1. I ran my 2nd half marathon
2. I fell in love with the half marathon
3. Oh BTW, I completed my first marathon, with a finish time of 5 years and 2 days. Confused? Let me 'splain myself.
I'm linking up with the Weekly Run Down, please head over to Kim and Deborah to check it out.
Yesterday was marathon day in my home town. This race has a marathon, half marathon, and a 5 person relay team.
Five years ago my work organized a team for the marathon relay, and no one wanted the first leg, so I took it. The next year I was at a new job, and asked if the company would be interested in sponsoring a team...they went for it like wildfire with four teams and it's now embedded in our company culture. I picked up where I left off with the 2nd leg and continued to run the course in sequence.
But things never go according to plan, do they? The marathon completely redesigned the course and the length of the relay legs this year, so if I had stuck to the original plan of running the 5th leg, my "marathon" would have been 24 miles long. On top of that, the first leg of the relay is now longer than most people want to run, so we had a shortage of volunteers. The solution to both problems was for me to register for leg one of the relay and the half marathon. By double dipping, I got the full marathon distance and I got to cross the finish line. As a bonus, the end of the half marathon follows the end of the original marathon course, so it was truer to the race that I started five years ago.
P.S. it's fairly common for folks to double register for this race and run leg one of the relay plus the half or the full...the marathon makes crazy bank off of the relay teams and the double registrations, which is a great thing because the marathon sponsors a very worthy cause. If anyone cares, work paid the relay registration and I paid the half marathon registration.
I made the decision to run the half about six weeks ago. I knew that it wasn't long enough to train, but I was running high 20's for weekly mileage with my longest weekly run being 8 miles, so I wasn't expecting any issues ramping up to half marathon condition. From the beginning, I told myself that this would be a "for fun" effort, just a practice for my dream half marathon that I'm running in November. Of course that's not how things played out. I tried to run All The Miles but faster and wore myself out. For my first half marathon, I had a number of 10 and 12 milers under my belt, but for this race, I only had one 10 miler.
The other cloud on the horizon was the weather. My first half marathon was undone by hot weather, and I had every reason to suspect more of the same this time. Heat is relative to everyone, but for me personally anything over 60 degrees is cause for concern.
With that background, let's take a look at my 26.2 miles of running this week...and no I didn't plan to hit that number;-)
Monday: 3 mile fast treadmill run, weights at lunch
Tuesday: 5 mile easy treadmill run
Wednesday: I started cutting back for Saturday's race. I had a ton of energy that day and would have loved to run and lift heavy, but I did no running and just a light body weight workout.
Thursday: 5 mile treadmill run
Friday: off, apart from walking a million miles at the race expo.
Saturday: Half! I didn't just finish, I fell in love.
- I stayed true to my plan to run for fun.
- Yes it was hotter than I would have liked, but it was also cloudy and lower humidity, so the conditions were much better than my first half.
- It was the first time I've seen a rainbow at the start line.
My race strategy was to take it easy, since I knew that I wasn't trained and that I might have issues with the heat. There were seven water stops on the course, so mentally I wasn't there to run 13.1, I was just there to collect water stop visits.
Yesterday is all kind of a blur, but to the best of my memory, I didn't start feeling tired until around mile 9, and it just wasn't that bad. I gave myself a couple of walking breaks on some uphills and then I got distracted by the magic of the race around me and went right back in to the zone. I went balls to the wall once we got to the 13 mile mark and made it my mission to pass every runner within eyesight. Given my training, I'm delighted with the 11:57 pace. For context, I ran a 10 mile race last spring at an 11:00 minute pace, my best guess is that under good conditions and with proper training my half pace would be 11:15-11:30.
To put the difference between this race and my first half marathon in perspective, at the first half marathon, the medical tents were crammed full and I would say by the time I saw the third ambulance pull away from the course, the race stopped being fun. Yesterday I saw a total of one person in a medical tent, getting salve for a blister. That's how running is supposed to be.
I have a ton more to say about this race, so look for a dedicated recap coming soon.
Sunday: got 11 hours of sleep last night and will not be straying far from the couch today.
Next week's plan: I'll start running again once my body feels like it, probably Weds or Thurs.