On April 2, 2017, I accomplished my goal of a sub-2 hour half marathon. It was a long journey of training both physically and mentally. There was 392 feet of elevation throughout the course and for the most part I was not able to train with my husband who has been my training partner for the last three years. I began training for the 2017 Union Hospital Run For Home Half Marathon in January with my husband. Very soon into training he succumbed to a foot injury and was no longer able to run with me. Mentally, this was a blow to me as he has been my running partner for the last 3 years. After a couple weeks of solo long runs a girlfriend of mine started training with me.
Fast forward to April and we both were more than ready. Being our second half marathon, it felt a lot different than the previous. The nerves for me were almost non-existent. As it is a hometown race, I was able to train all of my long runs on course. I believe this was a HUGE advantage. My body was comfortable with every hill being where it was in the course and I was used to the feelings at each mile. Kelly and I had decided that since we trained together we would try to stay together. A large group of our friends were running which made the event extra special this year. We had also taken part in a 10K the day prior to the half marathon running support for a few new girls who have begun running with us. Bryce was disappointed he was unable to run but decided to throw on his cycling gear and be our on course photographer.
As the race started, myself and two of my friends (consequently both named Kelly, pictured above right) started strong running an 8:17 pace. All three of us had our eyes on the same sub-2 hour prize. Due to the nature of the course, we decided to run the first 4-5 miles at a quicker pace to give ourselves plenty of time once we reached the hills. The first 4 miles were all below an 8:30 pace. At miles 6-8 we remained at an 8:40 pace which was far better than any of us imagined we would be able to maintain on the hills. Having Bryce waiting with the camera at mile 6.5 was a nice morale boost as well.
At mile 8 I had lost both Kelly’s. They both remained decently close behind me. I had dreaded hitting mile 10 as it was my first wall in last year’s race. Hitting mile 10 I merged with a group of absolutely wonderful people. They were hooting and hollering and cheering that we only had 3 more miles to go and the positivity brought me back from my mental block. I ran with a lady whom I didn’t know for the final 3 miles and she truly pushed me to the finish. (I later found her on Facebook to thank her for the push.)
Mile 12 was excruciating. There is a slight grade (I can’t even really call it a hill) that is not generally too bad…until you are between miles 11 and 12 and have already run 4 other large hills. As Bryce snapped the picture I told him it was starting to get hard. He assured me I was almost there and the wonderful woman I was running with just kept telling me how great I was doing. As I rounded the corner to hit mile 13 Bryce rode support with me for a few tenths. This gave me the second wind I needed and I actually ended up beating him back to the finish line.
All in all the second half marathon was FAR easier than the first. I believe the biggest advantages were #1 knowing that I could do it and #2 consistently training on the course. My finishing time was 1:54:07. A time that I am blown away by still almost a month after the fact. A sub-2 is a fete on any course but this is not an easy course and I was beyond proud of myself. I was also proud of all of my friends who completed. My training partner finished a 2:00:53 and our other friend Kelly (who is also now currently a training partner) finished at 1:59:02. Everyone gave it their all and I am proud of every one of them. Happy running everyone!