I’ve been MIA for the last week or so….whoops! I had my race and then my LoveBug for a week and I found myself too tired to do anything after he went to bed! LOL 🙂 So, now that I finally have the time and energy I wanted to recap my experience at the Harrisburg Half Marathon for you all! 🙂
Talk about nerves! I barely slept the night before, but that is usually the case for me the night before a race. As you may or may not know, my goal for this race was to break 2 hours. In order to help myself reach that goal, I joined a Half Marathon Training program through Fleet Feet Mechanicsburg. I figured a different approach to training may just be what I needed to break 2 hours.
In preparing for the race, I had decided that I would start behind the 2 hour pacer, follow behind, within eyesight, for the first 3-4 miles and then catch the pacer and stay with him. If I had the energy, push past and keep him at bay until the finish. Well, just as in life, it’s the same with running…..things don’t always go as planned. I started the race out just as I had wanted. I started at a very comfortable pace,not too slow, not too fast. I kept the pacer in my sights but didn’t strain to catch him. The 3rd mile was actually one of my fastest miles at 8:49. I continued to follow the pacer and I eventually caught him between miles 4 and 5. I was able to actually pass him for sometime but he caught up to me after the water stop in mile 6. I stuck with him and was feeling really good, especially when I saw that my 6 mile time was 54:12.
At this point in the race, we were headed back up the river. We were running into the wind and it was strong! The temperature was great, but between the humidity and the headwind, I was loosing my oomph. We reached the mile 8 water stop and I was still running right alongside the pacer. I had no doubts in my mind that this race was mine until…………the pacer started running like a bat out of hell from the water stop. My only assumption was that he had realized that he had taken those last 3-4 miles too slow and he had to pick up the pace in order to make time. And just like that, my Schweinehund reared his ugly face. The self-doubt and fear of failure started creeping in. Luckily, I wasn’t the only one caught off guard with our pacer’s sudden burst of energy. I continued to run with a couple other people who had been left in the dust. It was helpful to have them alongside me as motivation. Despite how miserable I was beginning to feel, looking back on my splits, I really did pick up the pace. I was coming up on the Fleet Feet water stop where many of my friends and training partners would be passing out water and gel. I was hoping seeing those familiar faces and hearing my name being yelled would help to lift my spirits. 🙂 LOL, unfortunately, it only made me want to cry, ha ha ha. Not in a bad way, but in a “I’m so lucky I have these people” way and then it was the “I just want my mommy” cry. (I will freely admit that I’m the person that whines for their mom every time they are sick or not feeling well)
My IT band was screaming, my legs were tired, my Schweinehund was getting bigger and bigger with each step I took. I was nearing mile 11 when I saw my ‘Coach’ up ahead. Let me take a moment and pause to provide a little information on ‘Coach Fred’……this crazy loon had just ran the race and won it with a time of 1:10.24 (5:22/mile), more than three minutes ahead of the second place finisher. After crossing the line, he turned back around and began to run the course backwards cheering other runners on and catching up to those of us in his training program. He was definitely a welcomed sight at that point. The girl I had been running with pushed on ahead and my IT band was really starting to hurt that it was effecting my stride. Fred came up and began running alongside me, cheering me on, pushing me and reminding me what I came there for. I came there for a sub two finish and he knew I could do it. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase that running is 90% mental and 10% physical…..that day it truly was. My finish was all in my head. If I had let my doubts, the pain, the aches and my Schweinehund win, I never would have done it. I would have given up just as my head wanted me to.
But I didn’t give up, with the help and support from my Coach, from my friends cheering from the course and my friend Kelly (who also turned back around after finishing and ran with me to the finish)………………..I……DID…..IT!!!!!!! I passed that stinking pacer with literally yards to the finish and I came in under 2 hours. I had officially run my fastest Half Marathon in 1:59:17.56
Talk about adrenaline, excitement, pride, accomplishment, surprise, exhaustion…..shoot….I could keep going!! I was and am still feeling so many emotions when reflecting on that race. One of the most profound emotions I felt is support and truly belonging to a ‘team’. Not only was I celebrating in my accomplishment but so many of my running friends and training partners were celebrating with me. So many stopped to congratulate me before I had even told them! lol 🙂 Word travels fast I suppose! It just added an extra layer of special to my achievement. It reminded me once again why I love Running in community and why it’s so special to me to be a part of such an awesome group of people.
So……as the title of this post says…….TIME FOR THE NEXT GOAL 😉