Throwback Thursday post to my last race of the season and my last race before surgery.
I was hopeful that I could beat my existing half PR set last year at the Indianapolis Monumental Half Marathon. As Josh and I talked about the race, he offered to pace me. While I took his offer with a grain of salt, I figured why not take him up on his offer. The worst that could happen is I annoy him or he annoys me and we part ways. I knew I should be able to run at least as fast as I ran the Twin Cities 10 Miler a month ago as the course was basically the opposite of what I’d be running in the Halfsy.
Sunday morning I woke up and did my pre-race thing. We kind of lounged around the house since the starting line was just a few miles from Josh’s parent’s house and the race didn’t start until 8:30 am. Both Jim and Nancy, as well as my sister-in-law volunteered to do traffic control for the race, so at about 8, we all got in the van and made our way to the start.
The starting line was well organized with huge pace flags lining the shoot. We snapped a quick selfie and lined up just ahead of the 1:40 pacer. Josh confidently told me that I could run under a 1:40 and I’d be upset if with myself if I didn’t at least try. I said ok and right on time, we crossed the starting line.
The start was a little odd, winding around a high school then out onto 70th Street. We saw all three Van Kirk’s in the first mile which was fun. We had some pretty good rolling hills in the first few miles, but nothing too challenging. I wasn’t looking at my watch, running by feel and talking with Josh a bit. When we passed the three mile mark, he pulled me back a little bit. I was feeling great. The temperature was in the mid-30s which is my ideal running weather. As we ran down 70th and into Holmes Lake Park, I knew there was a fairly significant downhill around the 5th mile. Josh told me that we were going to take advantage of the downhill and run the next mile at 7:15. Um, what?
The downhill felt nice and we covered that mile in 7:14. I was able to recover from the faster speed easily once the course flattened out again. Around mile seven I took my gel. It was a little early for me but I wasn’t carrying my own water and I remembered the next water stop wasn’t until around mile nine. A short while later we could see the capital building. There was a large crowd cheering us on as we ran by the halfsy point of the Halfsy.
We turned onto a really nicely maintained trail that I often ran portions of with Nancy. There were a few more small rolling hills. Everyone once in a while we’d pick up the pace, then pull it back. I looked at my watch and saw our average pace was sub 7:30 min/mile. I was running this race faster than the 10 miler by about 10 seconds/mile.
When we left the trail, the course got pretty industrial. It was not the most scenic but we were closing in. I was getting tired and the biggest hill of the race was coming at mile 13. Between miles 11 and 12, Josh pushed me to run a 7:20 for a quarter mile. I begrudgingly did it but told him I was done. I was going to try to sprint to the finish but I had to save some energy for the hill.
As we turned a corner out of a residential area, I saw the LINCOLN bridge and the hill I was going to have to climb to get up and over it to the finish line. Ugh. What sadist thought that was a good idea? I did my best to just chug up it. Once at the top I was struggling to keep my breathing steady. Working my arms, I started to make my descent to the finish line. Josh pushed me to pass people as I tried to sprint through the finish.
As I crossed the finish line I lifted my arms above my head and a huge smile crossed my face. I set a 3 minute, 33 second personal record. I think sometimes Josh has more faith in how fast I am than I do.
Official finish: 1:37:37 Avg. Pace: 7:26 min/mile
I was 11th out of 515 my age group (30-34), 57 out of 2919 women and 259 out of 4505 overall. That put me in the top 2% of my category and gender, as well as, top 5% of all the runners at the race. I was pretty excited!
This race was really well organized. Other than that hill at mile 13, the course was PR friendly and really well marked. There were plenty of volunteers at the water stops and at the finish line. Bonus, the lines for the post-race massage were so short, both Josh and I got to have one after only a five minute wait. We got really nice long sleeve tech shirts and the medals were nice. I definitely do this race again if it worked out for us to be in Lincoln.
This race helped me get excited for my upcoming marathon training cycle. I haven’t lost my speed and there will be more personal records to come.