That’s right. I broke all the rules of reason and raced a half marathon and a marathon one week apart. I feel like I owe an explanation but if you know me at all you probably don’t need one. I will say that the first race- the half marathon was on my racing calendar all year and was a goal race. I added the marathon in about two and a half weeks ago as a fun “I’ll just see what I can do” race. I’ve never understood why anyone would run a marathon “for fun” until I did it myself. Race recap on the Jacob Wells 3 Bridges Marathon coming soon!!
First things first- The CASA Half Marathon in Pine Bluff, AR is a race I look forward to all year long. The course is very PR-friendly and the race is extremely organized and well run. The race directors do an excellent job all year promoting the race and you can’t beat the price- $35! With each registration you receive a southern cookbook and a gender specific race tee. This year the shirts had all of the participants names on the back! There’s also a pancake breakfast immediately following the race. Probably one of my favorite things about this race are the unique prizes for the overall winners. The top 3 overall men and woman (and overall Masters winners) receive a unique glass art plate from the James Hayes Art Glass in Little Rock.
I have run this race twice before and both experiences went well. In 2013 I set my current half marathon PR there (1:23:50) and last year I was able to run a 1:26:08 coming back from an injury. In my mind this was going to be the best year of all. I was not injured and in better race shape than 2013. But that’s not what happened…
In 2013 and 2014 temps were in the 30’s & 40’s. This year temps were in the upper 60’s with high humidity. I have run decent half marathons in these temps before but at the time my body was more acclimated. At least that’s all I can think of. I’ll be honest, this year’s CASA Half Marathon was a struggle.
I drove to Pine Bluff Saturday morning with two of my Searcy Rush teammates, Kelli and Beverly after having stayed at Beverly’s house Friday night. We met up with Kem (another one of our teammates) at the race and we all warmed up together. My pace plan was to run somewhere in the 6:20’s-6:30’s which I thought would be doable.
From the very beginning I quickly found myself in the position of 2nd female overall. Around the one mile marker, Gary Taylor (talented runner and owner of Go! Running in Little Rock) came up along side me and asked me what my pace goal was. I told him and he asked if I wanted pacing company. Of course! When I ran my half PR in 2013 I paced next to someone almost the entire race and it really helped. I knew Gary could run much faster but if he wanted to take it “easy” by pacing me I was good with that. We were right on track but by mile 5 I realized it was taking too much effort to stay in the right pace range. Typically in a half marathon miles 3-9 are my easiest because I’m in a groove and fatigue hasn’t set in too much yet. In this case I was feeling like it was the end of a 10k. Not good. And I still had 8 more miles to run!
During mile 6 I started to fall back from Gary and things quickly went from bad to worse. Around mile 10 I got the worst side stitch/ heat cramp I’ve ever had. I wanted to quit so bad. I had no idea how I was going to make it another 5k. It felt worse than the end of a marathon. I reminded myself that a side stitch never killed anyone… but it can sure slow you down! If I wanted one of those glass plates I was going to have to push through and finish this thing!
My splits were turning into “easy run” territory. The heat must have been affecting others though because from miles 7-13 I was only passed by one runner. At a right turn just before the last mile I saw that the third place female was right behind me. Yikes! It was time to pull it together and finish. If she had passed me during the killer side stitch miles I would have probably let her have it but at this point I wasn’t going to let anyone pass me if I could help it. Surely I could handle one hard mile after coasting the last few. My stomach wasn’t cramping anymore so I picked up the pace and finished but it wasn’t pretty.
1:27:37 (2nd female OA). Official Results can be found here.
Mile 1- 6:24
Mile 2- 6:28
Mile 3- 6:28
Mile 4- 6:25
Mile 5- 6:27
Mile 6- 6:37
Mile 7- 6:53
Mile 8- 6:47
Mile 9- 6:50
Mile 10- 7:06
Mile 11- 7:19
Mile 12- 7:03
Mile 13- 6:31
Mile 13.1- 5:52 avg.
John and the kids had driven there for the finish so it was good to see them but it’s hard having a bad race with them there. I just don’t want to let them down. Especially John. I know this is very twisted because I put all the pressure on myself but it’s just how I feel. It’s frustrating to put in the work and all the right training and then to experience it falling apart.
This was my “A” half marathon race for the fall. How did I run faster half marathon splits in both of my fall marathons?!! In fact, my overall watch average from the Chicago Marathon was the same as my average for this half marathon.
My cool-down consisted of jogging to my teammates who were also struggling to finish. We all finished 3-15 minutes slower than our goal time. Tough morning for racing but this happens.
A Few Highlights:
Our team won in Grand Prix points.
I got my plate!
The 2015 Arkansas RRCA Awards Ceremony was held after the CASA race awards were given. My daughter won in the category of Youth Female Runner of the Year (18 & under). I couldn’t be more proud of her.
It was truly the highlight of the entire weekend. I know she has many exciting times ahead of her. There will also be struggles and races similar to this one. I hope she knows she is strong enough to keep going because the good races and good experiences always out last for the bad ones.
The Jacob Wells 3 Bridges Marathon Race Recap is coming up next!