturday and was hoping to finish at 2 hours, but my official time was 2:07.
    Kristine @ Pink Cupcake Runs recently posted…MIMM: My First Half MarathonMy Profile

  • Reply
    Jana @ Happy Wife Healthy Life
    October 28, 2013 at 7:24 pm

    Yah yah yah!! Awesome job girl! So happy for you and your accomplishment! I know you can run sub-2 hours! 😉

  • Reply
    Emily @ Perfection Isn't Happy
    October 28, 2013 at 8:39 pm

    Congratulations! It would drive me nuts that none of the miles were marked! Good thing for Garmins!

  • Reply
    Molly Rose
    October 28, 2013 at 9:42 pm

    Congrats sweet miles! I love how you wrote a motivational quote on your hand! I ran 8 miles yesterday (farthest I’ve EVER gone) and now all of a sudden I want to do a half. Eeek! This post was very inspiring 🙂 great job and stop what-iffing 😉

  • Reply
    Sarah @ Making Thyme for Health
    October 29, 2013 at 12:06 am

    CONGRATS SARA!!! You rocked it, girl. I love the motivational quote written on your hand.

    I can’t believe you have done 5 half marathons, that’s amazing. And now a full?! Wow. I can’t wait to hear how it goes!

  • Reply
    Ksenija @ With An Open Mind
    October 29, 2013 at 2:13 am

    That sounds like a perfect run! Congrats on that girl. Have a beautiful day full of rest.
    Ksenija @ With An Open Mind recently posted…Robyn Youkilis Free Rockstar Roadmap Call {people who inspire}My Profile

  • Reply
    Charlotte @ Commitness to Fitness
    October 29, 2013 at 7:29 am

    WOW!!! CONGRATS!!! a sub 2-hour half?! anyone who does that is a magician as far as im concerned bc i dont even know how its possible 🙂 you are AMAZING!!

  • Reply
    Abby @ Change of Pace
    October 29, 2013 at 8:17 am

    Congratulations on a great race, a shiny PR, and breaking two hours! You did awesome! I think PRs on hilly courses are that much sweeter!
    Hope you’re enjoying some down time before gearing up for the big one!
    Abby @ Change of Pace recently posted…Change the pace – the magic of the runchMy Profile

  • Reply
    Kelly @ Kelly Runs for Food
    October 29, 2013 at 11:07 am

    Yay, that’s amazing! Congrats on a PR and conquering those hills!
    Kelly @ Kelly Runs for Food recently posted…Time For New ShoesMy Profile

  • Reply
    Cori @ olivetorun
    October 29, 2013 at 11:34 am

    Congratulations on a FANTASTIC RACE! 🙂 That is awesome.

  • Reply
    Kelsey @ Blonder Side of Life
    October 29, 2013 at 8:49 pm

    YAY!!! So proud of you!!! You did amazing and look adorable to boot!!
    Kelsey @ Blonder Side of Life recently posted…Bourbon Chase Pt 1My Profile

  • Reply
    October 30, 2013 at 9:06 am

    You did SO well! I live in Conway and while I was in New Orleans during the weekend, a lot of my friends ran and spectated. So glad that you got that sub 2! I can’t ever imagine doing that, but that’s incredible!

  • Reply
    Kristin @ A Mom on the Run
    October 30, 2013 at 11:14 am

    So proud of you!!! What an amazing run!!

  • Reply
    October 30, 2013 at 11:50 am

    You totally rocked it lovely, AG and not! Congrats on the solid PR and loving (almost) every minute of it! I might have to steal the writing mantras on your hand idea – that’s brilliant!
    I’m so glad you had your Garmin, not having marked miles would make me panic! A big hill in the last few miles is never fair but you rocked those too! You can get 1:57 something another race, no need to play those games when you did so well this time around! I can hardly wait to hear all about how well you do at St Jude!
    My first full is in April and I’m pumped about that!
    Emily recently posted…Warm upMy Profile

  • Reply
    mary @ minutes per mile
    October 30, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    congrats! yes, don’t get bogged down in the “what-ifs.” trust that you did your best!

  • Reply
    October 30, 2013 at 8:02 pm

    AHHH CONGRATS SARAH! That PR is solid girl! You are my running inspiration!
    Katherine recently posted…5 Last Minute Halloween Costumes.My Profile

  • Reply
    October 30, 2013 at 9:49 pm

    Congrats on a great half marathon and your sub-2 hour finish! Your splits look awesome and you look super cute in your running gear!
    Lorraine recently posted…Brotherly LoveMy Profile

  • Reply
    October 31, 2013 at 5:10 am

    YOu did it! I knew you would. Well done for breaking the 2hour mark. You must be wrapped. Well done Sarah. *does happy dance with you*
    Matilda recently posted…Cheesey Scone / BiscuitsMy Profile

  • Reply
    November 2, 2013 at 4:32 am

    Congratulations on a great 1/2!! Hills are never fun, and they can be especially brutal during a race! Great work!

  • Reply
    Katie @ Live Half Full
    November 7, 2013 at 11:43 am

    As for cramping- have you ever tried the Margarita shot blocks? They have additional salt and help a lot for me when I cramp!

    • Reply
      Sweet Miles
      November 8, 2013 at 10:04 am

      Katie- No I haven’t! I’ve heard that though..maybe I should try them!

  • Reply
    November 10, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    Congrats on an awesome race and I love your headband!

  • Leave a Reply

    CommentLuv badge