On Saturday, I ran one of my favorite half marathons in the state... the Tom King Half Marathon.
I've run this one quite a few times, and it's known for having terrifically crappy weather. This year we got lucky. It was in the 60s with a breeze, and there wasn't a cloud in the sky.
I met up with some of my favorite runners and got checked in, and I was excited to wear my new East Nasty top. (Melissa, Liz, me, Matt, and Erin)
I was also excited to see one of the guys from my last job and his wife. I love these two, and I don't get to see them often enough!
I was feeling pretty good, but I still wasn't sure what I was capable of for the day. My plan was to start out by taking it easy and assess as the miles went by whether or not I could pick it up.
Matt and I started out together, and we found that was easily ran in first mile under 8:30. I was honestly a little shocked because it really didn't feel like we were running that fast, and I immediately felt nervous about whether or not I had started out too fast.
As the next couple of miles went by, I felt warm. I had felt a little ridiculous putting on a tank top and sorts that morning, but I was SO thankful that I did! If there hadn't been a breeze, I think it might have ended up being a pretty miserable run. This is the first time in months that I've run in temperatures this warm.
I also felt a side stitch. It wasn't totally there, but I knew that it could get ugly at any moment. I focused on my breathing and form, and after a few miles managed to get it to clear up.
Somewhere around mile 8 I flipped on my iPod for a little background noise. Matt and I had been chatting a little bit, and we had run for a while with Liz and chatted with her... but I felt like it was time to focus in a bit more. We had been running a lot of miles in the vicinity of the 8:30 pace, and I wanted to keep it up.
I think I took off a bit a little before mile 11. I was definitely not able to run too much faster, but I felt strong and wanted to see what I could pull off. I knew that I was going sub-2:00, which is really all I wanted to do... but I started thinking I could break 1:55 and began to push.
As I got closer to the stadium, I knew I could pull it off as long as I didn't fall apart. Before long, I was running up the tunnel onto the Titans field and running around the field to the finish line. I think I was focusing pretty hard on not throwing up (I had a spectator in the stands that I did NOT want to witness that!) so I never noticed them say my name or see myself on the JumboTron.
It turns out I clocked a 1:54:43. I'll take it! It's about 2 minutes off my PR, and it's not sub-1:50 like I'd like to do someday... but considering I haven't been training quite right and it took me so long to recover from Disney, I was pretty pleased. I also placed 25 out of 109 gals in my age group!
I found Matt and Liz after the race, and we were all glad to get this one behind us. We had some food in the stadium club to celebrate that we all managed to survive qualifying for the Marathon Maniacs with three marathons over November, December and January. None of us really had the race we wanted, but it's nice to know we're getting there.