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New York City Marathon Race Recap (3:07.15)

New York City Marathon Race Recap (3:07.15)

New York…New York.

This recap will be long. It hasn’t been a secret after my last marathon I said I was tired of them and had no interest in marathoning. So for over 3 years, I didn’t. Then the opportunity to run New York in the sub-elite corral presented itself, and I knew I would kick myself for not taking it. I was nervous, and I knew, and I would be the slowest person in the corral, but I decided to go for it. Spoiler, I have no regrets.

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It moved me because I’m here.

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The morning itself was just as great as the marathon, if not better. I got to be around the best of the best. We boarded the bus and were off to Ocean Breeze. Initially, I thought being at the Ocean Breeze track would be ideal because if it rained or was inclement weather, I would stay drier. The weather was beautiful, and I spent about 3 hours just hanging out and watching elites and other sub-elites warm up. Not every person warmed up, and I was on the team no warmups (Running 26.2 miles is enough for me).  It was very relaxed and peaceful which made it hard to think…I’m going to run my 3rd marathon soon.

Since many people asked, I ate a waffle at 5 am, and then a bagel around 8 am. I get hungry in the morning and starting a race at 9:50, I knew it was the best option for me.  It’s probably a lot of food for most people, but I don’t like running on an empty stomach.

When I went to go pin on my bib, I realized OMG my pins had fallen out of my bag.  So like a goon, I had a race bib but no pins. I hung my head in shame and asked one of the volunteers (who was actually talking to Jared Ward) if they had any and they were able to get me some.

By 9:20, we were off to the Verazzano Bridge. We got back on the bus, and when we got off, I felt like I had entered a whirlwind. People were shouting, get to the bridge, drop your stuff off now.  NOW! The excitement finally dawned on me, that yes I was about to run 26.2 miles.

The professional men stood in front of us, then us, then about 30 feet behind corral 1. Since I was the slowest person in the corral, I stood at the back. It felt kind of cool to say; I am the slowest one here.  I chatted with several other women, many of whom, were going to attempt a sub 3. I knew that could be me someday, but New York was not that day.

All of a sudden, they were filming us, and the gun went off.  The first mile is up over the Verazanno Bridge. It’s 100% uphill because you are climbing a bridge. I ran a 7:28.  Many people from the first corral were flying by me, which was fine. I just stayed in a straight line and did my thing. I don’t really ever feel pressure anymore when people run by.  They do them…I do me…

The second mile was my fastest, as it was down the bridge, and I ran a 6:36. I knew it was downhill but seeing a 6:36 made me feel a bit better.  I didn’t have a time goal and I knew with the constant climbs, my miles would be everywhere.

New York City Marathon me running

For the next few miles, I settled into a groove. My goal was to make make it to mile 8. I knew that was where I had the highest chance of seeing friends, although I didn’t.  The next several miles of New York are also the flattest. I averaged between 6:45-6:55.  I could see the 3: 00-hour pacer up ahead but I knew I wouldn’t be running 6:50s up the Queensboro Bridge and in Central Park. I briefly thought about joining the group, but then ultimately decided it would probably cause me to blow up.

So I just kind of trecked along. I took my first Maurten Gel around mile 5. I have a stomach of steel, so most gels do the same thing for me. I felt the same as if I had taken a Gu. I didn’t need a gel at mile 5, but I planned to take them every 5 miles which seems to have worked for me.

Around mile 6, I felt my shoe untie a bit. I also had to use the bathroom, and some people will pee on themselves, but that is not me. I decided when my shoe finally came untied I would tie it.

When I hit mile 8, I saw no one I knew. I wasn’t really surprised, but the crowds gave me life.  I wasn’t bad, and I maintained miles in the 6:50s.

Somewhere around mile 9, my shoe came untied, even though I had double knotted it. I am a clumsy bafoon, and I won’t run any race with an untied shoe and hurt myself. I found an opening on the side and tied it. It took me a little longer than I had hoped because the double knot got wedged in there but I told myself, the more you “panic”, the longer it will take.  I dropped my gloves as well.

I had planned to use the bathroom too but there wasn’t one so I just continued on and never did.  With my stop, I logged a 7:22 mile. I asked NYRR to pause the clock for me while I tied my shoe…but they didn’t so I didn’t pause my Garmin either.

