Yes, I know the race was like 3 weeks ago. Better late than never, right? Right.
My best friend Bill and his lovely fiance were in town for the race. Its funny- we all originally registered to run the full 26.2 and all of us switched to the half. After Ironman I needed a break from the long distances, and I decided that I don’t actually love running.
I mentioned in my goals post that training for this race had been sort of a failure and all I wanted to do was run the race hard, not worrying about heart rate or anything else. In February I was running consistently enough that I thought I could break 1:50. By the time May rolled around, I was unsure if I could even push the pace very much because I totally fell off the running wagon. But I was going to try- Bill was going to run by my side (he is faster than me) and we were going to shoot for a sub 2 hour finish which would be a 12 minute improvement from my only other stand alone half marathon.
The race was a point to point down the Poudre River Canyon near Fort Collins, CO. It looks like this:
Pretty amazing. The 13.1 started 13.1 miles away from the finish line in downtown Ft Collins. The full started 13.1 more miles up the canyon. The half marathoners had 7 miles of sweet downhill, and the full marathoners had 17.
The start was a bit of a cluster- there were not that many people but there was no wave start and Bill and I spend the first mile bobbing and weaving along the narrow road.
Once we found our own space we just cruised along, taking advantage of the scenery and downhill. I knew we had to hold a sub 9 minute mile pace to get to the sub 2 hour finish.
Mile 1: 9:19
Mile 2: 8:37
Mile 3: 8:40
We kept cruising right along. I got many compliments on my running outfit. Thanks, TriBella!
It’s amazing how quickly the miles tick by when you are running next to a friend and you have an awesome view around you. By mile 4 the slant in the road really began to take a toll on my IT bands and knees. We were only allowed to run on the left side of the road so I couldn’t switch sides of the street to even out my knees.
Mile 4: 8:40
Mile 5: 8:52 <- knee pain!
Mile 6: 9:09 <- knee pain!
At mile 7 you are exiting the canyon and you see a hill in front of you. It actually felt really good to change direction from downhill to uphill- and it was not very steep, just kind of a longer gradual climb.
Miles 7 through 13 are when things started to get hard. I hadn’t realize just how much the downhill thrashed my quads and when we got to mile 10 they started cramping…badly. Bill kept pushing me through each cramp but there were 3 different times that I had to stop and walk to rub my quad in fear of falling over. It was during these three walking breaks that I thought 2 hours had slipped away- so I just stopped looking at my watch.
Mile 7: 8:45
Mile 8: 8:59
Mile 9: 9:21
Mile 10: 8:86
Mile 11: 9:39
Mile 12: 9:41
Mile 13: 9:27
Also, miles 7 through 13 were on a bike path, which was fine at first, but by the end I could not wait to get off of it. It was totally exposed so I was hot by this point and it was boring.
Once off the bike path you make a right hand turn and see the finish line a ways away. I looked down at my watch and saw 1:58. Bill and I decided to sprint our hearts out to the finish.
We wound up crossing the line at 1:59:33. Nothing like cutting it close. It was a good day, and I’m glad I was able to push it as much as I could that day. I really like the half marathon distance…I think I’ll sign up for one in the fall and shoot for another PR.
But until then- it’s triathlon season! And even though I do not have many on the schedule (actually, only 1 as of right now- a 70.3 in September) it’s time to get my butt on my bike and in the pool!