I decided to go “real crazy” with Saturday’s half marathon.
Not only did I not use my Garmin, I did not even time the race. I did not even glance at my watch for the time for the entire duration of the 13.1 miles!
As we drove to the race start, I told Joanna of this plan. She one-uped me by saying she wasn’t even wearing a watch. She forgot to put it on. That’s how serious we were about this race. I was filling in for a friend who moved away. She didn’t do as much running over the holidays as she had hoped for. Our longest run prior to this race had been a slow 50 minutes.
As we continued driving I felt good in my “goal” of not timing the race. We decided to run together and just go by how we feel. If we feel great, we’ll pick up the pace. If we’re struggling, well, we will slow down. We didn’t want to all-out push ourselves to the point where we wouldn’t be able to enjoy the rest of the day and weekend. We didn’t want to be a slave to the couch after this race.
And, we weren’t. The race was along a flat out-and-back paved trail. It was only open to 700 participants, so a small race. Joanna and I chatted for most of the race. Despite being roommates, we don’t see each other on a daily basis so it was a nice time to catch up. It was very muggy and we were sweating profusely from the very beginning. Other than that, we felt comfortable with our running. At mile 5 or so we stopped to use the portapotty to pee. At two water stations we walked while we drank water — which would normally be unheard of when racing half marathons for us!
I felt great until about the last three miles. At that point I said something along the lines of, “Yeah, I’d be good if we were done now.” I had a horrendous side ache, which is a rare racing occurrence for me so we had significantly slowed down our pace. (Obviously I can’t tell you by how much we slowed down because I wasn’t timing the race. I know we slowed down because I felt it).
With a mile to the finish, we approach a group of about four runners. Joanna was feeling stronger than I was so she started her kick and passed the group. I followed her lead and passed the group but couldn’t kick it in any faster. I could see her up ahead passing even more runners that in my opinion, were too far for me to catch. With a few meters to the finish line, I heard my watch beep — it beeps on the hour — so I knew that I was right around two hours of running since the race started at 9 a.m. I sprinted to the finish and as soon as I crossed the line, I stopped and pressed the button on my watch to presumably stop the timer. I guess it’s a reflex that will never go away.
I was not gasping for air like I normally do when I finish races. I didn’t have my hands on my knees like I usually do. I felt great. I walked over to Joanna and asked her what her time was. She clocked in just under 2 hours. My final time was 2 hours and 15 seconds. And, I’m satisfied with that. Yes, I it was about 15 minutes slower than my PR but this race wasn’t about racing. It was about doing a long run in a race while having fun. We averaged about 9-minute pace, which is what I need to run at Eugene Marathon if I’m going to break four hours.
I feel I’m at a good baseline. We got cupcakes at the finish. I roller skated the night away that evening. (More about this in another post!) And, despite the race being called the Rain Run, it did not rain at all!
The icing on the (cup)cake was that I wasn’t even sore the next day. That was a welcomed surprise for my 19th half marathon!