23 September 2011

You Go Girl Half Marathon Recap

Waiting for the race to start!
Last Sunday I ran the You Go Girl Half Marathon- the first of my 3 half marathons in 13 days!  I ran it last year as well, so this is the second "repeat" race for me where I can really see my progress as a runner.  I headed down to the expo on Friday around noon with Alyssa (who was also running) and picked up my race packet and a pair of sparkle heart arm sleeves from the running skirts booth.  I am glad I chose not to wear them for the actual race though because #1- I would have been too warm and #2- people would have thought I was a pacer since they were all decked out in sparkle heart skirts and sleeves!  I will probably wear them in one of the other races coming up very soon though.
Trying on my outfit the night before the race.  Oh, and my new haircut :)
The morning of the race I woke up around 6am or so and it was raining pretty hard.  I know, shocking right?  It has rained in about 75% of my races, including the You Go Girl last year!  It doesn't really bother me, and as long as it isn't also freezing cold outside it usually feels pretty good once we start running.  Anyways, I got myself ready and chose to wear my black Skirtsports skirt, a blue shirt with pink script that says "dedicated", hot pink socks, my running hat and my Kinvara 2's on my feet.  I attempted to eat a pb&j sandwich and tried to calm my nerves.  Will, the kids and I headed out the door around 7:20 or so- I wanted to get down there with plenty of time to spare! 
Attempting to eat my pb&j
Soon we found Alyssa and Paul and watched as more and more ladies arrived to the starting area.  Will works in the building right by the starting line so we were lucky to be able to go in and use the real bathrooms (without a line) and wait where it was nice and dry!  Soon enough it was time to head out the door and find our place in line.  I was secretly hoping to get a sub-2 on this course even though I had only started my Run Less Run Faster training about 6 weeks ago.  It was familiar territory and I knew if I dug deep I had it in me to finish under 2 hours.  But at the same time, I knew I had 2 more half marathons to run very soon so I did not want to push myself to injury. 
See me?  About 5 people to the right of the sign that says 2:00! 
Behind the lady in the bright yellow shirt.
We hopped into the crowd near the 2 hour pacer and just in front of us and to my right was Mel- Tall Mom, Kim- (Just) Trying is for Little Girls, and Kerrie- Mom vs Marathon so I squeezed through and was able to say hi really quick.  I knew that Mel and Kim were shooting to come in just under 2 hours and Kerrie was GOING to get her first ever sub-2 so I was hoping to keep these ladies in my sights for most of the race.  Soon the gun sounded and we were off and running! 

Waving to Will, up above us
About 2 minutes later I suddenly felt my ipod swinging freely from my pocket where I ALWAYS clip it!  This never happens, I must have yanked on it or something.  I grabbed it, hooked it back on (or thought I did) and tried to keep up with the pace for fear of being run over!  Then I heard it- my ipod shuffle disconnected from my headphones and had fallen on the ground.  I turned around to look for it and must have had a look of terror on my face- there was no way in the world I was going to find it in the sea of women running at me.  Then this lady right behind me put her hand out and gave me my ipod- she had seen it fall and picked it up for me.  I was shocked- if I could have hugged her I would have!  So then I had the task of reconnecting my ipod and earbuds all while maintaining my 8:47 pace- what a mess!

Once I was put back together again I put my focus back on running.  I had intended to do a quick warm up but had decided to skip it- I tend to take a couple of miles to warm up and was hoping to have a fast enough first mile (they are typically around 10 mins or so).  I think it helped it was slightly downhill because my first mile was plenty fast!

Mile 1- 8:47:  Slightly downhill, ipod went flying, passed Mel and Kim (yikes!) and felt great
Mile 2- 8:51:  Saw Kerrie, Mel and Kim at the turnaround, headed back towards Wright Park
Mile 3- 9:27:  Up, up, up the hill to Wright Park, really thirsty- happy for the first water stop!
Mile 4- 9:37:  Recover from the hill, around the familiar and muddy track, wave to my family.

Getting muddy at Wright Park!
After seeing my pace for miles 3 and 4 I knew I needed to step it up a bit, but I also knew the course was going to be much flatter so I wasn't too worried.  I had been meaning to practice taking gels while running during my training but I figure if I can hook up my ipod while running certainly I can take a gel without breaking stride right?  Once we reached Dock Street I pulled my Espresso Gu out and popped it open.  I managed to take it little by little while we ran, the only problem was there wasn't any water stations near to chase it down!  Runner fail.  At least I like the flavor of espresso!  We passed to 10K turnoff and kept going up the slight hill towards the waterfront.  I liked running on Dock Street- it was like my feet knew they were supposed to be running fast since I have been doing all my tempo runs down there!

