I’ve seriously been slacking on writing race recaps within a few days of the actual race. After getting a text from my sister saying, “You haven’t blogged about the race yet!”, I thought I’d sit down and do it tonight. (Because apparently SOMEONE is reading this!)
This past Sunday was a really good indication of how well my training is progressing this cycle. The goal was not to PR, but if it happened then I would be a happy girl. Coach and I chose this race because of its hills, which are seriously lacking during my runs along Chicago’s lakefront (as beautiful as it is). Because I can’t usually get out west to train on the weekends, I was looking forward to challenging myself in Batavia.
And challenging it was! As all of my runs are on flatland, the elevation chart below definitely got my heart rate going:
Despite the elevation changes, the goal was to run the entire race as a progressive and run the last 6 miles at 7:00 min/mile (or as close to 7:00 as I could manage!). I was a bit nervous about hitting that mark because that’s my tempo pace and those have been no easy feat in a normal training week.
Miles 1-5 went by really fast and I knew I was running too fast. I was supposed to target a 7:50 first mile and progress to a faster pace each consecutive mile afterward. Instead, this is how I started:
Definitely too fast. The last half of the race would likely have been much easier if I had given myself the time and distance to relax and enjoy myself a bit. Once I worked through miles 5-6, the elevation began more of a challenge.
Miles 9-10 were not part of the plan, but I’m proud of myself for keeping such a strong pace despite the hills that I was climbing. It was the first race in a long time where I saw people walking up the hills, especially considering they looked like people that would dominate the course. After mile 10, my legs fired up again (in a good way). I felt like my legs were moving smoothly and I was keeping up my momentum. My lungs weren’t especially tired from the pace I was holding and I knew I just had to hold it through mile 12 before trying to push the pace even more toward the finish line. About 800 meters from the finish line, the course crosses the river and you run over two arched bridges (I didn’t appreciate that!) and then it’s the last 150-200 meters to the home stretch. This is really the first time in awhile that I felt like I really had a kick at the end of a half marathon. There was one dude ahead of me and I knew I could catch him before crossing the line. It felt good to run through that chute giving everything I had.
I finished with an official time of 1:36:21, which is 13 seconds from my PR at the Carmel Half this past April (1:36:08). My last three half marathons have been within 13 seconds of each other (Rock ‘n Roll: 1:36:18). Consistency isn’t really what I was going for, but hey–I can’t complain.
I won 2nd place in my age group. Check out this awesome beer glass award! (Beer tastes especially nice out of a glass like that)
But, the greatest award of all was seeing my race photos and submitting one really beautiful one to Ugly Race Pics. Here it is in all its glory:
See? I told you it’s special!
Luckily, there were a few more redeeming ones in the bunch:
Running my 2nd 20-miler tomorrow morning before seeing family for the holiday weekend. Feeling great and looking forward to the next few weeks of training!