This may seem a little anti-climatic if you follow me on Instagram or Facebook but I had a great time at the Wallis Sands Half Marathon on Sunday. So great that I got a 2 minute PR and a 3 minute from last years race! This race has become one of my favorites. It’s very organized, you run along the beach for quite a bit and it’s flat. All the makings of a great race in my book!
Sunday morning I woke up to clear blue, blue skies and upper 30s. The kind of day that just screams pretty. It was chilly but would be warming up quickly. It’s hard to believe I was just wearing running tights less than a week ago and now I was going to wear short sleeves and a skirt. Crazy New Hampshire weather! My plan for race day was to get in a couple of miles beforehand, run the race and then see how I felt afterwards if I could do more. I knew I wasn’t going to go for the 20 miles like my training plan called for so I thought anywhere from 15-17 miles would be good.
I was feeling good the moment my feet started running during my warm up. Too good. So good that I wanted to go fast. Something that would come back to bite me later. I was in the first wave of runners and we took off right on time.
My plan wasn’t to look at my Garmin until the mile markers beeped. I wanted to go by feel more than numbers. The first three miles were faster than I wanted to run – sub 8s. My intention was to keep my pace 8:10-8:15. Obviously I thought I was feeling really good. I reigned myself back a bit for the next 2 miles.
Miles 1-5 : 7:57, 7:55, 7:59, 8:05, 8:11
At mile 4 we had left the beach and were headed inland which meant incline. Nothing big but more like long, gradual hills. At mile 6 I felt like the wheels were going to fall off. I felt tired. I was getting bored. There weren’t many runners around me. I started to doubt myself and ask “What do you think you are doing? You aren’t meant to be a long distance runner.” Funny how doubt has a way of creeping it’s way into your brain. Then magically at mile 7 I got a second wind and started to cruise. My legs felt lighter. Maybe the Gu that I had at mile 5 kicked in? Whatever it was worked because I was back on pace.
Miles 6-8: 8:20, 8:12, 8:00
Mile 9 is usually when I start to tire in a half marathon. Ron and the kids were going to be between miles 9 and 10 so I had something to push and look forward to. There is nothing like seeing your family out on the race course even if it’s only for 5 seconds. That’s enough to put a big smile on your face and give a little a more effort.
And just like that I was tired again. I knew I only had three miles left but my legs didn’t want to move. The pad of my right foot felt torn up. My left knee was giving me a weird feeling. My mind – oh my mind – was all over the place. One minute I was thinking “I’m going to PR!” The next “You should just walk. Your foot will feel better.” I passed two women who had been quite a ways ahead of me. They both were walking. As soon as I passed they started up again. Knowing they were behind me gave me an extra push. I was bound not to let them pass me the last 1.5 miles.
Miles 11-13: 8:25, 8:32, 8:21 and the last .1 7:34 pace
Finish 1:47:44 (8:14 pace) 12th in my age group
I’m pretty happy with the PR. I never would have thought I could run that fast 6 years ago when I did my first half marathon. However, I still think I could have done better. Obviously, I need to work on pacing, pacing, pacing. The little (but very loud) voices of doubt that creep up on me need a stern talking to as well.
I decided at the finish line that was enough running for the day. A thirteen mile tempo run is equivalent to a 20 miler right? Besides, I had some monkeys to chase on the beach.
What do you do to quiet the voices of doubt in your head?