On Sunday, April 14th – one day before the horror of Boston – I ran my 8th half marathon. Although a lot of my training had occurred on a treadmill since I’m a wimp when it comes to running in the cold and dark (plus the kids prefer me in the basement on the treadmill where they can come bother me), I felt I was reasonably well prepared. I could have run some more hill repeats since this would be a hilly course but overall I thought I had a decent shot at a PR. Looking back on my previous 2 half marathons (excluding the half marathon that was part of the Goofy), I finished both races feeling strong and with negative splits. After I finished the Princess Half Marathon, I walked at least 10 more miles in Disney World while pushing a stroller. The data suggested that I was capable of a faster finish time but it would require a faster start.
I’m always a little worried about starting too fast and hitting the wall. Earlier in my (short) running career this had happened to me, most notably during my first full marathon where I crashed and burned. While I managed to finish the race it was anything but pretty and taught me a powerful lesson. Since that time I’ve tended to finish faster than I start – which is good to a point – but this has left me wondering if I could have been faster. My strategy for this race was to start around my target race pace (in this case 11:15 min/mile) and try to hold it until the end.
The day before the race was hardly an ideal pre-race experience. I brought my 7 year old daughter into NYC to help me pick up my race bib. We took the train into the City and hopped on the subway. We walked cross-town to the race expo (which was only ok but not great). After getting my bib, shirt, and goody bag, we grabbed some pizza. We planned to meet a friend in Time Square but I mistakenly took the East Side subway which then had us walking forever across town. The meet up was a huge success (thanks Beth!) and then we headed for our special girls’ trip to the American Girl Cafe for afternoon tea.
We had walked at least 5 miles and I did a poor job of pre-hydrating. Once home I made some pasta for dinner and encouraged an early bedtime.
Race day dawned cool and clear. I was up and dressed in no time. I had decided to drive into the City and try my luck with parking. Luck was on my side and I quickly found a space on Columbus close to the race start. I was ready by 7am and the race start wasn’t until 8am. Luckily I had an OR gown with me to stay warm (and received many compliments on my good choice). I looked for a few friends before the start but missed them in the crowd.
The National Anthem played and we were ready to start!
I chose a run 40 sec/walk 20 sec ratio and stuck with it for the entire race. The run interval was short enough that even on the big hills I was able to maintain my run interval without any additional walk breaks. I started right on pace and really felt good for the whole race. The weather was perfect – 50-ish at the start and around 60-ish at the finish. I never really ran out of steam although I did have some right shin pain near the end. Around mile 12 I saw a Disney friend of mine who was cheering and I have to credit her for helping me kick it up a notch for the last mile or so. My finish time was 2:25:32 or a 4+ minute PR. Average pace was around 11:07 min/mile.
I was very pleased with my performance and I’m now training to increase my pace for the NYRR Mini 10k in June…