Monday, April 15, 2013

More/Fitness Half Marathon race report.

So, on Friday, I wrote this about the race:

"Whatever happens, as long as I run a smart race for the day and the situation, I'll be pleased."

I wasn't lying. And, fortunately, I ended up pretty pleased with my race.

But let me backup before I get to the finish.

The More/Fitness Half Marathon is an all-women race that takes place in Central Park in Manhattan. I traveled with my good friends Bridget and Elisa down to NYC  on Saturday morning. We spent the day walking around the city, eating, going to the Expo, eating, people watching, taking in the sights, and eating some more. Really, we did a lot of eating.

Bridget, Elisa and me

After a pretty rotten night's sleep (as is to be expected the night before a race!) we woke up at 6:00 to get ready for the race. 

We walked up to the start and met up with some of our fellow Strong Running Mamas and, of course, snapped a quick pic:

Go, Strong Running Mamas!

Soon enough it was time to start the race. I had a plan, as I'd outlined on Friday. Run a smart race. Pace myself. Shoot for 1:55 or better. 

I tried. I felt so good as the race started and I knew that there were some big hills so I tried my best to keep my pace under control. I think I did a pretty good job:

Mile 1: 8:16
Mile 2: 8:04
Mile 3: 7:43 

I had told myself not to run under 8:00 pace and, actually, I wanted to be closer to 8:30 for those early miles so I didn't quite stick to the plan. But, that happens, right?

Anyway, around mile 3.5 is the biggest hill of the race and, yes, it is big. And long. However, I run hills all the time so it didn't seem nearly as bad as everyone said it would be. It was followed by a nice downhill and then a few additional hills before the course brought us through the start line again for the second loop.

Mile 4: 8:04
Mile 5: 8:42 (grabbed some water to add to my bottle)
Mile 6: 7:49 

At the halfway mark I was still feeling good, although I was getting pretty warm because I'd dressed in a long sleeve top and it was getting sunnier and sunnier. 

My original plan was to run conservatively over the first half of the course so I wouldn't burn out and fall off pace for the second half. I didn't run quite as conservatively as I'd planned, but I did keep things under control so, fortunately, I held my pace fairly well as we made our way through the second loop.

Mile 7: 8:16
Mile 8: 8:22
Mile 9: 7:53
Mile 10: 8:19

After going through the 10-mile mark, I felt like I was guaranteed a sub 1:55 finish (which was my A goal).   All I had to do was run 10-minute miles for the last 3.1 and I'd have it. 

No problem!

Except . . . well, I'd had a stomach cramp for pretty much the whole race. It wasn't that bad and I'd been able to ignore it. Until right around mile 10. That cramp kicked-in big time and I knew I had to figure out a way to ignore it so I wouldn't let myself slow down. I needed to keep going, keep up the pace, finish strong.

Cramp, be damned!

Mile 11: 8:34
Mile 12: 8:05 
Mile 13: 8:17

I was holding on. As we turned toward the finish line at mile 13, I saw that I was running right behind Mika Brzezinski, the Morning Joe co-host, who was co-hosting the race (with Allison Sweeney from The Biggest Loser). Everyone was cheering for her and I let all the cheers carry me through. 

(I ended up finishing 20-seconds in front of Mika and about 10 minutes in front of Allison. How cool!)

Last .32 miles: 7:33 pace
(my Garmin registered 13.32 miles so I did a little extra zigzagging out on the course . . . oh, well!)

More/Fitness Half Marathon, done! And done well. 

I crossed the finish line with a smile on my face, knowing that I'd run well and was feeling great. Sure, I'd pushed myself but I didn't feel spent. All that and I finished less than two minutes slower than my PR -- on a hillier, more crowded course.

I couldn't be happier about the race!

Here are my stats:

Official time: 1:48:46 (8:19 pace)

Overall place: 575 out of 7,550
Age group place: 56 out of 1,096

I met back up with Bridget and Elisa -- both of whom ran strong and enjoyed the race as well -- and we walked back to the hotel. We were slightly ridiculous in our back-patting but we felt pretty proud of ourselves and enjoyed basking in our accomplishment. After cleaning up, and doing a little more patting ourselves on the back, we headed home.

It was a super weekend! Great race, great friends. I'm already thinking about planning a race weekend away for next spring! Why not, right? Right!

Thanks for reading -- and for the good luck wishes before this race! 

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