I had decided a few weeks ago that if conditions (both external and internal) were good I wanted to run this race from water station to water station. They are approximately two miles apart on the course and I was sure I could manage that. I even did a few weekday runs just prior to the race two miles at a time (rather than my usual long run intervals) just to get into the mindset. I brought my Gymboss set to 3 and 1's just in case. If the water stop intevals didn't go well I would switch over to the 3 and 1's. I never touched the timer. :)
I started the race in Corral #18. I couldn't see the clock when we finally crossed so I really had no idea at what point we started. I estimated 20 minutes but really had no clue. As I got to each water station without fading my confidence grew. I think I got a little over confident between 7 and 8 though. I felt my pace was pretty quick then and debated with msyelf whether I should pull back a bit. I was past the early part of the race though and figured I'd just let it go. Unfortunately I paid for this later when in the last mile I thought I was going to have to walk. I did take a longer walk break through and a little beyond the last water stop but pushed on by telling myself that I wasn't going to finish if I didn't keep going. I know my pace slowed considerably in that last mile but I was moving... not smiling so much - but moving.
There are many things that contributed to the last mile breakdown. Part of it probably was going too fast back between 7 and 8. Part of it was having estimated 20 minutes after the gun to start. When I saw the clock time at mile 12 and subtracted the 20 minutes I thought I wasn't going to break 2:30. I thought I was just going to miss it. That kicked my butt and my attitude. I knew stopping would only make it worse so I kept pushing but I was sure I had missed it again.
When I caught up with Dave at the reunion area. He told me the tracking on his phone said 2:24:27! I jumped up and down screaming (not something I do often). Turns out I had started almost 27 minutes after the gun.
Goal #1 - Have fun. Accomplished although if I hadn't let the clock get into my head the last 1.1 would have been more fun.
Goal #2 - Finish. Oh yeah!
Goal #3 - 2:27:45. Rocked it by 3 minutes and 21 seconds. According to the webiste the finish time was 2:24:24.
I am a very happy camper today.
I did not manage my fueling well during this race. I finished dizzy and nauseous. I missed a planned fuel stop at mile 8 and when I realized it decided to let it go. Bad mistake. I also should have taken another electrolyte or two along the way. Lesson learned. And you can see by the times above my first half was faster than my second half. I lost a lot of steam on the back half. I can do better at Ocean City.
Still this was a very good outing for me. My last half marathon (November 2011) was 2:40:32 and the last time I broke 2:30 was November 2009 with a PR finish of 2:17:22. It's been a struggle since then.
The weather played a big part in today's finish but I am going to take some credti too. I've tried hard since coming back from the hip flexor injury to be more consistent in training. I've added the bike so that I can excercise more but save my old joints and other parts. This leaves me in better shape and a better mood to work better and smarter during the weekday and Saturday runs. Mentally though I've been much stronger too. I did not let the lack of running during our Florida August vacation or this last week in Ocean city get inside my head and derail the good I have done. I think I'm most proud of that.
I've only just begun the strength training (YAYOG) and I'm convinced that sticking with that will make a difference in the future.
Thanks to all who support me especially Dave. He never blinks when I say "I think I can or want to do this" he always asks "How did it go" and really does want to hear the answer and when race day arrives he gets up at the crack of dawn or before to drive me there and stays to cheer, take photos and be part of the celebration.