After finishing the Holy Half Marathon, I think I can confidently say that I really love the half marathon distance. I was a little worried that A1A was a fluke, in both performance and enjoyment, but I ran almost the exact same time at the Holy Half AND I had fun doing it. And plus I eeked out a tiny PR too!
Lizzy and I picked up our packets the day before and attended the spaghetti dinner with all you can eat carbs to get us ready for the race. It was pretty nice and relaxing. Honestly, after having such a terrible workweek, I really needed some chill time to think about anything else but work.
I managed to get to bed pretty early, but I wasn’t feeling quite right. …and then I remembered why this race couldn’t be a goal race. I was supposed to get my period on race day. Ugh. I was ok with it when I signed up, but now that it was happening, I was a little less happy.
I woke up the next morning, and sure enough, I had my period. I felt pretty icky and really didn’t feel like running. I had some coffee, ate some breakfast, and tried to get myself jazzed about race day. Lizzy, Frank, and I took off to get to the race a little early and meet up with a friend of mine who was running her first half marathon. It was crazy cold, so everyone was huddled up in the Stepan Center, an awkwardly shaped building used for tennis practice in the winter. It took quite a bit of coercing for the announcers to get the runners to brave the cold at the start line. Luckily blue skies and sun kinda helped the situation. The start line was crammed, and there were way too many people for such a tiny race. They capped it at 1500, but most of the course ran through sidewalks and trails causing there to be a lot of bobbing and weaving around people.
I didn’t even hear the start announced, but people started moving, so I did too. The first mile or so was so crammed that I was running pretty slow just to avoid tripping. The course was two loops with an out and back at the end. Everyone, and I mean everyone, I saw on the course was under 30, and Lizzy and I were probably some of the oldest people there. From the very beginning, we could see that the students were definitely struggling. People were walking by mile 4 and it was clear that a lot of the people on the course were just young students who figured they could run 13 miles without training.
The first loop went great. Lizzy and I ran together and we took a pretty conservative pace. We were passing lots of people and I just generally felt strong. Lots of people were saying dumb things like, “you’re almost there”, when we had only run 4 miles, but I was cheery enough to not want to kill them (that was not the case later in the race). We got to mile 8, and I was starting to fade a little. My cramps were getting bad. I rallied for a bit, but Lizzy ended up taking off while I tried to keep it slow. I had a random mile at 9:11, but besides that, I kept it at around 8:40-8:50.
At the end of the second loop, there was a rather demoralizing out and back section. People were trying to take it way too fast, since we couldn’t see the end of it until the turn around. Even though I was feeling a little sick, I was still passing people like crazy. The students were pretty much dropping like flies. Lizzy said someone even had to be taken by parametics at the end. Finally I could see the finish line, and I sprinted to the end. I was just happy to be done with it. I got my medal, sat down and tried to chill for a bit. Honestly, I hadn’t even thought about my time. I figured I had majorly biffed it, so I even forgot to turn off my Garmin. We looked over at the results sheet and I was pleasantly surprised. I ran the course (which was around 13.5 according to my watch) in 1:56:46, two seconds faster than A1A. I had run 13.1 in 1:54:44, which was under my top goal, to break 1:55:00! I had been worried that A1A had been a fluke, but I can set that aside now. I think this race really helped with my confidence. At least I know I can be consistent!
After the race, I chilled for like an hour and then Frank dragged me out on a 10-mile mountain bike ride. It was pretty tough, I was tired, but there were tacos at the end, so I was pretty ok with the situation.
Even though I didn’t feel great during the race, I am pretty happy with how it went. I think I can enter future half marathons with more confidence and I feel pretty ready to crack 1:55:00 on the next course I run. Thanks everyone for your support! It was a bit of a rough week, but I am so glad I did this race! Now that I ran the Holy Half, I think I can go to Kansas without having any races in Indiana on my bucket list.