St.Judes Half Marathon: Race Report (and it includes a PR!!!)

St.Judes Half Marathon: Race Report (and it includes a PR!!!)

I must admit that I am falling in love with the half marathon distance.  I have set a PR the last 3 half marathons I have run in- and have run them all within the past 5 weeks! I am learning a lot about racing this distance and having FUN!

Yesterday, John, Ashton and I headed to Memphis for the St. Judes Marathon weekend event.  Of course it would have been easier traveling, etc. if it would have just been John and I but Ashton is still nursing and I have never been away overnight from any of my babies before their first birthday so why start now? He is my baby and I’m just not in a rush for him to grow up.  I have plenty of years of racing ahead but this is my last time to have a baby…

Anyway, it is about a 2 hour drive to Memphis so we planned on staying one night in a hotel.  Last year our entire family went.  No, I did not run in it since I was 9 months pregnant at the time but I did experience cheering from the sidelines.  My in-laws walked in it.  You can read more about that experience here.

We went to the Expo first.  It has been one year since I’ve been at any running expo and I was in runner’s heaven! I bought a cute St.Judes Nike dry fit long sleeve top and a St. Judes Christmas ornament.  I also bought a new running belt (similar to spi belt) and racing sleeves.  Guess who was speaking at the expo while I was there?  None other than Hal Higdon! (I have used Hal’s training plans in the past and love them.) I listened to him for a few minutes but Ashton was getting fussy so we had to go.  Still, I’m glad I was able to see Hal in person!

Hal Higdon speaking at the Expo
John found his check-in spot! 🙂

After the expo, I would have loved to have shopped a little at the Wolfchase Galleria and Target but it was already after 5 and I knew food places would be getting crowded and I wanted to go to bed at a decent time.  We found a Macaroni Grill that only had a 25 minute wait and enjoyed lots of bread and pasta.  Carb loading at its finest…

Ashton was ready to carb load too!

When we finally got to the hotel it was Ashton’s bedtime and then I got all my race gear together.  I got the best night before a race sleep ever.  Almost 8 hours which is unheard of for me! Ashton woke up around 6:15 which was about 30 minutes before I wanted to get up but that is my life right now! Once we were all dressed we headed to the smallest continental breakfast ever.  I was counting on them having a banana (I always eat a banana before I run) but there was no fruit.  I did get a piece of toast and some honey nut cheerios that I shared with Ashton.

John (and Ashton) dropped me off at 7:30 as close as he could to the start.  The temperature was around 46 degrees and perfect weather for racing!  I decided to wear exactly what I would race in so I wouldn’t have to mess with gear check. I also made a wonderful last minute decision. I decided to race with my IPod.  I have never raced with music before but something inside told me to do it and I must admit it was the best decision ever! From where John dropped me off I was close to Corral 15.  I needed to make my way to Corral 2 which took a little longer than I would have liked.  When I made my way to the start I had about 10 minutes for my warm-up but no time to wait in the port-a-potty lines.  Ughhhh.  I didn’t really have to go but I guess it was more of a mental thing on my checklist of what I usually do. So I finished my warm-up mile and went to the start.  Then it was race time! My goal- 7:10 min. pace or a little under.

Mile 1- 7:07. The start did not too fast to me.  It was very steady and comfortable.  I easily found my pace and got in the zone. 
Mile 2- 7:01.  A little faster than I was going for but I told myself it would be ok.
Mile 3- 7:07. I settled in right behind the 3:10 marathon pace group.  Their pacer was running faster than a 3:10 pace (which would be a 7:13) so I decided to hang with them for a while.
Mile 4- 7:08
Mile 5- 6:40. Yes, you read that correctly.  During this mile we ran through the St. Judes hospital campus area.  There was wall to wall cheering.  I felt like an Olympic athlete! Patients, survivors, family members of patients, etc. were all out there cheering and holding up signs.  One sign said, “Because you’re a runner, I’m a SURVIVOR!” It was so moving and touching I was getting choked up and about to cry.  I couldn’t help but run fast as I ran through there.  Best mile of the entire race.
Mile 6- 7:08. Still felt strong, like I was holding a lot back.  I kept telling myself that this was my day, this was my race.  I was going to PR.  I could do this.  Lots of positive self-talk.
Mile 7- 7:13. It was at this point that I decided to leave the pace group and pick up the pace.  I hoped this wouldn’t come back to bite me but I was feeling strong and knew I wanted to push myself.  I DID NOT want to pass the pass group and then them later pass me.  But I decided to I trust my body and just go for it.

Mile 8- 7:06. John had said he would try to be at a cheering spot somewhere at mile 8.  I never saw him but I did make a little game out of seeing if I could find him…
Mile 9- 7:00. Apparently John was at this mile but I never saw him! He said I looked focused and determined.  He didn’t want to distract me.

Mile 10- 6:56. Still feeling good.  I knew this was it- 5K time.  Could I pull out a sub 22 minute 5K?  I knew I was going to PR but I didn’t know by how much.  It can be a little challenging trying to do the mental math at the end of a race.

Mile 11- 6:49.  Cruising.
Mile 12- 6:51
Mile 13- 6:47
Mile 13.1-1:37

Garmin Results: 1:32:35 for 13.26 miles (6:59 pace)
Official Time: 1:32:37 for 13.1 miles (7:04 pace) 12th female overall.

Cutest little race cheerleader ever!

I will get my official sub 7 minute pace someday but I couldn’t be more pleased with my race today.  I crossed the finish line with a HUGE smile on my face.  I did it! I ran my perfect race. I felt strong and stayed positive.  No one passed me the last 6 miles.  I negative split which is my best way to run. All I can say is, Thank you God!! I am so happy and blessed!

4 thoughts on “St.Judes Half Marathon: Race Report (and it includes a PR!!!)

  1. Congrats girl!! I’m so glad I came here to check your blog out…something I’ve been awful at! So exciting. Your splits are awesome and you ran such a smart and strong race!! Running with music is an entirely different beast. I’m thinking I like it! getting used to it for sure. Not so sure I’ll use it in a marathon but maybe. So happy for your here Tia. And so wish you lived closer so that we could train together and talk mommyhood and running! xo

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