Well, the first of my two half marathons this Fall is officially done and over. And I’m relieved. These last few weeks have been semi-stressful for me as I worried about how my lack of quality training was going to affect my race. (I wrote a post about this here.) Was I going to be able to finish without any pain? Would I even get under 2 hours? Did I have ANY remaining chance of a PR??
Well, I didn’t PR…but it was close. My official time ended up being 1 minute and 1 second slower than last year. Not bad!! It makes me realize that I probably would have smoked my PR had my training these last three weeks been where I would have liked it. So, for going 3 full weeks without a single strong, quality training run, I am very pleased to say that my official time for this year’s half marathon was 1:43.18. I’ll take it!
First off, the weather for the race today was BEAUTIFUL! Seriously couldn’t have asked for better weather. The temperature was in the 50s when we started and the 60s when we finished. Loved it! (Note: I’m fully aware this means that it will probably be pouring down rain for my next half…)
Anyway, I started in corral B this year, which I assumed was where the 2nd fastest group of runners were placed. Well, no, as it turns out, corral A was reserved for the wheelchair participants and B ended up being full of all the fastest runners!! I admit, I felt a little out of place among all of these serious-looking runner guys! There were a few women sprinkled amongst them, but I kind of felt a little out of place here. The only thing that kept me from moving to the complete back of my corral was that the 1:45 pace group was there with me. I knew that I ran faster than that pace last year, so I knew I had every right to be where I was. So, I stayed put. (For comparison, last year I started in corral L. ha! Just a bit of a difference…)
Right before the race started, I really wish I would have gone to the bathroom just one more time. I needed to pee and I probably should have gone since I still had 5 minutes until race time, but I get all paranoid sometimes and I didn’t want to move. Luckily, I stopped needing to go to the bathroom around mile 3. My body probably just realized it was out of luck and there wasn’t going to be any stopping for quite some time!
My first mile was my slowest of all of them. According to my RunKeeper app, I ran it in 8:20. If you’ve been following my running posts, you know that my first mile almost always come in at above 9 minute pace. I’m just slow to start. However, the excitement and fun race atmosphere always pushes me to go out faster, but I’m still smart enough to keep at a comfortable pace (for me) during the first several miles.
I passed a firefighter running the race in full gear with a tank on his back. I remember being behind him thinking, “I’m already warm in shorts and a t-shirt. I can’t even imagine how hot he must be under all that clothing and gear.” When I passed by him, I told him he was awesome…because he is. See?
One of the best things about the Fort4Fitness is that there is so much excitement. And it’s not just during the first mile. There are people lining up on the streets to cheer you on at almost every point along the race. Groups with cheer sticks, music, people yelling ‘Good job!’ and ‘Go LeAnn!’ even though they don’t know me (my name was on my bib). It is so much fun and the Fort4Fitness organizers do such an awesome job with this race. I love it.
Around mile 7-ish, I was gaining ground on the 1:45 pace group. (Remember, I started with them in corral B and even though I could always see them way off in the distance, I was getting closer to catching up again.) I knew if I wanted any shot of a PR, I needed to go around them…but I knew that if I passed them, there was no ‘going back.’ I had to commit to it! There was no way I wanted them to pass me later on. Thankfully, that didn’t happen.
Shortly after I passed them, I passed a 7 year old (or so I heard) that was running just in front of this pace group. I’m telling you, she is awesome! To run over 6 miles at an 8 minute pace…at only 7 years old?!? Amazing. I just hope she doesn’t get burnt out over the next several years. She will do great things in XC and track, I’m sure!
After I passed that HUGE 1:45 pace group (seriously, there were so many people that I had to go into the grass to get around them), I was feeling really strong and passing people left and right. I even heard someone watching in a yard say, “Look at her! She’s gonna pass some people!” I loved that. Not 100% confident it was directed towards me…but considering I was looking strong, feeling strong, and passing people, I’ll just assume it was. 😉
Around 8 miles, I was behind these two guys and needed to pass them. I thought I had enough space to go in between them, but as a corner approached and they naturally got closer together, I realized I was going to have to squeeze through quickly. I said “Sorry…didn’t mean to squeeze in between you guys!” As I kept running, I heard the one say (loud enough so I could hear, I’m sure), “I don’t mind looking at that.” To which the other guy replied, “Yep, no problem!” Yeah…they totally made my day!! 😉 As a 32 year old mom of three, I’ll take it! To those two guys (who I’m sure will never actually see this post)…thank you! 🙂
So, between that “compliment” and the guy on the side of the road, I was feeling really confident and strong at this point. I kept passing people…until I got to the end of mile 9. That’s when my legs started to feel weighed down. Ugh. Not good. I was feeling every bit of those 9 miles on my legs (that hadn’t run this pace in over 3 weeks). At this point, I was definitely concerned with how I was going to make it through to the end. Four whole miles is still a long way to go…
I kept running, though, and even though it wasn’t pretty, I started to feel a little better around mile 11. However, let’s be honest…after 11 miles, I don’t think many people are feeling “pretty” anymore. I was tired and ready for the race to be done, but I tried to keep pushing and just putting one leg in front of the other. I had no idea what my time was at this point and even though I knew I wasn’t feeling as strong as last year, I figured maybe a PR was still possible. At least that 1:45 group was still behind me. I was doing okay, afterall.
