Half Marathon number 4 is done! I can’t believe my body held up enough for me to complete two halfs in 15 days without injury. As I’m writing this I’m still so happy I could cry. This race was just about perfect!
Race Prep: My mom and I headed to the Plattsbugh City Recreation Center the afternoon before the race to pick up my packet. It was super quick and easy. I went out to dinner with Mom and M. where I had a delicious Abita Purple Haze beer, and a buffalo chicken salad followed by a donut from Lake Placid for dessert! I failed at making a “flat Sam”, but spent way too long deciding what to wear with a predicted temp of 42* at race start.
Race morning: I got up at 6 and was so anxious. I could hardly choke down 3/4 a banana and 3/4 a whole wheat english muffin. We were at the start area by 7:15. It was a little chilly so thankfully we were able to wait inside the rec center! I felt like I had to pee soo badly but the lines were horrendous. Thankfully I wasn’t there alone, or else my nerves would have been out the roof!
There was a bit of confusion around the start line concerning which way we started. After switching directions 3 times, the national anthem was played and the horn sounded. I didn’t feel ready but I had no choice!
I started off really having to reign myself in – after a mentally/physically hard run on Saturday I was ready to GO. I just tried to keep it even and calm because I knew the first half of the course had some hills but the second half didn’t. I was a little socked in for the first couple of miles, but things eventually spread out. I took my first honey stinger at mile 4 and skipped the first few water stops since I had watermelon nuun with me. I finished mile five being just slightly over a 10:00 avg pace, which I was super happy with since mile 5 was one long hill.
Miles 6-10: These miles flew by. I was running through familiar neighborhoods as well as around campus. Around mile 6.2, there was a relay exchange and I knew I wanted to make it through the second half of the race without people passing me so I worked on picking people off one by one. I started taking water at the water stations and took my second honey stinger at mile 9. My biggest motivation during this part was knowing that Mom would be waiting for me at mile 10, right by my house! I made it to mile 9.5 without walking – and I only walked then to reset my music. At this point I was getting pretty warm, so I started taking water cups at all the stops and just dumped them over my head.
Miles 11-13.1 – After I saw my Mom at mile 10 I started going downhill. While the motivation was still there, my IT band started to tighten up. I remember seeing my Mom at the other end of my street (mile 11) and yelling “2 more miles. I’m dying!”. It’s amazing what a difference a mile can make. Once I made it to mile 11.5, things got rough. I stopped for a moment to stretch out my IT Band, but wouldn’t let myself walk after that. I knew I was going to be so so close to 2:15. (Heck, through mile 10 I still thought a 2:10 was possible). There was a slight hill at mile 12 which took a lot to power up, but I still focused on picking people off and it really helped.
Finally, I was finished! I was so choked up when approaching the finish. I truly felt so proud of a new PR and cutting off 5:20 in just 2 weeks!! (My watch recorded 13.22 miles, not 13.1)
Finish: After crossing and getting my medal, I headed home pretty quickly. I had a busy day ahead of me! After a quick shower I was off to Five Guys and then to work before hitting up the “after party” at a local restaurant.
Verdict: I am so proud of myself for this race! Sure, I only beat my C goal, but I was so close to my B goal. I really set out to not let people pass me in the second half. I recall about 4 people passing me, however 3 of them looked real fresh and were flying so I can’t help but think they were the second part of relay teams. I finished satisfied and like I truly gave it my all, but I know that I can definitely go faster with some more speed work and longer runs under my belt. It’s incredible how much more confident I felt after having recently run 13.1 miles.
I couldn’t recommend this race enough. Everything was so well put together. There were tons of water stations – I believe 5-6 were “official” ones and there were three that various businesses provided as well. The roads were well marked/controlled with tons of volunteers, which was great because it was a windy course with a lot of turns. The photography was also great – I saw them at least 5 times on the course. My one complaint is the shirts. While they’re not everything, I know that past years have included nice tech shirts. This years were basic t-shirts. I’d rather pay an extra 5 bucks for a shirt that I’ll wear to run! I will definitely do it again next year.
I can’t help but be hopeful for sub-2:15 in a month. I have another half scheduled in Plattsburgh. However, the course is different and doesn’t involve the big hill at mile 5. I’m ready to work for another PR! I can’t believe that I’ve come so far in just a year of running and this race made me realize the improvements I’ve made. I also qualified to be a Half Fanatic after completing this race. I’ll hopefully sign up when I have some extra $$ lying around!