"Oregon's only half-marathon in January" (as the flier says) took place in the next town over, so I found myself toeing the starting line this past Sunday. I was coming off a pretty hard week for me (60 miles), but I turned my usual one day of rest into two, so I was rested, but not tapered.
The race started in fog and drizzle, on an out and back course along country roads. I was hoping to run comfortably, but also wanted to go under 1:30. I hit the first mile in 6:48 and was worried that I went out a tad too fast, I did a 6:55 second mile into a strong headwind, but after that was very consistently hitting 6:43 - 6:48 pace.
At the half way point a guy was calling out times - 44:39. I knew I was trying to get under 1:30 and my first thought was, "Not going to happen!" The negative attitude had an opposite effect on my running as I put in my fastest mile of the day at mile 7, a 6:32. Seeing everybody at the turn, I knew I was the second woman and I think the add pressure made me pick it up, but then I was right back to my 6:48 pace. My penultimate mile was 6:55 - the exact same time I ran that mile going the other way, when I was claiming a head wind. So shouldn't I have had a tailwind?? Maybe I can try to claim it was uphill! Really I think I was just getting a little tired. I reminded myself I only had about a mile to go and so pushed a bit harder on the final stretch, crossing the line at 1:29:19. I ran each half in 44:39 and 44:40 - pretty good pacing, I think!
I did hold on for second woman. Woohoo - another second place finish to add to my "first loser" status! I was a gaping 4 minutes behind the winner, so I can't evn claim that it was a close race for first! The results got messed up, with a couple of early start women being credited with a time 1 hour less than their actual - so I only got an award for second in my age group! Fortunately, all the awards were the same for everyone (a medal); I'll just have to make my own (correct!) sticker for the back!
The race was somewhat symbolic, since I did the 10K exactly a year ago really as the first step to re-entering the world of running after several years off. Each half of this race (6.55 miles) was about 11 minutes faster than my untrained 10K (6.25 miles) from that day. That served as a good reminder of my progress.
After the race, I thought it'd be the Badass-Ultrarunner thing to do to run home (9.3 miles), while my friend (who I carpooled with) agreed to take my stuff home. I started off walking a bit as I ate and drank a little to get my energy up, and then started plodding home. By about mile 7, I wasn't feeling quite so badass, in fact, it was more like dumbass! I walked the last few little uphills (and they were little uphills, but they felt big!) but made the whole trip in 1:18, and even managed to beat my friend home (who stayed for the awards). Let me tell you, I slept like a log that night!