Hi friends! As I said on Monday’s post, here is my race recap from Sunday. Enjoy 🙂
Of all the nights that it was just me home last weekend, Bailey ended up throwing up at 1:36 am on Sunday morning. So my good night’s sleep was a little sleepless going into the race. Not a huge deal at all but I woke up extremely tired and just wanted to sleep. I knew I couldn’t so I got up and moving and my stomach started to hurt. And it wasn’t nerves since getting my typical pre long run breakfast of peanut butter toast down was a very slow process. But it all happened and then it was off to Rutgers.
I opted to park near the finish line and take the shuttle over to the start. Maybe it was because I went to Rutgers so I knew where to park but I found it super easy to find a good spot. Either way getting the shuttle was super quick and it got to the start fairly quick. Once the bus dropped us off, it was maybe a quarter mile walk to the start line. I shed my sweatshirt and was COLD so I opted to keep on my old windbreaker. The weather was not ideal. The temperature started around 47 degrees and got colder as the day went on.
I ran into the corral and tried to get towards the 2:00 pacer but it was hard so I started behind the 2:30 pacer. Not that it really mattered to me since I wasn’t going to rely on a pacer but it was a little annoying. The race started exactly at 8 am which I appreciated and we were off. I’m not sure how many people ran the race but it was crowded at the start so my first mile was a 9:27 minute mile.
Mile 2 included and overpass which wasn’t too bad. I felt like I was getting into a groove and was staying around a 9 – 9:10 minute pace which was part of my plan. Then the wind came. It wasn’t just a little wind either but strong gusts. I just tried to maintain my pace and push through which was a little disheartening when I saw my pace creep up into high 9 minute miles. But I kept with it and tried to get under 9 minute when the wind wasn’t there.
Once complaint I had about the race was that my watch never lapped for the mile at the mile markers the race had set up. My watch always lapped early so I think the course was long. I had ideas on the range of times I should be at miles 3, 7 and 10 in order to achieve my goal of finishing in under 2 miles. When my watch lapped the 3rd mile, I wasn’t at the mile marker so I wasn’t sure if I should base my goal on my watch mileage or the mile markers. Since it was only mile 3 I didn’t mind too much at that point.
We ran around the Livingston campus from miles 2 – 6 and the wind was prevalent throughout those miles. My body starting warming up so I threw the gloves I had on off since my hands were starting to get really warm. There was no out and back points on this part of the course which I appreciated and it helped my mental running game. I crossed the 7 mile marker around the time I needed to be there in order to finish between 1:55 and 1:58. Then we started going back to the Busch campus and ended up going back to the start line. I loved passing the start since music was playing and the song that was on helped to pump me up. Less than 6 miles to go at that point!
Once we went across the start line in the other direction, the wind picked up again. I was still feeling really strong and just kept my pace under 9 minutes when there was no wind. We went along Route 18 on the pedestrian bridge then ran down to a park. This is where my mental game started to suffer. The course at this point was a fairly long out and back in a park. Okay maybe it wasn’t that long but it felt long. We ran past the 11 mile marker which was on the other side of the course and I saw a bunch of people running in the opposite direction towards the finish. But it got me going a little bit since it meant I was close to the 10th mile and had just over 5k to go. My legs started to feel heavy at this point as well.
The entire race, I planned on picking up the pace at mile 11 and keeping it under 8:40 minutes paces for the last 2.1 miles. But that didn’t happen. With the discrepancy between my watch miles and the race mile markers, I wasn’t sure if I would break 2 hours. Mentally this sucked. Then the wind picked up so I was running into it as we went through the turn around and were on the way to the mile marker. It slowed me down for sure since at that point I was over 11 miles into the race (since my watch was always ahead of the mile markers) and the wind hit me hard. I started thinking about all of the speed workouts where I absolutely crushed the paces I was given and the long runs I did. Thinking back, there was only one run in this training cycle that was horrible. Honestly I got upset. I thought my hard work was going to go all out the window.
Shortly after 11 miles, I decided to put my watch on the clock screen. Every time I glanced at my pace I just felt discouraged. I kept telling myself that all I had to do was keep running and I would finish under 2:05 if I just kept moving. Would it have been the time I trained for? No but I still would have been okay with it, although I’m sure I would’ve been upset initially. Around 12.25 to 12.5 miles in, I decided to check my time. I saw I was at 1 hour and 54 minutes. I said if I could pick up the pace then I would make my goal. My legs didn’t want to move faster but I knew I’d be more upset if I didn’t try.
So I picked up the pace. It was hard at this point. My legs were tired and I wasn’t 100% positive in my ability to finish in under 2 hours. But I kept going. Clearly I pushed because I thought I was going to throw up in the straight away to the finish. My mind just told me that I can throw up once I gross the finish line and I’m not missing my goal because I got sick in the last little bit of the race.
The entire last quarter mile or so was a guess if I would make it. I crossed the finish and my watch gave me a time of 1:59:45. My parents and Alex were all tracking me and texted me congratulations. I was happy but I asked them what my official time was. It was 1:59:45. I did it! I finished in under 2 hours! I was so happy I could have cried except I was so tired that I couldn’t even do it.
After crossing the finishing line I just put my hands on my knees and tried to catch my breath. When running stopped, my body got so cold. I believe the feels like was in the 30s at that point. I grabbed my medal and two water bottles and kept walking. They were giving away foil heat blankets. Had it not been windy, I think this would’ve helped more than it actually did. Luckily I had a sweatshirt in my gear check bag so I put it on and then pinned the blanket around me. You guys, my fingers were freezing! I was mad I threw my gloves off mid race and wished I had kept them on.
Overall it was a good race with some strong winds. My biggest complaint was that I think it was longer than 13.1 miles. My watch said I ran 13.32 miles. I kept to the inside of curves and tried to run in the center of the course the entire time. Going a little over a set distance makes sense but almost an entire quarter mile longer? Seems like a long course to me. If I went by the miles on my watch then the half marathon time would have been 1:57:49.
The thing that went well was that I didn’t give up. I pushed even when my legs were tired and my mind was telling me I would fail. Yes I gave into those negative thoughts a bit but I didn’t give into my legs. I took a break from checking on my pace and just focused on running. That helped combat the negative thoughts and I think it part of the reason I achieved my goal. My fueling was on point. Like in my long runs, I took one every 30 minutes so I ended up having 3 with water throughout the course.
Chip stats: 13.1 miles in 1:59:45 for a 9:06 minute pace.
Watch stats: 13.32 miles in 1:59:45 for a 8:59 minute pace.
I was 57th out of 180 for my age group, 240th out of 1022 females and 822nd overall with 2432 runners.
Question of the day: Have you ever run a half marathon?