Alternate title: How to do everything wrong and still PR (spoiler alert!).
So, as you guys know, I wasn’t feeling great yesterday. I was crabby and my sinuses/allergies were bothering me quite a bit, and I was having some shin pain. So I went into today’s race with pretty low expectations. My main goal was to beat my time from the Rock the Parkway Half two weeks ago—since this half was much flatter, I felt that was a nice, realistic goal. My other “maybe, if it’s a good day” goals were to either PR or go sub-2:10.
Anyway. I woke up to wind howling at the window and briefly considered staying put under the covers. I knew this might not be my day when I discovered that Southpaw had left me a poo surprise on the floor. Got dressed and hopped in the car, ate a PB&J on the 40 minute drive.
I made it to Garmin headquarters about 20 minutes before the race start and jumped in the port-a-potty line. I pretty much realized that I was not going to get an opportunity to clean things out of my system and was a bit worried. Then I remembered the Disney Princess Half, where I didn’t poop, and had a great race, so…maybe not pooping (along with fruit punch Gatorade and neon shirts) is lucky for me.
I saw the 2:10 pacers at the starting line, but lost them in the crowd and didn’t really care. I fiddled with my Garmin a bit and got to running.
The first four miles were especially exposed to the wind. Like…not a breeze, but knock you over, running in place, 25 mph wind gusts. It blew the BondiBand off my head, which has never, ever happened before. I just kept thinking, “The faster you run, the sooner this will be over.” I felt really bad for everyone doing the full today. The winds kept up the whole race and were seriously out of control.
Also, I’d made the mistake of changing my Garmin to show average pace rather than current pace, so I had no idea how fast I was running at any given time. For the first four miles, I was all, “damn, I’m a pretty consistent 10:02 runner,” and then, I was like “…oh. Nevermind.”
I didn’t see the 2:10 pace group at all, but hung around the 4:15 group for awhile. They seemed like a friendly bunch.
At mile five exactly, my iPod shuffle died.
I’m not really one to run with music—I usually listen to podcasts or watch Netflix while training, and I’ve done my last two halfs and my full with no music at all. But for some reason, I wanted it today, so I dusted off my ancient shuffle and made a fun playlist last night around 10:30 pm. It was kind of crappy, because I was jamming out to “Jesse’s Girl” at the time, and thus sang that song in my head over and over for the rest of the race.
I will never know where I can I find a woman like that, I suppose.
Anyway, at mile 6.5, I was like, “hey, this is the halfway point and I feel pretty good.” I took out a Gu and nibbled on it for about two miles, when they were giving away Gu on the course, and I threw mine out and took theirs. I didn’t eat theirs, but hey, I will always take free shit. Always.
At mile 7 or so, I started using a lot of really foul language in my head. Cursing gets me motivated, guys. Specifically, I started repeating over and over, “You do not fade. Brie BLEEPING Lastname DOES NOT FADE. You don’t even know what BLEEPING fading is.” Mile 7 is my make-it-or-break-it mile in a half, and I went for it.
This was also was where I kind of lost it last year during my first half marathon. I remember running through the exact same neighborhoods, watching the pace group slip away from me and feeling desperate and wanting to give up. This year, I felt strong and good and had plenty left to give.
The course started heading uphill a little bit at mile 10, but it wasn’t a big deal after Rock the Parkway a few weeks ago. My pace slowed a hair, but not a lot.
Somewhere around mile 11, I fell in step with two older guys. It was obvious one (was pacing the other, and he was being really motivational. He kept cheering for everyone who passed them. We kept trading positions, and on a downhill, he told me, “stretch out your stride, you can ride this one hard!” and so I did.
After that, we started chit-chatting a bit, and I told him, “I am going to PR today.”
We spent the next two miles encouraging one another and cheering for everyone who passed us. It was a really great distraction!
Ultimately, the friend needed a walk break and I pulled ahead, but major thanks to Kevin and Fred for keeping me going!
I don’t really know what happened the last mile. I felt fine, but it was extremely windy and uphill and I guess that slowed me down more than it felt like it did.
I also apparently picked up an extra .15 somewhere in mile 11 or 12, because until then, my Garmin was right in line with the mile markers. Annoying, because that makes a difference when you’re shooting to PR!
And PR I did. By 5 seconds.
There…was no finish line. Just some mats, and then a chute, and I was like, “oh, I guess I’m done.” I don’t know why there wasn’t, because there was one last year.
I got my medal and laid down on the ground for a minute because I got dizzy when I started walking.
Also, a fireman hit on me. He invited me to join him on the “warming bus.” Uh, no. I then realized I had gloves on (God bless the $0.50 Target throwaways) and my wedding ring wasn’t visible. I was like, “uh, I’m going to go warm up in my car thirty feet away. Where I will go home."
I also cried, a little bit, because I was so proud. 2:13:32 has haunted me through four half marathons, and now the magic number has been taken down.
So I drove home and Tim took pictures in all my neon glory. (I wore some DIY armwarmers for the race, made from the cut off sleeves of a compression shirt that doesn’t fit anymore.)
Final thoughts? I’m proud of my PR today. This race could have turned into a shitshow quickly but I held it together and pushed through. I wish it was a bigger PR, sure, but don’t we always? I am also officially convinced that neon+fruit punch Gatorade=lucky.
I am off to destroy some food. The best part of racing in April is that you get to refuel with a nice Cadbury Crème Egg.
Thanks for all your encouragement along the way!