It’s a happy Saturday over here. I ran my first half marathon in four years this morning and not only PR’d but went sub-1:45 with a finishing time of 1:44:25. It was a seven and a half minute PR from my last half marathon in 2010 where I ran the same race I did today, Charlotte’s Novant Health Thunder Road Marathon, Half Marathon and 5K. Today was the 10th anniversary of the race!
Before I get started with my race recap, I want to say nice things about Thunder Road. It is flawlessly organized and features a beautiful course. It’s even better than before now that it starts and ends at the new BB&T Stadium and Romare Bearden Park right in the heart of Uptown Charlotte. I can’t recommend it enough.
Now, here’s how it went down.
I visited the race expo on Friday at the Charlotte Convention Center to pick up my race packet and to do some interviews for Run Charlotte Run. I was able to connect with Race Director Tim Rhodes while I was there. It was great to meet him…he well-known in the Charlotte running scene and makes a lot of race magic happen!
While I was there I picked up some Gu and hand warmers. The booth selling hand warmers were smart business people!
I met a friend for dinner at Brixx where we carbed it up before the race. Fun factoid: your best bet in regards to glycogen stores is actually to do your carb loading at breakfast or lunch the day before a race but it’s still a fun excuse to eat pizza! 🙂
I came home, made a playlist, charged my electronics and got in bed early.
After a good night’s sleep, I was up and feeling ready to go around 6 a.m. I ate my standard pre-race breakfast of peanut butter, honey and banana toast along with a cup of coffee.
I got all bundled up in my race gear and took a selfie before heading off to the race. I didn’t leave my house until 7:10 for the 7:45 a.m. start because I wanted as little time standing in the cold as possible.
15 minutes later I was at the starting line with the 1:45 pace group. My friend Theoden Janes was pacing 1:45 so I decided to join him. I have never used a pace group before but it was so nice not to have to worry about my Garmin and whether I was going too fast or too slow.
I stayed with Theoden for the first eight miles and then broke off for the last five. I felt really, really good and strong in my pace for the first nine miles but had to really push it for the next four. There were some serious hills around miles nine and 10 but I knew if I could get through them I was home free.
Like a vision from the heavens, my running partner and friend Virginia jumped on the course at mile 10 to run the last three miles with me. She was supposed to run the half but ended up injured so she put her bib on to join me for three at the end.
My official chip time was 1:44:25. I was so focused on crossing the finish line and being done that I didn’t even hear my friends calling my name as I came down the chute.
I told Virginia at least 15 times that I would not have broken 1:45 without her. When she joined me on the course I told her I couldn’t talk and just needed to run. She stayed about 2 feet in front of me and kept me on pace to the finish.
Here are my splits:
Mile 1: 8:04 (crowded)
Mile 2: 7:37 (almost all downhill)
Mile 3: 8:03 (hills)
Mile 4: 7:51
Mile 5: 7:53
Mile 6: 7:59
Mile 7: 7:56
Mile 8: 7:52
Mile 9: 7:51
Mile 10: 8:02 (hiiilllllssss)
Mile 11: 7:50
Mile 12: 7:52
Mile 13: 7:58
Last .1: 7:13
FINISH TIME: 1:44:25
My overall pace was 7:59 and I was the 82nd female out of 1,585. I am pretty excited about this. I also want to take a moment to share that I ran my first half marathon almost 10 years ago and finished in 2:14. At the time if felt like the hardest thing I had ever done in my life. It is possible to get faster…you just have to get stronger!
I wanted to stick around and hang out after the race but I was shaking I was so cold. The only negative thing about today was the temperature. It was 25 at the start and about 30 at the finish. My fingers were numb for the entire race. So much so that I seriously thought I might have to go to the medical tent for frostbite after the race. Even with hand warmers, I just couldn’t get my hands warmed up. The core of my body and feet were fine, it was just my hands. Within two minutes of stopping running the feeling returned to my fingers. Once my body wasn’t working so hard to pump blood to my heart it gave me a little circulation back in my hands! I think I need better gloves and maybe to start wearing mittens instead.
I stopped by Starbucks on the way home for a venti soy latte. I took a hot shower, ate sushi for lunch and I’m planted on the couch under a blanket. It’s a good day.
Thanks to everyone who followed along as I made my “comeback” to distance running. I really appreciate your support and encouragement over the last few months.