Hello!! I'd say it's hard to believe that I ran a half marathon this weekend, but my quads keep reminding me. Luckily I'm just sore and not injured. I think the PT I did after the Omaha Marathon really paid off!
First off, I know I haven't talked much about running lately. Maybe it's because wedding stuff is more exciting, but I think it's also because I haven't been running very often - maybe 3 times a week. I could tell I wasn't excited to start training hardcore, so I opted for fewer runs at faster speeds. Tossing in a couple of races and some group runs with the running club kept me going. I guess you just have to figure out what works for you!
I started race day with my usual pre-run breakfast, which was eaten on the road: English muffin with almond butter, banana, coffee, and water.
The race started at 7AM, which meant I left my house just after 5:00. As usual, I had a ridiculous amount of stuff packed up to come with me (extra racing clothes, a towel, comfy clothes for the drive home, snacks, drinks, etc.)
I was worried the 60 minute drive to Lincoln would be difficult because it was still dark and I was sleepy, but I was soon sharing the road with what I can only assume were other racers. On a regular Sunday at 5AM, this stretch of interstate would be pretty barren. But 20 minutes into my trip, and there were tail lights stretching as far as I could see. I suppose with 10,000 runners, it shouldn't be surprising that many of them were traveling from Omaha that morning!
I made a little game of looking for signs that the other cars contained runners: 13.1 or 26.2 bumper stickers, lululemon decals, bike racks/other "sporty" items, drivers decked out in running clothes, etc.
Once I arrived and found a parking spot, I had to make a final decision on what I was going to wear. This was really, really hard. It was in the low 40s, and was supposed to stay that way for the next couple of hours. There wasn't much wind, and no chance of rain. I finally went with a long sleeved tech-T and running shorts. It was a chilly walk to the start...I wish I had grabbed my gloves!
I met up with my running group and we huddled around for a few photos and "good lucks". Then I headed to the starting corral and lined up near the 1:55 pace group.
My goal for this race was to finish in under 2 hours. Well, that was the goal I said out loud. I knew I could run faster than that, I just wasn't sure that it would happen. Really, I didn't want to be disappointed with the outcome. This was my first big race of the year, and I wanted to be happy with it. I have such fond memories of this race from 2009 (my first half marathon and up-until-Sunday PR), and I wanted to keep it that way. However, I knew another goal was brewing when I picked up one of these at the expo:
You see, my previous PR was 1:55:27, so if I aimed for 1:55, I just might be able to break it. But I was too nervous to commit to it. In fact, it wasn't until mile 6 or 7 that I realized that a PR was, in fact, quite possible. At mile 8 I decided to go after it.
Official Results 1:54:18 = 8:44 pace
- Mile 1 - 8:38
- Mile 2 - 8:43
- Mile 3 - 9:00
- Mile 4 - 8:34
- Mile 5 - 8:32
- Mile 6 - 8:27
- Mile 7 - 8:34
- Mile 8 - 8:38
- Mile 9 - 8:53
- Mile 10 - 8:32
- Mile 11 - 8:52
- Mile 12 - 8:51
- Mile 13 - 8:28
- Mile 13.16 - 1:27
I got myself a new PR by running just over a minute faster. Woot!
- My hands were freezing until about mile 3. I should definitely bring throw-away gloves when it's in the 40s!
- I should consider checking a bag. After the race, I really wanted a jacket and pants, but didn't want to trek back to my car to get them.
- I ate a GU at mile 5, an orange slice around mile 8, and 1/2 a GU at mile 10. I brought gummy bears, but never needed them.
- I took water at every water stop. One of the great things about Lincoln is that they have cups with lids and straws! This makes drinking while running so much easier. I was even able to carry one with me for awhile.
- The race maxed out at 10,000 runners this year. I think this has got to be the limit. The course was crowded all the way to the end. I think the biggest issue was that the 1:50 half, 1:55 half, and 3:50 full pace groups were so big...and right where I was trying to run. It was almost impossible to pass people.
- The spectator support is so incredible in Lincoln! I will keep coming back for this reason. Thank you!!
- The pacing wrist band was great. I really liked how they accounted for warm-up and hills. Focusing on one mile at a time worked really well for me later in the race. (I didn't start using the wrist band until around mile 6.)
- The finish was at the 50 yd line in Memorial Stadium. They had video of the finishers projected on the big screen, which was pretty cool! There was lots of space on the sidelines to stretch and watch the other racers finish. Spectators were kept in the stands, so it didn't get too crowded.
- I can run faster than I think I can. Keep working on speed.
- Quads have been sore, especially walking down stairs. My right knee was a bit sore later that day, but didn't hurt after that.
Some Thoughts on Pace Groups:
I wasn't really sure if I wanted to run with a pace group or not. I understand the idea of letting someone else take care of the game plan, so you just have to worry about keeping up...but, honestly, I feel a little weird putting my race in someone else's hands. It's not that I don't trust pacers to, well, stay on pace. It's more that I know that running is such a mental sport, and I'm not sure what it'd become if I took that aspect out of it. Majority of my racing plans are mental strategy. I practice pushing myself and talking myself out of certain situations. I remind myself what an 8:30 mile feels like. I bargain with myself for walking breaks.
I know how to push myself...but how would I respond to someone else pushing me? I was worried I'd just think "they're going too fast for me" and drop back, feeling discouraged for the rest of the race. Or if I felt like I could go faster, I'd worry that they knew something I didn't and then unnecessarily hold back. I felt like by putting my trust in the pacer's hands, I was letting go of everything I had practiced and trained for. And I didn't want that. I wanted this race to be more than just moving my legs at a certain speed. I learn something new about myself at every race, and I was pretty sure this one would show me how hard I'd be willing to push for a PR.
What do you think of pace groups? Have you had good/bad experiences with them?