I’m a little behind on my race report. Okay, very behind on my last two half marathons, but I wanted to share how they went.
DRC (Dallas Running Club) Half Marathon 11/6/2011
My group and I carpooled to White Rock Lake in Dallas and we got there early. Super early. I was okay with it because I like getting there early, also because I love my marathon group and it was a great chance to sit around a chat.
As race time came closer more of our group got there and dropped our gear bags and moved towards the start line. We did a quick warm up and ran into some great runners (Beth and Teal) then tried to make our way to the start line. It was packed so we had to work our way towards where we thought we should be and just go.
After a beautiful rendition of the Star Spangled Banner we were off. It was one of the most crowded beginnings I have ever experienced. I was frustrated for the first few miles before we could actually find a comfortable pace. This ended up working out the way it’s supposed to be – the slowest mile was the first mile.
It was hot and humid for November so I wasn’t sure how the race was going to go because I don’t do well in the heat. I also wore capris and sleeves – genius, I know. I knew I wanted a PR – between this race and another half marathon the next weekend I was hungry for one. My PR before this race was 2:09 and I wanted more than anything to break 2 hours. To do that, I knew I had to keep it in the low 9’s. I was running with two girls from my marathon group and we just tried to hang with each other. Around mile 5-6 I had looked back and found my best running buddy Jeanette a little bit behind – I got the hand wave of “go on” from her, I double checked, she said GO and I was off.
As you can see from the elevation there were a few hills right in the middle and my quads were feeling it. They were tired and they were hurting – as I got to the halfway point I had hit an hour. That’s when I cursed several times in my head. I had not only run more than the 6.55 miles but I was at an hour and who knows how many seconds. I would have to negative split this race like a mad woman in the heat with exhausted quads. I’ve never really negative split a race so I would really have to push it. So I let loose and tried to truly race it the whole time.
I found the 2 hour pace group (which started way in front of me at the race) and I slowly caught up to them by mile 8-9. With a downhill of 8:30 I certainly picked a few people off 🙂 I knew if I could hang with them it was within my reach. In my head I wanted to take off in front of the pace group around mile 10 and really kill those last 3.1 miles home. As I got there I didn’t have it in me. I had to convince myself around mile 9-10 to get a Gu down. I didn’t want it but I knew I HAD to get it down or I’d really be in pain.
Here came mile 11 and I was still hanging with the pace group. I really missed my running buddies at this point. There weren’t a ton of spectators and I was really hurting. I was about to start begging people around me just to talk to me so I didn’t convince myself to slow down or dwell on the pain. Instead I stayed in my own head and fought one of the hardest mental battles I’ve ever had.
Come mile 12 I knew I really wanted to pull away from the group so I dug down deep and found another gear. I pulled ahead of the pace group. At this point I knew I had it. It wouldn’t be an easy last mile but knowing I was about to break 2 hours gave me all of the push I needed to get across that finish line. And you know what? It felt so ridiculously AWESOME to cross that finish line. Did I hurt? Absolutely. Did my stomach want to kill me for the rest of the day? Yeah – diet of saltines and ginger ale all day. Would I hobble around tomorrow? Yep, and totally worth it.
The one thing that got me through those last 3.1 miles was a mantra I kept saying over and over – this pain is temporary, but crossing the finish in all of my sub 2 glory would last forever. And you know what? Almost a month later it still makes me smile. #DreamBigRunLong
After the race most of my group all checked in with each other, then we separated and got snacks and beer. It was awesome and so much fun to sit down and drink a beer and talk with my fellow runners. Runners are some of the kindest, funnest (yes, funnest) and supportive people around. I can’t imagine my life without them.