I signed up for my 5th half marathon when I was about 8 months pregnant, knowing I'd be four months out from having a baby when I actually ran the race. I knew it was going to be a stretch to be trained and ready in time, but I also thought it would be a great way to get back in shape quickly! During my training, I was finally able to get down to running 9-minute miles consistently on my long runs. (Speed training makes all the difference in the world!) This in and of itself was a huge accomplishment considering that when I started up running again after Bryson, I was running over ten-minute miles. (This is my least favorite part about being pregnant: all the hard work of getting in shape previously goes out the window and you start from square one after giving birth. Totally worth it to have my 3 boys though!)
I ran this exact race last year and was able to get my personal best of 1:48:05 averaging 8:15-minute miles. Every single half marathon I have run in the past, I've been able to get a PR (personal record), so I had to accept the fact that this wasn't going to happen this time around. 3 weeks before the race, I ran 13.1 miles in 1:58:00 or 9:01 miles, so my goal was to beat this time.
It was very tricky Saturday morning to work everything out with nursing Bryson. He is capable of sleeping through the night and has done so in the past, but for the last week he has been waking up once a night again. I think he's going through a growth spurt. So I was up at 4 am feeding Bryson, then went back to sleep for an hour before getting up for real to get ready for the race. We got to the race site at 6:30 am for the 7am start. I nursed Bryson again then ate some Gel Bloks to get my energy up. (I wonder how much nursing affects energy during long distance running?)
Carter, Mommy, and Caleb before the race
It was a very cold morning. I'm not sure the actual temperature, but an online weather site predicted 38 degrees at 7 am and 43 degrees at 9am when I would be finished. Granted that's not super cold, but it was windy on top of that so we all had to dress snug and warm. I should have left my hat with Matt before the race because I shed it after mile 1, my gloves came off after mile 4, and my jacket came off around mile 10. It was annoying to have to carry my hat and gloves the whole time. (I put my gloves in my hat.)
My slowest mile was mile 9 at 9:02, and my fastest mile was mile 13 at 8:16. I averaged 8:44 miles and finished at 1:54:18. I was very proud of this time. The racing atmosphere always helps me push myself harder than I think I'm capable. I had my fair share of aches and pains though. Because I had to speed up the training process in order to be ready in time, my hamstrings and gluteals have hurt throughout the training process after my long runs, particularly on the right side. So today after pushing my body so hard yesterday, I am favoring my right side and limping a bit (as well as all day yesterday). During mile 12 I noticed my left knee was throbbing, probably because I was starting to pick up the pace quite a bit. My running curse is that I generally have to stop at least once during my long runs in order to use the bathroom. I have only completed one race where I didn't have to stop to use the porta potties (super gross!) and that was last year's race where I got my best time ever. I'm always trying new things to figure out how to solve the issue, but I always plan my long runs close to home so I can stop as needed. It's so frustrating during a race because the time I cross the finish line is not accurate to what I actually ran. I'm grateful for the investment into my Garmin a few years back! Enough about that though.
About to cross the finish line. I'm sprinting at a 6:41 pace at this point.
We forgot to take pictures immediately after the race. I had to quickly pick up my shirt and the food they provide for runners, then we dashed home so I could quickly shower and nurse Bryson.
My boys who are so supportive of Mommy and her running.
Of course my biggest supporter is Matt who sometimes had to go into work early so he could get home a little early or leave late and get home later to accommodate my training schedule. And race day is always tricky with waking up early and then dealing with the kids while I'm running. I so appreciate his support even though he thinks running is dumb. He enjoys running only if he's chasing down a Frisbee. :o)
It meant SO much to me to have my mom there for this race to cheer me on. It was quite cold and there were tons of people there so parking is tricky and it's hard to actually see the runner you're cheering for--not fun conditions. When running in a race though, it makes all the difference in the world knowing that someone is cheering for you and will be there at the end! It definitely helps me push myself harder. I know Matt appreciated the extra hand with the boys while waiting for me to finish as well.