Half Marathon #45
South Carolina Half Marathon #32
2018 Race #2
2018 Half Marathon #1
Hilton Head Island Half Marathon #7 (8th consecutive time running)
Today turned out to not be my day on the race course. In the end though, I am still proud of the effort i put out and learned a couple things or at least figured out what I need to figure out.
Although I wrote out a training plan with a PR goal in mind, life got in the way as it continues to do. (That’s one of the things I need to figure out.) I thought about changing that goal to a second fastest half marathon time but wondered whether I should go for a faster time or just settle in and run with Mom, try to pace her to a PR. Then…she got struck with a nasty respiratory bug that wiped her out for at least 6 days, letting up somewhat only a day before we headed down. She hated to not run but she couldn’t. I switched back to a 1:45 goal and decided to run with the pacer.
This morning dawned bright and … humid. When I walked over to the breakfast area of the hotel and didn’t need my jacket, I knew today would be difficult on the course. I do not run well in the heat and especially the humidity. Plus, I have not been training in this sort of weather.
I chose to run with the pacer and hope for the best.
I lined up right next to the 1:45 pacer and planned to not look at my Garmin for the majority of the race. (I met this goal at least.)
I really enjoyed the pacer. She, and her husband, chatted engagingly and made the miles pass quickly. I thought for a couple miles that I would be able make this happen. The clouds started to burn off just as we got out into the open on the Cross Island Parkway. I could feel the heat and humidity starting to get to me and in mile 4 I started to feel fatigue, lactic acid build up in my legs. I knew that I would not be able to maintain this pace for the remainder of the race.
Without intending to, I started to drop back, slowly drifting behind the pacer.
Mile 1: 7:38
Mile 2: 7:53
Mile 3: 7:46
Mile 4: 8:03
The negative thoughts started to infiltrate my mind but not in distinct thoughts, only a overall mindset.
Somewhere in mile 5 my pace slowed and I wanted to walk. I tried to get myself to keep running but I couldn’t. Immediately after I slowed to a walk two women passed me. That was all it took. I adjusted my shorts and started running again. I told myself that I needed to run my race and focus on running the pace I needed to run to get through the race without feeling like death warmed over.
Mile 5: 8:25
My least favorite part is the 1.5-2 mile stretch between Jarvis Creek Park and the bridge. It’s long, flat and somehow feels so much harder. Just before we got to the bridge however, a spectator stood on the side of the road holding a sign that said “Run Your Race.” I smiled; that sign confirmed my decision to back off and run a smart race.
Shortly after I fell off the pace group I switched the screen on my Garmin to the (blank) heart rate screen. I hadn’t looked at it while running with the pace group and barely looked at it for the rest of the race.
Mile 6: 8:38
I felt fine on the long side of the bridge even though the uphill felt longer than before. I loved the fact that I felt strong less than 20 minutes after feeling like I needed to walk.
I settled in and focused on running my pace. Barely halfway through, I was completely soaked in sweat, in early February. I knew I might be able to hang on to a sub 1:50 but as soon as I thought of that, I pushed it aside and reminded myself to concentrate on simply running my race, running a strong, consistent effort that would get me to the finish line in a reasonable time.
I didn’t even mind the usually obnoxious weaving back and forth through a parking lot to add mileage and the short “trail” section of the race. (I have commented before on the lack of imagination with this “update” to the course back in 2015.)
I wasn’t a fan of the massive headwind on the “back section” of the course, the section that comes right after the “trail” portion and just before the turn around. I appreciated that it
Just before I reached the turn around, I decided that that high humidity necessitated walking through the water stops and double cupping hydration on top of what I carried with me.
Mile 7: 8:48
Mile 8: 8:46
My pace did not really increase but I started to feel mentally stronger, this increase in mental strength was a welcome relief and was partially aided by the fact that instead of getting passed by people as I slowed down, I started passing people. Granted, most of them were marathoners with a whole lot of miles left, but still I’ll take the psychological boost.
When I got within the last 2.5 miles there was a point where just after we crossed a street we had to head back to the right side of the road, the side marked off by the cones. At first I did not realize that I needed to get over to the right; the volunteers neglected to tell me that when I passed them, clearly running on the left side of the road. As I looked up and saw the cones I turned and started back over to the right. Just at that time, the volunteers must have looked back and seen where I was on the course. They yelled at me, not nicely, to get over to the right. It upset me because clearly if they had paid attention I would not have been running on the left to start with and because they would have seen that I was heading to the right. I yelled back, not nicely, “I am!” This gave me a brief energy boost which wore off quickly because now came the bridge again.
Although the back half of the bridge ascends much sharper than the front side, it still felt long. I powered up and enjoyed the long, gently sloping decline and settled in for the two miles after the bridge that feel like 12.
I did not have much left when I made the turn back into Jarvis Creek Park but I tried to pick it up as much as I could. I came around the far side of the pond and could hear Ellis yell my name and say something about picking up the pace. Always encouraging. 😉
When I came around the final turn and headed toward the finish line I could see Mom, Ellis and Emily. (Ryan ran the half too. His first!) After a great big smile (and lots of hip collapse as evidenced in these pictures) I finished the race fairly strong.
Mile 9: 8:38
Mile 10: 8:51
Mile 11: 8:43
Mile 12: 8:54
Mile 13: 8:29
Immediately after I finished I headed straight for the Gatorade and refilled my water bottle.
For everything that went into the race today, the weather, the fact that I had a little bit of a cold for the past couple days (but didn’t feel anything today), I think I did alright. In a latter post, I will write about the things that I have learned and possible ideas at breaking through this plateau.
I did not plan to stay for the awards, figuring that my slower time had put me out of contention. Instead we walked back to the hotel where I cleaned up, packed up, and checked the results just in case. I placed 2nd in my age group!
We had just enough time to walk back to Jarvis Creek Park for the awards ceremony where I got to hear the race director mispronounce my name, again, and pick up an extra medal. I will always take extra bling.
Overall, a good effort to kick off my 2018 half marathon efforts.