New York City Marathon me running

I hit mile 10 in just over 1:10. The next two miles, were two of the quietest from the crowds. I took another gel around mile 10. I grabbed Gatorade at every mile I didn’t take a gel, and water when I did.  I was mentally struggling for the next two miles, thinking about how far I needed to run.

Around mile 12, I snapped out of it because I knew the half mark was coming up soon. I reached 13.1 in 1:32 which was only a minute slower than the Air Force half marathon. I knew I wasn’t going to negative split and I would probably struggle to run another 1:32. I decided that maybe somewhere between 3:05-3:10 was probably doable. It would be a PR, but also it would be on a much more difficult course than my PR in Pheonix.

New York City Marathon me running

After 13.1, I began mentally prepping myself for the Queensboro Bridge. I stand by the thought that during my first marathon, mile 15 was one of the hardest miles I’ve ever run in my life. I needed to mentally prep myself to know, it would hurt.

Mile 14 clicked off in 6:55 and then I saw the Queensboro Bridge ready to be conquered. Ok…here we go.  Mentally in mind, I just blocked off the Queensboro Bridge as being “almost done”.  My mind just thought, when I was there, I was essentially done…which is dumb because after you still have 10 more miles.

New York City marathon me running

We began climbing…and climbing. It was quiet because there are no crowds on the bridge. Suddenly, I looked around and realized I had begun passing people.  It reminded me of when Des Linden said about the Boston Marathon: Well I wasn’t feeling great, but no one probably was, and I was feeling better than other people.  It was true, and I passed a lot of people up the bridge.  I hit ran the mile in about 7:30 which I was pleased with.

As we came down on 1st avenue, the crowds were incredible. During the downhill, I felt my inner thighs and quads locking up. It reminded me of my first marathon, but also my second. I never really felt good during either after mile 16. Was this it? Was I done?

But as I continued, I realized I felt decent.  Both miles 17 and 18 were relatively flat, and I saw Danielle who was motivating. I ran both in 6:52 and 6:56.

From then on, I began mentally counting down. First I counted down to mile 20. I reached mile 20 and said: “just a 10k to go”.  I knew last time, it was a very long 10k.

This time I didn’t feel as bad. The next couple of miles went without much note. I didn’t feel awful, but I didn’t feel like the beginning of the race either.

Somewhere around mile 22, I saw some friends including Hayley.  I waved and it’s where this photo was taken.

One of the prouder moment is that I was able to see and wave to so many friends from 20 onward. I couldn’t do that and in fact, I don’t remember the last 10k of the race from 2013. I guess I had tunnel vision.

When I reached 24, I thought, just another 5k to go.  Hollie you like 5ks.  Although one of the hardest and longest climbs comes around mile 24 and I ran a 7:27.  I knew friends would be between miles 25 to the finish, so I gazed along Central Park looking.  My legs burned as the neverending climb in central park continued.

I saw my dad around mile 25 and even waved to him too.  I’ve never been that coherent to wave to someone at mile 25 so I felt good about it.

New York City Marathon me running

The last mile felt as though it took forever.  It was my slowest mile, and I ran a 7:34.  I saw the sign “800 to go” and began sprinting (or what I thought mentally was).  I passed a man who was wearing too short of shorts which weren’t covering…anything. :O

New York City Marathon me running

OMG, that is two laps around a track.  I begin powering through.  Then 400 to go.  Then I crossed and averaged a 6:34 last .2.

New York City Marathon me running

I crossed in 3:07.15 which is my fastest marathon by over 7 minutes.  It’s 10 minutes faster than the last time I ran New York.  I’m proud of it.  A few days later, I’m not all that sore and I feel like I was sorer after both of the trail races I did this summer.

New York City marathon me running

Now that I’ve run a marathon and I had a positive experience, I do believe I could run faster at some point.  I don’t foresee myself running another marathon soon, but I do know eventually I’ll run another one. Yes, I have qualified for Boston and I don’t take that for granted, but that isn’t a race that interests me right now. I can barely plan 2 months ahead, let alone a year and a half.

New York City Marathon me running

I still like the half marathon and 5k better, but I am glad to have started and finished a marathon training cycle healthy and with a PR.

Questions for you:

Have you run New York before?

What is your favorite race distance?

