Well, I survived to tell the story, so I guess that is good. Actually, the race went really well and I am very pleased with my time, despite the lack of training I have had in the past 2 1/2 weeks. My day started Sunday morning at 5:30am, pumping in the living room, while watching Sports Center. I made my usual pre-race snack, one piece of toast with a slather of lowfat no salted added cottage cheese with a sliced strawberry on top and a bottle of water. I headed out the door by 6:05am (wanted to leave by 6:00am, but that didn't happen). I got to the race and parked in plenty of time. From there, I headed straight to the porta potty line. It was chilly, not even 60 degrees yet. I was sporting my current race outfit (light pink LiveStrong cotton dryfit short sleeve shirt and lime green nike running shorts, easy to pick me out of a running crowd). After that, I did some stretching and got in line. I put myself at the 1:50 flag. My PR was 1:55, but I knew I had been running well, so I was hoping for 1:52. I had my Garmin Forerunner 405 and had put my virtual partner at a 8:32 minute mile pace. That would put my finish right at 1:52. At my last 10K race, I averaged 7:59 minute miles, so I thought 8:32 for a half was doable.
Finally, I was off. It was still pretty dark, so it was hard to see my watch and I wasn't thinking clearly to put the back light on (hey, it was early). I knew my first mile was good (ended up being 7:59) and my second mile was pretty good (8:21), but I didn't see the exact time on my watch. I knew I crossed the start/finish line about 11 or 12 seconds after the gun went off, so I used the clocks they had on the course at the beginning. The course was pretty good, but not totally easy. A lot of little hills, but at least it was even. I felt like I went up as many as I went down. I was watching my virtual partner and I was quickly 1:30 minutes ahead of my time. I thought, Wow! I am going to break 1:52 for sure. Do you think I can break 1:50? Oh crap, I had it in my head to break 1:50 now. I was scared I was going to push myself too hard now and have nothing left in me by the end. I did happen to look up what I needed to average to break 1:50 and it was 8:23 minute miles. That has been my goal for a while, to break 1:50, but because of my lack of training, I was scared that was too ambitious, so I put my watch on 1:52 pace.
Adam was going to try to see my at 4.5 miles. He ended up missing me (I guess I was too fast for him).
At mile 9, I went ahead and had my gel pack. I usually only consume one for a half marathon. Sometimes I have one right before the start of the race, but I think the bread with cottage cheese and strawberry is enough for my tummy that early in the morning.
Adam did see me at 9.5 miles (which was my slowest mile at 8:54). So after my gel pack and a "Go honey, go" from Adam, I was ready to finish the race. So I hit the mile 10 mile marker and knew I only had 3 little miles left. I tried to just focus on a 5K. Then I hit 11 miles. Wow, I thought. 2 miles is nothing. You can do this! I was up to 1:44 minutes ahead of my virtual partner. I dug deep and really pushed myself. Once I hit mile marker 12, I said it's now or never. My goal was under 8:00 minutes for this last mile. I knew if I did that I would break 1:50. It was a hilly mile. I wasn't looking at my watch much now. I was jamming to my iPod and focusing on going as fast as I could. I saw Adam and Hope right before the finish and started sprinting (well I call it sprinting, but after 13 miles, I am sure it was pretty slow). Well I still had more to run than I thought. I could see the finish line, but the course took me away from it first before heading back to the finish line. I started to slow up because I was dog tired, but then I saw it again and gave it one last push. I crossed the finish line and stopped my watch. I had finished in 1:48:55. I couldn't believe it! Now only had a finished in under 1:50, but had broken 1:49. That wasn't even a thought in my mind. I actually surpassed my unreachable goal of 1:50. I now have a new PR and don't even know what my goal will be for the Thanksgiving Half Marathon.
I was very happy and very tired. I grabbed my stuff and got a hug and kiss from Adam and Hope. Hope actually wanted me to hold her so I did. Adam said he got her to wave at all the runners that passed them while they were waiting for me. I am sure she helped a lot of runners at the end with her smiling face and waving hand.
So, I did it! I completed my first half marathon since Hope was born. There is a 15K race that I might do, but plan to do the Thanksgiving Half Marathon. I totally have the bug again for racing. I am so happy with my finish. I do have to thank Hope though for my training. Pushing a jogging stroller is a lot harder than you think, so pushing Hope for 6-10 miles at a time is probably a lot harder than I think. :)