I kicked it in as much as I could during the last half mile (and the run around the baseball field), but, again, it wasn’t near as strong as I would have liked. As I finished and stopped running, my legs wanted to buckle underneath me. It was definitely a bit of a struggle to stay upright, but I did. 🙂 Someone tried to hand me a bottle of water, but I had to say no because I could still barely walk at this point. When I finally looked at my phone (RunKeeper app), all I saw was 1:43. Darn. I knew that I hadn’t PRed…but, I also knew how great that time was considering my lack of training the past three weeks. Every run lately has been over 9 minute pace, so to hold an average pace of 7:54 for the entire 13.1 miles, I have to be happy with that! And I am.
So, what were my official results?
- Division place: 7th out of 240 females, age 30-34
- Overall women’s place: 31st out of 1,267 total women
- Overall place: 246th out of 2,393 total half marathon finishers
Pretty decent, right?? 🙂 I’m happy with it!
At the 5 mile mark, my pace was at 8:03. At the 10 mile mark, I was running at 7:54. And my last 5k was at a 7:51 pace. Negative splits (sort of)…
If you’re really wanting to see a breakdown, here were my mile splits for the entire race (according to my phone): 8:20, 7:58, 7:57, 7:53, 7:50, 7:41, 7:35, 7:50 (first non-negative split), 7:25 (fastest mile!), 7:53, 7:57, 7:59, 7:42.
So, what’s next for my training? Well, I actually ran in to my running coach (Mike Else with Three Rivers Running Co.) shortly after the race and he said we would take these next two weeks really easy and then get back into it after that. (I’ve been blogging about utilizing 3RRC’s personal coaching service. You can read my first post in the series here.) The Veterans half marathon is November 8th, so I’ll have 4 weeks of solid training time after my two week ‘easy’ period (which I am very much looking forward to, by the way). The Veterans half is MUCH smaller in size compared to the Fort4Fitness. I’ve also never run it before, so I don’t know what to expect. I would love to PR in it, but I think it will be a little harder since there will be less people around me. I will definitely have to rely on my RunKeeper app to read out my pace every mile!
And for a quick update on my daughter’s kids “marathon” race last night… She did AWESOME! (Parents are encouraged to run with their kids, so I happily took on that role, of course!) We did a little training beforehand, but I really wasn’t sure what to expect. Would she complain from the very start and not want to run? Would she be exhausted just a half mile in and want to walk? I honestly didn’t know how she was going to do. Well, that wasn’t the case at all. She did way better than I ever expected! Not a single complaint. Not one request to walk. She ran the entire 1.2 mile run without any stopping and finished with an average pace of around 11:57. And if you want to know what dangerous is, try running with hundreds of little kids that are NOT experienced runners. I was dodging kids left and right. Kids would stop RIGHT in front of us and we’d have to jump to move out of the way so we didn’t run over them. Parents were running backwards trying to take pictures of their kid, kids were crying, kids were yelling, “I want a break!!” However, MOSTLY, kids were having fun, running, and being encouraged by their parents. High fives all around! And my daughter? She kicked it in big time at the end! Such a natural little runner. Makes her mommy proud! 🙂 I would love to see how fast she could have run without all of the congestion from so many people… Anyway, she definitely earned her medal AND she had fun doing it. Loved it. 🙂
And here’s a portion of my cheering section: my mom and daughter, my boys, and that’s my step-dad holding a stopwatch so he could read off my time as I passed him. My husband was there, too, even though you can’t tell. He was the one taking these pictures (and my mom took some, too…as you can see by the camera in her hands). 🙂
You can find ALL of the official Fort4Fitness race results right here. And if you ran any of this year’s races, I would love to hear you how did!!
The Fort4Fitness is such a well-organized, fun, and competitive weekend event. If you live anywhere near the Fort Wayne, IN area, I highly recommend it. They have a kids and seniors marathon, a 4 mile run/walk, a 10k, and a half marathon. And new this year (which I didn’t find out about until it was too late to train), they had the option of running the “Double Play” (two races of your choice) or “Triple Crown” (run all three races). So much fun!!
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