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Training: Taper and a Marathon PR

Training: Taper and a Marathon PR

Last week was a good week.

Because it was the week of the marathon, which I Pred. I’ll write an entire recap later, for the most part, I’m happy with the week of training and tapering itself.

For the last two weeks, I’ve dealt with a lot of calve tightness.  Nothing injury-wise, but my legs have felt very stiff.  It isn’t something taper “made better”, and they were still stiff before the race. I will say, they felt the best they’ve felt in the last two weeks.

Monday: Easy 30 minutes
Tuesday: Easy 10 miles
Wednesday: OFF
Thursday: Easy 30 minutes
Friday: Off
Sat: Easy 20 minutes
Sunday: NYCM 26.2 miles (3:07.15)

Thoughts:

All of my runs were easy and without a watch. It might have been a little overboard to run 10, the Tuesday before New York but it was fun to chat with Skip, and it didn’t feel bad.

After Tuesday, I kept repeating to myself you can only do too much but to be honest, it wasn’t that hard to even cut mileage. Between work and life, I didn’t have a lot of extra time to squeeze running in. Sure I could wake up at 4 am to run more miles, but I would rather sleep and taper more.

My legs seem to loosen up more as the week went on. After the Atlantic City half two weeks ago, I felt great. The few days after, it didn’t feel as though I had even raced a half marathon. Then my calves just felt like they locked up. It was like no amount of stretching could loosen them up.  I wasn’t “worried” because I knew I wasn’t injured, it was just frustrating because I didn’t want to feel stiff.

NYCM: 3:07.15

My last marathon Phoenix was a 3:14.59 and my first marathon, NYCM in 2013 was a 3:17. So it was a PR. I’ve always been more proud of my race at NY, but that is neither here nor there.

On race day, my calves felt better than they had the week before. I didn’t feel great, but I felt as great as I could be. I have a lot of thoughts about my fitness going into NY and I know I’m not in the same fitness as when I ran a 1:22 this winter.

The race itself was amazing. I will probably have my longest race recap yet about it. Essentially, the miles clicked by pretty effortlessly.  I had to stop and tie my shoe (which I did double knot) around mile 9 but other than that I felt good the entire race.

Since I was in the sub-elite corral, I spent about the first half of the race being passed by hundreds of people. It’s kind of funny to just have people consistently whirling by you like you’re standing still but I ran my own race. Starting out too fast is usually not a problem I have in races anymore…my mentality is you do you…I do me…

The first 8 miles were just focused on getting to mile 8. That is where I knew the highest chance of me seeing someone I knew spectating was…but I didn’t see anyone. After that, I just kept trucking along.

Around mile 9, my shoe came untied, so I pulled over to the side and tied it. I’ve always found in those situations if you stress and panic it takes more time. I wasn’t really panicked but it took me nearly 30 seconds. I don’t think it was entirely lost time because I caught a lot of people I was running with.

I hit the halfway point in 1:32.15.

The next goal was to make it to the Queensboro bridge around mile 15-16. In 2013, the Queensboro bridge destroyed me, and I honestly wondered how I would ever run 10 more miles. This year, I was ready, and it became the turning point of the race of when I started passing people.

As we came down, I passed even more people. I still was slowing down, but not as much as many. As I started to pass more people, I became more confident.  The next miles just counted down until the finish. I was smiling, waving, and sidefiving all of my friends. In fact, every photo people caught of me was after mile 20.

The last 10k was difficult, and the hill in Central Park was no joke.  In fact, since I was hurting so bad last time, I don’t even remember it.  I saw my dad around mile 25 and just powered through. I’ve never run a marathon where I’ve been able to raise my arms and wave at mile 25. In fact until yesterday, I don’t like I’ve run a marathon I could wave at mile 18.

me nycm marathon

I crossed in 3:07.15 and felt good. I never felt like I overexerted myself and I finished smiling, happy, and strong. That isn’t something I can say after any other marathon.

Here are all my splits via my Garmin so take it with a grain of salt.

nycm marathon splits

Many people have asked me…now you’ll do lots of marathons and the answer is no. I still like 5ks and half marathons better, but I do like the marathon a little more now. I don’t foresee myself traveling to marathons over halves for a while if ever. I’ll do another marathon again, but I don’t know when.  I also don’t have any plans to do Boston anytime soon, because like NY it’s hard to plan for a race a year out.

