aka the perfect way to end my 2012 race calendar
When the Greenville Track Club announced changes to the Paris Mountain Road Race 20k to make it into a half marathon I didn’t hesitate to register. (Okay, I probably would have run it anyway to get my 10+ race for December but the fact that it was a half marathon made it even better.)
I approached this race with one goal, beat my 20k time from last year. (I hoped also that that time would be under 2 hours too.)
I’m so glad that I made the Harbison decision last week. It took away the pressure of running conservatively. It left me free to run my own race.
Mom and I walked to the start with some friends from church. Gloria ran the 20k last year but this was the first half marathon for Alan, her dad. What a half to pick for your first!
Once the race started I tried to pace myself conservatively. I knew that we started up Paris Mountain in just about a mile and I didn’t want to run fast and have nothing left for the Mountain. I kept Alan and Gloria in my sight hoping to drop them on the mountain or just after. 🙂 Turns out that training specifically for the race usually helps. 😉
Once we made the turn onto Altamont I thought about the previous 4 times that I’ve run up this mountain and what I’ve accomplished since then. That first trip (a training run for the 20k last year) was brutal. I barely ran any of it. The most recent two times I ran up Altamont as training for New River. Each trip involved significant amounts of walking. Since that time I’ve run 2 marathons and more miles than I thought possible. I started wondering if I could make it all the way to the summit without walking.
Thankfully I forgot how long it takes to get to the summit. (I probably would have taken a walking break if I had remembered.) That final incline right before the summit nearly did me in. The “dig deep” signs from Run In helped more than I thought. I felt like I’d met my goal right then. I still can’t believe that I did not walk once on Altamont. I didn’t think that was possible. Amazing things happen though when you have a little faith.
I thought I’d dropped Alan and Gloria somewhere on the mountain but soon after that I saw first Alan and then Gloria. I told myself to run my own race and not worry about beating them but then I decided that challenging myself was the race I wanted.
For the next few miles (until around mile 9) we kept jockeying back and forth. Then they started to pull away just before we turned off Altamont at the CVS. I couldn’t let that happen. Even though I still had 4-5 miles left I started increasing my speed. Once I pulled in front of them we stopped switching positions.
I felt so strong coming down the mountain, especially at this point. I didn’t know how long this “high” would last but I was determined to ride it until it ended.
Just after that picture was taken I started to feel it. I thought for sure I had gone out to fast but I was determined to push to the finish. There was no way I was giving up the sub 2 hour goal for the 20k.
Since they know me too they cheered for me as well. It seems silly but every little bit counts. I powered through mile 11 and started to anticipate the finish.
A quick glance at my Garmin showed me that if I maintained my pace I could cross the 20k mark just under 2 hours.
One of the course changes was to divert us onto 276 (not sure of the name) rather than make us run up Duncan Chapel Road. I appreciated that so much! The one downside to this portion was being limited to run on the shoulder. The camber of the road was pretty bad but so was the option of getting hit by a car if I chose to run on the road. 😉
When I saw the 20k mark I started picking up my speed and even ran on the grass a bit to pass another runner.
I may or may not have let out a fist bump when I crossed that mark in 1:59:17. (I honestly can’t remember. :))
As we entered the Furman campus I thought about coasting to the finish about half a mile away. I achieved my goal after all. That lasted all of 20 seconds before I told myself to shut up and run. This is where the race is made.
We came around the round about and started heading down the straight away.
Mom saw me early on so there are plenty of pictures. Yes, I’m going to post all of them. 😀
If you made it this far, congrats. I tend to get a bit wordy when I’m excited.
I’m absolutely thrilled about my performance today and couldn’t think of a better way to close out my 2012 racing season. I feel the need for speed!