Divas Half Race Recap

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?

49 thoughts on “Divas Half Race Recap

  1. Wow that’s a fantastically strong finish, especially coming off of being sick! Congrats! Tough call on racing another half pre-marathon. I don’t think it’ll hurt to race it but if the marathon is your goal race, maybe now’s not the time?
    Marcia recently posted..One Small Change Link UpMy Profile

  2. 1:36 is still a great time, especially after being sick! I think you could destroy a half on a better day, but I don’t think I’d race another so close to marathon day. Believe me, I’m personally tempted to see what I could do. But the marathon is the big goal right now for me so no more racing til Richmond. Way to tack on the miles after for 20! Round up – you deserve it!
    Nicole @ Work in Sweats Mama recently posted..Fear of Heights: A Metaphor for MotherhoodMy Profile


    I would but it’s too close after NYC…anyways…apparently that is going to be really close to my new house.

    Nice race after what you have been through. I think you could try another half and you’ll never know how it would go if you don’t. Personally, I probably would.
    Hollie recently posted..The Care Free MilesMy Profile

  4. Wow, incredible paces at the end of a race! Way to go.
    I think it is not a bad idea to race another one with 4 weeks to go (before tapering). I will go with the weather. If it’s nice and cool, race the darn thing. If not, just skip it and do a regular long run.

    You were just 1 min from 1:35 with a few non-ideal conditions, so you can definitely go under that!

  5. Considering how you felt you did awesome! That being said I understand how you feel since I have felt that way…like I know I have a better race in me! I would go for another half…but then again I’m wicked competitive with myself!!
    Fancy Nancy recently posted..A Year in the Making..Part 1My Profile

  6. What a tough race! I know I’ve had racesike that. I say plan for another 1/2 in a couple of weeks for the extra boost of confidence going into the marathon. Hopefully by then you’ll be completely rid of the bug you’ve got. Regardless, be proud that you stuck it out and finished strong!
    Angela @ Happy Fit Mama recently posted..Eats LatelyMy Profile

  7. Hmm… you’ve definitely got the training in the bank to run another half — I’d wait and see how you’re feeling stomach-wise, and what the weather does. The humidity around here (which is awful in the summer) has almost completely vanished in the last couple of days, bringing truly cool fall temps, so you could have a totally different experience two weeks from now as far as that goes.
    Sarah recently posted..Marathon Relay Training, 4 weeks to goMy Profile

  8. Talk about determination. You rock! It might have sucked, but you hung in there and fought hard. I love that you ended up hugging that girl at the end. I’ve definitely had races where my body fought back. 2 to be exact and they were the same race. I hope to have a redemption run the next time 😉
    Heather (Where’s the Beach) recently posted..My Own Half MarathonMy Profile

  9. You ran a really great race! I think it’s so hard to run like you want when coming off an illness, not to mention the %^&*# weather last weekend! Just remember–Philadelphia will be much, much cooler. I’d just focus on training for that at this point and forego another half.

    Love that you made a friend at the race!
    misszippy recently posted..How to make a smoothie that packs a punchMy Profile

  10. Hmmm….Honestly I would wait until the marathon, especially if your mind is questioning it. Maybe taking that needed time to mentally and physically prepare for just one race will help you reach the goals you are looking for. Less distraction and more time to focus on the moment. I’ve had those running moments when you just struggle. It is exhausting mentally, but I’m glad you finished and finished with some strong #’s.
    She Rocks Fitness recently posted..A Little Added Sunshine To The WeekMy Profile

  11. I think you had a perfect strategy! I would probably wait for the marathon, but just an opinion. I have a half in two weeks that I’ll need to add 5 miles to in order to get my mileage for the day. My plan was to run 1 mile before the race and then double back on the course to get in four more miles. I’m encouraged to see that you ran 5 more after a somewhat tough half! Great job!
    Courtney recently posted..The Anatomy of the Long RunMy Profile

  12. My half on Sunday felt this way too, except for me it was that I wasn’t rested and I overheated, it was not a fun race (and also almost a mile too long). But the beauty of half marathons is that you can do them more frequently. I had planned three halves in my fall schedule, so I’m glad that there is another one in two weeks, it makes a bad day a little easier to brush off. I’d hesitate to run another if you hadn’t planned on it though! Mentally, I think it is tougher to succeed on a re-do race.