I’m proud I started and finished the training cycle and healthy.   My PR was just icing on the cake.  Now I’m taking 2 weeks off. I’ll still be around but my body needs time to recover, and my mind does too.

Posts from the Week:

 October Training

On Cloudrush Shoe Review

Questions for you:
How was your week of training?
What body parts gets the most for you, running wise?

For me, it’s always my calves.

September Training:

September Training:

Where did September go? It’s hard to believe the month is already over but I think I say that about most months now. Training for September wasn’t perfect but it wasn’t bad either. I’ve gotten quality runs in which has been most important.

Range of Paces: 6:05-11:15-untimed
Rest Days: 6
Races:
Boothbay Half Marathon (1:29.50)
Air Force Half Marathon (1:31.12)
Cherry Hill Library Book It 6:30 pace
Dragon Run 5k (19:28)
Longest Run: 20 miles
Workouts: 6

Thoughts:

This month didn’t go exactly as I had hoped, but honestly no month really ever does with running or life. There are always hiccups in life, training, and everything else.

I was actually hoping to be more fit than I am right now, my fitness hasn’t come back as quickly. My endurance is there but I don’t feel sharp. My primary goal is to start and finish New York Marathon healthy. If I can do that, I will feel satisfied. I don’t have a secret time goal.  As someone who hasn’t run a marathon in a few years, I am treating it my first one again.

The first half of the month was spent getting ready for my husband’s deployment. He was gone for a lot beforehand anyway, and it was a whirlwind of chaos leading up to it.  Luckily, we were able to spend time with each other on a couple of short trips including Maine and Dayton. The middle of September went by with no major incident, but last week ended up bringing more anxiety than I would have hoped or liked. (But really, who wants to have anxiety?).

My goal for October is to get 2, 20 mile runs in. One needs to be next weekend at the Crawlin Crab and I’ll figure the second. Other than that, I’m living a relatively low key, and boring life. I wake up, go for runs, go to work, go to diners and see friends when I have the time, and go home. People think bloggers have “thrilling lives” and believe me I don’t! I am looking forward to seeing my parents this upcoming weekend though.

Posts from the Month:
Shoe Reviews:
On Cloudace Shoe Review
Brooks Levitate 2 Shoe Review

Training:
NYCM Training Thoughts
I have a Fall Goal Race
A Summer of Fun

Hiking:
Exploring Wells State Park (Sturbridge, MA)

Questions for you:

How was your month of September?

What are you currently training for?

The Dragon Run (19:28)

The Dragon Run (19:28)

After a “not great” week, I wasn’t sure how the Dragon Run would go. I’ve run the race for the last two years.  In 2016, it was the first time of the season breaking 19.  Last year, I ran around 19 too.  This year was much slower for me, but the first year I won, so I have no complaints. Anyway, as I mentioned in my training log, I had a lot of anxiety the last week, and it took a toll on me both mentally and physically. I burnt the candle at too many ends and just felt exhausted for most of the week.

I got to the start around 7:30, warmed up and got to the start around 8:25. I like the Dragon Run because it has a lot of high school kids.  It’s a very fast race.  Usually, the cross country team doesn’t participate because they have a meet.  This year they were there.  This meant, there was no way I was toeing the line on the first row because the Kingway Team has both males and females that are much faster.

The dragon run kingsway highschool

The race got off, and I immediately found high schoolers sprinting by me. Some I knew would fade, but others I knew were stellar runners. Kingsway is one of the best cross country teams in South Jersey, and I would get my butt handed to me by many of them. My legs felt stiff, I felt better than the previous week, but I didn’t feel 100%.  I hit the first mile in 6:20 and thought if I can hold that I’ll be pleased because it would be under 20 minutes.

Around the first mile, I looked over in the field to see wild turkeys. I laughed at said: look at those guys, but the high schoolers around me weren’t amused. The second mile has a 180 turn around, and I got caught behind a large pack of people which made it hard to turn. I almost stopped while turning.

While not ideal, it wasn’t the worst thing. I powered around the turn and headed into the second half of the race. There was a pack of three high school women all running side by side. It seemed as though they were doing a workout and they made it impossible to pass. It reminded me of college all over again. I hit the second mile in 6:17 and was pleased with that.

