Sunday, March 27, 2011

Race Recap: National Half Marathon

I ran the National Half Marathon yesterday and I'm happy to say I met my goal of breaking 1:54 (my PR of two years) but came just short of breaking my 1:50 goal.  But I'm not that upset.  I'm actually pretty pysched- especially since the course was long (or I suck at running tangents) and at 13.1 on my watch I was at 1:49.  I know that's not official and I know I will have to run another race to break it, but for now I'll take my 4 minute PR. Corey also pointed out that I had run a 20 miler only 6 days prior...

Now, I haven't really been training at 8:20s pace, but I gained a ton of confidence after my 10 Miler I ran with Corey.  It was after this race that I thought a sub 1:50 was realistic.  It's funny because when I run long or run on the treadmill, I don't think about pace much and I tried to do the same yesterday.  I probably looked down at my Garmin a total of 8X and most of that was in the final miles.  I really tried not to be deterred by numbers on my watch and really run fast and by feel. This method has worked for me lately! Truthfully most of the fast runners I know in my life (my brother, Leah) don't rely on Garmin's to tell them their pace, so I tried to do the same. 
So lets talk about the race, shall we?

My cousin Michele and I woke up extra early 4:40am on Saturday morning but we got out of the house a little later than we wanted.  With the traffic getting to the start, we barely had time to use the port-a-potties before jumping in the corrals. 
 I had planned to run this race with either Bekah or Liz but Bekah was stuck on the metro and Liz and I never connected. At the start, I figured it was now or never.  I jumped into the second corral (it was the first opening I saw), threw my headphones in my ears and was off about two minutes after the gun went off.  I jammed out to music and checked out the gorgeous views of the Capital and the Washington Monument in the first couple miles.  And I watched the sun come up.  The race had some rolling hills but also some awesome downhills.

**Random tangent- a few days ago, I bought a hat at the Bill Rodgers running store in Fanueil Hall.  The guy asked me if I was running Boston.  I told him I was and we talked about the hills.  I told him I had heard that the downhills (in those later miles) were almost as hard as the uphills on your legs.  He said, "Nah, downhills are the only free-ride you get."  I loved that line and I've been using it to my advantage ever since he said it. :) **

Around mile 6, I got a text (I carried a phone) from my friend Leah that she was at Mile 7 and ready to jump in with me. I knew she was planning to jump in with me, but I wasn't sure if it was going to be possible.  I've talked about Leah before on the blog, but Leah and I ran track together in college and both ran the 800 meters.  After college, she went on to qualify for Boston at Chicago in 85 degree weather and then run a 3:11 Boston Marathon.  To say she is an amazing runner is an understatement.  We haven't run together in almost 7 years so it was awesome to catch up.  Leah met me after the only REAL BIG hill on the course.  It was a hard incline, but I'm pretty used to hills.  And plus, what comes up, always comes down!
My first 7 miles:
Mile 1: 8:45
Mile 2: 8:25
Mile 3: 8:11
Mile 4: 8:15
Mile 5: 8:37
Mile 6: 8:35
Mile 7: 8:50
After Mile 7, I definitely started to check my watch a bit more to make sure I was on pace. I honestly thought I had built myself enough of a cushion to break 1:50 but in the final .50 mile I realized I hadn't.  I definitely struggled around mile 11 and then by the time I hit mile 12, I knew it was now or never.  I dug deep but it was a little too late.  However, my last mile was 7:43!!!
Mile 8: 8:22
Mile 9: 8:21
Mile 10: 8:11
Mile 11: 8:09
Mile 12: 8:30
Mile 13: 7:43
.25: 7:20 pace
Garmin Time: 13.25 miles/1:50:43/Average Pace 8:21 min/mile
Official Time: 13.1/1:50:43/Average Pace 8:27 min/mile
 I'm not going to lie, I was a little dissappointed.  I really thought I would have a 49 in my final time.  I kept repeating during the run that I was going to hit my goal time, especially since I never have in the past. (High school goals- break 60 in the 400, came close but never did.  College- to break 2:25 in the 800- never happened). But enough of the pity party- I still PR'd!

My husband Dave got some awesome pictures of me at the end of the race.  Big shout out to my hubby who woke up at 5am and dropped us off at the race when traffic was insane.  I don't think we would have made the start without him! He also waited around with me for my marathon friends to finish!

