First things first, right?!?! Many of you are waiting to see if you won the Lock Lace giveaway. Of course, I really, REALLY wish I could each of you a pair to try. I only have 2 to give away, so the two lucky people are listed below. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can get your mailing information. Thank you to everyone who participated!!
On Saturday I raced the Lincoln Presidential half marathon. I have done this race for 3 years in a row now. It's fair to say I really like this race as I keep coming back. In the large spectrum of racing it's a small race with about 1,500 participants. What they may "lack" in numbers they make up for in so many other areas. It's still a great race. The only thing I can see missing is an expo of any kind. Otherwise everything else about the race matches up with many of the big races I have done. Plus it's a lot cheaper than any half marathon I have ever done. Double win. You get a nice shirt, great medal, excellent course (you go all through Springfield which takes you past Lincoln's home, the state capital building and Lincoln's tomb. It's nice and scenic through residential and business areas and a few parks. Sprinkle in a few hills (nothing big and drastic though) and you have yourself a pretty nice course that is well staffed and full of cheering supporters!
I really, REALLY meant to come do a pre-race post to talk about some thoughts & goals before the race. I think about these things often, but usually don't get it done due to lack of time. I will also admit that I'm sometime afraid to put out there what I'd like to accomplish. I'm afraid to put my dreams out there, because what if I *gasp* fail?!?! Ha! And you all thought I was just this super awesome fearless go getter. Well, maybe it's fair to say I'm in between. I have big hopes and dreams and I'm not afraid to go after them, but I'm also worried, scared, etc. of many things, one of them failure or disappointment....not being able to live up to who I am, etc. I can likely file it under it's complicated and/or psychobabble. However being the pleaser that I am I tend to err on the side of just keeping it to myself, unless someone specifically asks and I sense they really want to know, hear, etc. then....HA! good luck shutting me up!
Anyway, how about I promise to post tomorrow about those thoughts, dreams, etc. Especially with so many races coming up I do have a lot in mind. Tomorrow. Pink promise!!
Back to the race: I have been wanting to PR on a half marathon for a long time. I ran my first half marathon 3 years ago in St. Louis. I was fairly new to the longer distances, didn't have a real good idea about what I was doing besides um, running. I can't say I lacked training, but I didn't have a lot in either. I remember wanting to run St. Louis just to see where I stood in this distance and if I could, in fact, succeed. I suspected that I could, but had nothing to back that up on. So 3 years ago I ran my first 13.1 and clocked a 1:45:09. Not too shabby. The next two years following that I had less than stellar years with running, training and racing. In fact a year ago I was struggling big time with my running. I had re-occurring injuries and pain that left me with little to no running. I ran anyway and finished in 1:49. Again, not too shabby. It was frustrating though because I felt I had so much more to give and accomplish. I've said it many times recently that my running is at it's all time best. I don't think I'm at my all time fastest, but we all know that it's not always about being the fastest to succeed.
When I toed the line this year I told myself my biggest goal was to break that PR. To go get it, push and keep trying all the way to the very end. The night before I was so laid back about the whole thing I had myself worried. What if I had turned into this non-nonchalant runner/racer that could do the distance, but be all laid back about it, etc. In and of itself that is not a bad thing, but that's so not me. I am competitive. I have speed. I know I have it in me. Sure sometimes it completely escapes me (hello....Hawkeye 50k) and I have a bad race, but overall I am a go getter. When I woke up in the morning I had another problem, my back hurt really REALLY bad. I had to seriously drug myself up on ibuprofen to get moving and out the door. Once we (hubby ran the race too) hit the road I was beginning to feel the excitement. Still my back hurt pretty bad so I was unsure of how to run. Erring one way or another could be a bad mistake.
Once the gun went off I ran to feel. My back felt ok so I took off at what I thought was an ok pace. It felt easy and relaxed, but not in a take it easy kind of of way. The effort came with ease. I felt myself pushing along, not going all out/too fast, but not taking it easy either. I had my Nike+ gps going, but refused to look at it for pace or time. It wasn't until I hit the 10k mark that I had any idea how fast I was going. I crossed the 10k in 47:22, which is a 7:38 pace. To add to that I felt GREAT! I only slowed for a little bit when I had some (tmi warning) cramping due to needing to poop and some hills. Otherwise I felt like I kept my pace up the whole time. Toward the end it became more of an effort to keep going, but I felt strong the whole time.
Again, I refused to look at my phone to see where I was on time. I was pretty sure I was closing in on the sign that said 1:40 finish pace and I know I passed about 5 people in my last 2 miles so I had this awesome great feeling even before I rounded the corner and could see the clock. I finished strong and was on the verge of tear of happiness when I saw that the clock said 1:41. I did it, I broke my PR!! Clock time is not the official time since this event is chipped time. I had to wait for the official times to be posted so I can say my new half marathon PR is 1:40:48. That's pretty close to 5 minutes off my previous best time!
Next year is the 50 year anniversary of the race. It promises to be bigger/better and have a new finish line that will end at the old state capital. I'm already planning and looking forward to do doing it again in 2014. Maybe I'll set yet another new PR!