Just after mile 6, running on Jackson I passed by my office. I waved and shouted, “see you in a week! I’m on vacation!” I smiled, pressed on and thought, now THIS is how you start a vacation! I wasn’t sure where to start this recap, so I jumped in the middle of the race for a second.
I was anxious about this race, not so much because of the distance. This was my sixth half marathon, I enjoy the distance. It wasn’t the weather, it looked good from last weekend on. It was mostly because my race week was insane; a work golf outing on Monday, a trip to Tampa for work for three days and a fundraising benefit with a little drama. I did my best to go with the flow and relax as much as possible. Friday I went to the expo and caught a movie. Saturday we packed for vacation and ran a couple of errands before I headed to a fundraising benefit for my niece.
I got decent sleep, 6-1/2 hours, for a night before a race. I woke up at 3:45am and read a little. I was nervous and my stomach wasn’t too happy. But who is happy at 3:45 in the morning? That’s right, no one. If they say they are, they’re lying.
I made it down to the start by 5:10am. I hit a porta-john for more stomach issues. Yay, fun times!
I met up with a fellow Run with Heart team member, Danielle and her husband. Danielle and I talked about starting together. She said my race plan made her nervous and would try to keep up. We checked our gear and made our way to the corrals. We pulled a “Wallach” and got into corral 15, my corral. Danielle was supposed to be in 20.
The gun went off and I as I did my systems check I noted I wasn’t nervous. I was focused, I WAS ready. Coach Jen was right!
My goal for the start was to not go out too fast. We hit the tunnel on Columbus and I held my breath. We emerged and my Forerunner 110 was out of whack but not by much. We were a bit fast…just under and 11:00 pace. Not bad, we slowed a little for mile two and I clocked it at 11:10ish. I felt settled and kicked it up to an 11:00 pace, what Coach Jen and I talked about. In the city, miles 1-4, my GPS signal was spotty the pacing was spot on, 11:00 miles! Despite the quick start I felt good. A few times I got caught up with the crowd or with a band. Pulling back seemed easier too. Stick to the plan! Stick to the plan!
On Michigan Avenue I started to feel it a bit more…so I talked more. I talked to Danielle, who was hanging tough. To the mile markers, to myself; I even said “hi” to the alley from the marathon. Hitting mile 10 was huge! I felt a second wind. I glanced at the time, and felt like a PR was within reach!
Making the turn for the finish we knocked out mile 10 and made our way to 11. David (@DP_Turtle) was an on course coach for DetermiNATION and told us he would be on the course near 11. I caught a glimpse of him, and seeing him was a big boost. He shot a quick video as I passed. You can go watch it here, as I can’t seem to get it to embed correctly.
Around mile 12, I went into Dave Wallach mode, cheerleader extraordinaire! I pushed the pace, yelled shouted and had fun! I was hurting but was having a blast! Danielle was hanging tough only a few steps behind. As we passed Soldier Field I turned to holler. She told me to go…that she’d be right behind me. So I went.
I misjudged the finish. As I got to Roosevelt, I spaced. See I assumed the finish was the same as the marathon, so I broke into a sprint and went for it. Great idea, only when I looked up, where I thought the finish was and saw it was, in fact, further down…by a lot. Oh shit, I’m going to puke. Don’t stop! Don’t stop! Move your ass, Dan!
I had to hang on and fight puking. As I got close to the finish I smiled and threw my arms out wide, big arms, Ryan Hall style! I pumped my fist and shouted as I stepped on the line! I did it…a shiny, new PR!
I was pumped! I pulled to the side just past the finish to wait for Danielle and saw her husband screaming for me! We high fived and waited! Danielle hit the finish smiling, arms raised in victory, less than a minute behind me!
We walked the finisher chute and I couldn’t stop smiling! After downing some water, a banana, a popsicle and more water I retrieved my gear before walking to the twitter/ daily mile tweet up! I got to meet some folks I’ve known online for a while and see some folks I haven’t seen in a while.
While the weather was awesome for the race, standing there after said race was cold…really cold. Some of us cut the visit a little short and left. I walked back towards my office, giving the building another wave and called Pam. Time for vacation! Woot!
I’m stoked with my time! I will admit, after the last 2 half marathons I was honestly starting to think I’d never beat my old PR. And I admit I was starting to think I had my PR because I had Dave running with me. I was discounting my hard work. Yesterday was a HUGE confidence boost. I proved to myself I can run on my own, and I can push myself (and others).
I tried to keep the advice from Dave and Steve (and others) in mind, go out and have fun…the rest will take care of itself. I doubted that for a while, thinking you couldn’t have fun AND run well. I wear my heart on my sleeve, I’m emotional. Tapping into that is OK; I don’t know when that clicked but for me it works. So yesterday, I did…I had an effing blast! I don’t think I’ve had this much fun in a race.
I proved a lot to myself. My face is sore this morning from smiling so much. I finally took my finisher medal off before bed. Yes, I wore it up on the drive to Door County.
Looking back, I ran well. Was it perfect? No. I ran strong. Coach Jen was right, she got me ready and helped me get ready mentally too. I’m going to enjoy this one for a while!
The lesson I learned and will share. Don’t let anyone tell you what you can or can’t do…including you. Don’t put limits on yourself. Set goals, chase them down and don’t stop until you accomplish them!