Mile 5- 8:59:  Leaving downtown, past the spot my BFF was last year, took gel on Dock Street
Mile 6- 9:07:  Realized we were halfway done, playing leap frog with Mel and Kim
Mile 7- 8:52:  Wave to family again, head down the lovely and flat waterfront
Mile 8- 9:31:  Super thirsty, stop to drink entire cup of gatorade

Heading towards the waterfront.  Mel and Kim are behind us (Mel is eating a chomp heehee)
As we are running down the waterfront we can see the faster runners heading back at us which is fun.  I cheered on the leaders as they passed and kept an eye out for speedy Kerrie- I had not seen her since the turn around in the first couple of miles!  I finally spotted her and cheered her on, she looked happy and like she had energy to spare!  I knew she was doing great, and I was taking comfort in the fact that I was still just ahead of Mel and Kim.  I was also surprised Alyssa was still right by my side, but it was nice to have some company!  At this point I knew there was a real possibility I could finish under the 2 hour mark if I kept my pace up.  I decided to take my second gel around mile 9 or 10, this time I knew there was a water station just ahead to wash it down though!  I ripped the top off of a tangerine powergel and it didn't open.  I tried just squeezing really hard, hoping it would open up in my mouth but no such luck.  What the heck to do now??  I ended up using my teeth to get the edge open and luckily was able to get some fuel in me!  I immediately felt a bit nauseous after taking it, but about 5 minutes later it settled and I felt much better. 

Mile 11 something.  Time to step up my game!
As we hit mile 11 I was doing some quick math in my head and realized just how close I was going to be to the 2 hour mark.  Also at that time Mel and Kim were ahead of us and then I saw Mel pull away from Kim and push ahead.  I knew I would need to also pick up the pace- I had about 17 minutes to run just under 2 miles and I knew that last mile had a couple of decent hills to conquer.  I saw Will and the kids again and told them they better hurry if they wanted to see me finish- I WAS going to be done in the next 17 minutes!  I pushed my tiredness aside and pulled out every last drop of energy I could find to pick up my pace. 

I looked at my arms where I had put some tattoo's for decoration and found what I needed there- the simple word RUN.  That was what I was here to do, what I had put so much time and focus on for the last year and a half.  I COULD do this, and I WOULD do this.  Cynthia had asked me to run a fast mile for her so I decided that mile 13 would be for my dear runner friend.  I willed my legs to turn over and pulled in front of Alyssa, then passed Kim - I could just barely see Mel up ahead of me so I did my best to chase her down.  That last hill was a killer but I just kept my feet moving until I finally reached the top.  As I rounded the corner and headed down to the finish I saw Paul on the overpass and did a quick pose for a photo (thanks!) and rounded the corner.  I still wasn't 100% sure I had made it in time so I was waiting for a glimpse of the clock.  As soon as I saw it I was so happy- it said 1:59:10 or so and I just sprinted over that finish line!  I did it!  And right behind me came Alyssa, she also finished under 2 hours!  My official time was 1:58:55 for an average pace of 9:05.  Happy is an understatement!

Mile 9- 8:54:  Cheering on faster runners, the turnaround was a relief!
Mile 10- 9:42:  Took my second gel, drank a full cup of gatorade, Mel and Kim passed us
Mile 11- 9:10:  Need to pick up the pace, passed Will and the kids- told them to hurry!
Mile 12- 9:13:  Tired, ready to quit- finding my determination in my arm tattoos!
Mile 13- 8:34:  Knew I needed to give it my all, my mile for Cynthia was the speediest!

I survived going up the final hill- now to finish this race off!  Hi Paul (thanks for the photo!)
Paul captured me crossing the finish line from up above!
Me and my running buddy Alyssa- DONE!  Both under 2 hours!
After the race we wandered around a bit chatting with friends and other runners.  I felt great overall, nothing was hurting which I was thankful for!  Alyssa ended up placing 3rd in her age group which was cool!  I placed 24/100 in my age group and my time was 25 seconds faster, go figure haha!  This race is a definite must for my calendar next year!  Oh, and about last year- my time was 2:14:53 so I shaved 16 MINUTES off of my time!  Wow.  Although last year I did have a pulled quad so I was happy to be able to just finish last year.   
Happy runner girl!  See my RUN tattoo? 
My first sub-2 half marathon completed!


  1. Way to go on that sub 2! I wish I could have kept up with you, haha. Next year...

  2. Great run !! I loved it. You kept me at that pace the whole time!! And I'm glad you did othe wise I wouldn't have done it under 2 hrs!! And placed 3rd in my age group. Thanks for the motivation!! I will be looking forward to
    This race and more with you! :)
    Good luck on your next 2!

  3. You totally rocked this race!!! I knew you could do it!
    Love the outfit and the pictures from above.
    I love that my mile was the fastest :)
    Miss running with you!

  4. Wow great job with two half marathons in 7 days! That is awesome! Love your tattoos!