So I originally signed up planning to specifically train for this half, and because it was completely flat and I really wanted to beat my previous PR (1:50:56). When I signed up for the 50K, I decided I was ok with just running it for fun, because I knew my focus would be on distance, not speed.
My average pace for the Frederick Half Marathon, where I got that time, was 8:27. I decided my goal pace would be 8:20, but I really didn't think there was any chance of that and would have been happy with anything under 2 hours.
You know you are off to a great start when you are running late because of this:
Somehow my camelbak got soaked in the fridge? And considering the temp at the starting line was in the 40s, I wasn't exactly feeling strapping a soaking wet backpack to me.
Once that little malfunction was taken care of, I headed to the race. It was capped at 200 runners, and put on by my school, Towson University!
I started out around an 8:30-8:45 pace. I was feeling pretty good and felt like I could pick up the pace in the second half. The race was on the NCR trail, a paved trail through the woods. You ran out 6.55 miles, turned around, and ran back. It sounds like that would be lame but for some reason I love the NCR and wasn't bored at all.
At the turn around point I figured it was make or break time - either pick it up and try for a PR, or just accept that it wasn't happening that day. I was feeling good and decided to go for it. Around mile 8 I remembered that handy little function called "average pace" on my Garmin and realized I could use it to figure out if I was on pace or not. Ya, I'm dumb. My average pace was 8:32 so I only needed to knock off 6 seconds to beat my time from Frederick. I figured I was so close so I had to do it, and 6 seconds was nothing.
Um, it was not nothing. The last 4 miles were GRUELING, they felt like an all out sprint. It was just a constant battle between me and my Garmin to get the pace down.
After I took my second Gu at mile 9 I figured I would feel the pick me up. I was pushing so hard and could barely get the pace below 8:30, and the average pace still hadn't dropped below 8:32. I ran up behind a guy doing about an 8 minute pace, and told myself I had to stay with him. I felt like I was sprinting and there was no way I could keep it up for 4+ miles, but it was such a good chance I had to try. He had a Frederick Half shirt around his waist so I used that at my motivation.
Around mile 11 he slowed down and I realized now I had to do it by myself. With only 2 miles to go, I HAD to keep it up but I was so exhausted. I focused on every runner I saw and ran up to them, hoping they could pace me, but ended up passing them all (it was only like 4 or 5 people).
With about half a mile to go my pace finally hit 8:26 and I wish I could say I got a huge boost and it suddenly felt easy, but it was more like "ok I'm on track 4 more minutes until this torture can end!".
I saw the clock at 1:50:44 when I crossed and was so relieved. My Garmin said 1:50:33, and official results are not up yet. A PR is a PR, even only by 20 seconds! I ran my ass off for those 20 seconds!
This race was a serious testament to the power of the taper. I specifically trained for Frederick, and my only goal was below 2 hours. I pushed myself in the race but NOTHING like that, the pace felt comfortably hard pretty much the whole time.
Frederick: Hilly course, so hot they almost canceled the marathon (I'm talking in the 70s at 4am when I woke up, and close to 90 when I finished), ran 1:50:56 feeling pretty good the whole time.
Leadstrong (aka today): Completely flat course, temperature in the 50s with almost no wind, aka absolutely perfect conditions, felt like I was going to die and like the last 5 miles were an all out sprint.
|Yup, I'm the creepy girl who asks strangers to take pictures of her with her medal in front of the bathrooms.|
I blame the high mileage (for me) training for the 50K. Roserunner is trying out the taper for the first time this weekend, I am curious how it works out for her. She's an awesome runner and you should go wish her luck in her marathon tomorrow!
Other random things I did differently: drank coffee before the race, had 2 Gus (as opposed to zero in Frederick). I think both helped.
Took my fourth ice bath, and I am still amazed so I am still taking pictures of each one. Get used to it.
|This is what an ice bath really looks like when I am not posing for a picture.|
|Why do you think this picture is vertical on the blog but horizontal on the computer?|
Other random thought: When I posted my comment about the Volturi, I had a secret panic attack that all my readers were super high brow cultured people who would either have no idea what I was talking about or completely lose all respect for me. Thanks for not letting me down.
|How freakin cute is the race shirt?|
UPDATE - Official results were posted and my time was 1:50:34, and I was 4th out of 52 in my age group! 33 out of 150 total! Woo hoo!