This was my third time running the Her Tern Half & Quarter Marathon, and it continues to be a favorite of mine. The first year I ran the half marathon, the second year I ran the quarter marathon while I was pregnant, and this year I did the half again.
And if you missed it, you might want to read my first post: why I chose to run this race even though I wasn’t supposed to, per the PT and my coach.
Going into the race I didn’t know what to expect since I didn’t know how my hip flexor would hold up. I didn’t want it to flare up before the race, so I didn’t do much of a warm-up. I didn’t do any jogging, but I did do a few stretches, a couple drills, 3 very short striders before the race started, and then put my game face on.
The weather was warm, so I made a mental note to grab water at all of the aid stations since I barely get more than a couple sips of water anyhow when I try to drink from the cup. I knew it was going to be hot for a lot of people, which I thought might be to my advantage because I like the warmer weather. (I don’t love it for racing, but I can tolerate it better than most Alaskans.)
When the race started, I reminded myself not to go out too fast because I hadn’t warmed up and I knew my legs weren’t very fresh. My friend Hallidie took the lead and went out at about a 6 minute pace, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to hang onto that pace for very long, so I hung back a bit. Even though it didn’t feel that fast, I knew I had to run my own race. I’m pretty much a slave to my watch the first mile because everything seems so easy with the adrenaline pumping and fresh legs starting out.
But of course I still go out too fast:
Mile 1 – 6:24
Mile 2 – 6:30
Mile 3 – 6:44
The first couple of miles ticked by, but I knew early on things weren’t,,,,,, going to come easy. My hip didn’t bother me at all during the first few miles of the race, but I could tell my legs were still recovering from the marathon a month ago. I focused on sticking to a somewhat comfortable pace (comfortable for racing but not too uncomfortable in that I might die before mile 13).
I can’t remember where I caught up to Hallidie–maybe around mile 3.5, and we continued to run together for a few miles when I got a surge of energy and took the lead. During this time I could also start to feel my hip flexor get a little twingy. The pain definitely wasn’t debilitating, so I kept running.
Mile 4 – 6:46
Mile 5 – 6:59
Mile 6 – 7:08
Mile 7 – 6:56
The turn-around is at mile 7, so once I got there, I knew I was over half-way done and there were some slight downhill portions coming up. I, by no means, was feeling very good or very strong. I had to fight off the pain and discomfort I was feeling. I focused on staying mentally tough and kept pushing. I was still doing okay with the warm weather. I wasn’t necessarily feeling hot, but I do remember thinking it would be a little nicer if it was cooler.
Mile 8 – 7:05
Mile 9 – 7:06
Mile 10 – 7:05
Mile 11 – 7:03
Mile 12 – 7:13
Mile 13 – ?? (I’m not sure.)
I kept chugging along and trying to hold onto my pace, which was slipping and dropping down to around 7 minutes by this time. I had no idea if anyone was close to catching me–and of course I didn’t want them to, so I used that as my motivation to keep pushing the pace. Miles 8 and 9 are always a hard time for me because I still have 4 or 5 miles to go, and by this time I am usually starting to feel the effects of racing.
Since it is an out-and-back course, I was running against hundreds of other women by this time, so I used them as my distraction: looking for people I knew and listening to their cheers, which I appreciated so much! I wish I could have said something back, but I was too tired, and I knew I needed to conserve my energy–especially for the nasty hill at the end.
The last few miles were tough, but I kept telling myself, “It will be over before you know it.” And “You’ve worked so hard for this.”
There is a long gradual hill at the end that turns into a short, very steep hill for the last block. Everyone hates it and dreads it. (It was seriously giving me anxiety during the race.) But thankfully I had my coworker, Neil, who ran up it with me and cheered me on. (Side note: Neil ran over 12 miles running women up that hill throughout the morning!)
How do you like those negative splits?
When I crossed the finish line, I was spent. I found Craig and collapsed into his arms. I was so happy to finish first and knew I had given it my all.
The after party is a lot of fun with awesome treats, a DJ, a big blow-up slide for the kids,
mimosas, massages, giveaways,
free Kaladi coffee, a food truck, and the overall atmosphere is very positive with a bunch of women celebrating their accomplishments.
The finisher’s bracelet.
My #1 fan and assistant coach.
The that was my 20th half marathon, which is why I picked the number 20 for my race bib.
Overall, I was very happy with how things went, but then I realized I would have to run faster than that pace to break 3 hours in the marathon. I’ve got my work cutout for me!