Half Marathon #3 is in the books!!
On Saturday I did the Flying Horse Half Marathon. I loved it! I’m not sure I would have said that on Saturday, but I’ve had some time to reflect on it. The more I look back, the more I loved this race!
So. Onto the recap:
Friday, I was determined to do my best to prepare because I wanted to keep the 12 mile disaster run from happening again. I made sure I hydrated. I drank TWO WHOLE bottles of water. (Shut up. That’s a lot for me.) And, I made sure to eat a quality lunch and dinner. Pei Wei is becoming my pre-long run go-to dinner for the night before.
On Saturday, I woke up before my alarm went off, but I laid in bed until the last minute. The race had kind of a late start (8:00 AM) and it was down the street so I wasn’t feeling all that rushed. As I got ready, I ate a handful of oatmeal squares (the cereal) and tried to sip some water. Soon enough, Matt and I left for the race track. Matt didn’t run (someday I’ll convince him to try long distance running), but he is a good sport and got up early to come cheer me on.
We got there at about 7:15. I wanted to be able to find parking, use the restroom, and generally not feel rushed. I did not account for the fact that this race is tiny. Parking, getting to the race area, finding a porta-potty, none of those things were an issue. It all went really smoothly. We even saw Amy and her husband right away when we pulled in. Then were was a lot of nervous pacing while Matt tried to get me to sit down on a bench. I’m not sure why I was so nervous, but I was.
Finally, it was time to line up and get started. I found Amy again and we ended up lining up towards the back. Which is fine by me, because it helps me to not go out too fast. Amy and I had previously decided our race plan was to start conservative then aim for negative splits. After the National Anthem and the race instructions we were off!
The first mile and the last mile of the race take place on a horse race track. I was ridiculously excited about this part. Mostly because it is unique, and how many people can say they have run on a race track? The dirt was softer than I expected but not so soft that I was worried about it. Also, I did not realize how long the track would be! For me, the length of the track would be the bigger hurdle than the softness of the dirt when we came back around for the last mile.
Soon enough we were out on the street and settling into a good stride. There is pretty much zero crowd support, but I wasn’t expecting much. As we were coming up on a turn, I saw a guy sitting in a chair with a sign. It said something about “If this were easy, it would be called your mother” Ha. It took me a minute, but I realized it was Amy’s husband holding the sign! (He got back from Afghanistan a couple days earlier, so YAY!). He made an appearance at a later mile with a different sign. He convinced her he was going to sleep in the car, so it was fun to see him surprise her.
Amy and I were chatting away and the miles were ticking by. We kept going without incident until mile 7 or so. I took out a Clif Shot Blok as we were coming up on a water table. I tried to chew and run, but instead inhaled a half-chewed blok. So, moral of the story, maybe walk and chew next time.
My knees and hip flexors were starting to ache, and I was mentally starting to break down. But looking back on our splits, you wouldn’t be able to tell. As it has happened in the past, mile 11 is the hardest for me. By that time, I am just kind of over it, my hip flexors hurt, I was getting hot, and I was ready to be done. As much as I was grumbling about “being over it” we kept picking people off. Running really is more mental than anything. Your legs can handle it, you just have to convince your mind of that.
Finally, we were back on the race track. The soft dirt made it hard to really pick up the pace, but I tried to run on the packed down part. We must have passed 7 or 8 people in that last mile, and it helped to focus on beating the person in front of me instead of how long that stupid track was. We waved at Matt as we were heading into the final stretch, and then it was over!
I remember grabbing my medal, some water, finding Matt, and just wanting to sit down. We chatted for a bit longer, took some pictures, then headed out. I was hungry and getting grumpy because I wanted food. In case you were wondering, breakfast tacos from Taco Cabana are the best post-race breakfast.
Our splits (according to Amy’s Garmin):
- Mile 1 – 10:21
- Mile 2 – 10:09
- Mile 3 – 10:08
- Mile 4 – 10:25
- Mile 5 – 10:19
- Mile 6 – 10:13
- Mile 7 – 9:58
- Mile 8 – 10:00
- Mile 9 – 9:53
- Mile 10 – 9:57
- Mile 11 – 9:52
- Mile 12 – 9:55
- Mile 13 – 9:29
- 12:95 miles total
- Official time: 2:10:11
I’m really proud of our splits! I think we did an excellent job sticking to our race plan and we ran pretty evenly. I’m not sure I had it in me to go faster, but maybe the next one….
Leading up to the race and immediately after, I was looking forward to taking a break from “training” and focusing on general fitness. I told Matt on the way home that I wanted to maintain a 6-8 mile long run on the weekend and a couple shorter runs during the week, but I didn’t want to have a race or a training plan for the remainder of our time in El Paso. That was on Saturday. Now, it’s Wednesday and I have already looked up possibly doing the Fort Bliss Half in January or the El Paso Half in February. I’m also considering the Bataan Death March if we are still here in March. So…I have a problem? haha….