I didn't treat this like a normal race... no taper, no easy week beforehand, just one rest day. I'm training for 26.2 so my plan was to use this half marathon as a tough training run. I spent the early 5am drive to Springfield calculating paces and finish times in my head. I settled on a 2:05 goal (mid-9 pace).
Then the race excitement started to flare up inside me. Before the race, I met up with a bunch of other local Peoria runners who drove the short 1.5 hour south into the Illinois State Capitol. We jogged, stretched, laughed, talked non-stop (maybe that was just me) and of course... took lots of pictures!
I even caught up with the Half Fanatics!!
I was admitted into the Half Fanatics club (#1092) last spring.
One of the things I love about medium-sized city races is that everything is so easy. There was little to none crowd cluster at the starting area. Although I must admit that more porta-potties were needed. Pre-race started with an "address" from Abe Lincoln himself and then we were off. With a small race of only 1500, runners spread out fast. Congestion was never an issue from after the first block or two... I love races like this. I can find my pace quickly.
Mile 1 - 8:55
Mile 2 - 8:59
Mile 3 - 8:59
Mile 4 - 8:53
Around mile 4, I tried to distract myself by chatting with fellow runners and giving shout-outs to cheerleaders and volunteers. For a race this small, I was impressed with the number of spectators cheering us on.
Mile 5 - 8:59
Mile 6 - 8:45
About mile 6, the first of the big hills hit. My friend Anna came up from behind, "Girl, I've been trying to catch you for 6 miles!" We ran together for a mile and then it was like hanging onto someone's coat tails. She slowly pulled away - and ended up setting a new PR for herself.
From then on, there seemed to be one big hill each mile... steep decline and then a steep climb. The first few I seemed to handle with ease, and then slowly, one by one, they wore me down. I tried to have fun with it, chanting "I love hills" as I crawled up the slopes. It didn't help much, although it did get some chuckles from my fellow runners. My pace slowed tremendously. I remember thinking at mile 10, "So what? Your goal was a 2:05. You're well inside that."
Mile 7 - 9:09
Mile 8 - 9:05
Mile 9 - 9:09
Mile 10 - 9:25
At mile 11, we turned a corner and got smacked with the wind for the first time. Most of the course had wound through neighborhoods and pretty parks that were heavy with trees. I hadn't even noticed there was a wind that day... until now. I was fading fast.
Mile 11 - 9:28
Mile 12 - 9:45
Mile 13 - 8:55
...and change for the final 0.1
As I came down the final 1/2 mile stretch, the streets were lined with a great cheering crowd. Some guy was in the middle of the road screaming away at runners. I was working hard and he could see it. He actually ran a couple steps with me and gave me a great pump-up to finish strong. As I approached the finish line, I actually thought I might hurl (and thank you photographer for catching that feeling on film!).
Half Marathon #8
Chip Time: 1:59:11
Age Group: #28 out of 126
Females: #173 out of 764
Overall: #556 out of 1434
It was hard-fought, but I finished under 2 hours. I couldn't be prouder of this one. It wasn't a new PR but pretty darn close! Most importantly, it was a great measure of where I'm at in my marathon training.
After the race, they had a decent spread of food... oranges, bananas, donuts, bowls of chili, biscuits & gravy, and my favorite Jamba Juice smoothies. I got my picture taken with Abe Lincoln and his wife Mary...
I hung around for almost an hour celebrating and chatting with friends. I even ran into a fellow Tough Chik Carmen (who completely rocked this half with a 1:50!)
What an awesome race day!
So glad I decided to do this one!