Happy Monday! I ran the Wallis Sands Half Marathon on Sunday, and it was a great day for a race. I signed up for this race with somewhat of a vindictive nature after running The Great Bay Half in April. Maybe you can recall the course was a challenging, hilly course, and I was somewhat underprepared. The Wallis Sands Half actually sold out in December, but I was fortunate enough to check the website on a lucky day, when they had 2 bibs available due to some pre-race drop outs. I was ready to redeem myself, train hard, and go for it!
However, my attitude towards training and racing changed when my sister-in-law and I decided to do the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon in November of this year. I will start my training program June 20, and I felt like I needed some “down time” to prepare–(for me, more mental than physical). Although training for a half is not nearly as time consuming as marathon training, May is a CRAZY month with school finishing up (field trips, meets, concerts, games, field days…). I mentally checked out of training hard, and skipped 2 long runs, but continued running to prepare for this race.
Which brings me to race day. I said to my husband on the way to the race, that I didn’t think that I would do a race in May next year because I felt like it was just too much with all of the kids’ activities, and he agreed. We arrived at 645am and were able to park within 150yards of the starting line. We had picked up our bibs the day before, so after snapping a couple of pictures, using the porta-potties (only once for me, a record!) we were ready to go. I was a bit nervous as they started the race in waves, and we were in wave 1. I didn’t think I was “wave 1 worthy”! We started the race and I was glad for the chance to warm up (it was 55* and overcast, quite humid too). The first mile I logged in at 7:40, and I immediately began obsessing about whether or not I was going out too fast. I kept telling myself to “listen to my body, and settle in”, but the next miles clicked by with similar paces…
I spent pretty much the rest of the race wondering when I was going to hit a wall, feeling very uncertain of my pace. I have only had a Garmin for a little over one year, so essentially knowing my mile splits is a new concept for me! (It should be noted that I NEVER even wore a watch before!) At mile nine, I could see my husband up ahead, and I thought about “surprising” him and trying to beat him. However, I knew that we were having a work buddy of his (who also mountain bikes with him) over for a BBQ later in the day, and there wasn’t a chance in hell that he would let me beat him, and we would both be worse for the wear for the effort!!!
My slowest mile (9), was the only one above 8 pace–I stopped to walk through a water stop, which was on the only (slight) hill of the whole course and I had a harder time getting back up to pace on the hill. Oh well! I walked through all the water stops (4), I had 2 Dixie cups of water, and 2 Gatorades during the race. I did NOT use Gu or anything else this race, and seemed no worse for the wear! I felt like I might have a bad “GI race” beforehand, so I played it super safe.
The good news is that I finished with a PR 1:41.07, 5th place in my age (40-44), 14th female, 67th overall (out of 808). 7:44 pace! SOME DAY I WILL BEAT MY HUSBAND!!! (I think I am going to have to literally sneak up behind him at the finish!) He finished with 1:39.18, 8th in his division, 50th overall (and household bragging rights!).
The course was beautiful, flat and fast. The race was extremely well run. Would I do it again? I think I am going to stick to my “May is too crazy” philosophy, and next year it will probably be too close to Boston for me. I would highly recommend this race–It starts and finishes on the beach, and with water temperatures last week 46*, there was a wonderful cool breeze to finish the race. The sun even came out for the last 1/2 mile!
I plan on taking it easy for the rest of the week. I will run with the kids (we have 6 kids still in training who have qualified for the Championship meet next week), and I hope to get in some cross training. I am ready to tweak my marathon training plan, plan out training races, and move forward towards Indianapolis!
Have you ever had your name on your bib before? I thought it was fun!
Do you always use an energy supplement (like Gu) during a half? I had a much easier time with my stomach post race. I am thinking that for this distance, just sticking with water and Gatorade might be the way to go for me.