Another huge shout out to Leah who ran with me from mile 7 on.  As you know, I love running with others and having her to chat with was awesome!  It totally brought me back to college : )
 I also saw Liz at the finish line.  I think we ran around the same time.  Liz, I wish we found each other at the start!  You will have to come up to Boston so we can run races together!
After the race, Dave and I went back to the car so I could change into dry clothes. Then we met up with my cousin Michele (who PR'd by 5 minutes and just missed breaking 2 hours) and hung out with her cute baby.
 I had high hopes of getting out to mile 24 to run Becky home but I didn't know the area at all and it just didn't work out.  But we did stick around to support our friends! While waiting, we saw some interesting characters...
This man on the left jump roaped the entire half marathon and the man on the right ran barefoot.  Crazy!
Pretty soon after that, we saw Lauren!  I wasn't expecting her at all (I should have been, but I wasn't keeping my eye on the clock)... but man she looked fast.  I also barely recognized her because she was in capris and not her signature shorts!  She finished in 3:18 and looked awesome!
After that, we kept an eye out for Becky.  Having no idea when she crossed the starting line, it made it pretty difficult to know when she would finish.  And although Becky didn't meet her goal time, she did PR and ran a marathon from start to finish by herself.  Honestly, Becky, you are my hero and I'm so incredibly proud of you. And your time is amazing and a PR!!  I cannot wait to run a marathon together : )
At the finish line, us three got together for a photo opp.  I'm so soo happy I met both Lauren and Becky and even happier they convinced me to run this race.  I had so much fun this weekend and these girls were a big reason for that.  I'm so proud of both of you!
I have lots to recap with the rest of the weekend, but this is long enough.  In the end I am okay with my time and I know I have more to give... but for now I'm concentrating on the marathon.  I have three more weeks and then it's game time.  I've lived on the Boston Marathon course my entire life.  I can only remember missing one marathon in my 28 years.  It's really an amazing day.  I've run all parts of the course, but I've never run the whole thing or the actual race.  So I can't wait!

Have you ever come ooo so close to your goal time? How did you deal with it?


  1. Liz, what is most important is that your final mile was a 7:43! Impressive girly! It shows you paced well and had a strong final kick. Don't kill yourself about the sub 1:50. It is there for you!

  2. awww that's my goal this year to break 1:50, but you are so much closer than i am! way to go girl!

    i was 30-ish seconds away from a new PR on my last race and found it rather disappointing, but i like to remember that i'm just glad i'm running under 2 hours in a half and that i am capable of running at all! and that i'm not lying on the ground with medics like a guy that i saw 1 mile away from the finish :S

  3. You should be so proud of yourself! All of the tweets definitely inspired me.

  4. Sounds like a great weekend of racing! Not reaching goal times is never fun, and missing them by a hair is never easy. But the entire goal-setting process is mentally challenging no matter what the result - we grow from it. :)

    I'm so excited to read about your journey leading up to Boston!

  5. It was so great to see you this weekend! xoxoxo

    And you need to practice what you preach, missy. You still PR-ed and ran an amazing race!

  6. GREAT JOB LIZZY!!!! So proud of you for reaching a new PR! Those pictures of the race are fabulous--love the one of you with your "Brunette Pony" behind you!

    How amazing that you live ON the Boston course!! Holy photo opps--you wil have to be our eyes!

  7. Sounds like you ran an AMAZING race!!! Congrats on the PR.

  8. I know that that we've already spoke about the race and what a schmuck I am for getting on the Metro in the first place, but I think you did an amazing job and have every right to be proud of the accomplishment. I do hope we get to run side by side at a race soon.

  9. What an awesome half marathon!! I hope to PR my half marathon. My fastest half was a 2:16, so I'm pretty confident that I can beat that. Glad to see you had such good weather! It was a bit colder up here in MA this past weekend. :-)

  10. You did amazing!
    And btw, a freshman on my track team beat me in the 1500 meter run last weekend by .01 seconds, so yes! I understand the frustration! :/
    Focus on the good, though :) You're in great shape, and you're only going to improve from here!

  11. I cry every year watching Boston- it is so incredibly moving and inspiring! I am SOOOOOO insanely jealous you will have the honor of running it this year, but I will def be on the sidelines cheering like crazy!

