As I said in my training log on Sunday, last week I was sick. Before getting sick, I was confident my fitness showed I could hold a 1:25 paced half marathon, if not faster. After getting sick on Tuesday, I did n’t know how I would run. I didn’t have “taper” sickness, but had a bug that caused me to skipped a couple of days of running including my speed workout. It’s not surprising, colds and the flu are going around. It caused me to arrive at the starting line feeling sluggish and lethargic versus ready to race.
By the title you can see I was able to run a 1:25 but I keep questioning how much faster could I have run if I hadn’t been sick? Ultimately, there are many more things to worry about than looking hindsight at a race.
One of my friends and bloggers, Sarah came late on Friday and spent the night. I was excited because I haven’t seen her in a year! We ended up waking up early and were out the door by 6:15. The race started at 7:30 and we had no issues parking, checking bags and using the restrooms.
At 7:30 the race was off, and it was truly one of the most humble race starts I’ve ever had. During the first mile, dozens of people ran by me. It was crowded and next to impossible to pass or be passed. I ran the first mile in 6:25.
During the second mile, I felt something on my shoe. I knew the feeling, and my shoe was coming untied. Personally it wasn’t worth it to me to run an entire half marathon with an untied shoe. As annoying as it was, I stopped, hopped onto the sidewalk and tied my shoe. I stayed completely relaxed because if I panicked or tried to rush, it would have made the situation worse. The rest of the mile felt as though I was playing catch up. I remembered the people I was around and was trying to catch up to them (6:54).
The third mile felt as though I settled back into pace. We headed back towards the start of the race. It was great to see crowds again and to my surprise my watch beeped a 6:18.
During the fourth mile, we saw the leaders heading back. It was truly incredible to watch so many athletes on their journey to qualify for Olympic Trials. I believe 45+ athletes qualified through the half! It gave me a lot of motivation, and I forgot about my personal race.
It was during the fifth mile that I finally felt like I was gaining space around me to breath and packs were separating. I found myself running with a pack of a few people. The race began to head around the Schuylkill River. It’s an 8ish mile loop and I have run there several times, and I knew the last miles would finish with a small incline. The fifth mile was flat mile, and my focus was to get to the halfway point (6:34).
The 6th mile of a half marathon is usually motivating to me because it signals the halfway point is near. A few week ago, Bart Yasso talked about “working the course”. That is something I’ve been trying to do. It was flat and open, so I stayed focused and tried to keep my pace. I ran a 6:18.
The next few minutes brought a lot of reinforcement. My 10k was a 40:30. That’s my fastest 10k in a while. I hit the halfway point is 43:00 minutes. I felt extremely motivated because I knew I was on track for my fastest half in a year and a half despite still not feeling great. I smiled throughout the entire mile and ran a 6:24. Why the race photographers weren’t there…I don’t know.
Both mile 8 and 9 were lonely miles. During mile 9 we went over the bridge and began heading back towards the start. Mile 9 was my slowest actual running mile, and I ran it 6:54. It was the same as mile 2, but I stopped to tie my shoe during the second mile.
I hit the 10-mile point in 1:05.24. That is faster than my Broad Street time this past May. I’m normally motivated after mile 10 because it means a 5k is left. I calculated that if I ran a 20:30 last 5k I would be around 1:26. I stayed around the same people I had been running around for the majority of the race. I ran mile 10 in 6:34.
Mile 11 is usually the mile in a half marathon that makes or breaks me. It’s close enough to the end that you are hurting but not close enough that you have an incredible blast of energy. This mile was no different, and as we crossed into mile 11, I could see the towers in Center City where the end was. It was so close yet so far. I managed to stay focused and just power through.
I hit mile 12, at just over 1:18. I thought I had a shot at going under 1:26 so I blocked everything out and went for it. I wasn’t feeling great, and it was a painful mile. The 12th mile was spent completely focused on finishing the race. By the time I knew it, I hit mile 13.
The last .1 is uphill. For a very flat course, it’s hard to fault a .1 uphill finish. To give you a perspective my last .1 was 7:00-minute pace and I was powering to the finish.
I crossed the line in 1:25.45 and 78th female overall as well as 24th in my age group.
On the surface, this looks like a great time for me. It’s two minute and a half minutes faster than the Runners World Half Marathon. My last 5k was faster than many 5k races I’ve done, and it shows a lot of progression.
However, I do know I ran this race not feeling the best and have a lot more to give. My next half marathon will be the Philadelphia half November 22. It’s a harder course, and the weather is unpredictable, but I do have a few more weeks to train. My goal is race under 1:25 there. Until then, I’ll continue the 5k train. This race is bittersweet for me, I’m happy with my progression, but I am looking forward to racing when my body and legs feel good.
Questions for you:
Have you run a RnR race?
Where is the most crowded place you’ve ever been?
To be honest, this start was one of the most crowded. I’ve been to a few crowded concerts as well.