Half Marathon #17
South Carolina Half Marathon #13
GHS Half Marathon #2
I’m not sure what lesson to take away from this race except for the fact that a plan is very helpful for peace of mind.
First, let’s look at the things I did wrong. First run in brand new shoes. Check. Forgetting water belt and chomps. Check. No race plan until a mile into the race. Check.
I honestly had no plan going into the race. I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to really race it (or if I would be able to) or if I just wanted to run a faster than normal long run. I was leaning towards racing. (I’ll explain my reasons in a post coming up next week.)
I lined up at the start and less than a minute before the start I realized that like a total space cadet I had walked out the door without my id, chomps or water/fuel belt. I’m genuinely surprised that I managed to remember my Garmin.
After resigning myself to taking the HammerHead Gel they were offering somewhere on the course, we were off. I know there’s nothing they can do, really, about congestion at the start but it drove me nuts.
I wasn’t really racing then, just trying to find my stride and get out of the chaos. That part took a mile and it was still pretty congested for another couple miles after that.
Somewhere around mile 1.5, I glanced down at my Garmin and saw 7:55 as the average pace. I decided then that I wanted to race. I wouldn’t gun for a PR (too much had gone wrong for that) but I would aim for another sub 1:50. I think I decided that because I wanted to prove to myself that Hilton Head wasn’t a fluke.
Those next few miles were pretty mellow. I felt great but in the back of my mind wondered how long I would be able to keep this up.
Around mile 6 I started to feel it. Random thoughts of quitting entered my head. (I really have no idea where they came from. I don’t start races and then not finish.) Instead of succumbing I pushed those thoughts aside and told myself that I was going to do it.
Around this point I started something that would carry me through the rest of the race. I looked ahead, spotted a girl and then “reeled her in”. I decided that instead of focusing on time, I would focus on climbing the standings. There’s something invigorating about running so “fast” that the majority of the runners around me are men. Makes me want to go faster.
Once we got off the trail was when things started to get hard again. Last year a lot of people complained about the uphill portion at the end because the race was advertised as “net downhill”. I think more people remembered this year. I know I did. I thought for sure that my pace slowed below 8 minutes in that section but according to Garmin (splits posted below) I stayed just under with 7:59.
At this point there weren’t any girls that I could see so I started picking guys. It’s such a satisfying feeling to “chick” guys while running up hill in the final half mile of a half marathon, super satisfying actually.
The final turn onto McBee came almost before I could expect it. I looked at the total time on the Garmin and knew that without sprinting I could finish just above 1:45. I wasn’t exactly coasting but I was pretty happy.
Right about the time of the last picture, I decided that I would try to chase down one more person, blue guy (for lack of a better name). I took off, started to pass him and passed him about 50 feet in front of the finish line. He saw me though and took off. I think I muttered “no fair” with a laugh, and sprinted to try to catch him in the last couple feet. I didn’t make it but it was so much fun. (Side note: I had passed him a couple other times on the course but both other times he’d returned the favor.)
After slowing down he reached out and gave me a high five. That’s the cool thing about runners, we’re all up for a little friendly competition.
Thanks “blue guy” for helping me come in under 1:45:30. 🙂
I’m still pretty amazed that even with all my “dumb runner” moves to start with, I managed to snag my second best time ever! To put that in perspective, that’s approximately seven minutes faster than Clemson (my old PR).
I proved that Hilton Head definitely wasn’t a fluke and that I can definitely keep doing this. Plus, I decided that I’m going to skip the 1:50s altogether at Greer in a month. (Third time’s the charm, right?)
Another great race and a huge step towards that sub 4 marathon. San Francisco’s where it’s at!