New Half Marathon PR- Finally!

Those of you who have followed me for awhile know that I’ve been stuck at the 1:35 half for a few years now! It was my best time before baby J came along, and although my fitness was there to break it last year, the two half marathons I did fell apart (one from heat, and one from starting too fast and crashing!)

So breaking through that 1:35 barrier was extra sweet this weekend! Here’s the story:

I shared an Uber into NYC with my neighbor and got in a little later than I had planned- just as my bag check was closing.  I quickly threw my extra sweatshirt in the bag and my bus ticket home and totally forgot to pull out my Garmin! I realized it and went back but it was too late.

So I would be running the race naked, a first for me, but I was up for the challenge.  I found my wave and got in but realized I was with the 1:45 pacer.  I couldn’t even see the 1:40 pacer, let alone the 1:35 group! I tried to weave ahead as much as I could before we started, although I hate doing that.  I think I was in this corral because they have my time from the NYC marathon (3:43) which I ran for fun, and listed me as an 8:00/mile half average.  There was not much I could do at this point.

When the race started, those first 2-3 miles flew by as I tried to pass slower runners and find the groups running my pace.  I did a lot of weaving and in retrospect, probably too many surges trying to squeeze past people, but it kept me distracted.

Before I knew it, we were on the loop through Harlem before climbing up the Harlem hill. The extra little loop was super crowded, so again I felt stuck behind people and tried to keep my pace, but was doing a lot of surging and slowing, surging and slowing.

We came out of the loop and headed up Harlem hill, which is the toughest hill in the course.  I was feeling it at the top but overall, I have to say the hills were not as bad as I expected.  I was really happy to head down the other side of that one knowing that there were only a few more rolling hills to go.  My 5k split was 22:07.

From the mile one clock at 14ish to the mile two clock at 21ish, I knew I was running somewhere in the low 7s and that it had been an extra 6-7 minutes before my chip time began.  That was helpful as I continued on to have a general idea of how I was doing by the clocks.

After a few more small rolling hills through miles four and five, we soon began heading out of Central park.  The 10k split was 44:16, so approximately 7:08 pace again, although I’d love to know how what distance my watch would have had with all the weaving in that first half!

I struggled a bit to find my rhythm as we headed down through Manhattan.  It was flat and the perfect opportunity to pick up the pace but I hit some self doubt. Was I already going too fast or could I pick up the pace and hold it for another 6 miles? 15k: 1:06:40

Right after the 15k split, I decided I was feeling good.  I started to pick it up and knew I could handle 4 more miles.  I wish I had my splits because I know the last 4 were my fastest miles of the day! I felt really strong.

In the final two miles, I picket it up a little more.  I focused on a visualization trick I remember reading… choose someone ahead of you and pretend to throw a giant rubberband around them and pretend that rubberband is pulling you in to catch them. I probably did this 6 or 7 times in a row, passing people in that final stretch.  It was a great distraction and helped me keep pushing!

I still had no idea what my time would be as we came through the final tunnel and down the last 400m.  I was hoping for sub- 1:35 but that’s what I thought at my last half, too! As I got close and saw 1:40, I knew I would pr (with the extra 6-7 minute start time!)

Final: 1:33:31, a two minute pr!

I am so happy with this race!! I was doubting that it would be a pr race during some sections in Central Park, and again as we started down through Manhattan.  But everything came together!

I’m excited to continue to chip away at the half… I know I have more to give, especially if I can avoid all the weaving I did in the beginning.  Looking forward to what else 2017 has in store!

Congrats to everyone who raced this weekend!! There were so many new prs and great races!


46 thoughts on “New Half Marathon PR- Finally!

  1. Congrats on an amazing PR! That goes to show that you dont always need a watch to run well. I am always too nervous to run blind but I definitely think it can be helpful sometimes.

    • Thanks so much, Lisa! Yes – I never would have planned it that way, but I do think it was for the best that I was forced to listen to my body and not worry about the watch!

  2. Whether I should be embarrassed or not as I trudged thru my 20 mile training walk yesterday I broke down and skim to Facebook. Seeing your picture sparked me to pick up my own damn pace.
    Carla recently posted..4 finger gratitudeMy Profile

  3. Congrats on your shiny new PR, Laura! I think I would fall apart running a race without a tracker. I would get way too into my own head and focus on not knowing my time, rather than focusing on the race. 🙁
    Clarinda recently posted..Week in Review – 3/19My Profile

  4. Oh my word!!! Congrats on an awesome pr and what sounds like a really strong race!!! I like your rubber band trick! I may have to steal that one!

    • Thanks so much, Nancy! Yes – I wasn’t planning to use the rubberband trick but thought about it around mile 11-12 and decided to try it… it was pretty cool how it worked, and helped keep me focused on pushing!
      Laura recently posted..New Half Marathon PR- Finally!My Profile

  5. Awesome, Laura!! And running it naked – wow! What a great effort to keep track of how you were feeling and base your pace on how you were feeling. I am so happy for you on the PR!

  6. You had such a great race! I struggled so much in the last 4 miles. I can’t imagine feeling stronger there. 🙂

  7. Yay! Congratulations. Talk about grace under pressure. It’s the worst feeling to arrive late, get stuck in a crowded corral – and the wrong one at that – with *gasp!( no Garmin. Well-deserved. Awesome news!
    Dynise recently posted..March Stride Box ReviewMy Profile

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