What a day! This morning’s race was the result of many answered prayers and countless hours of hard work and training. I could not have done it without the support of my friends and family.
The Heart & Sole Half Marathon has been on my racing calendar all year long. I knew this would be my only half marathon for 2012 and I wanted to make it count. I wanted to PR and I really wanted a sub 1:30. As race day approached I got more and more nervous. All week long I’ve been anxious and excited. And always nervous. I cut back on my miles. I put NYC out of my mind and this week it was all about the Heart & Sole Half Marathon.
Pre-Race Week Mileage:
Sunday 9/23- Off
Monday 9/24- Easy 10 @ 8:03 pace
Tuesday 9/25- 8 miles w/ 3 mile repeats (6:22, 6:14, 6:08) 1 minute rest between
Wednesday 9/26- Easy 8 @ 8:05 pace
Thursday 9/27- Off (walked a lot at zoo with Rocky’s kindergarten class)
Friday 9/28- Easy 3 @ 7:46 pace
The race was in Jonesboro, Arkansas which is about an hour and a half from my house. The race started at 7 am which meant being there by 6:30 so John and I decided to drive up Friday and spend the night. John’s parents kept the kids so we also got to enjoy a quiet date night. Double bonus! Once we got there and picked up my packet we decided to drive the course while it was still light out. I am SO glad we did this. It helped me A LOT during the race but I’ll get to that later. Then we enjoyed a lovely dinner together at Olive Garden in which we did not have to deal with trying to get the kids to eat or keep the noise down. It was wonderful.
After dinner it was time to get in race mode. We went to the hotel and I layed out my running gear. It almost felt like I was preparing mentally for a marathon. Good practice for NYC!
We got to the race around 6:30. I ran 1.6 mi warm-up, stretched and used restroom. I was ready to get this show on the road… At the starting line I noticed a few elites. I was not going to focus on my overall place. This race was all about my time. 6:45 was my magic pace number.
Miles 1-3 (6:41, 6:48, 6:48) It took me a while to find my rhythm. The first 2 miles are pretty flat but mile 3 has the first long incline.
Miles 4-6 (6:44, 6:38, 6:42) Love these “easy miles.” Usually at this point in a HM I have found my pace and it’s early on enough that I’m not tired yet. There were some rolling hills in this section and I took advantage of all the downhills. I was following a pack of 3 guys who seemed to know what they were doing. I just coasted on autopilot.
Miles 7-9 (6:35, 6:43, 6:55) I had some GU and water at mile 8. The hardest miles by far were 8 & 9. Mile 9 had a long uphill section but I knew that after that there was a flat stretch coming if I could just hang on… I ended up passing the pack of guys which had its disadvantage. The “traffic” directors were not very helpful and at several turns I had to ask which way to go.
|Mile 9- in between the hills|
|Which way do I go?|
Miles 10-13.22 (6:41, 6:36, 6:38, 6:30, 1:22)- Felt strong and prepared for these miles.
|Finishing mile 11|
|The home stretch!|
Finish time: 1:28:25 for 13.1 (6:45 avg.) Of course, my Garmin clocked it in 13.22 (6:41 avg.) but that’s probably because I ran a little extra trying to figure out which direction to go.
Super thrilled and happy with my new PR! I also came in 5th overall female (11th overall). Official results can be found here.
|I couldn’t do it without this man!|
I jogged 2.2 miles just to make my mileage for today an even 17. I guess technically I should have run a long run for my NYC training but the 17 is going to have to cut it for now! I have one more 20 miler coming up in 2 weeks so I’ll just do it then.
There was over an hour between my cool-down and the awards so we went back to the hotel to shower and change which was very convenient. When we got back to the race site there was a huge brunch spread. I loaded so much food on my plate I didn’t care how it looked! We met up with Lauren and her family while we waited on awards. It was great catching up with them. Lauren will also be running the St. Jude Marathon in December.
I will probably run this race again but hopefully they will fix a few of the traffic issues. (This is only the third year for this race.) Apparently, several of the lead runners got lost and the guy in first place got hit by a car! He ended up coming in second because he had to stop for a bit. His hip was badly bruised and his arm was gashed. He limped up to get his award. He said that the lead escort vehicle stopped leading them at mile 8 to help deal with traffic at an intersection. Uh hello? You can’t leave the lead runners! The race director knows all of this so I’m sure this will all be corrected next year. There were a lot of turns in this race and unfortunately many of the volunteers did not realize that most of us runners had no idea which way to go. I know they are volunteering to help and it was early on a Saturday morning. I get that. But if you are just going to be staring at your phone instead of telling runners which direction to go then why are you out there at all?
The course itself had its share of challenges but it was doable. Driving the course last night helped me know what was coming. I knew where the biggest hills were going to be and I knew when they would be over. Running the half marathon on the track last week was a little crazy but it actually really helped me mentally. I knew I could run the splits physically. It was very good preparation for today’s race.
I stayed positive and focused. I didn’t give up or get down on myself. There were moments of pure running bliss. I love moments like this. It makes it all worth it. The hours and hours of training, the tears, the black toenails, the early mornings, the crazy track workouts by myself- it all is so worth it when you cross that finish line having reached your goal.
After the awards we drove home to get the kids. They surprised me with a dozen roses (pretty sure nana had something to do with this) and banners made by the kids.
|This one makes me want to cry. I love my Abi!|
It was a great day. I’m feeling very blessed and I’m incredibly grateful. Now it’s time to relax and get some much needed sleep!