Our Daily (G)races

Training to be the best wife, mom, runner, and person I can be each and every day....

Monday, January 25, 2016

3M Half Marathon race weekend

Exactly one  year ago today I was in Austin running the 3M half marathon with my faraway bestie Susan.  She'd asked me to pace her to a sub 2 hour half.  I don't think I have ever told her how nervous I was to do that.  Just because I can run sub 2 did not mean that I could do everything right so she could achieve that dream running goal.  Well it happened because Susan is a rock star and it remains to this day one of my absolute favorite running moments.

Achieving a running goal is a huge deal to the runner and anyone who has supported him/her along the journey to the starting line.  So much work, time, effort, sweat, tears, and sacrifices are made so those dreams can become a reality.  I have always wanted to run a 1:45 half marathon.  That was a stretch time for me.  To run that time I would need to be super brave on race day.  Most race goals are achieved with lots of planning and the result of executing the perfect race plan.  Yesterday was the most laid back I have ever been about a race.  I had no real goal for the race.  I really just prayed it felt good to race again so I could erase the memory of Philly from my brain.  Yesterday was a huge surprise for me.  Sometimes.....

Just like last year Susan came from Pittsburgh to run to the race.  Lucky for me she flew into Houston this year so we had an extra long visit.  I treated her to Texas BBQ and she introduced me to Kendra Scott.  I'm thinking Drew won't be so happy about this in the future, but I do love my new jewelry!

Saturday morning we drove to Austin and hit up the expo to get our race packets.  We then spent a good bit of the day eating and being tourists.  Every time I go to Austin there is sport related activity occurring and I never get to see Austin.  Thankfully this time was a little different, but I really want to go back and play tourist for a weekend.  Let's do that Drew!!!

Julie, me, Susan, Valerie, Bianca, and Chrystal
We ate lunch at Susan's favorite taco place and she could hardly believe it was only my second time to eat at Torchy's.  My three tacos were quite yummy!  I passed on the Gourdough's fat dessert donut.  If you like donuts I recommend visiting that airstream.

There are two murals in Austin I hoped we could see.  Getting to one was perfect.  Next time I'll see the other one!

After some carbo loading for dinner we went to bed early.  Race mornings come early!  It was really chilly on Sunday morning, but Susan and I were prepared with our warm throw away sweats.  36 degrees at the start is perfect running weather in my opinion, but it is not perfect standing around and waiting for the race to start weather.  Staying warm is necessary for me.

I honestly had no expectations for this race.  I wanted to run a solid race that felt good and hoped to finish around 1:48-1:50.  Susan planned to run with her friend Val and I was running alone.  We hugged, wished each other a good race, and off we went.

I knew the cold weather would be to my advantage.  I love running in cold weather.  It is a net downhill course so that was in my favor too.  There are still several climbs, nothing drastic, but they exist so it's not all easy running.  I decided that I was not going to pay any attention to my splits.  I planned to look at my watch as I passed the mile markers just to check my pace.  I did not want to be focused on time.  I also knew if I stayed with the 1:50 pacer I would be good to go for my goal.

Before I knew it I was at mile 5 and was feeling really good.  I had passed the 1:50 pacer around mile 3, but never saw the 1:45 pacer.  I figured I would finish sometime around 1:48, but I decided then I would look at my overall time at mile 10.  If I could PR I would work hard during the last 5K.  If a PR wasn't going to happen that would be okay too.

8:16, 8:08, 8:10, 8:01, 8:11....These are so inconsistent, but that's what happens when I run on feeling.

The next five miles passed really quickly as well.  I took in fuel at mile 4.5 and again at mile 10.  That works for me during a half so I didn't want to mess with that.  I also carried a straw with me which I haven't done in forever.  I didn't want to carry my own water and I also didn't want to spill water on me at the water stations.  Being wet and cold is no fun.  Running and drinking is not easy and using a straw makes that process easy.  I have to remember this for future races!

8:06, 8:01, 7:51, 7:58, 8:08....I decided at mile 10 it was time to clock watch and attempt a PR.  The last 5K of this course is my favorite part. There are more people cheering.  There are some climbs, but the best downhills are in this stretch as well.  I figured I had nothing to lose and I was just going to run hard for 3.1 miles.

The next two miles passed quickly and felt great.....7:57, 7:44.  The last mile felt long as it does in any race.  Mentally I was ready to be finished.  I was cold and I was tired.  There is an uphill finish which is just rude so digging deep is required.  My last mile was 7:28.  I have NEVER run that fast in a half marathon.  I'm not sure if I have run any miles that fast in a 10K. To be able to run that mile time and feel good felt awesome.  I can't adequately express how satisfied I felt at knowing early morning mile repeats, tempo runs, fast finishes, 400 and 800 meter repeats really were worth it.

My official time was

That is a happy thing to see by my name.  Could I have clock watched and sneaked in under 1:45? Maybe.  Do I care?  Not one little bit.  To see a solid 1:45 and not I just made it 1:45 by my name is a box checked on my running dreams list and it makes me really happy.

I was already bundled up because I was freezing, but I was one happy runner!

Happy post race runners

We a fun lunch of more tacos after the race and Susan was able to experience all that is Buccee's.  Then I had to let her go home today...boo!

Sometimes the best things happen out of the blue.  Deciding to read Susan's blog because her hubbie was wearing a PSU shirt is one of those things.  Putting no pressure on myself to achieve a running time and then having it happen is another one of those things.  This is my favorite race memory to date!  Thanks for asking me to run 3M with you again Susan. 

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