Yesterday my sister and I ran the Earth Day Half Marathon in St. Cloud. I have ran this race several times (although I missed last year because I had a nasty case of the stomach flu). The weather is always hit or miss for this race - and this year, it was kind of crappy. Chilly, rainy, a little bit windy. I really wasn't sure what to expect in terms of how I would feel and how fast I could run. My training this spring has been hit or miss, emphasis on the miss. I decided I would start with the 2:10 pacer and, if I felt good, try to pass him.
I started with the pacer and found it easy to stick with him. The pace felt comfortable. Concentrating on staying with the pacer at that comfortable pace really kept me from weaving around trying to break out of the crowds at the beginning of the race. Looking back, I think that really helped conserve a lot of energy that I normally waste. Shortly before the third mile, I got ahead of the 2:10 pacer and he never passed me.
I felt really strong throughout the race. Miles 5-8 passed so quickly, it felt like I was on top of the mile markers every time I turned a corner. I took a Gu at about mile 4.5, and grabbed an orange slice from the friendly neighborhood at mile 9. There is a substantial hill after mile 9, and then a little, steep hill right before mile 10. The hills definitely were challenging, but I kept plugging along. I took another Gu at the water break after mile 10 and kept telling myself to just push to the finish.
Having run this race many times, I knew that there was a really nice, long downhill during mile 12. Every time I felt tired during the last couple of miles, I told myself to just push until I got to the hill. I was rewarded for my preserverance -- that downhill was so sweet. After the downhill I saw the mile 13 sign and my mom and Sophie (and my sister, who finished about five minutes before me) cheering. Sophie ran out to give me a high five.
I ran into the finish feeling strong. Finish time: 2:07:16. I was really happy with how I ran this race. I only walked during the water stops and kept a nice, consistent pace. Definitely did better than I expected.
After the race was over, I started shivering and didn't stop until I went to bed last night. Running the cold and rain? Brr. Although, I think I'd rather run in that kind of weather than super hot and sunny. At any rate, I was happy to crawl in bed under all the covers last night. And today, I recovered with a little shopping and golfing.