Grand Island Half Marathon Recap

Saturday I ran the Grand Island Half Marathon.

This was my first time with this race and this course.

It's a smaller race, not a ton of fanfare and hoopla, but the race was well organized.

Despite all of my training challenges and setbacks I feel good about my performance.

I finished at some point!  The photo M took of me says 1:40:18, this time says 1:40:22.  My Garmin says something completely different... I'll tell you about that!

Whatever... it's all about the same... 1:40 (7:40 pace).  I was the 10th overall female and 2nd in my age group.  This is the great thing about smaller races right?  I can actually place, even with a 7:40 pace!

This was the first year they offered a 10k.  Melissa and Molly ran that together.  I'm so glad they decided to do it.  Being with girlfriends is one of my favorite things, even if we aren't running together!

And of course my cheer squad came, led by my fabulous husband!  They were rock stars!  I love having them there with me.

Here we go with the full recap:

When I'd registered for this race my hope was to do better than my last race.  I want to run a 1:35 (7:15 pace) half, then someday a 1:31 half (7 pace)!  I was on track, building strength and speed, then my leg went caput, then my other leg did.  Crazy!

Clear back in March I'd run my first 13 (see here on training log) at a 7:56 pace.  Shortly thereafter my legs freaked out.  I ended up getting back on my legs and ran 12 miles April 27.  That run was hard for me!  It was hard to finish 12 after staying off my legs for so long.  At that point I think I was preparing my mind that this race would be a success if I could finish at a 8 pace!  I wrote about it here.

This past week I did a 9 mile tempo and was also able to do some speed work on Thursday.  Only about a week really back at it and I'm back to my regular time.  This is good!  I felt all anxious during the week, not sure if I should take it easy and sort of taper, or stay at it since this is just a race on my marathon schedule (which I'm still unsure of).  I decided to keep my miles up, and press on.  My leg felt a lot better after Thursday's run.  It feels like it's easing more to general soreness instead of a constant knot/locked up.

Friday Melissa and I went to pick our packets up.

All week long we expected rain and it drizzled here and there.  Saturday called for rain... until that morning!  It was looking like 0% until later in the day.  Of course we got there and it had started raining!  BUT, it did stop by the time we'd started!  It was just enough to chill us and keep our layers on!

Race time was 9am.  Loved this!  I didn't have to wake up crazy early, got great sleep, my body operated normal, I didn't have to force food into my body way too early in the morning... plus, later in the morning means a little warmer weather.  All good things!

So we hit the bathrooms, then headed to the start line.  At this point it would have been a great idea for me to start my Garmin, find my location, but of course I wasn't thinking about that!  We found the other people from church that were also running and chatted with them.

I ducked away to head to the front, started my Garmin with just a minute till start... no location!  Crap, I'm a dummy sometimes!  I stood off to the side for a minute, still no location.  Whatever!  I began my race and hoped I'd find my location before mile 1!

The first mile was pretty bottle necked and I was dodging people because I waited.  It went by quickly.  I tried to keep a nice relaxed pace.

So, my plan for this race was to run the first and last 4 at a 7:30 if possible.  I wanted to run the middle 5 just like tempo, up just to a 7:20.  This was a stretch from my 8 pace hope a couple weeks earlier!  It was closer to the tempo I'd run on Monday.  It's race day... we went for it.  I figured I could do the first 9 that way, it was the last 4 that would kick my butt!

Garmin finally kicked in shortly after mile 1.  I could see confusion in my fellow runners as they randomly heard my watch buzzing at me.  A few of them would look down at their own watches... like, I hit a mile back there... why are you buzzing!

Here are my numbers, starting from about mile 1.3 ish

Shortly after I got my watch going I saw my crew!  G was out in front watching for me. 

He is so funny.  He's the first to complain about having to go to cheer me on at a race, but the first one I see every time.  He gets excited and wants me to do well.

Yes that is ice still on the river... 

Here I come.  I dropped my jacket at this point, already warming up.

I love my family!  I love seeing them excited when they see me.  We did high 5's said 'love you's' and I was off again. 

This course runs right along the Niagra River (which flows into Niagra Falls) and there is a frontage road that runs right along this path.  As the fam were driving to the next point they rolled down the windows and hollered at me, waved.  It was great!

I had G-rade at mile 4.

I ran pretty consistent the first 5 miles, slowed down a bit to stay around 7:30.  

Mile 5 I picked up the tempo (7:11) and held 7:26 at mile 6.

I saw my family again after mile 5 and dropped both my sleeves and visor.  The sun had peeked out just a little and I felt a little warm.

The turnaround was a slam in the face with wind!  As I turned I thought, ok, there is the Buffalo wind!  I was surprised to not have felt it till then.  That was a tough mile (7:40), to try to keep tempo into the wind.  I did pretty good though!  

I've got some crazy face in all my photos, not one where I'm happy smiling!

At mile 8 I had a shot block.  Needed that.  Saw my family again.  Needed that.  They cheered for me again as they drove by!  Miles 8 and 9 I didn't keep tempo as I wanted.  I definitely felt like I was working hard!  (7:31 and 7:41).  I told myself to at least keep a 7:30.  Try to hold onto that! 

At mile 9 I was talking myself up... only 4 miles left.  Keep the pace, by the end of that mile I was asking myself why I race?  Four more miles?  Oh no!  I hate racing, it hurts!  Why did I do this?  That was the toughest mile... (7:55).  But, by the end I only had three miles to go!  I looked for my family, but after hitting 10 I figured they'd gone to the finish line.  I was on my own.  I pulled out my GU and had a shot each of the last 3 miles.

What I want to improve in, even more that speed, with my racing, is the ability to push.  

To know what feels comfortable, and push beyond that.

To push the negative out when it inevitably enters my head!

To push the whole time, to leave nothing left in my tank, to keep pushing.

That is the line we walk...or run, I guess... saving enough to finish strong, but finishing with nothing left.

This is what I reminded myself of as I told myself to not give up.  I would be disappointed.  Keep pushing.  My legs can do this, they are strong.  Amp it up just a little, hold here, you can do it.  My last 3 miles were 7:40 and 7:30.  I amped up and passed a couple of guys that were ahead of me mile 12.  

My leg started to cramp up in mile 12.  I tried not to panic, to keep breathing and use different muscles.  Overall I'm so happy it didn't give me big problems.  I'm hoping this let thing is almost over.  It helps that I'm back in the Kinvara.  Must be the shoes...

I saw Molly and Melissa near 13.  I told them to run with me, then told them not to!

It's so funny, they are all rested, talking, laughing and I'm like... never mind! 

Molly was like... crap, I knew you'd want us to jump in... I can't even run at a 7:30 pace... they were laughing, trying to keep up.  All happy and rested! :)  I felt like I was dying, how you should feel at the end of a race! :)

I couldn't respond, I had to focus.  I'm in a zone till the finish... never mind!

They peeled off and I ran it in to the finish.  I saw my cute family there jumping for joy!

M took the kids home and we girls stayed to cheer on the other's that were running the race.  It was freezing for a bit, then the sun came out.  My calf was seriously sore.  It wasn't until the others came in that I finally looked at my numbers and saw I was 2nd.  I had no idea where they were doing awards.  I tried to run down to grab my prize, but the calf was done with the running!

My prize was this glass, with a coupon for a free beer... that I don't drink... I'll use the glass though.

It was a good race.  I am happy with my performance, my ability to push.

I always want a faster time, but that doesn't mean I'm not happy with what I did!

I'm for sure doing the July triathalon.  Up for determination is the June marathon...  I'll keep you posted!