I think every half-marathon should start with a 7-mile warm-up.
OK, maybe that’s crazy talk. But the pre-race jitters I usually have? I had NONE of them this morning. And while it was not my best half-marathon ever … or even close to it … it still was a really great race.
(Half-marathon number 6 … in the can.)
Yesterday I debated my strategy. Run long as planned? Run hard ’cause its a race? Try to do both? I decided it was too late to change course and I was going do what I set out to do when I registered for this race: Run 7 miles before the race, then the half-marathon makes 20.
Last night I visualized my success. I imagined getting up chipper at 5 a.m. I imagined a beautiful fog-filled run through downtown Lewiston-Auburn. I imagined running strong all the way around the lake. I imagined smiling as I crossed the finish line.
(I shamelessly stole this technique from The Power of Habit. He has a part about how Michael Phelps was able to break so many records in swimming, and the author argues its because Phelps built a routine before he competes, and every step of the routine is a “win,” so he’s been “winning all day” before he actually wins his race.)
Winning all day. That was my mantra.
Dinner the night before: Spaghetti
Breakfast in the morning: 2 pop tarts and a cup of coffee
Mid-run fuel: Water after the 7 miles. Then half a pack of Powerade Chomps. 3 Cliff Espresso gels during the race, at miles 3, 7 and 10. I didn’t take a fuel belt, just water from the stations.
Music? I was listening to Running Mixes on the way to the start. The first one was the “chill inspirational mix” and there was quotes throughout the mix. I really liked this quote at the end:
“Running is not, as it so often seems, only about what you did in your last race or about how many miles you ran last week. It is, in a much more important way, about community, about appreciating all the miles run by other runners, too.”
(Though which Richard O’Brien said that, I could not tell from a quick Google search.)
So one of the really especially awesome things about this race is that it is a local race, the second half-marathon in recent memory (the first not that long ago) to be held in Lewiston-Auburn. I knew many, many faces in the crowd, mostly from Track Club, and I felt this real special sense of running community participating in this race.
That, and I knew the course really well. I knew exactly how to pace myself for every mile.
And did I pace myself well? I ran the 7 miles to the start easy. EASY! I ran the first mile in the low tens and I had to force myself to HOLD BACK as I had PLENTY OF TIME. It was both easy and hard to think of this 20-miler as a 7-miler and then a half-marathon, because it split up the time well but I had to remind myself how much more I needed to run early on.
I knew I needed to run at least the beginning of this race at a training pace, 10:30s to 11-minute miles. And that was hard, to watch all these people going by me early in the race. It felt like everyone as running past me. I had to remind myself that I wouldn’t be last, and even if I was, it doesn’t matter.
But when I hit my watch at the mile markers, these were still sub-10 miles. (Not exactly my long slow distance pace.) So that helped me calm down a bit. Winning all day. Run your own race.
I made a new friend in the middle!
I had been running next to Bob (on my left in the photo) since about the second or third mile. We had a good talk for about an hour or so. He’s training for his first marathon, the Maine Marathon! This is one of the many reasons I like running races without music. I’d miss so much if I just stayed plugged into my headphones.
I wore … my Angry Kitties tri top and Under Armor Heat Gear compression capris. I bought these capris last summer and they are starting to get see-through on the inside of the legs. And they were too hot for this weather. I wish I kept on my shorter shorts, which I wore for the first seven miles.
The Angry Kitties tri-top was an experiment. I think its comfortable enough to run a marathon in, but quite possibly the least flattering running clothing I own. I an a long-torsoed girl and that is a short top.
It’s a conversation starter, though. Someone from Maine Running Pictures took this when I wasn’t looking. The top is from a group that started at the Midcoast Triathlon Club. The name comes from cycling but they do it all.
I like the top because it has pockets in the side for gels and I didn’t want to wear a belt. Why is it that only cycling and triathlon tops have pockets?! THEY ARE SO USEFUL!
I debated whether or not to wear a hat on the race because I didn’t think a hat would look good in pictures. Then I thought about that logic, which was completely retarded, and wore the hat anyway. And you know what? The pictures don’t even look that bad.
In the end I came in at 2:06.24. That’s like, 9 minutes faster than the Bands on the Run Half Marathon (a miserable race) and still 11 minutes slower than my half marathon PR. But you know hat? If I had kept running another 6 miles at today’s average pace, I would have had a marathon PR by almost 40 minutes.
And I feel pretty great tonight. All in all, an A+ race in my book.