For those who just want me to cut to the chase:
I finished in 1:39:31, which is 43 seconds slower than last year but faster than I thought I’d be able to run given my lower mileage training. So I’m pretty darn happy with that.
Now I’m going to talk about some pre-race stuff like the epic goodie bag, which I think is way more interesting than my mile splits. Trust me.
Last year the packet pickup was at a big hotel (maybe the Crown Plaza off of 35?). As I recall, last year we went somewhere on a Friday night, found ample parking, got the packet, and then had Mexican food for dinner because tortillas = carb loading. This year the pickup was at the Bullock Museum. The Bullock is a really nifty museum but there’s very little free parking nearby. We went down there on Saturday morning before 11 and managed to find a spot on the street about a block away. I got my packet in under 5 minutes, grabbed some Clif bar samples, and left. I think we got really lucky because I heard from multiple sources that the lines were super long on Friday night and later on Saturday.
The goodie bag for 3M is full of fun 3M products like kitchen sponges and Post-It notes. (Sadly, Post-Its were not invented by Michele of Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion).
- Race number
- Fun race shirt with a map of the course
- Window cleaning towels
- 2 rolls of Scotch tape
- Post Its
- Some other type of tape
- Big bag of Clif protein drink mix
- An ankle brace (which seems a little…cruel?)
- Clif bar samples (from the expo)
- Ear plugs
- Reflective stickers
- White hand towel
My only quibble is that last year’s bag had these fun little Post Its in the shape of the state of Texas. I would like more of those, please! (And I’m not even actually from Texas. I just like things that are cut in the shape of other things. ANYWAY.)
I ate my standard pre-race meal of a large veggie delite sandwich with hummus from Thundercloud. I think this became my standard after I ran the Thundercloud Turkey Trot in 2013 and had a bunch of sandwich coupons. Anyway, I like it because it’s pretty light on my stomach.
Amazingly, I fell asleep at 8:30 last night and didn’t wake up until my alarm went off at 4:30. I had a cup of coffee and 2 pieces of toast with peanut butter and a banana, which has been my pre-race breakfast since I started running half marathons back in 2009. The race start is about 10 minutes from our apartment and there’s a decent amount of parking in the various shopping centers in the area. Still, the Gentleman kindly gave me a ride so I wouldn’t have to worry about finding a parking spot. (He was also out there on the race course because part of it is only a few blocks from our apartment. He typically doesn’t watch my races because it would be super boring for him but I like that he can come out for this one without much trouble).
After he dropped me off I made a beeline for the port-a-potty lines and then warmed up for about half of a mile. It was in the low 40s this morning and I was in a tank top, long sleeved shirt, and shorts. This was fine for the race but I was cold at the start. I may need to revise my stance on gear checks. (Current stance: never, ever use it).
As I’d planned, I started off with the 1:45 pace group and hit mile 1 in 7:57 (per my Garmin). Then the course hits the first downhill stretch and I let myself speed up a bit. Mile 2 was 7:35, which was faster than my intended pace of 7:45, but I was feeling okay except when I accidentally inhaled a cup of water up my nose.
I spent miles 3-7 running based on effort. I didn’t look at my Garmin very much but tried to keep things steady. I had a Gu around mile 6 and had greater success with getting water in my mouth. Mile 3 was 7:36, mile 4 was 7:35, mile 5 was 7:33, mile 6 was 7:33, and mile 7 was 7:32.
At this point I started doing some math in my head and realized that I had a shot at a sub-1:40 time if I kept it up and ran a few sub-7:30 miles. Once I realized this, I got a little carried away and ran mile 8 in 7:11. Oops. I was more on target for mile 9 (7:24) and mile 10 (7:33). This part of the race has runners going east on 45th street directly into the sun. I remembered this from last year but still didn’t have sunglasses or a hat. I think I spent over a mile looking straight down at the pavement or trying to run behind a tall man who could block the sun. It’s pretty brutal.
I was also trying to catch up to the 1:40 pace group during these miles (which is what happened last year). I could see them about 30-60 seconds ahead of me but I was definitely starting to hurt now. Thank goodness miles 11 and 12 on Duval are mostly downhill because there’s no way I could have maintained my pace otherwise. Mile 11 was 7:28 and mile 12 was 7:31.
The last 1.1 miles are mostly flat or downhill…except for one devilish incline in the last 0.5 miles. I was maintaining a sub-7:30 pace for mile 13 until I hit that and my body just felt done. I think I slowed down to about 8:00 minute pace, which is so frustrating right at the end! Mile 13 was 7:34 and the last 0.1 was 7:42 pace.
Aside from running sub-1:40 and less than a minute slower than my PR, I’m pleased that I was able to run negative splits. I wish I hadn’t gone crazy with mile 8 and had been able to muster up a nicer finish but otherwise I’m quite happy. I really gave this race everything I had and it feels good to know that I’m more or less back to my early 2014 fitness level. It’s an awesome course and I’m so glad I was able to recover from stress fracture in time to train for this race.
When I was finished I grabbed a clementine, a bottle of water, and a medal and hopped on one of the shuttle buses back to the start line. The Gentleman drove up there again to pick me up and drive me home, where I am currently donning some compression socks (these ones were recommended by my 2:25 marathon running cousin) and wondering how sore I will be tomorrow (answer: very).