I would never say it’s “easy” to get out of bed at 5:30, but this morning I was surprisingly chipper.
There was only one thing on my mind: testing my limits and dominating the Lawrence Half-Marathon.
To make the morning a little less chaotic, Dan spent the night on the downstairs couch so that we could have breakfast and get going at the same time.
Plus, it was nice to have his moral support…
Not like I needed it.
What I did need was a good breakfast that would fuel me through 13.1 miles. Oatmeal to the rescue!
I did a standard mix of 1/3 C oats cooked with 2/3 C water and whipped with half of a thinly sliced banana. Then I topped it with a little strawberry jelly and a generous spoonful of peanut butter.
Note: You know those pretty breakfast pictures I usually show? Well, this is what it actually looks like when I stir it up and eat it!
What more could a girl need? A little coffee is the correct answer.
Along with some water (not too much, because I didn’t want to pee somewhere around mile 7), I had half a small cup of coffee. It was just enough to give me a boost, but not too much to land me in the bathroom line.
Before we knew it, it was time to get going! I wasn’t sure what to expect on parking, so we went over a little more than an hour ahead of time. To my delight, the parking was really well organized and we had less than 200 meters from our parking spot to the start line.
Oh, and the sun had come out!
(Nothing like portapotties in the background, huh?)
When we got there with an hour to spare, I expected the wait to take for-ev-er. But, it didn’t — it actually surprised me when the announcer called, “10 minutes until race time!”
Right at 7:30, we were OFF! And I was ON.
I quickly lost sight of Dan, who was running his first 10K. That was fine by me, because he was going for speed while I was of the “slow and steady” mentality.
For the half-marathon route, we began by running around Haskell University and then looping through a neighborhood before retracing the original route around Haskell.The 10K route was a little abbreviated, so I got to see Dan zoom by when he was leaving the neighborhood. Funny how those little glimpses give you a big boost!
That loop worked out to be about 3.5 miles with a few long, steady hills. The good and bad thing about running the route both ways, was that I knew where the hills were. You can bet I was looking forward to the downhills and dreading the uphills.
I pushed through it all and made it to the next section of the race, where we ran along a nice, flat bike trail. Mid-way through the bike path, the 10K runners turned around, so I had fun looking ahead and anticipating Dan. Before I knew it, he sped by!
Around my mile five, we passed the 10K turn-around and from that point on, it was just half-marathoners. I felt good, but I missed the people running by — they gave me something else to focus on.
Near mile six, volunteers at the water station handed out Gu, so I grabbed the first one I saw — only to realize it was chocolate. BOO! I actually debated for a few minutes whether I could justify eating it, even though Lent doesn’t end for another week. Ultimately, I tucked it in my pocket and decided to save it for Lincoln.
The next few miles had another series of hills before taking us up to Mass Street, Lawrence’s “Main Street.” The half-marathon turn-around was at the end of the road, so I had a whole ‘nother batch of people running in the opposite direction to cheer on. I even saw my bloggy-friend Natalie power on by!
Mentally, turnarounds are tough for me. I knew I have to do the whole route over again, even though I’m already in pain. But, I pushed through.
After turning off my Mass Street, there was a steady downhill that I really took advantage of. At the bottom was that darned Gu station, so I focused in on grabbing a variety I could actually eat. After skipping by one chocolate-dealing person, I grabbed a strawberry-banana Gu and took a walking break to eat it.
It was a good mental break, but didn’t really give me a physical boost. Ehh.
A few hills later, we were back on the bike path. I soaked up that flatness like no other! Still, there were a few walking breaks involved.
Then it was back to the Haskell area. My legs were feeling pretty tight and I felt a good blister on the inside of my foot, but I felt good knowing there wasn’t much farther — we just had to do that dreaded loop around Haskell and the neighborhood again.
Those hills were 10x harder the second time around!
I was alternating between walking and running at that point. I just wanted it to be over and the only way to do that was to keep pushing.
The good thing about doing the familiar loop was that I knew exactly how much farther I had to run.
Just after running for 2:23, I turned onto the school’s track. Both the finish line and my goal of 2:25 were in sight. So, I pushed it.
I couldn’t even tell you how my legs felt and that time. All I cared about was crossing the line.
But, I guess my track experience paid off, because Dan said I was moving too fast to get many pictures!
Official clock time: 2:24 — a 21 minute PR.
I’ll take that!
I’ll also take Great Harvest rolls at the finish line!
As for pacing, I started off fast with a 10-ish minute mile, but it caught up to me around mile 8 — that’s my wall! The final time worked out to be a 11:02 minute mile pace. That was slightly disappointing, because I was aiming for 10-11 minutes, but I was pleased enough to meet my overall goal time.
Plus, there’s always Lincoln’s race in two weeks!
Other than not having to run any more, the best part about finishing was getting to see Dan! He ROCKED his race with a 7:47 minute pace. His goal was just to get under 8-minute miles!
What was an easy 200 meter walk from the car to start before the race was sheer pain afterward. I just wanted to sit down! Fortunately, I made it home and still had enough energy to shower off before crashing for a long nap.
I actually don’t think I would have gotten back up was it not for the thought of The Mirth’s whole-wheat blueberry pancakes.
Seriously, the thought of them got me through the race. We even ran past the restaurant! It was torture!
When I finally got them, they were even better than I dreamt.
There was NOTHING left on that plate, except and orange rind and a pad of butter.
Despite my raves about how they were “the best pancakes in the world,” Dan went with an omlette.
Sunday fun had to come to an end after that. This next week is going to be a little homework crazy for me!
Although I was tired, I think the run helped focus my mind, because I was able to get a good amount done. Then it was time for protein-heavy dinner/dessert!
I had a dessert hummus with 1 C chickpeas, some unsweetened almond milk, maple syrup, peanut flour, peanut butter, vanilla and pinch of salt. Whirled all up, topped with peanut butter chips and granola, it was just like healthy cookie dough!
There were also apple slices for dipping. Mmm.
Ok, I think I’ve officially used up all the focus I’ve had today. Time to crash!
Questions: What are you best race accomplishments? What’s your favorite post-race meal?