This week brings me halfway through my half marathon training. With 6 weeks to go I already feel stronger than I did when I ran this particular half marathon last year. I decided to somewhat create my own 12 week plan because I am definitely not a beginner but I don’t consider myself advanced either. I regularly run up to 5 miles so I began at 6 miles and added 1 mile every other Sunday to my long runs. Once I reached 8 miles, I added 1 mile every week. Now at week 7 of training, Hubby and I decided to take a long run week off and do some serious cross training (see other post for the entirety of this cycle training that almost made my buns fall off).
As per my training shoes, my Brooks Ravenna 6 (second pair ’cause they are just the bees knees in my opinion) are holding up great! Treads are still looking great 100 miles in. No injuries so far to complain about other than a couple nice blisters at the very beginning of my training which I blame on my treadmill runs. No shin splints this year and very little calf pain.
This year I am attempting the same goal I had last year although it is far more attainable now. Being my first half marathon last year, I really tried NOT to aim for a time. My goal needed to be finishing and I needed to be proud of that. I truly feel that should be the goal of anyone attempting a new distance race, especially once you start hitting over 10 miles. I had hoped to finish in under two hours. It was a big goal for me as I was generally running at 8:45-9:30 pace last year. This year, I feel far better about hitting my goal. I am faster, stronger, and dare I say a smarter runner. Knowing when to kicking it on and back off is absolutely key in making race goals.
2016 UNION HOSPITAL RUN FOR HOME HALF MARATHON – “MY FIRST”
I was very anxious leading up to the race that morning. That feeling of “Oh no! I have to pee again! Wait… I JUST peed?!” It was a crisp day for April, starting out somewhere around 32 degrees. The drones went up in the air, I found the sign of my intended pace, and felt that adrenaline rush as the gun went off. The first 5 miles were cake. I kept just under a 9 pace and felt great. At mile 5.5 my mom was waiting to take pictures and let me know that Bryce was about a half mile ahead of me and doing great! It was that little burst I needed because I was about to start hitting the hills of the course.
Hill 1… conquered. Mile 6 was coming down the hill and I was paced to make my two hour goal on the nose. Miles 6-9 I began to start feeling the course getting to me. The hills of this course are no joke. The three large hills are at miles 5.5, 8.25, and 9.5. There is also a crappy mediocre but somewhat steep hill at mile 6.5. At mile 7.5 was a fellow run buddy’s family cheering us on. The hill at 8.25 miles took a lot out of me as it is the longest concentration of elevation. I made up some time on the downhill pacing around 6:45-7. At the mile 9 water stop I was absolutely zoned. Someone called out my name and told me I was doing a great job. I had no idea at the time who it was, but it was exactly what I needed. (I later found out it was someone I had recently befriended at a mountain biking event.)
The final hill looming in front of me at mile 9.5 felt like the third layer of hell. I had pushed my pace far too hard going up the other hills and I knew it. Huffing and cursing, I made it up the final hill. I was relieved that 99% of my remaining miles were flat. Alas, hitting mile 10 I felt my body breaking down. I believe most of this was mental seeing as I’d at the time never reached over 10.44 miles. I crushed on but felt my pace slowing drastically. Around mile 11 I felt that giving up and just walking back was the best option. At this point my pace fell to almost 11 and I had to give myself a good talking to. There was one last slight incline at this point and once I made it to the top I felt home free. Passing Union Hospital there was a band playing outside that gave me that final wind I needed in my sails. Mile 12-13 felt as though it took an eternity. Hearing my phone ping from the band on my arm at mile 13 almost made me cry. I rounded the last turn and into the local football stadium I went. As I looked up to see that beautiful blow-up finish line waving in the breeze I saw the clock beside it said 2:01:00. I had missed my goal. For about a millisecond I was sad. Then I remembered as I crossed that line, that I had conquered a much bigger goal and I needed to be proud of what I did. My mom and my husband (who finished with a time of 1:45 for his first half) were waiting at the finish line for me and soon came all of our friends. We celebrated as each one crossed that line we had spent months preparing for. It was an absolutely amazing feeling and one I will never forget no matter how many finish lines I cross. Afterwards we had an amazing spread of food prepared by a friend’s wonderful family who welcomed us all with open arms. All of us, sweaty and tired and SO ready for all of that food.
**Note my amazing (yet possibly insane) cousin did the 5 mile walk associated with this half marathon at 39 weeks pregnant. Little Miss Cecilia graced us with her presence about a week later**