Yesterday was my first half marathon in three years! Back then, I ran the KC half marathon as part of my marathon training. I had just started running a couple of months earlier and finished with a time of 2:16 and change. After my marathon, I ran very sporadically up until about 6 months ago when my running became much more consistent. That being said, I really had no idea what except for my time in this half so I set my goal at a ten minute per mile average. Once I started training, I thought this goal was very realistic and one that I could attain. Well....yesterday I ran my half marathon in 2:04:05, earning myself a new PR! I was so excited because that is an average of 9:29/mile which is really good for me for this distance.
The course was a mix of trails and sidewalks and was pretty flat. The only down side was that because most of it was on a trail, and the trail was only about three people wide, you occasionally had to run in the grass to pass people. Overall, though, I really liked the course.
Coach came down and followed me at a few points on the course. I was really excited b/c this is the first race he's been able to come to. I stressed to him the night before, that I wanted him to make sure to take a bunch of pictures with our camera**.
I started off the race feeling really good, but was stressed out about starting too fast right out the gate. You see, I did that when I ran my full marathon and was completely exhausted by the time I was at mile 13, so I didn't want to make that same mistake this time. The view on this part of the course wasn't the greatest. It was a little hilly and we were literally running through parking lots during some parts. By the end of this portion, the crowd was starting to thin out a bit so I got a little more comfortable and was able to keep my pace better.
The first mile of this was seriously a blur. I was just running away to the music on my iPod enjoying the scenery on the trail. At mile 5, I sent Coach a text saying I was at mile 5. We had planned this the night before b/c he was going to be around mile 6 or 7, which is where the course was on the street rather than the trails. I already had the text all typed out, so all I had to do was pull out my phone, hit send, and put it away. Coach, being the considerate husband that he is, of course didn't text me back as he knew I was running. But, then I started wondering where he would be. Then, I swear I thought I saw him driving down the street the opposite direction of where I was running. So, I pulled out my phone and text him that I thought I saw him and told him where I was located at that moment. He text me back and told me it wasn't him and told me where he was. He was one block ahead!!!!
Mile 7 & 8
Since I knew Coach was just ahead I started looking for him and spotted his light blue Royals hat. I started waving really big and he continued to just stand there staring. A few moments later, he waves and get the camera in picture-taking position. I was really excited and could tell he was snapping away. So much picture taking, in fact, that he didn't even speak to me. No words of encouragement, no "hi honey", nothing! At first I was a little disappointed, but then after the race he told me that he was so nervous about getting good pictures for me that he didn't want to stop taking pictures to say anything to me. So, then I decided it was really cute. Right after I saw Coach, a car full of girls I know drove by and all shouted my name and got me pumped up.
(Me just past mile 7. I'm in the blue---the one with the ponytail:)
At mile 9, I saw my aunt and uncle who had come to cheer me on.....another boost! Mile 9 was pretty much all downhill, which was nice. It was also the end of the street/sidewalk running and heading back onto the trail. I was passing quite a few people at this point too. Then, sure enough, I saw coach again at mile 10, snapping away again...this time I got a "hi" too :) I figured this would be the last time I'd see him since the trails started and I was getting pretty close to the finish.
(I'm so bummed this one was blurry, but I'm posting it anyway)
Right when I got back on the trail, I heard someone call my name. It was my friend John who ran the Phoenix Marathon with me. He tore his ACL and had surgery earlier this year and this was his first race since. He had a knee brace on which was bothering him...he was hurting pretty bad and I could tell by the look on his face. My compassionate side really wanted to hang back with him for a bit to help keep him going, but my competitive side want to keep running. Of course, he told me he was fine and for me to run ahead, so I did.
By this point, I picked up my pace for the last mile. All of a sudden, out pops Coach! (This reminded me of watching New Moon the other night and how Edward kept popping up on Bella...and that made me happy too:) He decided to make one more stop to see me before the finish and this time he said "You're almost done Honey!" I started sprinting once I saw the finish line (Coach popped up again right before the finish line) and ended the race feeling really good. I wasn't sore, tired, nothing.
(Mile 12 - Coach was right above me on a bridge taking this one. I love it because my left quad looks muscular. It totally might just be the blur on the camera and probably is since my knee appears to be concave, but either way, I'll take it!)
(I'm coming up on the finish on this one...still smiling!)
(Sporting my medal after the race)
Afterwards, I found Coach and he was so cute. He looked so proud of me and told me how good I
did. We were both happy that he got to experience watching me do this! I'm sure he won't be able to come to all of my races in the future, but it's nice to have a cheerleader on the sidelines every now and then.
So, next on the agenda is to plan my 2010 races. There aren't many races of any distance other than 5K's in January-March, but there is one half marathon in the Topeka, KS area in January. And, I have a friend in law school there so I'll probably see if she wants to run it with me. I looked at the website today, though, and it said it was a very challenging course with many hills. So, if I do it, I'm not planning on PR-ing again. It will be more of something to do to keep my running up in the really cold months. I'm also thinking about maybe doing the Saint Louis half in April, but we'll see.
**As a side, many of the photos are not the best quality. I don't really like my camera, but I really do think that most of the reason they didn't come out very clear was because I was in motion. Sorry if you get motion sickness while looking at them.