08 April 2013

Fool's Dual Half Marathon

I PR'd in my half marathon on Sunday by 4:20. It was my first sub-2 finish! I'm so proud of that. There is a lot to be proud of. But first, I need to vent. Lets start with a quiz, shall we?

Can you spot the disparity between my Garmin data:

And this data from the race website?

Do you see it? I think the race organizers got their elevation profile from, and mapmyrun is fucking crazy. My Garmin claimed there was 984' of gain, and in this case I am taking my Garmin's word for it. I don't know how mapmyrun gets their numbers. 308 seems like 2*154, or twice the max elevation, but I can't figure out what that has to do with the actual amount of uphill running if there are 4 bazillion tiny hills in between. Also, the axes on the map don't match up with the max elevation anyway.

I apologize; I am a recovering engineer and I can't help picking apart this chart.

When I studied the course map on the race website, I thought the race had a total of 308' of elevation gain, which is pretty flat for a half. That's what I told Coach Erin and that's how she came up with my goal pace and plan for the race. The overall goal pace was 8:24, and the mile-by-mile pacing plan seemed sound. I knew it was ambitious, but I wanted it and I was willing to get it done. I visualized and I believed and I focused and I pushed, but I missed my goal by almost 7 minutes. Maybe I wasn't capable of keeping that pace for 13.1 miles, but the unexpected hills didn't help.

My first four miles were right around 8:35-8:40, and then the wheels started coming off. I knew it was way too early for that. My BRF Lynne stayed with me for TEN miles, watching me slowly melt down and telling me stories to take my mind off the suffering, but I just kept slowing down. Also huffing uncontrollably and trying to call out splits with what sounded like four tongues. My paces for miles 1-6 started with 8s, and miles 7-13 started with 9s.

The great thing about this race was that I never stopped fighting. Even when I knew at mile 5 that shit wasn't going well, I fought every urge to slow down with a tiny kick. I crested every hill with a stride, even when the strides were at a 10:00 pace. My legs felt good and I wasn't injured, and I told myself that I would keep giving it absolutely everything I had. I asked myself over and over, "Is this your edge? No? Then let's go." Even though a lot of the time the answer was more like "i dont know, maybe?" My feet slapped the pavement hard with every step, and my eyes were well beyond their ability to focus, and I kept pushing. I had my one urge to quit - like clockwork, in every race it happens once - but I swept those thoughts away and pushed harder. I talked to my fatigue and discomfort like they were distant family members that you have to be nice to but you really hate them. "I'm sorry Guys, I'm kind of busy right now, can you check back later?" I should have left that last part out, as they did come back later and they were pissed.

I suffered and I slowed down and I suffered some more. But I never gave up.

And then I was close to the finish and I saw Lynne screaming for me and I "sprinted" for all I had. I crossed the line and saw a 1:56, which made me so happy. At least it was sub-2! I couldn't breathe for a couple of minutes; it was like an asthma attack, but I don't have asthma. And then everything was okay.

I feel like the Queen of Excuses with these last two race reports, but I am still proud of what I accomplished yesterday. And I can't wait for another chance to get it right.


  1. Congrats on your new PR!!! That's awesome! Reading this totally reminded me of how I felt during my last half. It's so crappy hen things start falling apart before the halfway point! But you never gave up and you finished strong. Totally awesome :)

  2. Many congrats!!! Sub 2 and a PR ... what a great finish!

  3. Congratulations on your knew PR!

  4. Ugh, obviously I meant NEW PR, not the Knew PR. Accidentally hit the damn K. :)

  5. BOOM. Solid work & I had no doubt you had sub-2 in you!

  6. That is a huge PR, way to go. And I'm so impressed by how you fought for it through those hills. I love your self talk, too!

  7. Congrats on finishing your race!! Great job pushing through! I came across your blog by googling this race because I am doing it this year.... other posts I have read talk about the hills as well and I am so nervous about it now!