Sunday morning was the Maine half marathon, and it was such a special race for so many reasons.
There were six of us running: Allie, Jen, Jes, Sandra, Carrie and I. With our busy weekend, I had little time to think or worry about the race – we chatted Saturday evening over pizza and went to bed by 10pm for our 5am wake up.
We woke up to a super cold, windy morning but by the time we drove from the beach house to Portland, the wind was settling down and the sun began to peek through the clouds.
We did our warm up run with our throw away pants and sweatshirts and then left them with our Sherpas (Christine, Angela and Sarah) and lined up.
Tina Muir (elite runner and sweet blogging friend) offered to pace one of us for ten miles, which made it extra fun. She became Allie’s pacer, with a plan to stay at or under a 7:00ish pace.
I saw the 3:15 marathon pacer and decided to start with them (about a 1:37 half) so that I wouldn’t go out too fast. My ultimate goal was to break 1:36 which I haven’t done since 2012.
Allie and Tina took off, and Sandra and I started together around a 7:15-7:20 pace. I was surprised how easy the pace felt. I’ve had heavy legs or tired quads in a lot of the races I’ve done this summer, and it was nice to feel fresh after a good tapering week.
I stayed at the 7:15 range for most of the first half. The first two miles were flat, and then we hit some rolling hills so some miles were faster, some slower.
It was an out and back course, so each hill I ran up or down I knew I’d have to cover again. I’d heard there was a big hill at the turn around point and I saw it as I approached. It looked intimidating but wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected. These NJ hills must be paying off! I also distracted myself by watching for Tina and Allie. It was so fun to see them run by!
As I hit the turn around, I continued looking for the other girls and cheered for Jenn, Sandra, and Jes as we passed each other. I watched for Carrie but somehow missed her.
Our Sherpa cheerleaders were also close to the halfway point. I had my gloves in my hands waiting to see them, and tossed them as I ran so they could save them for me. Thanks to their support, I only threw away one item (my sweatshirt) in this race!
I was not expecting to be feeling so good, so I started picking up the pace for the second half. Miles 7-9 were in the 7:05 range and by the final three miles I held onto a 7:00 minute pace.
Those last three miles were not easy, but I reminded myself that they’re not supposed to feel easy.
I remembered the mantra I had chosen for my Momentum Jewelry bracelet and reminded myself to Believe, Endure, Achieve.
Around mile 12, I saw Tina doing the rest of her workout on the path alongside the runners. She started encouraging me as she ran along, reminding me to stay strong. She offered to take my arm warmers, which I had been rolling down so I tossed those. She kept me focused on finishing with a strong, steady effort.
The final mile was the longest one, as usual. We couldn’t see the finish line until the final turn when it was just .25 miles away and I pushed with whatever I had left.
The clock shocked me, with a 1:35 (final chip time 1:35:31). My pr is 1:35:25 and I had no idea I was so close to my pre-baby fitness. It was a huge confidence boost!
Allie was cheering for me as I came across the finish, and together we cheered in the rest of the girls. Everyone ran an amazing race!! Allie got an award for first in her age group (go Allie!!), Sandra ran a solid race after a huge race the weekend before, Jenn got a new pr (woohoo!), Jes surprised herself with a great race and Carrie finished her first ever half. I’m so proud of everyone!
And now, of course, I want to find another half and break that pr. 🙂
How do you taper for a race?
Have you had races with heavy legs and races with fresh legs?