In less than 2 weeks, I am running my first race of the year…a half marathon!
Prepping for this race really got me thinking about my Half Marathon History. Usually I start my race season with a smaller run, but this year I am diving right in to a longer one. I haven’t run a race since the Marathon last October and haven’t run a half marathon since 2009. I am starting to feel a little nervous. Seems silly…I have run numerous races in the past and after running a full marathon, you’d think a half marathon would feel simple. Yet, surprisingly this race seems like a challenge. Maybe it is because I decided to set the goal of running a half marathon PR (personal record) this year (under 1:50:00), and this is my first chance. Here is a little history on how I got to this point…
I ran my first half marathon in 2006. I had a blast and my friend and I finished in just over 2 hours.
It was such a positive experience (and I had a wonderful coach) that I was ready to sign up for my next race before I crossed the finish line. Unfortunately, a broken toe sidelined me from the 2007 St. Jude Half Marathon, and I was cheering on the sidelines instead of running. In early 2008, I was diagnosed with a blood clot in my leg and PE’s. One day, I will entertain you with stories from a Memphis hospital.
I had to take 6 months of Coumadin (a blood thinner), and during this time, my hematologist recommended that I stop running. It was a total bummer, but I was seriously determined to run the St. Jude half marathon in December 2008. I wanted to honor my patients and prove to myself that I was healed and recovered. A close friend of mine flew down to run with me and we layered up for this uncharacteristically cold day.
The race was fun and more emotional than I had expected. I crossed the finish line with tears in my eyes in 1:50:24. It was such an amazing way to finish a rollercoaster year and a race that I will never forget.
When I moved back to Chicago, I was excited to run a hometown race. I signed up for the Chicago Half Marathon in the fall of 2009, but sadly hurt my back over the summer. This is where I discovered cross training. I was attending a weekly spin class at the gym where we followed the Lance Armstrong training program. Despite not running as much as I wanted, I was in great cardiovascular shape. It was fun to be back home and have a great support system cheering us on!
I decided to run a smart race with my goal being to run the race pain free. I had a blast, despite the heat and was surprised when I finished in 1:51:52, not too far behind my PR.
I took 2010 off from long races and focused on triathlons. Last year’s big goal was the marathon, during which my half marathon time was 1:54:34. I was impressed with my time and this is what actually motivated me to try for a PR this year.
So far this year my race training has been inconsistent. I took a week off from working out in March due to a busy schedule and fatigue. However, I have gotten in some nice long hilly runs (10 miles this past weekend). During the week, I have been doing some mid distance runs, some faster and some slower. I have not been doing any specific speed training or tempo runs and I have gone back and forth between thinking a PR this spring is a reality. I have had a lot of doubt about my goal race pace (8:30 minute/miles), however, this morning, I was able to finally kick in some speed running 6 miles in under 49 minutes.
This was just the confidence boost that I needed 2 weeks before my race. Rumor has it, that this is a flat course and I am feeling healthy. A little pre-race pasta, and I think I may have a PR in me on May 6th. Either way, I know that I will have a lot of fun adding another half marathon to my growing list!!!
Have you ever run a half marathon?
What is your PR? Any last minute training advice?