The dragon run kingsway highschool

I wanted to win, and I knew the difference of me winning or getting fourth was the 5 feet in front of me and pack of high school girls. With about half a mile to go, I floored it. My kick is one of the worst so it could end badly or well depending on how the girls responded.  If you are ever within .25 of a race with me, you’ll probably outkick me. I’ve attempted to work on it.  I knew it was a risky move, but I went for it and ran my third mile in 6:05.

The last .1 is hard because you can see the finish line from over 1/4 mile away. It feels as though it never gets closer. I was hurting hard, but I knew I just needed to hold on.  I knew they were on my tail and I crossed the finish in 19:28 and won by a few seconds. I was pleased, and I felt good about my effort. I had to work hard, but I’m happy with how it went.

The dragon run kingsway highschool

Questions for you: 

Do you have a strong kick?

What is a race you do most years? 

NYCM Training Thoughts

NYCM Training Thoughts

In 2013, I blogged about my training cycle for my first marathon, NYCM.  My first of two, and my best.  In the last two weeks, I’ve read every post I’ve written about the cycle.  Blogging is helpful that way that you can see exactly what you were thinking on some random Wednesday in September.

me running

After scouring old blog posts, I’ve concluded I’m a different runner and racer since then. First, I don’t run “as much” mileage as a few years ago.  Before NYCM the first time, I lived in Virginia, then Texas, and then moved to NJ just before the marathon (yes, all in 20 weeks LOL).

While spending most of the training cycle in Texas, I didn’t have a lot to do, was still relatively new to running, and ended up peaking at 100 miles.  Yes, a 100-mile week.  Just reading that now exhausts me!  With only 5 weeks to go, I can tell you a 100-mile week will not happen.  Realistically, I don’t know if it ever will again.

I’ve learned doing more speed work, races, and fewer miles has kept me healthier and just happier with running.  Running less miles, I have time to live my life without dedicating it to running.  Maybe I’ll never run my fastest that way, but running your fastest is useless if you are injured on race day.

Anyway, as I mentioned on Thursday, my only goal is to start and finish the marathon happy. I haven’t run a marathon in 3.5 years, and I’m not an expert or pro. I’m still a newbie in the distance.  While I don’t have a coach, working in run specialty I’m able to get advice from several knowledgeable people.

This training cycle I do know I’ll be doing a few different things:

  • Racing more: Back then, I just logged mileage in Texas and yes I “ran all of the miles,” my body was just stale and forgot how to run fast.  In the 20 weeks, I only ran 2 or 3 races.  In the next several weeks, I’ll be running 5ks most weekends.
  • Fewer miles: I might peak at 70ish.  Last week, I ran about 60.  70 isn’t a magic number, and I won’t feel bad if my highest mileage never gets there.
  • More Cross-Training/Core: I have more free time in the next 2 months (not because my husband is gone, but because my outside responsibilities have decreased as well…). Instead of being busy many mornings before work, it’s been cut down 2-3 mornings per week. I still plan to cross train (right now I’m enjoying hiking) once a week as well as taking a rest day once per week.  I’ve mentioned my core routine before, but I like the Nike Training Club App on cell phones. You can choose 15-60 minute workouts.

Two Key Races:

10/6 Crawlin’ Crab Half Marathon in Hampton, VA  I ran this last year, and it was hot. I’m hoping it won’t be as hot, but in any case, it will be good to see my family in Virginia and friends.

Crawlin Crab half marathon hampton

10/21 Atlantic City Half Marathon: I like the AC half marathon race series, and I believe they do a good job. I think this will provide me with a better idea of time goals. I know I won’t be in 1:22 half marathon shape by then, but I would like to see where I’m at to make better goals for New York.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask. I’m not a seasoned marathoner and just thinking about the next 5 weeks both exhausts and excites me. I’ve run close to 50 half marathons and 2 marathons (neither of which I think are anywhere in my top 10 best races).  I am nervous but excited. I have been excited to run a marathon in a long time, which is why I haven’t.

Questions for you:

Have you run New York?  Did you like it?

Do you run your best with more or less miles? 

