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My 10th Half Marathon

Posted Apr 24 2013 8:07pm
Half Marathon #10 ladies and gentlemen!
Last Saturday I ran the Lake Minneola Half Marathon and tried to act as a “pacer” for my friend Megan who was shooting for a sub-2 finish.  The race itself had a lot of “issues”that I already talked about , but regardless of issues you have to give every race your best and have a positive mind set.

The night before the race Megan and I had a simple dinner of chicken, whole wheat pasta, and snap peas at my house. 

My knee has been aching since the Florida Beach Half, so I decided to give KT tape a try.  Megan and I watched the easy video online and in about 10 minutes I was taped up.  
It can stay on for about 10 days, so I did it early.  I had no knee pain or aches during the race, so my verdict is that it works.

Race morning we were out the door at 530 and greeted by strange weather.  It was FREEZING! We spent weeks worrying about the heat and humidity of an April Florida race only to find a breezy, cold, wet morning.

We picked up our packets the morning of the race with no line and used the port-o-pottys twice.
Thirty minutes of waiting to start and we were off.

As I mentioned before I was running as a “pacer” and to help my friend Megan go sub-2.  Her previous PR was 2:03 and she had some pretty stellar training paces so I knew she could do it.  Our goal was to start out slow and stay even. (FYI- I opted to not run the race with my phone and take pics due to the rain)
Megan and I pre-race
Mile 1 – 9:18
Mile 1 and 2 saw some hills, but I tried to be calm on the uphill and easy on the downhill.  I think I didn’t slow down enough after the hills.

Mile 2- 9:04

Miles 3-5 weaved us through some neighborhoods and were flat. 

Mile 3 – 9:07
Mile 4 -9:04
Mile 5 – 9:06

Around mile 4.5 we stopped for our first water break at the un-manned water station and had our race fuel at the water stop around mile 6.

Mile 6 – 9:11

Between miles 6-7 I could tell Megan’s breathing rate was increasing.  I didn’t want to slow down and leave too much time to make up in the last miles.  She gave me thumbs up and we pushed on.

Mile 7 – 9:18

Our average pace at this point was a 9:10 and you need a 9:09 to go sub-2. I told Megan all she needed to do was stay like this to meet her goal.  She nodded and pushed on.

Mile 8 – 8:59

I was feeling really energized at this point and would find my pace creeping into the 8:30’s.  I didn’t want to push Megan though, so I tried hard to stay in that 9:10 range.  This was the first mile she asked for a walk break.  I tried to trick her into making it “one more minute” then we could walk, but she needed a break.  I gave her 30 seconds and we started again.

Mile 9- 9:36

I know what it feels like to want to go sub-2.  I also know what it feels like to be dying in the middle of the race, on pace, and just not have it in you. Because of that I know the regret I felt missing sub-2 . I wanted to push Megan and I wanted her to feel that pride.  But it was windy, the course was hilly, and that girl was giving it everything she had.

Mile 10 –9:39

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think about leaving Megan.  I did.  I was feeling great and really wanted to see what my body had in it, especially since I finished the Florida Beach Half without being totally dead.  

But I promised Megan I would do everything to get her sub-2. Runners don't just leave other runners when they commit.  I wanted to give my all to get her to have the best performance she could.  By this point I could see that she didn’t have enough in her to push the last three miles in at 8:50 like we needed. But if I left her then I was telling her she couldn’t do it and she’d totally give up.  I knew her PR was 2:03, so I asked her if she could give me 3 10-minute miles.  I told her that would get a PR and she pushed on.

Mile 11 – 10:15

Miles 11 and 12 were emotionally painful for me.  I didn’t want Megan to be upset with her time and I was wondering how I could have paced differently.  I was yelling at her to move too.  I think my fave phrase was “2:05 hurts just as much as 2:01 – MOVE YOUR ***”   Want to hire me as your pacer?

Mile 12 – 10:14

At this point I could see the finish and it looked close.  Too close.  I could tell the course was short.  I could also tell that there was a possibility we could finish under-2 (even though it wouldn’t be a technical sub-2 half marathon since we knew the course was short).  We turned a corner and the wind hit us in the face, but I told Megan to give it all she had. She did.

When my Garmin said 1:59 I took off in a sprint to the finish.  It sounds silly, but I really didn’t want a “2” in front of my finish time.  Oh that pride.  Even with my last sprint I finished in 2:00:07 on a course my Garmin measured at 12.79 miles.

Mile 13 – 7:12 at 9:06 pace

Lake Minneola Half Marathon: 2:00:07 9:10 pace
Megan, I know that you didn’t meet your dream goal, but you have a shiny, new PR to take into next race season.  You fought and you toughed out 5 nasty miles.  You will be able to draw on that strength in the future and I can’t wait to get the text when you have a “1” in front of your finish time!
I think the hardest part of a half marathon is miles 8-11.  Your body hurts and your mind starts to play tricks on you by telling you that you need to stop.  Your brain also becomes fuzzy and the math to see if you can get your goal gets confusing.  

If you are a runner here’s my advice in those last miles – DON’T WALK! Walk the water stop, but walking otherwise makes it so much harder to start back up.  You are strong enough to keep running! Once you get to mile 11.5 your brain will remember that you can do it and you will finish strong!
A shout out to Victoria who ran an amazingly fast race 4 months post-partum and Kelsey who ran a 1:34 and won her age group!

I guess my skills as a pacer need a little sharpening, but my body is now getting  rest.  After finally getting by sub-2 half marathon , my first ever placement in a race, and a 5k PR my racing season is done. Thank you body for keeping me strong. I run this body.

Have you ever paced a friend?
What’s your opinion on “short” race courses?

Love and move it, move it, move it,
Carissa & Kyle
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