Happy, happy, happy! I ran my second half marathon today. My official time was 2:07:07.
This means I took 11 minutes off my time from July. Yaaay! My goal was 2:10, so I was pleased.
One weird thing was... I placed 294th overall. If you look at the photo, you can see that my race number was also 294. Kind of twighlight-zoney, eh? I don't know what the statisitcal probability of that is, but next time I'm going to ask for bib number 001!
A number of things went wrong leading up to the race. I was tired, burnt out, and felt like I was "not on my game". Went to the doctor. My blood was generally fine. Thyroid a bit high, blood sugar a bit low, but all within normal range. The general diagnosis: "Overdoing it." Great thing to hear less than 2 weeks before a half marathon.
Between that and the last meeting I had with my trainer where he said there was no physiological reason for the decline in my training performance and that it was mental... that being mentally tough was important (a "chat" that felt like a mental beating in itself) I went into today's race feeling a little less "sharp" than with my first half marathon in July.
My massage therapist cancelled on my pre-race appointment, and my chiropractor let loose on me a bit about how a race shouldn't just be about getting a certain time... "That's like it being all about the money for a business person. If you take that attitude, it is never good enough. It never ends. It should be a celebration of the training."
I agree with the last bit, but I wasn't sure where the tongue lashing came from... I don't think I'm obsessed with race times and in general, I think I set reasonable goals. But whatever... For a variety of reasons, I went in feeling like like the lead-up to a big event was less than ideal.
However, I owe a big debt of gratitude to Alia, who served as my chauffeur, cheerleader and race crew. She arrived at my house at 6:30 am to pick me up and then took care of me until the minute she dropped me off at my door. She's not a runner herself, but man, she is one helluva supporter.
I also owe thanks to a new runner friend who has run in the same event in previous years. Prior to the race he gave me a tour of the course, told me where the tough bits were and ran a few kms of it with me as a training run. That was huge boost psychologically and in the midst of a string of things that felt wrong, it was particularly helpful.
Alia was also the official photographer for the day. As we were looking at the photos after the race, she giggled at this one. Apparently, runners are tall people. Or at least, I make them look that way.
The race course itself was beautiful. About 60-70% of it was through a park area, with lots of trees, a river and positively gorgeous views. There were parts that were breathtaking.
My weakness in this race was that I started out too fast. I slowed down quite a bit on some nasty hills at the end. Despite the fact that I love hills and have been known to almost shriek with delight when I train on them, I was a bit spent when I got to "the killer" hill in the last 3 km.
My iPod konked out on my around 9 km, which threw me for a bit of a loop, since I almost always train with it. It did that to me in the gym last week. I'd heard that iPods get to the point where they won't hold a charge any more. I had it charging for 2 entire days before the race, so the battery was full when I started. I did manage to get it going again, but the volume was low. I knew I couldn't count on the music for motivation, but I wanted to enjoy it as long as I could.
One of the first things I said to Alia upon finishing was, "I really have to learn to keep my shirt on!"
She replied, "Yeah, you really do!"
It was between 2 C and 3 C (around 35-36 F) for the duration of the race, but I got so hot I felt like I was melting, so off the shirt came. I do believe I was the only woman running in a racer top today. But whatever. I was too hot and sweaty to care.
The usual blister issue existed, but I am getting used to it now. I brought my own first aid kit and patched myself up after the race. I knew they were bleeding, but I was able to manage it well enough that they didn't soak through to my shoes this time.
All in all, it was fun. The lead up conditions were not as ideal as they were for my first half in July, but I am happy that I ran it. It was a beautiful day and it did not rain or snow, as they'd talked about in the forecast. I had fantastic support from a dedicated friend. I managed the blisters better than ever before. Despite feeling a little tired and achy, my knees and hips felt good and strong. I managed the GI issues. (Alia and I went for eats after - and coffee, of course!) And I took 11 minutes off my time from my first half marathon in July. Yes, overall... today I am a happy, happy runner!