NYCM Training: Workouts and 5ks

NYCM Training: Workouts and 5ks

This was the first week that the weather felt as though it broke. It’s been so hot the last few weeks, so it was nice for better weather. Unfortunately, towards the end of the week life, fatigue, and everything else caught up with me. I was left both exhausted and tired. No big deal and I was still able to get quality races and long runs in.

Monday: Easy 60 minutes
Tuesday: Easy 60 minutes
Wednesday: 6X800s with 800 jog between (total 12 miles)
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Easy 60 minutes
Saturday: Book It 5k (2.9-3 miles) average 6:30 pace (total 9 miles)
Sunday: Long Run (18 miles)
Total: 58.5 miles

As I mentioned last week, when I run easy runs for an hour, I just average them to be 6.5 miles. They might be 6.1 or 6.8, but it doesn’t really matter. I just run easy, and the pace isn’t that important to me.

Workout Wednesday: 6X800 with 800 jog in between

I wanted to switch it up from doing 400s so ran 800s.  I do all of my workouts on roads.  It was perfect weather, and while I didn’t feel great, I didn’t feel terrible either.  I was happy with the workout, and with a warmup and cooldown, I ended up with about 12 miles for the day.

Book It 5k:

The Book It 5k is out of the Cherry Hill Library. It’s a great cause, and I enjoyed it last year.

The course was short, and I didn’t feel great but was able to run about 6:30 miles. I think I would have probably finished around 20 minutes which untapered is where I thought I would be. It was my first 5k since June, and I have forgotten how painful they are.  It’s hard to get a good idea of where I am fitness wise with the 5k because that course was short, I felt like garbage, and it was a mix of terrain.

cherry hill book it 5k

I look forward to doing more 5ks under my belt. I probably won’t taper for many, if any, but they will be good workouts.

Long Run: 18 miles
2 miles easy.
4 miles (average 7:07).
4 miles easy.
4 miles (average 7:05).
4 miles easy.

I would have liked to have been closer to 7 for harder effort, however, I racing the day before that didn’t happen.  I’m happy with the long run and realistically, my goal is to stay healthy from start to finish of the race. It was raining but it felt a lot better than the heat.

Thoughts:  

In all, I’m happy with my week.  I’ll probably plan to have something similar next week.  I don’t plan to do a lot of 20+ mile runs as I don’t want to get injured.  I will do at least 2 more 20 mile runs but I have no plans to run much longer than that (if longer at all).

Posts from the Week:

Air Force Half Marathon (1:31.12)

I Have a Fall Goal Race

Vanilla Almond Recovery Protein Smoothie Recipe

Questions for you:

Do you prefer shorter races or longer?

How was your week of training?   

Boothbay Harborfest Half Marathon (1:29.50)

Boothbay Harborfest Half Marathon (1:29.50)

The Boothbay Harborfest Half Marathon was the toughest half marathon I’ve run for a lot of reasons.  There was no major event that made it tough but a lot of small things.  Before I dive into a recap this is what made the race tough for me personally:

  • The Elevation profile. Yes, I’ve climbed mountains, but there was not a section of the race that was flat.  It was either steep or downhill. Boothbay harborfest half marathon
  • There were sections of trails that I wasn’t expecting. With a minute to go, the race director announced: “Not sure if this is the map, but there is some trail to the course.  Watch out for loose rock”.  I can handle trail, but I wasn’t expecting it, and it was probably some sort of cross country course we ran on.
  • There was no Gatorade and minimal water stops (some not even manned). I don’t take gels during a half, but I do take Gatorade at every stop. In the heat, I needed Gatorade.
  • The roads were not closed (in either direction), and around mile 7 I was clipped by a car. I didn’t get hurt, or even fall, but it knocked the wind out of my sails. We also had to go around vehicles.  The roads are 35-50 mph roads and should be closed. Sure it makes the race more expensive, but it was dangerous.  I will pay more, knowing that I’m safer.

That being said it sounds negative and I’m not.  It’s just factors that affected me.  I would probably do the race again if I were in the area. I’m both happy and proud of my time. 

 So where to start?  If you follow me on Instagram, then you know I pretty much live videoed most of it.  From finding the start to after the finish.

The race started at 8 am.  We walked from the school to the start which was maybe about a quarter of a mile.  It wasn’t chipped timed, and the race director made sure to let us know! I lined up and noticed several people who seemed like they would be fast.  They were.

