Wow! Another beautiful day for a race! Everything came together without incident for the Grand Rapids Metro Health Half Marathon this morning. I got to sleep last night way earlier than I planned on. Hurray for bonus sleep! I woke up and had plenty of time to eat my pre-race oatmeal, get dressed and relax before A picked me up. The weather was perfect - a little chilly, but nothing like the last two years. I was warm within a mile or so. We parked and got into the YMCA for a quick potty break, some stretching and then we were out the door, headed to the starting chute.
We found our running buddies who were running the full marathon. Their first! The starting gun went off and I never saw any of them again! Not true. I actually saw a couple of them before mile 3, but then I was on my own. I ended up seeing a friend from work just before the 8 mile mark. He was running his first full marathon. He joked that he was questioning his decision to do so. I said, it's not too late to just do the half, the turn off is just ahead! I'm pretty sure he finished the full 26.2 miles as did my other full marathon running pals.
I've had trouble in past races with my knees feeling tight or my hip hurting. I felt great today! I applied Tiger Balm before the race and reapplied with my mobile Tiger Balm just after the 8 mile mark. Overall, it just felt so good to be running - like I was only walking or something, it was cool and probably means I could kick it up a notch so I can get faster!
That is my goal for next year's race season - I want to increase my speed!
I finished the Half Marathon in 2:20:22, two whole minutes faster than I said I would! Pretty psyched about that! I just checked on my times from 2009 and 2008. Last year I finished in 2:19:14 and 2008 was 2:16:37. I can't believe my personal record (PR) for a Half Marathon was in 2008, my very first distance race ever!! I'm getting slower, y'all and that is why I want to work on my speed!
Speed is a big mental game! I want to know I'm going to have enough energy the entire time to finish strong. If I push too hard, I fear burning out or risking injury. But that also keeps me from getting faster. So far, my splits have been pretty steady - 10:25 minute miles in 2008, 10:37 minute miles in 2009 and 10:42 this year. I'd like to see my splits moving away from 11 minute miles though and closer to a solid 10 minute mile!
I'm basically training for one race or another 10 months out of the year and know there are points during that time that I get a slacker attitude and just run to get my miles in and even skip days here and there. When I got my PR, I stuck to my training schedule like glue. There might be something there. I also want do some cross training, so I don't get burnt out and just phone in my runs toward the end of the season.
In all, I had fun training for and running races this season and am already looking forward to next year. I had some gift certificate money with Amazon.com and put it toward two new pairs of my favorite shorts! Crazy tid-bit - when I ordered them this afternoon, they were cheaper! Strange! Glad I ordered when I did so I could stretch that gift certificate money!