I do a lot of dumb things.
I tweet when my phone is on 1% battery life…I wear cotton t shirts when I run…
I do half marathons as my long runs 6 weeks after beginning to run…at least I didn’t wear racing flats.
I did all three on Sunday.
I signed up for the Inaugural Harbor Lights Half Marathon a while ago. It is a new half marathon put on by J&A (the same race company that won race directors of the year and put on the Shamrock half marathon). They do such a good job with races that I was devastated when I thought my stress fracture would take me out of this race too (I could argue more devastated than missing my full marathon).
Since we were down in VA anyways, I decided to run the Harbor Lights Half Marathon and see where my foot and my mental state was. I had no idea. I knew it wasn’t the best or smartest plan. I didn’t expect to run a 1:30 half marathon or have an incredible PRing story. I focused on keeping it smart. I just wanted to run a great race with some of my friends. After wedding cake testing the night before I had my fair share of sugar. I consider that my carb and sugar loading. I have no regrets! I also wore my current training shoes (Asics Nimbus).
Fast forward to the race start:
I had no inclination to warm up before the race and I just chatted to friends. I ran into my good high school friend Lauren and we chatted for a bit. When I lined up for the start my watch would no sync. I just gave up and decided to run the race. It didn’t phase me or upset me at all that my watch didn’t work.
I started with the 1:45 pacers and as you can see stayed with the 1:45 pacers. During the last half mile I decided to see what I had left in my tank (which was basically nothing). I ended up about 30 seconds in front of the 1:45 pacers.
My reach goal for this race was a 1:45 but my ultimate goal was to finish injury free.
The race started and we were off.
The first mile I wondered what I had gotten myself into. I didn’t have any pain but the race in general it was overwhelming. I haven’t participated in a race since the one mile race in early August. In reality I haven’t raced anything on the road since the Pineland Striders 10k in June (and honestly that wasn’t a great race either!). I have to trace back to the Broad Street 10 miler to find a race I’m happy with. So long story short, it was overwhelming to be participate in a half marathon. Even if I wasn’t “racing” or any peak fitness, I found it overwhelming. I was nervous for what was to come. I wasn’t worried I would rebreak my metatarsal but it was a general anxiousness.
I found the 3-5 miles to go by relatively quickly. The pacers, group and I bantered about life and running. I’ve run with pace groups a few times (not recently) and always found them to be more chatty. I am a runner who likes to chat while racing so this was nice! Just after mile 5, one of the pacers said “Only 1 hour to go”. My feet and legs were feeling decent but I was pretty out of breath. At that point I wasn’t sure I would be able to stick with the 1:45 pacers the entire race.
I could tell I have a lot of fitness to go. It is a fitness I know I will regain with time.
We kept a nice even 8 minute pace and hit the 10k around 49:30. Several of our pack left and surged around the 10k point. I began to feel more confident around the 10k.
For me it was time to focus on mile 9. Mile 9 had the infamous Bakers Crust tarts. For some reason I was the first person who took a tart in the entire race! Over 200 runners had already gone by but I was the first tart collector! If I had been racing for a PR I would not have taken a tart but since I was running to run…I took a chocolate tart. Another reason I was living life on the edge I guess. Eating tarts in the middle of a run…just because.
It was delicious. I should have taken a photo of the tart table…but I was running.
The last four miles were the most painful. I had missed the mile 9 marker so when we hit mile 10 I was pleasantly surprised. I thought I was just being a baby.
Mile 11 I began to feel tired. I knew I only had 2 miles to but it felt like forever. Mile 10-11 always feels like the slowest mile of a half marathon. This was no different. This race had a lot of turns which made me nervous for my stress fracture. The turns and cobblestone from mile 11 to the end made me the most nervous of any section of the race. I always worry that a sudden turn will just cause the bone to snap (a pretty irrational fear). Edit to add: Two days later I feel completely injury free.
At mile 12.5, I just pushed it into overdrive and finished. I felt accomplished at the end. I ended up finishing in 1:44.18 and third in my age group. I was happy (and surprised) with that. I know I have a long ways to go but I’m motivated to do it.
I really enjoyed the Harbor Lights Half Marathon and it’s a race I would love to do again. This race was a big stepping stone for me because it was my first run (at all) faster than about 9 minute pace. It was my longest run and it was my first race back. I am glad to be injury free and racing again. The rest of the week is recovery (and turkey eating) then time to begin to regaining fitness.
Questions for you:
Do you run races as long runs?
Have you ever run with a pace group?