This was my first time training for a specific time goal. I sat down at my kids' New Year's Eve ski race and decided that I wanted to run a spring Half Marathon. I determined that a goal of 1:50 was reasonable based on my prior performance and selected a plan from Competitor Magazine. I modified the plan to include my Les Mills BodyPump classes, Spinning, Pilates and some yoga. This was what my Half Marathon Training plan looked like once I customized it specifically for me. I found the plan challenging but good. There were days where looking at the workout gave my stomach butterflies, but I managed to stick with my goal running for almost every workout.
As with many things I sign up for, I didn't really look carefully with the details of the Flower City Challenge Half Marathon before I signed up. The 7:30 a.m. start. The packet pick-up starting at 6 a.m. and the fact that I didn't secure a hotel room meant a 4 a.m. wake up on race day. With about an hour of sleep the night before, I hopped into the car with friends Teresa and Melissa at 4:45 a.m. and headed up to the race. Luckily Teresa stayed awake and kept me company and I had given up coffee the week of the race so that I'd feel the caffeine from the coffee that morning.
This race was staged out of the Rochester War Memorial. We arrived with plenty of time to spare and promptly found parking a block away. The location was perfect! It was large, there were plenty of bathrooms with short lines and since it was a very chilly morning it was great to wait indoors. We got ourselves all settled and pretty soon it was race time! I found myself strangely nervous. I normally have pre-race nerves, but today was different. I was trying for a particular time, and I knew exactly what pace I needed to achieve it.
I ran the first two miles right next to Teresa at about an 8 minute mile pace. I let her go shortly after mile 2, thinking I would slow things down a bit and eventually ramp back up my pace (goal pace was 8:19). I don't know if this was a wise move or not. I like to think that by slowing down I was better prepared for the upcoming hills (that I didn't yet know about) but I wonder if I had kept up the speed for a bit longer if I would have come in right at my goal of 1:50 instead of 1:50:47. I will never know, but I do know that I'm ready to work really hard to do even better at the Wineglass Half this fall!
The things I remember from this race the most include:
- Clothing and Food: Losing my Sports Beans at mile 10. My hands were freezing and I couldn't get the package to open. They flew out of my hands onto the path. I shed my gloves at mile 4, giving them to a spectator. I've never done that before and it felt strangely terrible. Somehow losing my cheap black gloves made me sad.
- Highland Park and Cemetery: I know this area and I mistakenly thought we were going to run by it not all the way through it. I didn't look at the map much before the race. As much as I disliked the constant hills through the Mt. Hope Cemetery I found this part of the course to be the most inspiring. I gave thanks for my ability to run, and reminded myself to live each day that I have to the fullest. I felt the strongest on this part of the course with an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for this life that I have.
- Race Song: Every race I have done has a race song, but I don't usually know the song until I run. Sometimes I run with music and the song reveals itself to me during the run, and sometimes it is just the music I listen to in the days before the run or the morning of the event. Today, I had a new playlist with several songs that my friends suggested using. I only really enjoy listening to music I haven't heard much (or at all) before. Today I chose the race song from the part of the course where I felt most grateful and inspired. That song was, Sweat (Snoop Dogg vs. David Guetta) [Remix]. Interestingly enough, my Philly Marathon Song Little Bad Girl (David Guetta) was the song playing as I approached the very first hill. Listening to it always transports me back to Philly and I uttered an audible Thank YOU when the song inspired me to push hard up the first of what would be many hills.
Time 1:50:47 561/2245; 14/160 (age group 40-44). Official Results Page