I don’t know whose legs have attached to my torso, but they are doing some awesome things lately! Half marathon #2 of 2019 was a fun, girls weekend away in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Leading up to the race I wasn’t sure what my race day plan was. I spent some energy overthinking and over stressing about a race day plan. I did not think I could or should run as strong as I did in my PR half marathon a week prior! Truthfully, I wondered if that race was a fluke.
Some variables going into this half marathon:
- This half marathon was a no-pressure, girls weekend away fun training run for me.
- I PR’ed by nine minutes a week prior, with an 8:15 average.
- I did speed work on Wednesday and my Garmin alerted me “fastest 5K” & “fastest mile” within that session.
- I did a tough strength training workout on Thursday
- I did a 2 hour trainer ride on Friday morning
- The previous three bullets left me pretty sore on Saturday!
- The weather was predicted to be miserable at 30 degrees and 100% chance of rain
- I planned on running some more miles after the race as a longer marathon training run.
The first bullet is the bulk of what happened. We had so many giggles over the weekend. So many women of the Fellow Flowers community showed up. These women show up, and love hard! The opportunity to be surrounded by some of my favorites and some who I only see once a year was so special. I’m so glad I had this on my calendar!
Race day weather was a nail biter. It went from 100% chance, 90% chance, back to 100% chance while also switching from rain or snow. The great what-layers debate consumed my thoughts all Friday and Saturday.
“Please snow. SNOW!! Gimme SNOW! I can do snow! Please, pleases, please let it snow!” – said the Wisconsin runner girls in April.
We thankfully got to start the race dry. Some sleety, pellet-y bits bounced off of our faces for a few minutes, and then it gradually began to snow later on in the race. The layers I choose were my Coeur Sports aero top, arm warmers, sock warmers, a fleece-lined windbreaker, a winter cap, and mittens. I was overdressed. Four miles in I was tugging at my sock warmers which I discarded, and then my arm warmers, which is hard to do while running!
With so much worry about weather and layers I forgot to think out my race day plan. How would I run this? Take it easy? Do intervals? What’s going to benefit my marathon training? Since I’m in somewhat of an identity crisis with what my paces are these days I decided to focus on running even splits so I lined up behind the 8:30 pace group. I wasn’t certain 8:30 was the right choice, but that’s where I put myself and it seemed to be the right choice, as per split chart below:
The entire run felt steady and strong. It wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t too much effort either. Comfortably strong with purpose. At mile 11 I did some marathon math and noticed that if I hammered down I could sneak in under 1:50 again so I snuck past the pace group and took off. A year ago I was focused on breaking two hours, now I’m hauling ass after a sub 1:50. WHOSE LEGS ARE THESE?
In the last mile I wasn’t positive I’d break 1:50 since this was an unfamiliar course to me. I didn’t know what was coming or have a mental map of how much longer I really needed to go in a fast, uncomfortable pace. Hauling ass into the unknown, I didn’t want to regret not going for it later. Just dig deep and run!
Okay, so maybe the PR last weekend wasn’t a fluke. I can still confidently stand behind my rule-breaking, resilient spirit and know that I’ve been putting in work to produce progress and results. I may not follow a traditional plan, but my efforts in training make a difference on race day.
This finish line was so much more than splits and finish times though. The weekend was filled with so many laughs my core hurts. Memories were made and miles were conquered. It was a weekend with fiercely united friendships!