Well, this was not the confidence-boosting race I had wanted. But I knew going in that it was likely to be tough. Between the humidity and recovering from my stomach bug, it was definitely a challenge.
Let’s back up. The expo was great: goodies like ThinkThin bars,
a new sports bra brand…
and these delicious cookies from Ginny Bakes!
Sunday morning, I set the alarm for 5am and was out the door by 5:30 for the hour+ drive. I took my breakfast in the car (wrap with sunflower seed butter and sliced bananas).
Traffic was moving and I found a parking spot easily. I chose to park at the hotel lot a mile away rather than try to arrive extra early for the good parking. I wanted a warm up jog anyway.
I jogged 1.5 miles to the start. I still felt sluggish. I used the bathroom one last time and continued the conversation that had been running in my head all morning- should I try to race? Or hold back and run marathon race pace?
The race started right on time and I took off at racing, of course. I had to at least try, right? Miles 1-4: 7:11, 7:07, 7:08, 7:11
These miles felt good, other than my legs feeling really heavy. I had rested for two days, so I’m guessing they were still achy from being sick- I don’t know how it could have been workout-related. That was my first clue that this might not be a good day for me.
I settled in right behind an energetic woman in pink. She raised her arms at every crowd we passed and always got us a good cheer. Soon it was just her and I on the empty roads (with a few speedy women farther ahead). Miles 5-7: 7:06, 7:11, 7:23
Around this point, I started to feel off. I swear we went over 5 uphill overpasses in a row and I don’t ever remember going downhill. My mental game was losing steam. Five more miles felt so long and I really wanted to quit! Mile 8: 7:24
I took two HoneyStinger chews at this point, realizing more fuel might help.
Somewhere around here, my pink friend had to walk due to some cramping, so I wished her well and kept moving. I told myself just to hold onto marathon goal pace but I had to stop to walk a few times. I don’t know what happened in mile 11, but I was struggling. Miles 9-11: 7:42, 7:31, 8:02!
When I hit the mile 11 marker, I started to feel better and was determined to finish strong. I dug deep and surprised myself with my best mile, Mile 12: 6:57.
I started chanting “Now you feel better, you can do this” the whole next mile. (Whatever works, right?) Mile 13: 7:00
And then pushed it for the final .1 (or .25 on my Garmin) at 6:25 pace for a finish time around 1:36 and change.
Whew! I’ve never been so glad to be finished with a race!
I’m still not sure if it was the humidity, the stomach bug still not completely gone, or my pacing (maybe a combination of all 3?) but I’m glad it’s over.
I don’t mean to complain about my time, it’s just frustrating when I know I had a better race in me, you know? I’m considering a rematch with the half in two weeks, but might just focus on the marathon with only 6 weeks left. What would you do?
My pink friend and I hugged afterward (she came in just two minutes behind me) and got a few photos together. After finishing, we were offered champagne and handed a rose.
Post race food included giant cookies, bagels, and bananas.
After saying goodbye to my new friend, I ate a few bites of my banana and bagel and then added on 5 miles (along with the 1.5 before the race) to total 19.75 for the day.
The slower miles felt surprisingly good, but I kept them nice and easy around an 8:55 pace.
By the way, if anyone else wants to join the NJ Half marathon on Saturday the 19th, use code LAURA13 for $15 off!
Have you ever ran a physically hard race where your body was fighting you?
Do you think I should try another half in two weeks, or just move on?