Go Big or Go Home

Remember that humidity I mentioned? That was the least of our worries when we woke up on Sunday morning. It was pouring rain. Not drizzling, sprinkling, it was a torrential downpour complete with lightning. It was not looking good. Nancy was nice enough to make us ponchos out of the biggest trash bags I’ve ever seen. We looked remarkably like raisins.

It was still sprinkling when we arrived downtown but by the time we made our way to the starting line, it had stopped. We all hugged goodbye and wished each other luck as we lined up by our perspective pacers. I decided to jump next to the 1:55 pacer.

Just before the start I peeled off my trash bag. The starting line was not in its normal place because of construction. Unfortunately this meant two turns right out of the shoot. It was ok though, because after that we had nice long stretches in-between turns.

I was able to stick with the pacers until the first water stop. Then I lost them. I thought they’d passed me, but it turns out, I’d passed them. They caught back up and passed me before mile 5. It was about then I saw my sister and brother-in-law cheering. That helped me pick up the pace again and I took my first few Shot Bloks.

The race was flying by. We had a brief stint on a bike path that was really narrow and congested. Just when we got off that it was time for the biggest hill of the race. I took two more Shot Bloks around mile 9 as I was working the hill. I didn’t think the hill was so bad and enjoyed the nice decline at the end of it. This is where I lost my pacers again.

I was definitely getting hot at this point. It was humid. To keep myself cool I had been grabbing water at every station (the cups had straws – best thing ever!) and a couple of ice cubes to hold in my hands to bring my body temp down. It was working well, but I started putting those ice cubes down my shirt too.

New lesson learned, when you’re trying not to walk at all through a race, it’s best to have your Shot Bloks opened and ready to go. My first pack was open because Josh had taken a few before the race. The extra ones I’d brought, not so much. I tried everything I could to get them open, but it was not going to happen. I just had to suck it up and go without.

Mile 12 came up and I could see Memorial Stadium. I was so close! At mile 12.5 I saw a girl getting carried off the course on a stretcher. At 13, I saw a woman collapse into the arms of her friends. It was kind of scary seeing that happen to a runner right in front of me. I hope they are both ok. Had they not already been attended to, I definitely would have stopped.

I made the final turn before entering the stadium and pushed myself to sprint as fast as I could to the finish line at the 50 yard line on Tom Osborne Field at Memorial Stadium. So cool getting to finish on the field!

I looked down and guess what!?! A new PR.

Official Time: 1:54:38     Avg. Pace: 8:45 min/mile

That’s more than five minutes faster than my race a few weeks ago and about 20 minutes faster than my first half. I wasn’t the only one with a new PR.

Josh ran a 1:38:57, about 6.5 minutes faster than his first half last year. Nancy ran through an injury to win her age group with a time of 2:03:50.

Jim also did fantastic! He finished his first half marathon (even sprinted at the end) in 2:25:41. We all had a great race!

We celebrated with pizza (and maybe a beer) from Valentino’s and then a nice steak dinner that evening. It looks like this may become a family tradition. Next year I’m going to try to get them to come out to do the Colorado Half Marathon. Speaking of that race, obviously I didn’t attend but it looks like someone ran with my bib. I’m going to have to contact the race directors because they refused a refund, but I want it if they let someone else where my bib.

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