After working up to it for more than 2 years, I’m proud to say that I finished my first 13.1 mi road race this year at the Bay State Half Marathon out of Lowell, Ma. And, on top of that, this was also my longest run EVER… by almost 2 miles. Not bad, right?
I’m quite pleased with what my body was able to do that day. And now I know that it can handle whatever I decide to dish it.
But, back to the race…and some of what went down.
First, I have to say that this was the most organized event I’ve ever attended.
It started on time down to the second. Routes were clearly marked. There were plenty of volunteers. They spoiled us with runners’ services like bag check +a wide mix of post-race yummies. It might be because this marathon and half marathon are Boston qualifiers. Not exactly sure, but I was a fan of how it was managed.
As for the race, my goals were first and foremost to finish it. To run the entire distance. To come in between 11:30 – 12:00 average pace.
To make sure that happened, my strategy was to keep the pace at 11:30 the first 8 miles and then to use whatever was left in the tank to finish out the distance. So, did it go as planned?
I was afraid that this might happen and it totally did. I got so excited about being there and about being surround by other runners that I started off much faster than I had planned.
Here are my splits:
|Mile||Average Pace||Fastest Pace During Mile||Total Run Time|
Coming off the starting blocks a little faster than I wanted, I started feeling it and slowing down after mile 8. To make it to the end, I had to mentally keep myself psyched up and ignore my tired legs as much as possible.
Fortunately, I was able to hang in there and make it to the end with these results:
Let me tell you…I felt soooo accomplished going over that finish line. 13.1 miles. A distance I had never run before in my life. At a pace better than my training times.
Ok – so it’s not my fastest pace but it’s not bad considering I had a c-section 4.5 months earlier and I had only 3+ months of training for the year.
As my husband so logically put it when I complained about only beating out 150 people (1100 people were faster and some even walked parts), I had just beat Di’s best time and I beat everyone who didn’t and hasn’t run a half marathon. Damn, that guy is smart.
And here’s the moment of sweet success captured by my husband who was waiting for me with my boys at the finish line. <3
I’d like to close with a few memorable moments from this road race. Once again, I’m amazed by the sense of community among runners and how we’re there for each other.
- Thanks to the young lady who happened to cross my path at mile 4 while going uphill. She threw out a “you’re doing great” as she went by and then settled in front of me with a shirt that said Don’t Be Last. It’s like she knew that would bring the point and the finish home for me. I kept plugging for miles because of that.
- Props to a spectator at mile 3 who was holding up a sign that said “Keeping going …it’s all about spirit.” I used that after mile 8 when I started to get tired along with “your mind will quit long before your body ever will”.
- Love the young kids sprinkled throughout the 13 miles who threw out their hands for high 5′s. They made the run fun and threw me a boost of energy with every slap!
- And finally a HUGE CAN’T THANK YOU ENOUGH to a female runner who came across me at mile 12.5 where I started slowing down and was thinking about walking. She grabbed my arm just in time and said “Oh no! Keep going…you can’t do this when you’re less than a mile away from the end.” And, she was right. I would never have forgiven myself. She paced with me until we hit mile 13 – where she knew the excitement would carry me the rest of the way. I owe her a lot.
All in all, this was a fantastic experience and I’m so glad I decided to do it this year -whether I was ready or not. The good news is….I was ready! Learn from me..and do that thing you’ve been putting off for whatever reason. You’ll feel great about it after it’s done.