I think I might retire from running now.
Last year I PR'd my half marathon at the Best Damn Race Safety Harbor with a 1:54 and it has been my PR since. I had a winter full of sick races and disappointing times coming off the marathon. I felt that all my "marathon strength" was wasted, and as everyone I ran the marathon with was PR'ing left and right, I was doing miserably.
I was gunning for a PR at this race. It's my last individual full race until the fall and I knew I would be massively disappointed if it didn't happen. I tried really hard to not psyche myself out over the last month leading up to race day and I trained pretty consistently. I trained hard. Every mile was a quality mile - aka FAST (for me). Not to say they were easy, because a bunch of them were not, but I really focused on running faster for every single run. I also spent the last month incorporating T25 as a cross training tool.
I drove up to Orlando Friday afternoon after work (and being up since 4:30am) to pick up my packet at the expo. Right in the center of Lake Eola park, it was a perfect location! I was able to park right next to it and spent a few hours hanging out with Meghann and her coworker at the IronGirl tent making our dinner plans and seeing a ton of friends from Tampa hanging out, too. The weather was absolutely perfect 75F and sunny.
Meghann and I planned to run together for our third Best Damn Race together. But first - dinner.
We used handy dandy Yelp reviews to point us in the right direction of good pizza. After seeing some really yummy looking pictures, Brick and Fire won the bid.
Delicious. If you're ever in O-town, I highly recommend it! We had the Girl and Fig - fyi, if you don't like arugula, its not for you, but I like it and the prosciutto and balsamic glaze was great - the figs, I couldn't really tell were there?
A Tampa buddy and I shared a hotel about 1 mile from the start. We probably stayed awake too late laughing and giggling and sharing stories. Too soon we woke up in just enough time to not have to rush to get ready then walk down to the start. The weather was PERFECT race weather. 52F and crisp air. No humidity. thank.the.lawd.
I met up with Meghann again and shortly after a big group of bloggers had gathered. I was excited to meet new and see many other bloggers I hadn't seen in a while! We all exchanged our goals, and I felt so much support from every single one of these ladies. Victoria immediately volunteered to run with Meghann and I - absolutely! I figured I would need every last bit of a kick in the pants to get me across the line in my goal time of 1:53 or better.
|Thanks Meghann! Victoria, Meghann, Stephanie, Me, Michelle, Rachel, Paula, Carissa|
We all walked down to the corral together, which seemed so empty to me compared to even the Safety Harbor BDR and were off right on time.
For the first 2 miles, I tried to stay quiet and get my breathing under control. I was nervous about running on the brick pavers for longer than I ever have and could feel every single step uncomfortably. Also, I was getting nervous about my pace - which was already hovering around 8:20-35min/mile. I put my ipod in one ear, which is rare for me, but hearing my breathing was totally throwing me off.
The first mile or two were fun listening to all the gals chit chat - babies and gender predictions, what is new with everyone, and plans for the weekend.
Around mile 3, I felt nice and warmed up, so I picked up the pace a little. I couldn't hear many of the girls anymore, but Meghann and Victoria were still right next to me.
The course wasn't really "scenic", but it was nice and quiet all around south east Orlando. I really enjoyed it. A couple of very gradual inclines, but nothing that required much effort.
I took a powergel at 4.5mile (and mile 9), took 1 cup of water every 2 miles. I felt like a million bux around mile 5.
BDR is SUPER about the water/aid stations at every mile. *applause applause applause* THANK YOU!
There were quite a few out and backs - at around mile 6, Meghann was close behind us and I felt bad and told Victoria so that Meghann wasn't right there with us, but I really really wanted this PR and I knew she would totally understand me doing what I had to do to get it. We searched for friends and people we knew. It was kind of like spotting a celebrity... "oh there is ____!!" Always fun to see how everyone is holding up through the miles.
Victoria dropped behind on a water stop and I panicked momentarily, but she worked her way back up to me. I worried a few times about the pace, seeing it drop sub-8 a lot of times, that I would meet the wall and crash and burn early.
Around mile 11 I felt some pain on the outside front of my leg, most likely from the pavers and the slant on the road. Mile 12, it cramped like a biatch!! Seriously!!?!? I was pissed. I walked for about 10 seconds and then kept going. Same thing happened another half mile later, but it hurt. Another 10 seconds. That's all I gave myself.
Once we passed the 12 mile marker, my nerves started kicking in and I felt like I wanted to throw up, I tried to do math myself and I knew if I could crawl in with two 9:00/miles I'd come in right under my goal. There was a guy in front of me in a Marine Corps Marathon shirt (from 2013) and I desperately wanted to run up to him and say hi, I tried, but I never caught him.
As we took the last two turns back towards the park, my puke-y nerves were in full on effect and Victoria's coaching - "Just breathe! It's just nerves! You've got this" helped sooo much. I could see the clock ticking away and I desperately wanted to pass it before it hit 1:50. I swear that last .10 is the longest .10 ever.
I didn't have much left in the tank to gun it, so I just cruised in to the finish.
1:47:27 (8:12 avg)
Shock. Literally. I couldn't even say anything else other than THANK YOU to Meghann and Victoria at the finish line.
|source wow I look tired!!|
Victoria scored a small PR, Meghann ran a super fast race, it seems like almost everyone was getting a PR or had a great race this morning! A testament to everyone getting PR's that morning was that I actually had to wait in line for the PR Bell. You better believe I rang the hell out of it!
If you like numbers:
Met up with friends after and in the beer garden - saw Katy and Amanda who I admire a bunch and they also PR'd, and I actually had a beer! My stomach has never been agreeable enough before to handle it, but everything seemed to be good that morning!
Because I ran both the Safety Harbor half and the Orlando half, BDR gave out this awesome spinning double half challenge medal!
Overall, an amazing race experience! I am excited to run the Best Damn Race next year. (I could never retire from running!)
So what's next??? Sarasota half marathon relay in 2 weeks...