Or maybe I should title this post, "Damn, I've gotten fast!"
I never know how to start a blog post eloquently so let's just jump in. I ran the Cap City Half Marathon yesterday and I effing rocked it! I am five weeks into my half marathon training that I started nine weeks too late for a half marathon I'm racing in four weeks. Does that make sense? What it boils down to is that I didn't train specifically for Cap City. Regardless I was going out there to race and see where I was at in my training. Based on my 5K I ran a few weeks ago I have been training to be able to run approximately a 1:40 half marathon. So when I lined up yesterday I figured that's about what I could do.
I was in corral A at the start and I had intended to line up around the 1:45 pace group since I usually start slow and finish fast. But the pace group lined up in the very back of the corral and I didn't want to start back there so I moved up. The gun went off, we pushed our way to the start line, and I started to run. I love seeded races because you get up to speed right away and don't have to weave around people who had no business lining up at the front. I found a groove and was feeling good.
Mile 1 - 7:47.
Hmm, that was a little quicker than I expected. Whatever we'll go with it.
Mile 2 - 7:40
Mile 3 - 7:39
Mile 4 - 7:40
Gosh, I have mad pacing skills. Always have. If you ever need help pacing, I'm you're woman. (FYI, I was not wearing a Garmin. Seriously I can pace this way just using a watch and my internal rhythm.)
Mile 5 - 7:37
Mile 6 - 7:39
We're now in the Ohio State campus area and the crowds were out and cheering. Lane Avenue was a slight uphill until we reached High Street which is a nice long downhill into downtown. I should mention, it's been hotter than balls this week and Saturday morning was no exception. It was MUGGY with a side of humidity. I was drinking water like it was my job and was wearing equally as much water.
Mile 7 - 7:35
Mile 8 - 7:32
Now we are back downtown and I'm looking to see Dave. I also noticed I'm starting to catch a lot of people, including people I know and people I haven't been able to match in terms of racing times in a very long time. This is fun.
We have now joined back up with the quarter marathoners and frankly, they're in my way. I move far to the left, kinda in traffic, and I'm still flying in this race.
Mile 9 - 7:28
Mile 10 - 7:39
I'm starting to feel tired and this pace is wearing on me. Only a few miles to go, Mer, you can do this! We're now in German Village and I'm looking for my friend Lauren who sits across from me at work. I've been running with two other fast women for the last mile or so and I'm using them as my guides.
Mile 11 - 7:27
At this point I am soaking wet, not only from sweat, but from the water stops. The cups were too big and overfilled and I sloshed water everywhere. I am also WAY out of practice for taking gels and salt tabs. I dropped my last salt tab (gosh darn it!). I am going to need some practice before my marathon (um...what did you just say?). And because I am soaking, my iPod craps out at this point. While I don't have to run with music and generally don't hear most of it, it is a nice distraction. I tucked the earbuds under my sports bra and away I went until the finish. I'm going to need a solution for the iPod before the marathon too. Mile 12 had us running on cobblestone for a little bit. Come on race directors! You can't find another route over real road?!
Mile 12 - 7:39
Last mile and it's uphill to the finish line. This is the part where Dave dismantled me last year. I was not going to let this uphill get to me this year and I was so close to breaking 1:40 that I had to push. I worked up that hill, saw the finish line and went as hard as I could. It was going to be a close one.
Is that my ass hanging out of my shorts?
Last 1.1 miles - 8:23 (7:37 pace - perfect pacing today!)
Official finish time was 1:39:52. I believe this is my second fastest half marathon ever (on just a few weeks of training) and only a minute off of my PR (1:38:40).
Here's the real kicker. The only real goal I had established for myself was to place higher in my age group than last year. This is a BIG race - 13,000 between the half marathon, quarter marathon, and 5K, with most of those runners doing the half. Last year I placed 25th in my age group out of 627. My goal was to finish 24th or better. This year....9th out of 848 in my age group. Holy mother!!! This is far and away my best finish in a big race. I am so excited about everything that happened yesterday. I can't wait to keep training and see what's yet to come. This girl is back in a big way!