I did it.
Honestly, deep in my heart I always knew I could...but my brain kept telling me that there was no way I was prepared enough.
Well, Sunday I learned what can happen when you don't train for a half. What, you say? I had the race of my life. Not only did I have a blast running with my Dad, I PR'd by 13 minutes. What?! How!? I seriously don't even know. Here's how the race went.
I woke up Sunday morning and fed Little M, got her changed and ready, then had some breakfast (GF toast with PB and bananas in my go-to race breakfast!) and got ready to run. I live about a mile from the start line so it was a quick trip over there. The sun was finally shining after 3 days of rain and snow, but it was chilly and pretty windy. We found a short line for a port-a-potty. The guy behind me was talking about how we had 7 miles up hill against the wind ahead of us. Fun! I say "bring it"! We started walking to the start line.
The crazy thing about this race route is that it actually starts halfway up a hill. I was out of breath walking to the start line, and started to get a little nervous. They didn't have a gun start and the race was chip timed so when we got to the starting line is was go time! Our first mile was the slowest, with 2 of the biggest hills right at the beginning.
The views from the course along the Horsetooth Reservoir were absolutely amazing. I don't care how many times I go up there, it always makes me love Fort Collins even more. What made the views even cooler were the lines of neon runners up ahead of us on the course. The wind was pretty strong while running north, and I tried to not hate it too much. My dad said I needed a shirt that says "Embrace the Wind", maybe I do!
While I posted my goals on last week's post...I had one secret goal that I was too scared to share. "No Walking". With the lack of long runs under my belt, I didn't want to let myself down by walking...but I really didn't want to. When we got the first few hills finished without walking I was really feeling like I could make this goal.
Around mile 8, my mom, brother and Little M were there to cheer us on! It was where we came down the last big hill and were headed onto the flat Poudre Trail to the finish. It was so fun to have them on the course cheering us on! Makena got lots of air kisses!
I didn't think I'd ever say this but the flat trail was harder than the hills. I love the mini bouts of satisfaction you have when you summit each hill. While I actually kind of wanted more hills, the trail was nice too. I hadn't run there for a really long time and it's beautiful! My stomach got a little iffy here and there in the second half of the race but it didn't really slow me down, I just decided to not have any other snacks! I just had a few fruit snacks around mile 5.
Around mile 10, I realized my "God-Sized Goal" was within reach! I was feeling strong and with just 5K to go, I was super positive.
The last mile was the hardest. Not only did we pick up the pace, I started getting choked up about this whole race thing. I hadn't really realized how much finishing meant to me. I was so proud of my 9 month post-partum performance, so blessed to be running with my Dad and just overwhelmed with happiness. Having a lump in your throat doesn't make breathing easier, let me tell you.
The finish line stretch was great. My family was there again to cheer us on, New Belgium Brewery was filled with people clapping and cheering, and we made a big final push to the finish line. We finished in 2:11...13 minutes faster than my previous half marathon PR - 3 years ago in Nashville. Seconds after crossing the finish line, my dad and I shared the biggest sweaty hug. It was pretty much the best.
So as far as my goals went...
1. Finish the race - CHECK
2. Have fun - CHECK!
3. Beat 2:30 - CHECK!
4. The God Sized Time Goal of 2:15 - BLEW IT AWAY!
5. The Secret Goal of not walking - CHECK!
Now, I'm not promoting not training for your next race. Who knows how much better I would have done if I had done more training!? But I do think that the fact that my body was fully recovered from being sick, and not fatigued from high mileage weeks really helped me. It all goes to show you that if you want something bad enough, no excuse can keep you from it!
We celebrated our finish with a delicious and giant breakfast at The Pancake House. I had to load up on gluten free pancakes AND eggs AND bacon. And coffee of course! I spent the rest of the day wearing my awesome neon pink race shirt and trying to limit the number of times I went down the stairs. If you want to know what EVERY SINGLE MUSLCE AND JOINT in your lower body feels like, run a half marathon without training. Yeah. I'm hurting a bit.
So what's next? I'm not completely sure. I don't think I'll be doing another half til later this Fall, but I'm hoping to get some great runs in while I'm still here in Colorado for a few more weeks. That is, when I can move my legs again! I think I have a few days of yoga, walking and light running ahead of me!
how about you?
What's your best racing memory?
Have you ever run a race without training? How did it go?
It's great to see you! I'm Alyssa and I blog about all the things I've found "essential" in my life as a fit mama and football coach's wife. You'll find all kinds of fun stuff here like workouts, oily info, football stories and more!
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I am not a licensed medical professional. All views expressed on this website are based on my own personal research and experiences. Please consult your doctor with any medical issues before beginning a training program.
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