Last Saturday, I ran my third rendition of the Prairie State Half Marathon.
This race has always been kind to me. (Check out my 2013 and 2014 recaps.) I've had good weather every time; it occurs during a perfect time of year; the course is beautiful and takes place on a joint-friendly crushed limestone path; and the field size is perfect - around 1,000 runners.
The last two years I've run this race with Kim. With her help pacing me, I've achieved strong finishing times both years!
|Throwback Wednesday to the 2013 and 2014 runnings with Kim|
At most target races, my primary focus is to run an even split. For my longtime sub-2:10 goal, this translated to a 9:55 per mile pace or better. (You all are probably tired of hearing me talk about that goal/pace, eh? =D )
While I always want to run a negative split, that is secondary to achieving an even split. On this day my starting pace was about 5-10 seconds slow for the first few miles. Normally, this would have made me nervous. I usually don't have much confidence in making up the time on the back end. But today, I didn't let it bother me.
This strategy hugely paid off. On a first half versus second half basis, I ran an almost perfectly even (slightly negative) split. I certainly had to put forth more effort in the second half to maintain that pace, but it worked. Knowing the course helped a lot, as I was mentally well-prepared for the hills on the course.
Around Mile 5, I saw Erica tearing it up on her way back. Then I saw Bobbi spectating near the turnaround - I was thrilled to see her on both the out and the back. Thank you Bobbi for taking this action shot of me:
I took two GUs - one at Mile 4 and one at Mile 9. Interestingly, I had spiked improvements in pace during both Miles 5 and 10. Psychological and/or physiological GU boost? I had been lagging slightly in the miles leading up to both, so those "spike" miles were perfect in keeping me on overall target pace.
Typically around Mile 11, I get overcome with fatigued despair and am ready to die. On this day, I kept waiting for that feeling to hit - but it never did! Most folks around me were slowing down and it felt surreal to be passing so many people in the final miles. I was looking down at my Garmin and realizing I was pretty much on pace, but was trying to do the math in my head. This is going to be close. Can I do this?
Around Mile 12.5, I saw Erica stationed back on the course with her camera. She yelled, "You have to do your body spasm thing!" so of course I obliged. Thank you Erica for this snapshot:
Less than a quarter-mile later, I saw Adam and my mom. I shouted to Adam that I was going to PR, and he told me, "GO GET IT!" Thanks to him for getting this shot of me making my final push with the finish line in sight:
I finally achieved my sub-2:10 goal. My official finishing time was 2:09:43. Woo hoo!!!
Post-race, I met back up with Erica and Michelle. I found out Michelle won her age group and came in 6th woman overall; and Erica placed 2nd in her age group. Plenty to celebrate all around!
|From L to R: Erica, Michelle, and me|
And so ends another successful running of the Prairie State Half Marathon!
My next race: The PNC YMCA Turkey Trot Double Gobble (a 5K and a 5-Miler) in Pittsburgh on Thanksgiving Day
Great job! You must be so happy!ReplyDelete
Thank you, Wendy!!! Congratulations to you, too, on the Chicago Marathon this past Sunday!!!Delete
Congrats on the PR!!!! Sounds like Saturday was your day! I remember the feeling of dread that the wheels are about to fall off, and to have it not happen is so awesome.ReplyDelete
Isn't it such an awesome feeling to finally hit a goal that you've been chasing for so long? It's such an accomplishment, and you should be proud! And maybe you could have pushed yourself more, or maybe you just had that good of a race! Feeling strong sounds good to me.
Thank you, Anne! This race is really ideal for strong performance - and we were blessed with perfect weather conditions, too. That feeling of dread for the wheels about to come off is the WORST feeling. I almost ALWAYS get that feeling at some point so it was such a treat to not experience it for once! Again, thank you so much for all your kind words!Delete
Yes! Plus room for yet another PR. Nice work.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Natalie!!! BTW - congrats again on your upcoming new addition to the family!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Delete
Congratulations!!!! Sounds like I have to do this race! So glad you had ideal conditions and are figuring out a strategy toward running speedy! Can't wait to hear your next goal- and what are your next races?ReplyDelete
Thanks Lauren! I know you are trying to figure out your race schedule for next year. I do think you'd enjoy this race! It's very low-key and the course is gorgeous!!! It's literally a run in the park. =)Delete
For next races, I'm running RnR San Antonio and next year's Shamrock Shuffle. But other than that, I'm in the same boat as you with trying to plan and brainstorm!!! If you have any suggestions, I'm always all ears!!!
