I had one race-day goal for my second half marathon: run faster than I did at my first half marathon.
My strategy going into the race was to run consistent nine minute miles and break two hours. But two weeks before the race I pushed it too hard during a 12 mile training run and injured my knee. That’s what you get for playing the Chariots of Fire theme song in your head and sprinting the last mile like you’re going to be on the next Wheaties box.
Continuing the theme of self-destruction, just a few days later I tripped and went sprawling on the sidewalk while running down the main road in front of a gazillion people. I totally tried to pull off the “I dropped my iPhone on the ground and had to somersault on the concrete to pick it up and that’s why I’m bleeding” look and it must have worked because no one stopped to see if I was okay. OR MAYBE PEOPLE ARE JUST THAT COLD HEARTED.
So I let my body rest the week before the race. No running, just lots of ice packs and soaks in the tub. My knee still didn’t feel 100% percent the morning of the race, but I was determined to give it my all.
I woke up at 4 a.m. to eat half a bagel with peanut butter, half a banana and drink 24 oz. of Gatorade before going back to sleep. Cory and I had friends staying with us for the weekend and the poor things were super confused after waking up to the smell of toast at an ungodly hour. At 6 a.m. I got dressed, pinned on my racing bib and continued to sip on water during the drive with my dad to the event.
There was such a high level of excitement at the starting line and when the gun went off at 8 a.m. we started running with great energy. The weather was chilly but it was a gorgeous fall morning and I warmed up quickly. I LOVED the spectator support and signs along the way. The course was beautiful but very hilly and I needed all the encouragement I could get!
I took an energy gel at mile six and Gatorade at miles three, six and nine. The last few miles were the most difficult. At that point my knee was so aggravated and swollen that every step was painful. I felt like I was only shuffling and without the pacing and encouragement of my dad, I would not have accomplished my goal!
The cool thing about the Spinx Run Fest is that it starts and ends at Fluor Field, home of Greenville’s minor league baseball team. It was so fun to round the bases and cross the home plate while hearing my name announced over the speakers. My dad and I crossed the finish line hand in hand and it was such a special moment.
I finished with a time of 1:58 and an average pace of 9 min/mile. It felt amazing to set a new PR even though my physical circumstances weren’t ideal. After grabbing water bottles from the race volunteers, we took lots of pictures with our finisher medals and refueled with Snickers Peanut Butter Bars. Because how else do you celebrate running 13.1 miles?
Here’s to accomplishing new fitness goals in 2015!