I ran my first half marathon of the year in March, which was almost six months after my previous half marathon. Somehow I missed celebrating in October when I completed my 50th half marathon. Well, I’ll just blame that on 2020, because I was so darn excited to run an in person race that I didn’t update my race list until last week. 🙂
My friends and I had planned a girls’ race trip to run the Little Rock Marathon in March. It was going to be our fun race trip, that backed up to the start of spring break. Then the date for Little Rock was moved to November (I deferred to 2022) and not long after, the Dallas Marathon moved their date to December. The two changes knocked the wind out of my sails along with my motivation to run long.
One of my friends still kept marathon training, and looked to the Irving Marathon as her back up plan. When it looked like the race was actually going to happen, I told her I would go with her for support. Our backup race trip was planned. We booked a hotel right by the start, registered for the race, and all had a race to look forward to.
When I registered, I spent several minutes debating if I wanted to run the half or marathon. I didn’t really want to run 26 miles, even though it had been a full year since my last official marathon. Since the ultra in January, I really didn’t run long enough to brew confidence for a marathon. Even though it was “only $15 more to run twice as far” (runner logic) I registered for the half.
Race week was also my first week back in the office after a year of working from home. I knew it was a temporary situation, but it was a little hard going back. Honestly, I think it was harder on this crew than anyone else in the family:
Being back in the office was tiring. The little things I would do during the day now had to wait until evening. It took me a while to get back into the routine, and halfway through the week I was so grateful that I didn’t register for the marathon. I was exhausted just from going through the routine of getting dressed for work, packing my lunch, fitting in laundry and dinner plans, dealing with rowdy dogs when we got home, etc. etc… On the positive side, I had a much clearer separation of work and home that I’ve missed.
When we left town on Friday afternoon, I was ready for an escape.
Saturday morning, it was so nice to walk 5 minutes to the start. Being out of practice with both racing and traveling, I was surprised I only forgot my visor. Still so grateful to be running the half, especially with temperatures in the 60s, I was ready to run my race and then make the switch to support crew.
We all ran together for the first mile, then I looked at my heart rate and knew I couldn’t sustain that for 13 miles. We let our jackrabbit marathon runner pull ahead and told her we’d be there for her second half. The two of us then settled into a comfortable effort for the next few miles.
I kept an eye on my heart rate, and stuck to my race plan. My goal for the day was to run under 2:05, but I also knew the weather could be a factor. I typically don’t do well in warmer temps and humidity, but there was a little bit of a breeze on the first half of the loop. I wouldn’t try to pick up the pace much until around mile 11 simply with the weather.
I didn’t start my music until I had less than an hour to go. It mostly was to drown out the sound of my breathing. 🙂
I remember thinking to myself around mile 8-9, “Wow, my legs feel pretty good today! I’m running strong.” I took this thought and held onto it for the next few miles. Even up the hill, I was focusing on running strong, keeping my effort even. This was a nice change.
It wasn’t until the last couple of miles that the weather started to get to me. This was when I was going to pick up the pace and finish strong, but instead I just held steady. My face was red and I was starting to feel icky, but I didn’t fall apart. I just told myself to hang on for a little while longer, and then it was over.
I smiled when I saw my time because I landed under my goal. More importantly, I didn’t let the weather beat me this time. That’s a huge win for me because I’ve had some crappy warm races. But again, I was so glad I ran the half. As an added bonus, I placed third in my age group!
To top off the good morning, we watched our friend come in to a huge 15 minute PR for her marathon. I cried, I was so happy for her!
We finished off our trip with a good lunch and headed back to reality. The best thing about Saturday races is having time on Sunday to recover before it’s back to work.
Thank you Irving Marathon for the nice race shirts, finisher shirts, medals, and free race pictures! It was a nice race weekend spent with friends.