The start of the race was great. My three previous half marathons had crowded starts, but with approximately 350 runners, there was plenty of room. I had made a conscious decision to run without a phone or music since I really wanted to enjoy the experience and be present in the moment.
My plan for this race was to be disciplined in the first couple of miles and keep a slower pace. I wanted to get into a groove and see how it went. I have noticed on my training runs that it takes about 2 miles for my body to get into a rhythm. Once that happens, my pace quickens up a bit with minimal effort.
Miles 1-4 were fairly effortless and the crowd quickly spread out. I made a point of only looking at my Garmin when it beeped for a lap and not putting any pressure on myself. During my last half, I continually looked at my Garmin and was continually disappointed with my pace and it made the race miserable.
Mile 1: 9:15
Mile 2: 8:37
Mile 3: 9:25
Mile 4: 9:04
Mile 4 came and went and I was still feeling awesome. I picked it up a notch, but nothing crazy. I just made a point of running at a speed that was comfortable to maintain and WASN’T based on the people around me. I also continued to look at my Garmin as little as possible. The course was full of rolling hills, so I figured my pace would be all over the place depending on the incline.
Mile 5: 9:03
Mile 6: 8:50
I made a point of drinking a water at EVERY station. I’m not a great hydrator when I run outside, but I knew that with the cold weather, I wouldn’t get thirsty, so I just made the decision to drink a couple sips of water every time it was offered. The race is designed by seasoned runners, so I figured they put the aid stations where you needed them.
I had an Espresso Love Gu in my skirt pocket, and I wanted to eat it around the one hour mark. Everything was going soo well, that I was reluctant to eat it when 1 hour popped up on my watch. I ended up delaying it a couple minutes and waiting for the 7 mile marker. I know that Gu’s are supposed to be taken all at once, but since I have a wonky stomach, I always nurse mine over the course of about half a mile. Looking at my splits, I am thinking that the Gu helped!
Mile 7: 8:37
Mile 8: 8:20
Mile 9: 8:26
Mile 10 brought us right near the finish line and I could hear music and festivities. Surprisingly, I still felt really strong. Somewhere between 10 and 11, I saw the first place finished zooming by in the other direction, followed by my fast friend. This meant that there had to be a turn around point (apparently I blacked out when I looked at the course map earlier) coming up soon. Instead of a turn around point, I was faced with a hill that closely resembled a mountain. The whole course was rolling hills, but this was the only one that I really struggled with. I saw lots of walkers ahead of me, but I knew that there would be a very slim chance I would start running again if I began walking.
Finally, I reached the top and eventually found the turnaround point and started on the down hill. I had images of me losing my footing and cracking a tooth (my biggest fear!!!), but I held it together and stayed on my feet. I really just tried to use the least amount of energy possible and let gravity do the speed work. I started to get pretty pumped up and began yelling encouragement to all the ladies battling the uphill. I love it when other runners holler at me, and I knew that hill was major buzzkill towards the end of the race.
Mile 10: 8:21
Mile 11: 8:37
Mile 12: 8:50
*Looking at that split for mile 11 doesn’t make sense in my head. I really wish I had the Garmin stick to map out my pace against the elevation.
After the 12 mile marker, I finally started to get uncomfortable and I fully embraced it. Running 13.1 miles is not easy and you need to find yourself “getting comfortable with being uncomfortable“.
I don’t remember exactly where I was on the course, but I remember looking down and seeing 1:47 and I tried to do some calculations of my expected finish time. I somehow decided that the numbers worked and I would be able to break 1:55 if I kept on pace. This was really motivating and I started to book it for the last mile.
Mile 13: 7:34
I crossed the finish and was surprised to hear my name followed by, “From Chicago, Illinois“. This still sounds very foreign to me.
I forgot to stop my Garmin, but I was pretty sure I had seen 1:54:something on the official clock, making me pretty confident I had PR’ed. I took a moment to get myself feeling normal, drink some water, and just enjoy the moment.
I went and got my backpack from gear check, threw on a sweatshirt, and then went to see my official time (on computers in the resort).
Zooma had a great little party at the finish line with a rocking band and wine <—perfect combination for a dance party.
|stolen from Kelly|
Have you ever been to Wisconsin? This was my first time.
How much do you look at your Garmin during a race?
Do you run faster with or without music? I’ve done some experiments over the past couple months and I’m typically faster without any music.