One ambitious (or so I thought at the time) future goal I did consider while I was blogging was to some day break 1:30 in the half marathon. My focus then (and even now) has been the 5k but while reading so many running bloggers who were running halfs and marathons constantly, I built some interest in trying out the longer races. My issue has always been that I don't necessarily want to train the kind of mileage needed for those races, especially if I'm going to run at my highest potential. I do love to run but I prefer short and fast to a lot of longer, slower mileage.
Anytime I read a race report of a girl breaking 1:30 in the half I was in awe. Sub 7 minute miles for 13 miles? How do they do that? I did train for one half while blogging, not exactly optimally but enough to finish with a decent time. My goal was under 1:45 and I ended up running a 1:43:49. I remember hurting pretty badly at the end, I went out too fast and practically walked the last mile. Looking back at my splits I started with 7:17/ 7:12 /7:12 and ended with 8:32/ 8:41/ 8:29. That was my last and only half up until 2 weeks ago.
As part of my current 5k training I added a weekly long run in the fall. I started around 7-8 miles and have worked up to 14. I also did a 10 mile race in January (Goal was sub 1:05 [6:30 pace] and I ended up with a 1:05:08, close enough that I was happy). My long runs were going good- on my recent 13 and 14 milers I was holding 7:20-7:30 pretty easily and then finishing with a few sub 7 miles. I ran a 1:33 half in training, 10 minutes better than my race PR. So I decided it was time to get a new half marathon PR, registering for the same race I ran 2 years ago, The Long Island Half Marathon :D
Leading up to the race I knew I wanted to try for a sub 1:25 but as the race got closer I began to doubt myself. That would be a faster pace than my recent 10 mile PR and I hadn't done any tempo runs since that racethat were longer than 4 miles (which was a race 2 weeks before my half where I ran at 6:03 pace). I knew I could run fast for the shorter races and could run 7:10 averages pretty easily on my long runs but could I sustain a pace just below 6:30? Even with my long runs my weekly mileage was only about 25-30 mpw, pretty low for half training (I consider it more 5k training with a half race for the hell of it).
Since I put a lot of pressure on myself and get pretty mean cases of pre-race anxiety I tried to take some of the pressure off by telling myself I'd be okay with 1:26. It would still be a 18 minute PR and hopefully keep me from going out too fast. I planned to go out around 6:40 and if it felt good drop it down to 6:30. In honesty, knowing my racing MO, I knew that probably wasn't going to happen and I'd end up going out too fast anyway. Yup.
Here is how it played out:
Official chip time: 1:24:49 (6:29 pace) 10k split: 39:39 10 mile Split:1:04:28
Overall- 32 /3798 Sex- 5/ 1723 Age Group- 3/ 328
As those first few miles clicked off I knew I was probably going too fast but it felt really good so I just went with it, I was amazed at my 10k split (I've never run one so that is a PR lol). Then at miles 6 & 7 the gloom and despair set in, I wanted to quit, I sincerely considered walking right off the course. I cursed myself for going out to fast and wondered how I could possibly make it through 6 more miles. Mile 8 was against some pretty serious wind but I had looked at the course map and knew there was a turn at the start of mile 9 so the wind would be at my back. I gutted out mile 8 and as soon as I hit mile 9 it felt easy, I was actually averaging 6:15 pace till we hit a little hill at the end.
Somewhere along mile 9 a race volunteer on bike held up 2 fingers to me which I assumed meant I was in 2nd. I didn't start on the line and was wearing headphones so I really had no idea but knew there was at least one super fast local girl in front of me. I also knew there were a couple of girls I ran with in the first few miles that were probably close behind (real close it turns out lol). Yup, mile 10 they both caught me and although I was a bit upset I had just gone from 2nd to 4th (or so I thought) I was also very happy to see I had just run 1:04:28 for 10 miles (40 sec faster than my 10 mile PR).
They both looked very strong going by me and I was just barely holding on. As much as I wanted to stay with them/ catch back up, my bigger concern was to not blow my sub 1:25 pace. The last mile I really wasn't sure I was going to make it, it took everything I had just to put one foot in front of the other. As much as I told myself, "it's the last mile, dig deep, push harder," it was all I could manage to hold a 6:40 pace. I did find a 2nd gear for the last .1ish, around 6:10 pace, and was ecstatic to see 1:24:xx as I approached the finish line.
A 19 minute PR from my 2011 race.
Same race, 2 yrs apart:
Turns out I was actually 5th girl as there were 2 in front of me the whole race and as nice as it would have been to come in 3rd all I cared about was that I achieved my goal of Sub 1:25. That and finding a place to collapse on the grass. It is pretty crazy for me to think I ran 13 miles right around sub-20 5k pace when I struggled for so many years to run at that pace for a 5k. Following the race we went across the street to Nassau Coliseum for the Islander's playoff game, I was in a good amount of abdominal distress so it wasn't the most enjoyable experience :D.
As for fueling during the race, I haven't needed anything during my long runs but took some sports beans with me. I had some before the race but didn't eat any during, I also didn't drink any water. I tried at one of the later aid stations but haven't mastered the art of drinking while running (I never drink during 5ks). It wasn't much of an issue as it was a cool day (mid/low 50's?) but something I'm going to have to work on for hotter race days.
During the race I told myself numerous times, "No more halfs! I'm sticking to 5ks!!" Of course now I'm already trying to figure out my next one. I think it's going to end up being in the fall; I have some shorter races, biathlons/triathlons, and obstacle races planned for this summer and definitely have my eye on that sub 18! Not sure what my goal for my fall half will be, I'll see how summer training goes. 1:20 would be nice, right now that seems way too ambitious, 1:22 is safer- we shall see :) As for the full marathon, well, that's still a pretty resounding, "No Way." :D
Next 2 races are a 5k on 6/1 and Spartan NY sprint on 6/8. The spartan will be my first obstacle race but I have some very big goals set for it- go big or go home, right? ;)