So, this recap is a little late since I’m still getting going with this whole blogging thing!
A few months ago, my good friend from college reached out to see if I’d like to run a half with her. She lives in Philadelphia and I’m Boston based. We started running at the same time, and chat about running every time we have a chance to catch up, but we’d never actually raced together. Even thought I already had plans to run the Ipswitch Ale Half Marathon at the end of April, I agreed to fly on down to the Philly area to run the Delaware Running Festival Half Marathon with my friend.
My friend and I had to wake up ridiculously early- 4:30am for me- to get to the starting line by 7am. Even when my races start very early in the morning, I always wake up a solid 2-3 hours before hand to get my body going. I like to have my coffee, stretch, eat something, and hydrate before I head out the door.
I had 2 cups of coffee, some oatmeal and a banana for breakfast, and skipped the peanut butter. I also chugged an electrolyte water that I’d picked up at Whole Foods the day before. I stretched a little, foam-rolled my sore calf, and KT taped it before pulling a compression sleeve over it. I’d tried this method out during training, and I’ve got to say my calf didn’t bother me once during the race.
At the starting line, my friend dropped my phone and the screen shattered so, so epically. This is a tradition for me; I also busted the screen of m phone at the starting line of my marathon, so I took it as a good luck sign and used my apple watch to control my music during the race. The only downside (besides having to buy a new phone) was that the only pictures I have from the race are the official ones they sent me. Luckily the official photos at this race were free to download! Wahoo!
My friend is a little faster than me, and we made a deal that I’d try to keep up, but no hard feelings if we had to separate. In my experience, this is the way to do it. I’ve run races with friends who are slower than I am, and it’s been torture for all of us involved. We took off after the start and held about an 8:48pace for the first 1-4 miles. This felt quick but comfortable, and I was having fun the whole time.
We grabbed some gatorade around Mile 4, and took a bathroom stop at some un-crowded portas at mile 6. THIS WAS KEY. If you’re running and you’ve got to go, YOU SHOULD GO. It’ll slow you down in the long run and really psych you out if you’re running with an over-full bladder.
There were a series of challenging hills in a local park between miles 6-8 that gave me a run for my money. Luckily, the temperature was a perfect 60-ish degrees and the paths we were running on were well shaded.
I usually take a gel between miles 8-10, but lately my stomach hasn’t been feeling up to it during my races. I grabbed the cups of gatorade at every hydration station to give my body a little carb, and felt pretty strong throughout.
Miles 8-11 were the most exposed to sunlight, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t feeling it. We ran through residential neighborhoods and then through business-lined, city streets in Wilmington, Delaware. My frined started to get ahead of me a little bit; she’s a finisher, and I’d been warned. I kept a little over a nine minute pace and pushed myself to stay on track.
The final mile went up and back down one of the bigger hills of the race. Or maybe it just felt bigger. We were well within the city of Wilmington at this point, easing back towards the riverfront. There weren’t many trees, and the sun was getting warmer and warmer.
I went into this half open minded, because I’d put SO much pressure on myself at my previous race that it had been borderline devastational when I’d missed my goal time. So when I got within eyeshot of the finish line, I saw that the clock said 1:58, it was a little bit of a surprise. After all the misery from the Ipswitch Half, after all the work I’d done to get a sub-2, I’d finally gotten the time I wanted…on Half Marathon #11.
Progress is slow, folks.
I sprinted through that finish, and was so, so happy. I proceeded to consume all the post-race snacks I could grab. My final time was 1:58:07; a PR!