I had several goals for this race...but I had one main goal and that was really my complete
For those of you who know me, or have followed my scant blogs, know that the half marathon is my Achilles heel. I've found my 5, 8 and 10k groove. I'm happy with my 30k and marathon times. But the half....it haunts me. My pr was actually the second half I ever ran, and Ive run over 10 so I've been frustrated. Of course the trail halfs I've run I didn't expect to pr at, but I've been plagued with illness, injury, bonking, bad race conditions, or my head defeating me before I began. Ive gotten to where I get nervous just thinking about running a half.
Yesterday my husband and I took on The Scream half marathon in Jonas Ridge, NC. It is a mostly winding dirt road with a lot of downhill action, but believe me, its not all downhill. And downhill is not all its cracked up to be. Most of the downhill was gradual and the road was hair pin turns. It turns out no matter what the terrain, 13.1 miles is 13.1 miles, which is never easy to run..and once you hit the uphills or straight aways, they seemed like mountains and your legs would scream from having to work a different way.
All that being said, it was a beautiful race. Too bad the weather wasn't. Rain the whole time, at several times almost torrential, and this was under the cover of trees. At least that blocked the wind. It was also in the 50s the whole time. During the race it was perfect, but before and after..brr. The more it rained, the slicker the dirt and gravel became, and the mud, especially the last mile and a half, became hard to pick up your feet and keep any kind of pace going.
Gotta love my husband, he let me know the day before race that he planned on running with me, trying to help push me and keep my pace. The plan was one warm up mile and then go for it. I was going to find a pace I felt I could hold between 8:30 and 8:50 and he would help me hold it. All was going good, holding at 8:40. At about 5 miles, Mark needed to make a pit stop, always a plus of racing in the woods, and told me to hold my pace and he would catch u and wait for him to catch up. A little uphill in the middle and then another crappier section between 9 and 11 ish, but I kept on pushing and pushing, barely slowing down at all. Then my gps goes out and I had no idea of my pace anymore so I tried to keep up with my breathing and steps. Then my biggest fear, after 11 miles it started evening out, which is really hard after everything else, and the mud was sticky and impossible. Fatigue started to set in and I lost some of my pace. Finally, at 12.5 Mark caught me and pushed me the last little bit, When I came towards the finish and saw the clock I knew if I pushed it I could hit every goal.
Race time 1:56:45, but they only had gun time. Watch time 1:55:58. Because I'm so competitive with myself I briefly got annoyed I had lost it on the last mile. Then I made myself realize, if you shoot for a pr, you are risking loosing it at the end, that's a risk and part of racing. I made it longer than I ever had before loosing it, and.....I just ran 13.1 miles faster that I ever have. Now how can I be disappointed in that.
So, lets celebrate with cookies and pie and fancy coffee drinks (so sue me, I crave sweets when I distance run) and then lets hit it again Monday. 16 weeks from marathon number 2