  12. It was so awesome meeting you at the Blogger meet-up Lizzy! I'm glad you the first person I ran into :) You ran a great race! The same thing basically happened to me at the Thunder Road 1/2, I thought I would break 2 hours but was at 2 hours and a couple seconds. I think it's important to keep in mind that you still PR'd and be happy for that. Plus you still have that goal to motivate you for your next 1/2 :) Come visit me in Charlotte sometime!

  13. It was so great meeting you in DC! You should be super proud of your time and you'll get the 49 in your finish time on the next go around. You're a rock star and your photos from race day are awesome. Hope to see you again soon!

  14. congrats, Lizzy!! That's a great PR! That same thing happened to me last year with breaking 1:50 - don't be disappointed, your next half marathon will be even better! Sounds like you had a great weekend :)

  15. You did fantastic! You still Pr'd in my mind.

  16. Ahhh you are awesome!!! 7:43 in your last mile? You are so badass! Don't get frustrated over not getting the :49, I KNOW you can do it!! Just use this race to fuel your desire for that new PR!! So proud of you xoxo :)

  17. Lizzy, I am SO proud of you!!! You are becoming such a strong runner, and I think you're finally starting to realize how much potential you have! Listen, my mom always says this and it is so true, to recover from 20 miles takes at least 2 weeks (if not 3)...and just because you're not sore from it anymore, doesn't mean that your body isn't still recovering. So the fact that you ran that time 6 DAYS after your 20 means that you will have no problem breaking 1:50 in the future! I can understand the feeling of disappointment, but I also hope you realize how amazing that is that you PRed. Definitely a good idea to focus on Boston now! Can't wait to run it with you :)

  18. Great job! You are such a great influence!

  19. congrats on the PR!!!! especially so soon after a 20-miler!!!! that's amazing. and your pictures are fabulous!

  20. Congrats! I'm jealous but I don't think I would have been in shape for this one. I"m glad I took a back seat. I may have a more fun race in store for us to do in CHicago by the way other than a half marathon. I will keep you posted! Great job on your 'almost' pr! PS I know my comment section is broken on my site. Working on it!

  21. I think we should find a flat half and then we will both break 1:50 :)

  22. CONGRATULATIONS! You crushed your previous PR and rocked DC! Lizzy, this is your moment. You are giving it all you have on every runs and it shows. You are going to rock Boston and I cannot wait to be there for it!

    I had a blast with you this weekend! It may strike people as strange that some of my best friends were made through blogging, but I think it's awesome! I am so lucky to have such supportive and inspiring people in my life. Thank you!

  23. Lizzy! You did awesome! You had a huge PR just days off a 20 miler! You better be proud of yourself girl.

    Oh and the next race I ran after my 1:50 half, I ran a 1:43. Anything is possible my dear. You are faster than you think!

  24. Congratulations Lizzy!! You are amazing! Seriously - you PR'd right after running 20 miles...which you jumped up to faster than most people AFTER running a half marathon AND a fast 10 mile race. You are a rock star! Honestly - if you had actually tapered for this, I bet a sub-1:50 time would have been a piece of cake. I know you will have no problems beating your goal next time.

    Thank you so much for sticking around to cheer, and for capturing those awesome photos (sorry I "tricked" you by ditching the was really hard for me, you know haha). It was so great to see you right after the finish!! I was so excited and you were the first person that I got to talk to. I can't wait to cheer you along the streets of Boston!

    Oh- and that barefoot guy was ahead of me the entire race!! I almost caught him by the end but I couldn't. So impressive....

  25. Wooohoooo! Congrats on the PR and I like all of the photos :)

  26. Sounds like a pretty dang good PR to me! PR'ing by minutes is a tough tough thing to do when you always race to your limits. Wow... 1:50 is awesome! Congrats!

    Besides... that just means there's another chance to go for another PR!

  27. Yay, finally had the chance to read this. So proud of you. I know you didn't officially break 1:50 but that's pretty darn close!

  28. Awesome race!! I think the Garmin time totally counts!! :) I hope I can find you on Marathon Monday!! I took the day off this year because I haven't been able to watch the marathon for 3-4 years :( Unacceptable!

  29. Woohoo, congrats on your PR!! Amazing last mile time too!

  30. That's an amazing time! Congrats on the PR!

  31. What a great marathon race, Congratulations for a great job well done and looking forward always for more successful race to come. I love those pics and it was a nice race too.