Thursday, May 02, 2013

Number 20 for the win! PR - Nike Womens DC Half Marathon

Let's go back to what I should have posted last week:

(Imagine Tuesday or Wednesday of last week if you will) Washington DC Nike Women's Half Marathon Week - Crazy busy at work and haven't had a moment to train all week after Wildflower but my goal is for a sub 2 PR in DC and really looking forward to this girls weekend!

(I didn't post that because I didn't have a moment to blog in the madness of last week and after a crappy WF run and non-existent training last week, I thought that sub-2 was once again a pipe dream.  I need to start posting my goals and stop second guessing myself but that's a whole other issue.)

Fast forward to today:

It happened!  I finally broke that damn 2 hour barrier again and not just by one second this time.  By over two minutes.  On my 20th half marathon I came back from DC with a big fat PR of 1:57:16!  I still can't believe it and when I look at my splits it's so weird for me to see anything with an 8 in front of it.  I am so used to 9 - 10 min miles I can't believe that those are actually my times.  Even in all this disbelief there are a few things I can point to that finally broke that sub-2 mark after a year of 2:10 - 2:20's.  Training for starters.  I know, you're mind is totally blown by that awe-inspiring statement.  But specifically, I kept up with my speed training every week and got in long runs on the weekend.  For the first time I felt "good" going into a race and not completely unprepared.  Imagine what I could do if I felt "great."  .

I also prepared my body for the race.  I hydrated really well the week before (minus a few glasses of wine on Friday night -whoops) and ate a good combo of carbs/protein and nothing too heavy on Saturday. I only had one beer on Saturday night; winning!  We walked around quite a bit on Saturday in Georgetown, to the expo etc....probably a good 4 miles of pre-race walking which I think actually warmed up my muscles.  I actually stretched (insert loud gasp here).  I didn't even recognize myself.

Unfortunately I didn't get tons of sleep but I  was up at 4am on Sunday ready to drink coffee in bed  race.  I ate some cheerios - thanks to Julie - a water bottle full of Nuun and some almond butter at the hotel.  We walked down to the start line, picking up a few friends on the way (including Shalane who was standing right outside her hotel). I didn't even think to ask for a picture.  I guess I was in pre-race mode.

Shalane & Joan decked out in Boston gear!

Start line

After a moment of silence for Boston and the national anthem, we were off at 7am sharp.

It was a nice flat course, great weather and I was mentally in it for the first time in maybe ever.  I did check-out a few times before the race and spiraled in the self doubt BS of, "is this possible," "maybe my goal should just be 2:05" etc...  Also during the first two miles when it was really crowded, I gave myself the out of, "I can't do it here, there is no room to run, I'll have to wait for a smaller race."  But that was the end of the mental self doubt.

After mile 2 I stopped looking at my watch and just ran what I felt was a good and sustainable pace.  Every now and then I would look at my pace (not overall) and see an 8:XX so I was worried that I wouldn't be able to keep it up and I was going too fast but I felt good.   I finally just said, screw it if I bonk at 11 then oh well; I have to keep running what feels good now.  I know I was in the zone because after the race when we were all comparing notes, everyone kept saying, "oh yeah when we saw this monument or passed that museum" and hadn't seen any of it.  I was just concentrating on the run. Finally at mile 11 I looked at my watch and realized I had 20 min or so for the last two miles.  At that point I knew I'd break 2 but still didn't expect the 1:57!  There really is something to this training thing:)

Mile 1 - 9:20 (crowded but helped to not go out too fast)
Mile 2 - 9:01 (felt good but still was giving myself an out of the crowded race)
Mile 3 - 8:57 (mentally checked in and decided to actually run the race)
Mile 4 - 8:41 (felt really good but started to worry I couldn't keep it up)
Mile 5 - 8:41 ("I can't believe a feel this good")
Mile 6 - 8:32 (first gu, still feeling great but not wanting to get too excited)
Mile 7 - 8:57 (the disbelief was starting to set in)
Mile 8 - 8:47 (I think this is where I started to realize it might actually be possible w/o even looking at my time - I could just feel I was running faster than normal)
Mile 9 - 8:50 (the fatigue and soreness started to set in but I pushed through)
Mile 10 - 8:32 (don't know what happened here, I think I blacked out)
Mile 11 - 9:46 (second gu, there were some little  hills and I physically  hit the wall here - major mindf***)
Mile 12 - 8:34 (somehow I pushed through - this one still shocks me)
Mile 13 - 8:54 (the finish line was like a mirage that kept moving further away at this point)
Mile .1 -  8:40
Final 1:57:16 (392/2635 in my division, 2120/15,000(?) overall)

There is lots more to report including a race review, pictures from the weekend, April stats and goals for Wildflower.  Which just happens to be on Sunday - NBD!  More to come....


  1. I almost gave up on my goal during the first mile because of how crowded it was too. I hardly noticed the monuments either. Must have been because we were pushing so hard! HUGE congrats on breaking 2 hours!

  2. My last half was 2:24 and you're giving me hope that I can one day break 2!!! Congrats!

    1. You definitely can! I've gone from a 11 min miler to a sub-9, it's all about speed training and getting out of your own way mentally:)

  3. Congrats on the huge PR! So exciting to break 2. :)

  4. So awesome!! I knew you would do it!! Can't wait to hear about WF!!

  5. Congrats on a great PR! So excited for you! Can't wait to run together in August!