Monday, March 19, 2012

RnR USA Half Marathon Recap

This past weekend I ran my fifth half marathon. And it was awesome.

I started training for this race only seven weeks ago, after I took a month off from running due to a(nother) tibial stress fracture. I ran only three to four times per week (my max, after getting a stress fracture from running five times a week when training for the NYC Marathon!), and did P90X five or six days a week.

I didn't expect much from this race. I mostly followed my training plan (a mix of Hal Higdon and Runner's World's SmartCoach), but I missed a couple runs (including one long run!), caught a cold, started a new job, and was coming back from an injury. I decided it would be a "fun run," one I'd run at least part of the way with my friend Christina (whom I had convinced to sign up as well...we had both originally signed up for the FULL marathon, by the way...), and one I just wanted to get under 2:06 (the time I achieved for my first THREE half least I'm consistent?).
Signs of spring on my last long run before the half!
Going into this race, I was feeling pretty chill. I didn't study every single detail of the course ahead of time. I didn't bring my own bagel to Christina's apartment. I didn't fall asleep with nervous butterflies in my stomach. I didn't even Google how to get from Christina's to RFK. In fact, I ate a giant burger and fries for lunch the day before the race, and a PB&J and banana served as dinner the night before. I didn't sleep enough (blame DC2NY for a late bus).

I was definitely winging it...and I actually think that might have helped me, in some way. I didn't have any expectations, there was no pressure. Once I got to the start though, a few little butterflies kicked in. The good kind though, the kind that makes me feel excited and a bit of adrenaline needed to get through that first mile, the kind that builds as you run mile after mile and propels you to the finish. It was just what I needed, right when I needed it.

If I'd run this whole race feeling kind of "meh" and unexcited the whole time, there's no way I would have made it through the entire race. I would have given up, said it didn't matter, and taken it easy the whole way. But luckily, that's not me. Don't get me wrong - I wasn't excited and having tons of fun the whole entire time...the first half was very tough for me. I thought about dropping out, about taking it easy, about giving up. But as soon as a turned on my iPod halfway through the race, I knew I was in it for the long haul and that I'd run the crap outta that race. Especially when a Girl Talk song (Oh No) came on and said, "Move bitch, get out the way, get out the way bitch, get out the way..." Yup. THAT really got my butt in gear.

You can actually tell from my splits - check out mile 11 - the moment when I realized that a PR was in reach was at mile 10. I hit the 10 mile marker at 1:30, and realized that even if I ran just under 10-minute miles, I could STILL get under two hours.
Half marathon splits
That revelation at mile 10 led me to an 8:09 minute mile in mile 11. Yeah, mile 12 is almost a minute slower (can I blame a hill there? Not sure...), but you can actually SEE when I realized that I could beat my PR of 1:58:59 (when I ran the Staten Island Half).

And PR I did. I crossed the finish line in 1:57:44, 1 minute and 15 seconds faster than my previous PR. It wasn't a goal I had in mind. I just realized it was possible, dug deep, and made it happen. (If only it were always that easy...) Every time I hit a hill, instead of cursing it, I thanked Central Park for preparing my legs. Every time I wanted to walk, I decided to run faster instead. I pushed myself. 

RnR recorded a few times along the way:
  • 5k: 28:37 (9:14 pace)
  • 10k: 56:31 (9:07 pace)
  • 10 mi: 1:30:19 (9:02 pace)
  • 13.1 mi: 1:57:44 (8:59 pace)
Was it the fastest I could have possibly gone? Probably not. But I got faster as it went on. And I am so incredibly proud of myself for running this race the way that I did, going into it with no pressure and shattering expectations I didn't even know could be there. I completely surprised myself.

And I walked away with a PR. Not to mention a banana, bagel, apple, yogurt, Snickers Marathon bars, chocolate milk (the very first thing I had to drink after the race - so good!), fruit bites, water, Gu, Gatorade and a heat sheet. Plus, a pretty sweet little medal:
First RnR race medal!
It was a great race, and I'm so glad that I did it. I'm even happier that I ran a race that I'm proud of, PR or no PR. I feel like I gave it my all, ran my guts out, and left it all out there. And I plan on doing it again and again in all of my future races.
Finish line in sight...determined face!


  1. CONGRATS on an awesome PR half! I swear sometimes the races that you care the least about end up being the best ones - my current PR in Feb happened that way too! Also Girl Talk "Oh No" is MY FAVORITE running song - actually his whole CD is. I ran my second half-marathon listening to nothing but GirlTalk!

    1. Thanks Kristine! Nothing like a good surprise PR :)

      All Day is SUCH a good album - perfect for running!!!