Remember when I said I had NO idea what to expect out of this race? And I wasn't feeling confident AT ALL. You know how sometimes when you just relax, move any expectations, and just get out there, things end up working out. I think back to last year how badly I wanted to PR this race, and how angry and frustrated I was when I didn't. I think about this Saturday and how incredibly happy I felt because I was relaxed the entire time. I had no pressure on myself, no high expectations, nothing. Just get out there and run a race, and that was what I did!
Waking up in your own bed in your town for a race is the best ever. I look forward to this race every year because the community support is wonderful, and it's just so easy to get up, run, and go home! I got up around 5:15 to start waking myself up and stretching. I had a MASSIVE bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios and a few bites of a Clif bar. (I've been cereal-free all during and since my 24-Day Challenge, so this was a huge treat! Cheerios have always been my go-to race and long run breakfast!)
Standard Advocare procedure, took my O2 Gold about an hour before the race, and drank my Spark/Arginine Extreme combo on the way to the starting line. We met at a friend's house and walked up to the starting line at the high school.
I decided I was feeling confident, so I lined up towards the front...
5K, 10K, and Half Marathon all started at once. Last year it was kind of a cluster, but this year the start seemed much smoother. They didn't have pace markers, but they made more of a point to tell people to line up by pace. Last year I did some serious bobbing and weaving and passing...
My mom came down and stopped along the route to take pics. I like to wave in all of my pics. I knew I was relaxed when I was talking to people in the first mile, and even a few miles after. Again, a nice thing about a hometown race, you know who you are running with! It was fun to chat it up a little. This guy joked with me after the race about passing him!
More smiles, more waves.
I normally look like death while running, here I look alive. Thanks to a friend for taking this pic! I don't remember much of what went through my head during this race. I do remember telling myself this is going fast, enjoy it! It's funny how when you run 3+ hours in marathon training, a half marathon seems to fly by!
Here are my splits. I ran a fairly consistent race, and dominated the last three miles! My last mile was my fastest, and I'm very proud of that! I'm typically a positive splitter all the way! I was wiped out at the finish, but I do question now if I could have pushed it a little harder. The thing is, I ran how I ran, I enjoyed it and smiled, and oh hey, I PR'ed!
1:43:33 was my official time, and it was good enough for 11th female overall, and second in my age division.
Someone asked her if she just had a baby, and she said no. Just for the record.
I would be lying through my teeth if I said in the back of my mind I wasn't HOPING for a PR in this race and to make the podium in the age bracket for the third year in a row (out of three). I definitely thought about both of these things, and deep down inside probably would have been disappointed if I didn't get either, BUT on the flip side that wasn't my goal at the beginning of the race. Even during the race, I didn't look at my overall time on my watch, I didn't look at the women ahead of me, I just ran.
It's taken me three years of running to finally get where I am. I've learned SO MUCH. I've made mistakes. I've had highs. I've had lows. I've been proud of myself, and I've been disappointed in myself. I'm competitive by nature, but the thing about running is you are only in competition with YOU! If you start the race bound and determined that you have to beat yourself, it's probably not going to happen. If you start the race focused on each moment and each mile, and smile along the way, you'll likely find the greatest reward at the finish line. Not every race will be a PR, that's why the ones that are are so sweet. There will always be someone faster, always be one winner, but you've won every time you laced up your shoes when you run with a smile on your face.