I ran the Polar Dash Half Marathon this morning, kicking off 2012 with a 4+ minute PR (sort of*).
- 1:40:33 (7:41 pace)
- 8/191 female
- 4/34 female 40 – 44 age group
- 53/396 overall
I wasn’t sure what to expect for this race today, given the last minute snow storm and the crazy wind that we woke up to. I almost didn’t bother to go to the race, when I let Norah out this morning and the wind nearly blew her away. But, I didn’t have anything else planned and I figured that I needed to get my long run in, so I could always just run it slow.
My plan, in ideal conditions, was to get a 1:42:44, which would have been a 2 minute PR (7:50). Coach had suggested taking the first 2 miles slow, at 8:00, and picking it up from there. BUT, when it ended up being so crazy slippery (seemingly) and windy, Coach posted on my FB page before the race that I should forget about trying to PR and just slow down and play it safe.
AWESOME start to the race when during the national anthem a bald eagle circled overhead and then flew off into the distance. Very cool!
Weather at the start was 27 degrees, with 20 – 25 mph winds, windchill about 11 degrees.
When gun sounded, I went out with the 1:45 pace group (8:01). I still wasn’t sure what I’d end up doing – being conservative or racing it. I decided to see what the road conditions were like. Turns out they were just fine. No real slippery spots. Snow in some areas, which made me have to slow down unless I could find a dry track to run in. But overall, the roads themselves were pretty clear. So, I stayed with the 1:45 pacer through mile 3. Then I decided to pick it up a bit and see what I could do.
About mile 4 I saw my internet, now real life, runner friend Shawn running on the sidewalk towards all the runners. I shouted out to him and he joined me. Thank goodness! He reminded me that he is THE BEST pacer. Ask Lora. He asked if I wanted company. Yes, please! I was feeling good and speeding up, but Shawn reeled me in and kept me around 7:50, telling me I could wait til the second loop to speed up. Guarantee if I was running on my own I would have crashed and burned. It was so nice to have Shawn telling stories and distracting me on the uphills, and reminding me to pick it up on the downhills. He left me at about mile 7, telling me he’d pick me up again about mile 10.
When I was on my own, from miles 7 – 10, I just kept reminding myself to take it one mile at a time and to try to stay right at 7:50. During these miles I felt like I was working, but not like I was really RACING.
When Shawn found me again, about mile 10, I was starting to get tired. My breathing was labored and maintaining 7:50 pace seemed much harder. It was great to have him there to distract me and push me on the uphill though. He commented several times that I look at my garmin alot while I run. MUST start ignoring that thing, relaxing and just focusing on running by feel. Part of the reason I was looking at it so much at this point though was because I did think the course measurements were off. When we passed the 11 mile mark and my garmin said 10.75, it actually motivated me to really keep with it, kick it in a bit and hang in there, because I knew that no matter what I’d PR and that there was a potential for a monster PR.
During the last mile Shawn told me to reel in the woman in front of me in Vibrams. Done. Passed her. During the last 1/4 mile I found another gear and sprinted past another lady. Woot! It felt so good to have energy at the end and be able to actually sprint towards the finish line (instead of the normal limp/crying that I do in marathons at the finish!). Last mile was at 7:35 pace.
Crossing the finish line and seeing 1:40:33 was an awesome feeling and bodes well for races in 2012! (That time predicts a 3:29 marathon finish; even when i account for the short course, the prediction tables say 3:33 for a marathon finish. This is SO inspiring considering we are literally only in week #1 of marathon training. Woot!)
* Although I’m not one to talk negative and put myself down, in the interest of full disclosure on this blog, my time really wasn’t this good. The course measured short. 12.85 miles, rather than 13.1. Not sure what the deal was, but I don’t think it was just my garmin, because others on the shuttle on the way back also said they were short. However, it WAS a certified course, so I’m going with this as my new HM PR (especially because I think in decent weather conditions, I could easily do this time). Still, even with the course measuring short, I would have had a 2+ minute PR, so I am very happy!
Even better than having a great race was having wings and beer with some of the running group later in the day. I love me some wings. And some beer. Mix in good conversation and good running friends and it was a great way to end the day!
And, for the record, I got in my PJ’s at 7:15 last night and 5:15 tonight. 🙂 My favorite part about winter and cold stormy weather is not feeling guilty about early jammie time!