First off, I want to thank everyone for such kind words and congratulations after my race on Saturday. It really means the world to me. Running is just part of who I am, but I am so happy that it ties me to a community full of wonderful people.
Like I’ve said previously, I like running halfs during marathon training to tune-up before race day. If my pre-race nerves for this half was any indication, it has been far too long since I’ve raced. Although I stayed in Friday night in hopes of getting a lot of sleep, I couldn’t relax. Between the pre-race jitters, wondering how I was going to run 13 miles (um I ran 20 7 days before… you would think I’d know I would finish but nope!) and the idea of moving apartments getting real, I was up until after midnight. Which made for a 6AM wake-up not the most fun.
I sweet talked my wonderful parents into road tripping with me. I’ve run this race the past two years and have driven myself. No matter what, I always finish and wish someone was there to drive me home because I just want to close my eyes and rest. But this year my mom and step-dad made the trip with me which was super nice and really fun to have some fans waiting for me at the end!
For me personally, I race fasted. So for half marathons I do not fuel. I don’t eat before and I do not take in any fuel during the run. I usually find this helps me race my best. I like feeling light pre-race, and usually get some GI issues if I am running at a tempo pace.
My goal for this race was to go in and run slightly faster than marathon goal pace. The course is challenging. It mimics Boston as the first portion has a steep decline in elevation, followed by a mildly flat stretch, and the finishing with rolling hills, and the last mile up hill. Because that’s fun and what everyone wants to run up after 12+ miles.
Before the race I was able to fit in a 1.5 mile warm up at about a 9’30” pace. I never used to be a fan of warming up, but after a long car ride and sitting most the morning, I need something to get my legs moving. Although I didn’t warm up for Boston, I think the walk from Athlete’s Village to the start line was sufficient enough warm up.
Before the race I actually bumped into a friend from college. She was a fabulous runner in college and a triathlete. She had taken a break from racing, but is back training for NYCM as part of Fred’s Team as she has personally seen the tragic effects of cancer on loved ones. If you’re interested in donating, this is her page. I’m super excited because this means I have a friend to hang out with in NYC!
The race was scheduled to start at 9:00AM which is late for me. I like running early and being done by then, but the race offers an early start at 8:15 for runners who will take longer than 2:30 to complete the race.
I have seen some familiar faces at these races before and enjoy casually chatting before the race. I heard a small group of males saying they’d like to run around 1:30. Going into this race, I was hoping for a 1:34. It is a challenging course, I was coming off a 60+ mile week, and I was not rested.
The gun went off promptly at 9:00 and I was out in the front with two other women. Though the race starts downhill, I tried my best to reign in my pace. Last year I ran the first mile sub 6 and was absolutely DYING for the last three miles. Lesson learned.
My splits were as followed:
6’26” 6’23” 6’45” 6’42” 6’47” 6’55” 6’51” 6’53” 7’05” 7’01” 7’00” 7’00” 7’16”
Watch time 1:29:51
For the first few miles I found myself running with two other women and with a few men. It was a great group as we were mostly on pace. After the third/fourth mile I was first female which was an interesting experience, because I’ve never been first female for a half. I was escorted by a race official on a bike which was pretty cool, and to be quite honest, probably attributed to falling into a groove with my pace.
I took water around mile 8 – and in pure form splashed 99% of it all over my face. I kept chugging along and with the exception of the last mile (uphill – ugh) I felt good. In all honesty, I felt like I could’ve kept going. I’m sure my pace would’ve slowed a bit, but on a course with less of a climb at the end (+350ft elevation change), I think I would’ve been able to hold on for longer at comfortable pace. Last year I came in third overall, but this year I finished as first woman and can now proudly say I won my first half marathon. Truly something I NEVER thought would happen. Although as my mom put it – I was only 4+ minutes slower than the overall finisher… next year mom… next year : )
I cooled down at the end with a half mile run making it 15 miles for the day. It was a perfect day weather wise, and the race had a strong group of competitors. Again, it was so nice to see my parents at the finish line as they are always such great supporters. I am usually pretty nauseous after I run so I stuck with water for the time being. I had a few orange slices but was barely able to stomach anything else. Therefore, the amazing homemade post-race food was 100% consumed by my parents. And of course I had to steal a Rice Krispy treat for my mom. : )
We hung out on the grass for a bit while waiting for awards. While it was perfect weather to race, it was a bit chilly with the wind. Sitting in sweaty clothes didn’t really help either. I won a super awesome bottle of white wine, a hat, two cookies (which are now gone), and a pretty neat metal.
Hogsback is one of my favorite races. The people. The course. Everything about it. If you’re near Colebrook, CT and want to run a really awesome half marathon, remember this next fall! I know I’ll be back!
I have one more half before NYCM. This week is another week of lighter milage, before peaking next week with 70+ miles. The third weekend in October I’ll have a very local half which means a lot more sleeping the morning before! I can’t believe I’m already this far in my training. It seems like just yesterday I started making my training plan…
What’s your favorite half marathon course? How is it challenging for you?
Would anyone like me to talk specifically about fasted training/racing? I started doing this about 15 months ago and have had a lot of success with it.