Tuesday, March 22, 2016

So, I ran a half marathon this weekend...

Last Sunday was the Rock n Roll Dallas Half Marathon. I wrote previously about how I had initially hoped to do better than I had in the Dallas Half Marathon in December, then I got really burned out on long runs and decided to quit training and just walk it.

Well, as the day got closer, I got more nervous.

I was pretty confident that I could finish the distance, even if I just walked for 13.1 miles. But see my ego kept getting in the way. I knew if I walked at a pace of 15 minutes/mile, I would be walking for 3 and a quarter hours (at least). So I thought, maybe I should run part of it. Maybe I should run the first half (well, run walk intervals) and then walk the rest?

Here I am before the start of the race:
Let's not talk about what I did with my hair here..

But it went way better than I expected.

For one thing, it was cold!

It was in the 30s. This was a pleasant surprise, as we had been in the low 80s for a few weeks. I knew I would do much better in the cold.

I crossed the starting line and jogged. You can't really run very fast at that point anyway because it's so crowded. Knowing myself and my (lack of) speed, I had signed up to be in one of the last corrals. This meant we crossed the starting line about 30 minutes after the race officially started. (We each got our own official start though).

I thought, "Ok, I can run 1 minute then walk 4. Let's do that." But I found myself wanting to run longer, so I increased it to 2 minutes running/ 3 minutes walking.

This was going pretty well. I managed to stay with this pattern for most of the race. I adjusted a little based on water stations (I took water and gatorade every chance I got). I also modified a little bit depending on hills. If I was coming to the end of my running interval but was still going downhill, I kept running. I tried to run up the hills when the coincided with my running intervals but sometimes I shortened them a little bit.

In the middle of the race I turned my phone off because I was worried I would get to the end and my phone would be dead. So I really got to enjoy the environment. It was a beautiful day, there was music, a guy rapping about port-o-potties ("Port-o-potties to your left, y'all..."), even Teletubbies. In fact, I had to turn my phone back on just to take a picture of the Teletubbies. It was worth it.

Around mile 10 I started to realize I might actually surpass my goal. See, my last race time in December was 3:04:02. I was discouraged by this and really hoped to beat it. Then my training didn't happen and I kind of gave up on my time goal and decided to just finish. But with around 3 miles left, I realized I could possibly finish in under 3 hours. I got pretty excited. I got motivated. I may have run the running intervals a little faster.

I turned my phone back on when I got here. I was pretty excited.

Towards the end of the race- thankfully- there was a nice long downhill. I came to the end of my running interval but continued to run. I didn't know exactly how much further the end was but I wanted to try to run to the end. I had enough left in me to pick it up a little. I pushed really hard for those last few minutes.

In the end my official time was 2:53:41. I finished over 10 minutes faster than I did in December!!!

After finishing!
I am not sure why it went so much better than I expected. I know I weighed about 13 pounds less than I did in December. Plus, even though I didn't have as many long runs, I definitely logged more miles this time around. My running intervals were up to 8-10 minutes, so running 2 minutes and then walking 3 seemed almost easy. (Ok, not *easy*, I did start to hurt towards the end).

My plan for the summer is get my 5K under 30 minutes. Then I'll increase the distance to 10K. Then in September or October or whenever it's time to start training, that 10 mile run won't be so out of reach. And I may even do a practice half before the race rather than just working up to 10 miles. But my goal for the December race is to get it down to 2:45:00 and I think that's pretty reasonable.