Runners are a very determined group of people. Sometimes to a fault. When we have a race in our mind it is hard to deviate from the plan. I knew before my race that I wasn’t feeling good but I wasn’t about to miss the only half marathon on my schedule all fall. I didn’t know exactly what was wrong with me but I was hoping I had enough to cross that finish line.
The week before my half was pretty low key. I knew my body was fighting off a cold. I figured the lower mileage from a mini taper would give my body some needed rest and I would be fine. Friday afternoon after we picked up the kids from school we left for Jonesboro which is just about an hour and a half from my house. I picked up my packet and we headed to dinner. At dinner I commented to John a few times that my ears were were ringing. By the time we got to the hotel I knew I needed some Tylenol or something for the major headache I was having. I didn’t pack any medicine so he went to the store to get some. I was getting more dizzy and congested but I couldn’t tell if it was me or the kids jumping from bed to bed
driving me crazy laughing and playing.
I went to bed as soon as John got back but did not sleep well. I wasn’t sure if I should even run. I knew I had put in the training and should be able to run a good half but I just wasn’t feeling confident in myself since I wasn’t feeling healthy.
Ultimately, I knew I would be mad at myself if I didn’t even try. We had brought the whole family and stayed at a hotel so I could run this race so I forced myself to get ready. The hotel was just a half mile from the starting line so I jogged over by myself and let John and the kids sleep in. Temps were in the mid 60’s and it was 90% humidity which is a bit warmer than I would have liked. After a short warm-up I was already very sweaty. Then I had an embarrassing port-a-potty experience. For some reason I didn’t lock the door all the way (never done that before) so while I’m sitting there some runner lady opens the door and quickly shuts it apologizing. Wouldn’t have been a big deal but every line is facing the port-a-potties so I who knows how many people saw me for those few seconds. But I was so out of it I really didn’t even care! I just needed to get this race over with so I could lay down. Not exactly the best pre- race attitude.
My ultimate half marathon plan was to break 1:25. I needed to pace at 6:27 or better to get this time. I knew that this would be difficult considering how I was feeling combined with the warmer weather and a hilly course. Last year there were several elite women at this race. For whatever reason they weren’t there this year which meant I would have a pretty good shot at some prize money if I could hold it together for 13.1 miles. I just needed a little less than an hour and a half of running hard. Could my body give me that? I had prayed during most of my warm-up that God would take care of me and help me get through it. So many times during training I know I rely way too much on myself and I should know better. Saturday morning I knew if I relied on myself I would fail. I needed help.
Mile 1- 6:27. Right on my goal pace. It felt controlled and easy enough but I wasn’t sure if it would still feel that way several miles later. I just couldn’t think about that. One mile at a time.
Mile 2- 6:28. I passed one guy at the beginning of this mile and settled into 4th place overall- there were three guys spread out ahead of me.
Mile 3- 6:35. A little off pace but I knew this would be a tough mile with an 80 foot elevation gain and only 27 foot loss.
Mile 4- 6:34. A runner came up to pass me at the end of this mile. “Good job girl!” he said and I hoped he would be the only person to pass me the rest of the race. I wasn’t slowing down, he was just picking his pace. I decided to follow him a while if I could. At this point I was feeling much more in rhythm.
Mile 5- 6:26. Had two shot bloks and some water.
Mile 6- 6:31. Still trying to follow that guy in front of me who was gaining more of a lead.
Mile 7- 6:24. Drank a quick sip of gatorade.
Mile 8- 6:35. Another steep incline at the end of this mile. I knew I’d see John and the kids at the top of the hill so I just had to push through and power up as I ran. I envisioned I was just running one of my hill repeats.
Mile 9- 6:38. Hardest mile mentally and physically for me. There is a long gradual climb in this mile but I knew I would soon be rewarded with two flat easy miles. John and the kids were at the beginning of this mile and it was so good to see them.
Mile 10- 6:31. Once my watched beeped 10 I just had to talk myself through running a 5K. I ate my last shot blok and had a sip of water. This was it. I had to stay focused and I could rest soon!
Mile 11- 6:32. Saw John and the kids one more time.
Mile 12- 6:31. Last mile with any big incline.
Mile 13- 6:24. I knew running a 1:24:xx was not going to happen but a 1:25:xx could if I booked it in!
Mile 13.22- 1:15 (538 avg.) I saw the clock and knew I had to kick to get it in sub 1:26. Barely made it!
Official Finish Time: 1:25:57/ 1st female/ 5th Overall
Official Avg. 6:34 (Garmin Avg. 6:30.)
|Kirwa and Tanui placed 1st and 2nd overall. We are all HU cross country almuni.|
After the race I ran about a mile cool-down with two runners runners I know from Batesville. I had planned on running more but my body was completely exhausted. We went back to the hotel because there was an hour and a half before the awards and brunch. I showered and changed and then started to feel faint. I started breaking into a cold sweat all over and knew I had to lay down and eat something asap. Once I ate I started to feel a little better hut my throat was not good at all. It just got worse as the day went on.
Sunday morning I woke up feeling much worse so I went to the local urgent care clinic. Sure enough I tested positive for strep throat. So obviously no running right now. Taking it easy just resting and letting the antibiotics do their thing
Overall, I feel good about how it went under the circumstances. I know I have a sub 1:25 in me, maybe even a sub 1:24 but I did the absolute best I could on Saturday. I probably shouldn’t have even run so I can’t complain about not meeting my A goal. I will meet my A goal when the time is right and hopefully I will be feeling fresh and sharp that day- ready to run!