Super short version: 5 minute PR
Short version: Perfect race conditions, perfect race execution, totally wacky race week, 5 minute PR
Ridiculously long and detailed version: This race is 20 miles from where I grew up (where my parents still live) and one that I spectated last year, cheering on my sister and her husband. With my DX of a hip labral tear, dysplasia, and arthritis in November, followed by 12+ weeks of PT, I looked at the calendar and thought 'this is possible.'
For the last 18 weeks I've run 3x/week, lifted weights 1x/week, done PT exercises 1-2x/week, and biked 1x week with about 80% consistency. My runs have all been run/walk/run with the exception of a 2 mile run this past Wednesday where I went buck wild and nearly puked after running back to back 9:0x pace. My longest runs were 8.1, 8.6, 9.1 and 10.3 with a few 6 mile runs and a random 7 thrown in. Nothing overwhelming, the long runs all went very well. There were clues that I had some faster times in me, but for the most part I was predicting 12:00 pace and in fact, that was my goal based on my 10 mile run.
My previous road halves were 2:32 (2012) and as part of my HIM 3:10 (2008 - UGLY). Previous trail halves were 2:57 (2007) and 2:45 (200
Race week was the most random taper, including many miles walking around Boston, several hours sitting in the car, a 2 mile run at break neck speed, and eating ALL THE FOOD. Based on my results, I highly recommend this taper.
My sister and her husband were running again this year, so the 3 of us got up before the sunrise and went through all of our prerace rituals. It occurred to me that I hadn't raced since August of last year...this would be interesting!
The race had just shy of 600 runners (cap was 800) and I lined up just in front of the 2:45 pacers. This was obviously going to be the first time doing run/walk in a race and I was a bit worried about how my brain would handle this challenge. My body was used to the 1min intervals though and my brain quickly followed.
The course has a couple of good hills, most notably at mile 11, but for the most part was fairly flat. About 7 miles were done as an out and back on a paved bike path so I got to high five my sister and brother in law along the way, as well as cheer for oncoming runners that looked like they were being forced to be there. They probably hated me, but I was just thankful to be out there and PAIN FREE.
The first 9.5 miles were strictly 1 min run/1 min walk.
Mile 1 - 11:43
Mile 2 - 11:03 (downhill)
Mile 3 - 11:37
Mile 4 - 12:13 (portapotty)
Mile 5 - 11:26
Mile 6 - 10:45 (downhill)
Mile 7 - 11:19 (uphill)
Mile 8 - 11:18
Mile 9 - 11:20
Mile 10 - 10:50
During mile 9 I passed the 2:30 pacers (they were a little slow at that point) and checked my overall time (which I hadn't done up to that point). I had been looking at my mile splits as they popped up and was mildly concerned that I was going to blow up somewhere on the course. However, I did an inventory on every single interval and EVERYTHING felt good. My breathing was even, my gait was strong, my hip was quiet. Seriously, all systems were go. So, I made a decision at mile 10. Get my butt to the finish line as fast as I could manage without imploding. This race was my A- race and I didn't want to hurt myself.
Mile 11 - 10:27
Mile 12 - 10:31
Mile 13 - 10:23
Mile 13.22 - 2:00
Official time - 2:26:50.1
Official pace avg - 11:12 (11:07 on my watch)
Confessions: Over the last 3+ miles of the race I changed up my intervals, but nothing drastic. Sometimes I shortened the walk interval to 30 seconds or increased my runs to 1:30, but that was as far from the plan as I deviated until the last .25 when I just went for it as best I could as my calf started to cramp and I ran down a hill to the finish.
I shed a few tears at the finish. I shed a few tears at mile 5 when an ambulance went flying by and I thought of my friend Ryan who passed away at mile 5 of the Olympic Trials. I thought of TASM as I cheered for literally every person that I encountered during a half mile stretch that looked so angry to be there and I was reminded of what a GIFT it is to be out on the course.
This race was huge for me, for so many reasons. I will never be the fastest one in the race, but I am IN THE RACE. And on Saturday, I was beyond proud.