Well, I completed my second half marathon this past weekend. I ran the SunTrust National Half Marathon. I decided to register for this to give myself a goal and reason to stick with a running schedule over the winter. I didn't have a partner to train with nor did I even have anyone to do the race with -- so that made it a very interesting experience!
Friday I took the Metro into DC to get my packet and had everything planned for Saturday morning. Somehow I wasn't able to find the pins in my packet to pin my bib on and that was my only snag. I left my house at 5:25 that morning, grabbed some coffee, which is a must have for me, and a bagel and off I went. I got the Metro right away but as it pulled into the DC Armory/Stadium station, the elite runners had just begun! ACK! I had no time to stretch, think or anything! I tossed my extra pair of pants which I was using to keep my legs warm, begged two nice people for 1 pin each so I could pin up my bib (which wasn't an issue since the half marathoners had two bibs, one on the back that said "HALF") and then hopped on line for the port-a-potty. I wasn't even sure what time I crossed the start line.
Since the race had officially begun while I was using the port-a-potty, it was a bit strange to just step out into the line and walk over the start line into the race! I almost felt like I just woke up and there I was, starting a race.
My goal for this half marathon was to run it in 2 hours. Last year I ran my first half marathon in Charlottesville, VA and ran it in 2:07:08. That was my longest race (and run) ever at that point. In October I ran the Marine Corps Marathon in 5:05. Not knowing what time I crossed the start line made it tricky to know where I was. For at least 2 miles I ran with the 4:00 hour marathon pace group which made me so happy, but I lost them. I had a very tight chest due to congestion and allergies which just started the night before, and a nagging tight left hamstring that had been bothering me. I had to stop 3 times for short spurts of walking with a long gait to stretch my hamstring, but crossed the finish line at 2:13. I was hoping that I at least got over the start line 5 minutes into the race.
It wasn't until the following morning that I got my official time: 2:07:52. Talk about consistency! My first reaction was disappointment that I didn't improve my time from 1 year ago with a full marathon under my belt. But at the same time, I went into this registering for another half marathon purely to keep my honest with my running. I know I'll never be an 8:00 minute mile runner and my dream would be to be a 9 minute mile runner. For now, I'll take the 9:46 pace for a half marathon. After all, I did just start running 2 years ago!
My husband and kids were not able to make it down for the race. And that was okay. There is almost something very empowering about the fact that I did this entire thing alone. If I can register, train and run for a half marathon by myself - that proves that I have it in me to stick to my goals, and that makes me happy.
I was surprised that my quads and knees were as sore as they were the rest of the day. I've been nursing them as well as a full-blown chest cold but do hope to recover in time for my Run to Register 10k down at Quantico Marine Corps base this Saturday!