Boy Scout Half Marathon: Race Recap

I ran a half marathon last weekend. Saturday September 1. The plan was to race it. I have run this race two other times, which you can read about here and here. To be fair, the second recap (the first time I ran it) is not really a recap of the race, as it really is just a recap of that week of training, only 4 days before I ran the race that ended up being my PR, my BQ, my all the things.
I was trained. I was ready for this race. I was not REALLY tapered (my only difference from my regular week of running was that I ran 4 miles on Friday instead of 6). But I was feeling strong and prepared.

I woke up at 5 am and got dressed, drank two cups of coffee, and ate my regular pre long run/race breakfast of a white bagel (not the time for whole grains!) and peanut butter. I left my mom's house at 6 am, so I could be there around 6:30, giving me time to hang out and use the port-o-let before I had to do my warm up. I was planning a two mile (with some strides) warm up, as that has been working well for me since about April.

I did that, met up with some friends and got ready to start. It was definitely warmer than it had been in previous years, temperature of 73 and dew point of the same at 7:15 am, compared to the usual low 60s of this morning. But I still was going for it. I took a gel right before the national anthem to ensure that I was topped off and could follow my marathon fueling plan, one gel (Spring Energy) every 35 minutes.

My race plan was to run the first mile around marathon pace (it was the only mile that I was really supposed to watch my pace), and then settle into "middle-of-the-marathon EFFORT" which we thought based on my fitness would land me around 7:20 pace through 8 miles, and then race. I settled into a 7:28 pace for 4 miles and honestly was feeling great.

But then I got hit with a side stitch. And then the heat started getting to me. There was no small slow down, slowly getting less quick, it hit and it hit HARD going from 7:30 to 8:30 pace in less than a quarter of a mile. And there was NOTHING I could do about it. (As it turned out, I started my period during the race!) I started walking through water stops and taking a water AND Gatorade at each stop, still continuing with my fueling, as the heat was getting bad, and this course is not shaded at all. I admit, there were a few times when I seriously considered popping off the course into someone's front yard and just laying down.

I didn't. I kept moving. I was disheartened when the 1:45 pace group passed me (that meant I was running more than 10 minutes slower than I had hoped to) but I kept my effort high. Finally around 9.5 miles my cramp let up, but by that point it was MUCH hotter, and the sun was MUCH brighter, and my day was pretty much over. I was able to pick it up a bit, drop down to the low 8s per mile, and even run my last mile in a sub-8 pace. I think the cramp plus some extra nutrition in the heat (from the Gatorade) helped!
I ended up finishing the race in right around 1:46. So definitely NOT the race that I wanted to run. But the effort was there. The effort was potentially HARDER than the original goal, but I was fighting every step.

I had 5 more miles to run to finish out the day at around 20 miles, and I decided to get the first few by running out on the course backward to try and find my brother. He was running it as well, and it was his very first half marathon. I was definitely hopeful that he was not out there feeling like ass. I wanted him to feel good overall, and want to race another half someday. So I ran out on to the course and found him, and ran in with him to the finish. I just kept talking. I don't know what pace we were running, but I do know that I was feeling fine by that point, I just kept chatting to try and distract him and get him to run in.

He looks like he made it. Like me, he ran around 10+ minutes slower than he wanted to. So at least we have that in common. Just like everyone else that ran that day (ok, maybe not everyone, but certainly a lot of people!)

But now it is full steam ahead to the marathon!

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