17 March 2013

The Year of the PR [b&a trail half marathon]

It's official.

I'm calling it.

2013 is The Year of the PR.

I admit it. I wanted to call it after the Penguin Pace 5K but I thought that might be premature.

But after today? Yes, it's officially official.

The day before the race (Friday) was an absolute shit show. It was an insane day in (and out of) Court, and as I was getting my stuff together for the race ... where's my wallet? Not in my purse. Not in my car. James, have you seen my wallet? OMGILOSTMYWALLET. James is, of course, the calm and collected of the two of us, and after asking if I shopped online (ME? lolwut? why would he think that?), suggested that it may be in my office. He offered to go but I didn't think he could get into the court house after hours.

I drove to the court house - while listening to the end of the Maryland/ Duke game ... GO TERPS! - and found my wallet under a pile of files (shows you how insane the day was - I never leave work without organizing my desk and office. cool kid right here). Came home. Found out a good friend (Hi Hilatron!) and a friend I hadn't seen in forever (Hi Sarsatron!) were driving to Silver Spring from Philly and asked them to stop by.

I debated what to wear. Weather.com said low 40s, feels like mid 30s, high likelihood of light rain. Decided on tights, tank top, thin long sleeved shirt.

Then, finally to sleep.

I was up at 6:00 to eat. Checked the weather again - low 40s, feels like low 40s, rain not likely until noon. Changed clothes: running skirt, tank top, thin long sleeved t-shirt. I drove to LA Fitness - possibly the nicest pre-race hangout! The race is usually at Severna Park High School but this year the RD had to move it and awesome I say. It was warm inside, lots of room to sit, stretch, indoor bathrooms (no port o potties hooray!).

Saw Colleen and we waited in the (long, ugh sometimes I hate being a woman) bathroom line. Found Deb, too, when I was dropping off my bag at bag drop. Perfect timing because Colleen and I are awesome -- left the building at 7:55 and waited for the race to start.

It was a chilly 41 (if that makes sense, and if it doesn't, oh well). And then.. it's GO TIME!

... except when you are a half marathoner and start - WHOOPS - with the marathoners.

"You're a half marathoner! You shouldn't have started!"
"Her chip crossed the mat - just run!"
"No, she shouldn't go. Go back!"

and I am FREAKING OUT because good god I am an idiot.

The RD kindly pointed me out to the chip/ clock/ timer guy and he reset my chip. Or something like that.

Okay, so 5 more minutes and THEN it's go time (for real).

I wanted to break my HM PR of 1:46:57 -- set in 2007 at the Baltimore Half. That's an 8:07ish pace. It seemed so fast but I knew I could do it. I've been training hard and smart, I'm injury free, and McMillan said so - so it HAD to be true. McMillan would not lie to me. I decided to keep it around an 8:00 - 8:05. Right away I was running a 7:45. People were passing me and as tempting as it was to keep up with them, I told myself myself to slow it down and run a smart race, my smart race.

And I did.

The race is on the Baltimore&Annapolis Trail -- not a rocks/ hills/ dirt 'trail' but a flat, paved trail that runs from the BWI Airport down to Annapolis. The race started at the LA Fitness, headed north towards Glen Burnie, turn around at mile 3.5(ish), then south back toward the start/ finish area, a short out and back off of the trail, then a turn around around mile 9.5, and back to the finish.

1    8:04.4
137:47.3 woohoo !
14    1:16.7

(watch) finish time (still waiting on official time): 1:45:47 // 8:04 pace

Nice even splits and likely an overall negative split (too lazy to figure that out right now). All miles - with the exception of 13 - were within 8 seconds of each other. how's that for consistency?!

I felt pretty good during most of the race. Every so often doubt would creep in - am I going out too fast? can I hang on? - but I tried by best to dismiss those ugly little thoughts. I once read something about racing that I really like: Run the first third of a race with your head, the second third with your legs, and the final third with your heart. I divided up the race into third and tried to follow that mantra. Once I hit mile 10 I gave myself permission to pick up the pace (if possible) and told myself to push it hard for the final 3 miles. Oddly (or I guess not so oddly) pushing it hard and trying to pick up the pace at that late in the race meant that I was running my planned pace. Ha. Mile 13, though, was awesome. I felt like I was f l y i n g. I told myself that yes, it hurt, and no, I couldn't really breathe, but this was The End and I'd run a great race so far and I'd be damned if I didn't finish strong.

I saw the finish line and picked it up (to the tune of a 7:22 pace for the final .1 miles!) to kick it in. I'm sure my finish line photo is UGLY because I was pushing hard and for me, running hard =/= running pretty. I felt like I was going to puke but I managed to keep everything down.

I got my medal, got some Gatorade, considered pizza, felt horrible just thinking about pizza, cheered for the finishing runners, looked for Colleen and Deb, froze my tushie off, saw Colleen finish, saw Deb finish, got pizza, ate it, still not sure if pizza a good idea or bad idea, put on sweatpants, drove home with the seat warmers on and the heat on blast.

(and then we had a toddler birthday party, and then dinner out for a friend's birthday. w h e w I was so tired)

Today (Sunday, March 17) I am hurt-TANG and James laughs every time I walk down stairs. I may attempt a 2-3 easy recovery run to stretch out the legs... they are really tight. Still, the pride I'm feeling more than makes up for the fact that I can't really walk. I trained hard for this race and it paid off, and, well, that is just an awesome feeling.


  1. Congratulations!!! That's an awesome PR! You are on a roll!

  2. Wow, mommyhood has made you fast.... time for another? Might be looking at 12 hour Ironman races if you do

  3. PRs are awesome! I have had a couple this year already, and I can't wait for more races to see if this holds true for me as well in 2013. Way to go!

  4. Boom!

    Congrats on the PR!

    Maybe you should have just gone with the first group and shot for a full marathon PR :)

    PS: I'm with OneHourIronman.... IM PR in the future as well???