    Looks like you had a strong kick at the end! I think if we had it easy all the time, those dream perfect days wouldn’t be as wonderful.
    Karen@ La Chanson de Ma Vie recently posted..Running at AltitudeMy Profile

  13. Definitely had races like that before, where the body just says “nope, not today”. It happens but you learn and grow from it, and you learn to appreciate those times your body says “lets do this”.

    You still had a great time, and solid miles for the day- can’t beat that. Definitely a good training day for Philly for you.

    As for half in 2 weeks- play it by year and see how you feel? If you feel great go for a new PR, if you are feeling eh maybe run it and run it at Marathon pace as a good training run?
    Laura @losingrace recently posted..Wineglass Marathon RecapMy Profile

  14. I think you did brilliant!
    I know you’re a bit disappointed in your time on the day, but I’d just accept it for now and concentrate on your bigger goal of the marathon. You know inside you can run a faster half, and don’t have to prove it right now.
    Sherry recently posted..A Day in the Life of MeMy Profile

  15. don’t beat yourself up! here’s my thinking: you’re in the middle of training for a marathon, NOT at the end of training for a half! it’s normal for your legs to be dead in the middle of training until a good taper (especially since you’ve been sick!). you did great though, enjoy that champagne and look forward to the marathon!
    Amanda K. recently posted..Four monthsMy Profile

  16. I know your time was disappointing for you but considering all the factors leading up to race day – you did amazingly well. I think you should take the “wait and see” approach to the next half. Tough decisions but I’m sure you’ll make the right ones!! Congrats on pushing yourself through to a strong finish!!!
    Allie recently posted..Any Given Race DayMy Profile

  17. I don’t know what it is, but for me I actually don’t like being by the same person the entire race- i feel compelled to speed up or slow down to lose them- impressed that you liked having her around. Still a great time despite you not feeling your best.
    Too often I focus on quantity (race another 1/2) over quality (hold off to save for marathon) so I’ll suggest the opposite of what I would normally do- hold off 🙂
    lisa j recently posted..Hawaii finalized and how government shut down postponed state #48My Profile

  18. Congrats on such a strong finish! I’ve definitely pushed myself hard during a workout and at my last CrossFit competition when my body was fighting me. It was certainly challenging, but it made it that more worth it when I finished (though, I’m not so sure I would do that to myself again)!
    Melissa @ Fit ‘n’ Well Mommy recently posted..Rest DayMy Profile

  19. Way to stick with it and finish strong! I’m a big advocate of listening to your body and racing (or not) based on how you’re feeling. Go ahead and sign up for that half and then it can either be a race or part of a training run. Your body will decide. 🙂
    Nikki @ run+breathe+be recently posted..Not every run is awesomeMy Profile

  20. Congrats on still having a great half marathon! My thoughts after reading your posts would be for you to wait a few days and make sure you are out of your post-run funk 🙂 and then ask yourself which goal time is most important to you right now, a faster half or the full?

  21. I know that you felt off, but I still think that you ran a great race. You finished strong and even added extra miles for an almost 20 mile day. I know what you mean by feeling off because I have had many races like that. I always try to “race” even when I know it might not be best. You always have to try!
    Tasha @ Healthy Diva recently posted..Colbert Half Marathon {Race Recap}My Profile

  22. I’m still amazed at your pace when you’re feeling “off”. Congrats on running nonetheless, and yay for a new “pink” friend!
    jan recently posted..FalloutMy Profile

  23. Even though I would be thrilled with that half marathon time :), I know what it’s like to have a race not go how I planned. Great job pushing through and still pulling off a great race!

  24. That was a great race Laura-especially recovering from an illness. I don’t even know how do you did it, you should be really proud of yourself and just move on. I’m training with a running store for a 5K (even though I’ve done several I had an ITB injury that really set me back) and we did 3 miles of hills this morning. Then as soon as that was done (literally) I got called out for work 2 hours away. I could barely walk when I got out of the car (I did stretch before I left) I’ve been tight and sore all day. So our new motto should be ‘what doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger’!

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