Race Report: BAA Half Marathon – 10.7.12

I’ve been quite pleased with how my training had been going for the NYC Marathon so far.  I was able to get in several long runs over 16 miles and have managed to stay injury free throughout the entire season (knock on wood).   My legs have been tight and heavy but visits to my chiropractor for ARTand regular massages seem to help with that.  The only problem is that I have not made speed training a priority and started getting discouraged about how well I was going to perform in the race.
I was happy with my 10k time at the Finish on the 50 but felt like I could have done better, then Falmouth was a total bust due to the heat and gross humidity.  I knew I didn’t race to my potential at RTB but it’s hard to base your fitness on a 24 relay performance.  The last half marathon I raced was the Run to Remember in May.  I was happy with my time at that race but definitely didn’t push myself as hard as I could have.  I don’t remember the last time I was really sore after a race since it had been a while since I truly went all out to see what I could do.  Honestly, I had already assumed this wasn’t going to be a great race based on my past recent race results and the predicted rain we were expecting all week.  Oh well, I thought to myself, at least it will be a decent run with some hills and new scenery.
Sunday morning the alarm went off at 5:30 and the skies looked clear.  When I took Brittany out for her morning walk it was appropriate chilly for October but still comfortable.  It was turning out to be a great morning for a run.  After grabbing a shuttle bus at UMASS that drove us to the start in Franklin Park, we had about an hour to kill before the start of the race but the time went by quickly getting our bags settled and, of course, waiting in line for the bathroom.  We squeezed like sardines into the corrals just a few minutes before the gun went off and it was clear by the crowd I was not in danger of going out too fast. 
Jared and I mid-race.  He is
obviously feeling strong

I had planned to try and hold an 8:30 pace for the race but since I had lost a lot of my running confidence, I wasn’t sure that was going to happen.  I was committed to staying with Jared for the first half or so and then if I couldn’t keep up I would back off.  We had a conservative first couple of miles since it was crowded but then sped up to 8:20 by mile three.  I was tempted to back down since that was a little faster than I had been anticipating but I felt good so I kept it up.  We continued to pick up speed each mile until mile 6 when the course got a little hilly but as soon as there was some relief Jared picked it right back up again and I was able to keep up. I knew we were hauling at mile 8 and 9 and when my watch chirped at the end of that lap it read 8:03.  I was happy that we were doing so well, but it also made me nervous that I was going to run out of steam.  I felt myself slow down and watched Jared pull away up a hill.  I almost resigned to letting him go ahead while I slowed down to something more comfortable but I knew I had more left so I caught him again on a downhill.  Before I knew it we were at mile 10 and with only three more miles to go and I knew I could keep pushing until the finish.  Around then I heard Jared say ‘we have a solid shot of finishing under 1:50 and I was certain he was jinxing me.  As if as soon as we set that goal everything was just going to fall apart.  I was surprised how good I felt and now that we were so close to finishing I had no fears about pushing to the end.  With just a few yards to go, Jared took off to cross the finish line and as badly as I wanted to chase him, my legs felt a bit too heavy and I felt like he deserved to take this one…but not by much.  Just seven seconds later I crossed too.  My official time was 1:49:14 which is my best half time since February of 2010. 

More great news…my legs are sore. No pain or anything alarming, just muscles that worked really hard and now need to repair themselves. I find it so frustrating to race and then not be at least a little bit sore afterwards.  It makes me feel like I should have run harder. Waking up Monday morning and hobbling around was a little uncomfortable but very satisfying.  I great yoga class later that night helped a lot.
I’m also very proud to congratulate Stacey on her first half marathon yesterday.  I hope it’s the first of many (or at least a few) more.
Congrats Stacey on your first 13.1!
I think this race helped to bring back my confidence just in time for the marathon – now less than 4 weeks away.  I haven’t committed to a time goal and enjoying the race is much more important to me, but I do want to feel good about my performance -especially after all the hard work I’ve put in over the past several months.  I’m now much more mentally prepared to push through on race day and go for it.  
There is still time to contribute to my NYC Marathon Campaign.  Please visit my fundraising page for more information: http://go.liverfoundation.org/goto/LauraNYC

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