My Indiana church - Living Faith Church - is one of the sponsors of this event, and also gets credit for all the photos in this post. We had people running in half marathon and the 5K, people staffing the water stations & cheering along the course, and people riding safety patrol on bicycles. It makes it so much fun, knowing I will see lots of friends along the way.
Last year I started running in order to do the 5K at this event, so this shows just how far I've come in one year. My goal was to finish in 2:54. I based that goal on the last long training run I'd done - 9 miles at 13:32 min/mile averaged out over 13.1 miles should be 2:54.
Race morning it was in the 40's. After months of training in the 80's and 90's, I was not sure how to dress for the cold. I wasn't sure whether I should add a layer, but in the end I decided to skip any extra layer and just wear what I'd been wearing.
Mile 1: The challenge here is not to start off too fast. It's tempting to try to keep up with someone, but I made myself stay slow and steady. There's a long way to go, and my goal is to finish strong, not start off fast. Living Faith had the mile 1 water station, and it was funny to see everyone all bundled up against the cold. My hands were still freezing, but the rest of me had warmed up by now. The mile 1 water station is also where the 5K splits off from the half marathon. Last year this was not marked well and I heard some people went the wrong way. No problems this year, though. The race organizers had marked the course much better, and the Living Faith volunteers were also making sure everyone knew which direction was which.
Miles 2 - 5: I was running dead last, and mentally writing this blog post changing my nickname to the Caboose. But I was running steady, staying at the pace I knew I needed to stick with. Since this course goes out along country roads through farmland, I could see the other runners ahead and didn't feel like I was out there all alone. Also, there were water stations every mile, which really seemed to make the miles go by quickly. At mile 5, I started taking some of my energy chews with the water, and I continued this at every odd mile throughout the race.
Miles 6 - 11: I started passing a few runners who had started off too fast and were now slowing down. I was running with them for a while, passing them on the up hills, and being passed again on the down hills, but eventually I got by them just because they were still slowing down. Mile 10 was mentally tough because the longest training run I did was 10.25 miles. So once I'd passed that point, the nerves started kicking in again making me wonder if I could keep going. I knew Living Faith was at the Mile 11 water station, though, so I told myself I could make it that far.
Miles 12 - 13: This part of the course was familiar, because the 5K also runs here. My legs were beginning to feel like they weighed 50 pounds each, but there was no way I was going to walk now. I was pretty sure if I started walking, I would not be able to run again at the end and I wanted to run across the finish. I really don't like the last mile of this course. Unlike all the country roads we've been running, this last mile is back in town running through neighborhood streets. Every block I keep thinking when we turn the next corner I'll see the finish line. Then it isn't there, and I think oh it's the next block. It's mentally exhausting. I want to see the finish when I know I'm this close. Finally I heard cowbells and cheering, and knew that the next corner I turned really was the finish line. By no stretch of the imagination could you call what I did sprinting, but I did add a little extra burst as I ran that last block. It felt pretty good to know that I could still kick in a little more if I needed to.
The Finish Line: I finished in 2:50:07, shattering my goal of 2:54. Wow. I ran really consistent times - see my splits below:
- 0:07 (0%)
+ 0:05 (-1%)
+ 0:11 (-2%)
- 0:06 (0%)
+ 0:13 (-2%)
- 0:05 (0%)
+ 0:03 (-1%)
+ 0:07 (-1%)
+ 0:20 (-3%)
- 0:04 (0%)
- 0:33 (4%)
I was well prepared for this with the training program I followed, I kept a steady pace, and I finished. I was a little sore the next day, but just what you would expect if you pushed yourself in a workout. Nothing out of the ordinary, and no real pain.
I'm still a little surprised at myself, that with God, the encouragement of my husband and family, and the advice of lots of friends, I was actually able to do this. And even more surprisingly, I think I might do it again.