Saturday, February 4, 2012

3M Half Marathon

The night before my race I drank plenty of water and went to bed early (9pm) as I had to wake up at 4:30am.  Surprisingly my body was alert and ready to go when my alarm went off!  The hubby however was not.  He had planned on coming out to support me but woke up sick instead, so I was on my own.  I drank a cup of coffee, ate some toast with peanut butter and was out the door by 5:10am. The starting line was at Stonelake Blvd and York, by Baby A's off Mopac.  There was a parking garage for the event just off York and I had my choice of parking spots since I arrived early and beat traffic.  I relaxed in my car for the next 30 mins, checked FB on my phone, and took deep breaths as I was extremely nervous.  Around 6am I noticed 3M had updated their FB status saying "you better use the restrooms now", so I emerged from my nice warm car and made my way to the staging area located directly behind the parking garage.
Staging area - Freakn early in the morning! 1/29/2012

I hung around the staging area for about 15 mins, keeping an eye out for people I might know and having my picture taken.  Finally I started towards the corrals and jogged back and forth between the 2:00 pace spot and the start line to warmup.  Now I had to decide which corral to line up in.  My first goal was to finish in under 2hrs and 10 mins (my last 1/2 marathon time from 2005).  I calculated my projected race time from one of those fancy websites, which said I'd finish in 2:03:17.  Based off that, my stretch goal was to finish in 2 hours.  So I placed myself right in front of the 2:00 pace team and figured if I could stay ahead of them I'd be golden.  Everyone started inching up towards the start line and then the horn signaled the beginning of the race.  It was go time!
Somewhere around mile 6 - yeah yeah I know I look funny
Most of the race is a blur, although I'm able to recall one thing about each mile (except mile 1)  :P.  I remember around mile 2 noticing that the sky was starting to lighten up, come on sunrise!  Around mile 3 people were beginning to walk.  Mile 4 was the first bathroom stop and lines were already forming.  Thank god I used the restrooms before the race so that I didn't have to break up my run.  I finally started warming up around mile 5, off came the gloves and I ate my first Gu.  I began looking for my husband around mile 6, just in case he felt better and made it out.  Alas I didn't see him, I did however see one of the brightroom photogs.  I waved and smiled at them for my big moment, but obviously that's not the picture they captured above...sigh...I look dorky.

Mile 1 - 8:51, Mile 2 - 8:47, Mile 3 - 9:06, Mile 4 - 9:12, Mile 5 - 9:14, Mile 6 - 8:55
9:00 avg pace for miles 1-6
Official 10K time - 56:20, 9:05 pace  (my Garmin showed the mile markers to be a bit off)

All of a sudden I was startled by the 2 hr pace team yelling behind me, they were literally right on my tail!  Oh no!  I thought I had been making excellent time, but they had caught up to me.  Grrrrrrr!  Miles 6-9 was a constant battle between us.  They'd take me over for a few mins, then I would speed up and pass them.  Mile 6.8 was the relay exchange so I was fighting fresh new runners as well.

It was here that I saw my favorite supporter sign:  Love your me!  
2nd best sign I saw:  Way to go you random person!

By mile 9 the pace team over took me, I felt like I had suddenly hit a wall and was slowing down.  :(  I was feeling down and beating myself up that I let them get away when I realized I was doing just fine and I was still on goal.  Heck yeah, take that pace team!   

Mile 7 - 9:00, Mile 8 - 8:57, Mile 9 - 8:59
8:58 avg pace for miles 7-9

Then came the big 1-0, I was finally in double digits!!  The end was near.  I ate my second Gu and tried to pay attention to my surroundings as I was finally downtown, 45th and Lamar.  At Mile 11 there was a supporter yelling words of encouragement, "You're sub 2 miles from the finish, push it!".  Oh yeah baby, only 2 miles away!  I can totally do 2 miles.  There was a banana boy waving and jumping around at mile 12.  However it was also at mile 12 that I began impatiently looking at my watch every 15 seconds.  I should have NEVER done that...  Why wouldn't this last mile end!?  This is taking forever!  Where the heck is the finish line?
Coming in hot
Finally I heard the cheers from the crowd at the finish line.  I turned the last corner and to my amazement there were my parents!  They were looking around and seemed a bit lost so I yelled to get their attention.  They did a double take, smiled and waved and frantically held up the signs they made for me.  My mother was so excited that she held my sign upside down.  ;)  At this point the finish line was in my sights, no way was I stopping for hugs or high 5's, so I waved and sped on by them.

I was on the last stretch.  It was now or never, every little bit counted.  I sped up and crossed the finish line at 1:59:02 according to my Garmin.  My official chip time was 1:58:58!!!  Totally rocked it!  I was ecstatic - holy crap I beat 2 hours and felt great!  I managed to take 11 mins off my last 1/2 marathon time (2:10).

Mile 10 - 9:19, Mile 11 - 9:14, Mile 12 - 9:00, Mile 13 - 9:05, last 0.16 1:21 (8:37 pace)
9:03 avg pace

Almost there!

Tiptoeing across the finish line!

Conquered 13.1! 1/29/2012

I must say the 3M course was awesome and made for PRs as it's mostly downhill and/or flat.  Race conditions were great!  I was worried about it being too cold at the start, 39 degrees, but thankfully there was no wind and it ended up being perfect weather for this distance, 49 degrees at the finish. It was great having my parents there to support me at the finish line.  I told them all about my experience while they drove me back to my car, thankful that I didn't have to ride the bus.  :)

My hip, which was my biggest concern, didn't bother me at all during or after the race.  I did end up with a massive blister on my right foot, probably due to all the downhill running.  My calves were super sore as well for about 4 days.  All totally worth it.  :D

On the mend 1/30/2012 - nice calluses
Blister after the race 1/29

Race prep:
What I ate:  Spaghetti w/ meat sauce the night before, lots and lots of water!  Breakfast consisted of a piece of toast with peanut butter, 1 cup of coffee, water.  During the race I ate a gu (cliff shot) every 5 miles (mile 5 & 10), I also hit as many water stops as possible even though I carried a water bottle on my belt.  If I'd had one more gu I would have taken that right before the race started.
What I wore:  Long pants, long sleeved shirt, short sleeved undershirt, gloves, garmin watch, hat, ear warmer band, Brooks Gylcerine shoes (that need replacing), and old running socks (that desperately need to be replaced), running belt (will rethink this next time as it bounced around all over the place and tore up my shirt).
Other items I carried:  Cell phone, 2 cliff shots, water bottle, ipod, kleenex, car key


  1. Love this recap. Way to kick booty! I have to ask, what do you think caused you to be able to shave 10 minutes off your time. I feel like I just never get faster. Right now my fastest 1/2 is 3M where I finished in 2:08 and I really want to great 2:00 someday.

  2. Thanks! I think there were several reasons why I ran so much better this time around.
    1) My hip wasn't broken. That's right, I broke my hip running the Oklahoma half marathon in 2005. I now have 2 screws in my left hip.
    2) I took my time training this time around. Last time I increased my workouts by over 50% and my body couldn't handle the impact (hence the broken hip).
    3) I have great training buddies (A&J)
    4) I started training after having my first baby, I heard that for whatever reason women run faster after pregnancy..? That could be an old wives tale though. :P
    5) I run much better in cooler weather, so timing for this race was a big factor (I think).