During the first mile, I ran with a few people including another female.  There was one female out ahead, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to catch her.  Even though it was only the “first mile” she was booking.  Around .5, we turned and went towards East Boothbay.  I had gotten dinner in East Boothbay the night before and had actually mentioned, wow it’s hilly here.  We climbed, and it was a very steep climb.  My legs were not happy.  I ran a 6:58 and thought I would be ecstatic if that was my overall pace.

The next mile was me running alone on the trails.  It was nice because they were narrow and I had no interest in running fast surrounded by others, through trails with lots of loose rocks.

Despite being on the trail, I ran a 6:35 and 6:46 mile.  I think it was because those were probably the flattest miles we had during the entire race. There were by no means flat, but they were flatter.

Around mile 4, I realized how much fluid I was losing through sweat.  I rely on Gatorade or on course drinks during races.  If I had known there was zero fuel with electrolytes and minimal stops, I think I would have brought a gel.

We turned a corner and headed the way we came and over the pedestrian walkway bridge.  The same bridge I had taken a photo with my race bib the day before. They didn’t close the bridge, and we were caught weaving in and out of people just enjoying the harbor.  The second water stop came, but there were no trashcans. The woman just said to hold onto the cup until I found a trashcan.

Luckily there was a trashcan shortly up the road. After the bridge came a steep incline onto the streets of Boothbay.  The roads were not closed and not flat either.  I ran the next couple of miles in 6:44 and 6:46. I was pleasantly surprised because they weren’t easy miles and I was already overheating.

Mile 6-7 is where everything happened.  There was a massive climb that I started very heavy breathing. I knew my body was beginning to overheat and at that point, I nearly mentally gave up. I know people say that, but if we close to start, I would have just called it a day.  Luckily at the top, we had about a tenth of a mile of flat.  I caught my breath, and it was all I needed.  I ran mile 6 in 7:20 and one of my slowest half marathon miles in a while.

Then between mile 7-8, a car mirror clipped my arm.  The roads weren’t closed, but I also wasn’t running in the middle of the road.  The road itself was going somewhere between 30-40 mph. Between the two miles, it was enough to knock the wind out of my sails. I didn’t fall or even stop, but mentally I was like: WTF am I even doing here.

Once I reached mile 8, I knew the race was over halfway done. That always mentally makes me feel better. I focused on making it to mile 10. The next two miles went by without anything significant.  There were rolling hills, weaving in out and cars, and hoping I was going the right way.  For being a small race and running about 7 miles alone, it was well marked, and I never found myself wondering: am I going the right way?

I reached mile 10 around 1:08 and told myself, okay Hollie, you might be able to break 1:30 if you work it.  I didn’t really know what kind of hills the next 5k would bring.

I grabbed water from an unmanned tabled and just trucked along. I ran mile 10 in 6:55 and began counting down the miles.  My body was tired.  I could feel the effects of the heat and lack of anything with substance.  I told myself I had 20 minutes left in me.

Mile 11 seemed to go by without any incident either and all of a sudden I found myself at mile 12.  I thought about racing the RnR VA Beach where you turn the corner at mile 12 and can see the finish line for nearly a mile. You are running in the humidity staring at the finish line. I pictured myself doing that.  I was a little dazed because when I actually paid attention to the race I was in, I realized we were climbing the longest hill of the entire race. Who designed that!?

After that, we turned onto a gravel trail and headed towards the finish line. By 12.75, I was just focused on me and finishing. I knew the finish line was on the wide open field and I began mentally preparing myself to watch my footing.  I would jog it in if it meant not hurting myself.

My husband was on the field cheering, and I finished up.  I probably had more left to “sprint it in” but it wasn’t worth it to me, and I focused on my footing in the field.

I saw the clock ticking away and my official time was 1:29.50.  I didn’t stop my watch until a few seconds later.

Thoughts:

In all, I’m happy with my race and my effort.  It was a tough day on a tough course, and I couldn’t be more pleased.  As I mentioned, I have typically run RnR Va Beach at the end of the summer anywhere between 1:28-1:31 and I strongly believe my effort on this course was a little quicker than that range.

tim and i

Questions for you:

What is your favorite half marathon?

How did you celebrate Labor Day Weekend? 

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