Lake Effect Half Marathon was something I have been looking forward to for months. Hollie was going to be staying with me for the weekend, and then meeting up with Heather, Brittany and others for the race Sunday. It's not always easy having your close friends not live near you, so a weekend with them was certainly a bright spot.
I never planned on racing this race, it's early in the year and the weather is known to be non-ideal for a race (come on it's Syracuse...in February). I also raced a 10k the day before, so I was planning on using the half as a training run for Boston. My goal for the race was to come at or around my marathon pace. It was a smart plan, run hard but more importantly have fun and enjoy my time with my friends.
The weather was uncharacteristic for this race, it was blue skies and sunny with little wind and NO snow.The first mile I was obsessively checking my watch, telling myself to hold back and stick to the plan of straight 7:15's. I hit the first mile in 7:13, perfect. After that I was really struggling to hold that pace and constantly was trying to slow myself down, I hit the point where I wasn't even running relaxed because I was so focused on my pace. Mile 2 was 6:59, I was thinking a million and one thoughts during this, but still tried to back off to marathon pace. Then mile 3 hit, 6:51. I was not very good at this pacing thing on Sunday.
Mile 4 was 6:52. This is where I tell you, I used my God given right and changed my freaking mind. I had no reasons NOT to run this race harder. Boston is still 8 weeks out, my legs felt good, I had nothing stopping me from pushing myself. So at mile 4, I made the decision to go for it. I knew that this was a slightly long course, so a PR would be harder but not impossible.
|Coming back after the first out & back. That is when I de-gloved, but ended up carrying them the rest of the race.
|In my own little world.
Playing with my gloves.
Mile 11-12 I was hitting the point where I was tired but not overly worn down. I was ready for the finish but knew that I still had some pushing to do. Mile 11 was 6:42 and 12 was 6:45 so I had picked it up a few seconds per mile.
When I hit the mile 12 marker I knew it was time to push more. I could see the 4th place girl a ways ahead of me (thanks for wearing neon pink!), and I wanted to close that gap as much as I could. One of the guys I was near tried passing me and held me off until about 12.5 when I had closed the gap with her to about 50 feet. He realized I was trying to catch her and gave me a thumbs up and cheered me on as I passed him. Mile 13 was 6:35.
|I am focused, not angry. I swear.
According to my chip time of 1:30:22, I earned myself a shiny new 20 second PR. So much for not racing. But I will say this a million times over, no I didn't go into the race with a plan to PR but I also didn't accidentally PR. I made a conscious decision around mile 4 to stop holding myself back.
Obviously I am incredibly happy with this. A half marathon PR this early in the year, and when I certainly wasn't shooting for one. This makes me very excited to see what I can do at my next half in a month (without racing a 10k the day before like this time), and then again in May when I have my goal half for the year (Helloooooo sub 1:30). The other thing I am really happy about was how much fun I had, all while pushing and running hard.
|#4 & #1 :)
One of the best parts was all of the people. Seeing your best friend lead the race, and eventually find out she won, her success makes me incredibly happy and proud of her. Can we also applaud her for raising over $2500 for Ophelia's Place!?!?!
|Carrie & Myself
Being able to cheer on my friend Carrie while running and also being there at the finish after she got a hard earned PR!
|Heather, Hollie & Myself
Cheering and spending time with Heather too, my word I love these girls.
|Heather, Me, Hollie, Brittany
Also finally meeting Brittany IRL, and getting to go to fabulous brunch together.
Sunday really just was an amazing day. It reminded me why I love running, why I love racing, and just how awesome the people in my life are. It also told me that my half marathon PR is going to get crushed this year.
Have you ever changed your race goal, mid-race?
Do your close friends live nearby?