Wow! You freaking KILLED it! Congrats on the PR! What a great race, and a great day for you! I am so happy for you! And sad I wasn't there to witness your PR! Thanks for all the kind words! Hopefully the race is not the same day as Vegan Mania next year (and if I know I am going, hopefully I will have a better idea of the schedule this time - I totally could have still done the race, but had no idea! anyway).ReplyDelete
And hey, be happy with that PR and time. Not being sore, chafing, and feeling good doesn't mean anything bad - it means you were in shape to do it, and that's great!!!
Thank you so much, Kim! I really did miss you out there. It was such a different experience running it alone versus having you there to chat with the whole time, you know? But there are so many races out there and we'll find another to run together very soon. I am glad to hear Vegan Mania went so well you for and Steven!!! WOO HOO!!!Delete
Much appreciate the very positive perspective on the lack of soreness, chafing, and blistering. =)
YAY!!! So, want to run with me next year? :)ReplyDelete
You can put me down as a maybe for that ;)Delete
Thank you, Katie! BTW - I am anxiously awaiting your upcoming big arrival! You must be so excited! =)Delete
Katie and Anne - absolutely, would love to run with you both next year!!! I think you'd both really enjoy this race. The location is spectacular and so beautiful!!!
Congrats again Emily! You've been running so strong, that PR was just a matter of time. Now why haven't I done this race? Has it been the same day as Chicago in previous years? Of course this year I guess I was 6 days out from a marathon so there's that...ReplyDelete
Thank you again, Marcia!!! It really was awesome seeing you and getting to spectate the Chicago Marathon with you this past Sunday. So nice that all of us could just relax and enjoy, since we'd already completed big fall races. =)Delete
Oh my goodness, given how close you live to Independence Grove, this race would be a cakewalk for you!!! The schedule is a little tough, though - every year it has taken place on that Saturday before the Chicago Marathon. We were joking that SOMEBODY was probably running both Prairie State and Chicago on consecutive days. You know someone out there is crazy enough to do it!
Congratulations on your PR. As fun as it is running with others during races it's nice to run your own race to see what you can do. And look what happened. Great job!ReplyDelete
Thank you so much!!! You are absolutely right about how it's great to run with others but also nice to run on your own. It's such a different mentality with both! Fun to mix things up in both directions, yes?Delete
That's awesome! It's a great feeling to not hit that wall, isn't it! It's been a while for me but I know I had the same feeling when I PR'd my half in 2013. Congrats again! I knew you could do it!!ReplyDelete
Thank you so much, Amanda!!! Indeed, it is the BEST feeling to NOT hit that wall - and such a rarity! Congratulations to you, too on the Chicago Marathon! I hope you are recovering like a boss. =)Delete
Ha! I'm recovering but not sure how much "like a boss". lol. Thank you!Delete
Congrats on getting your sub 2:10 and your PR in the PRairie! Woo hoo! I have always heard that even pacing is best for half marathons, even though I almost always hugely negative or positive split most halfs. In any case, it's a great feeling to know that you are maintaining pace even in the final miles. Did you happen to see Declan out there running the full marathon? He came in third! Congrats again!ReplyDelete
Thank you so much, Pete! I think I would disagree with you having "hugely" positive or negative splits at halfs. Every race I've ever heard you run, you were very close to perfection due to your incredible race planning strategy! Yes - I did see Declan on the course around my Mile 11 - but at the time I wasn't sure if it was him. =DDelete
Huge congratulations to you to on the Chicago Marathon this past weekend. You looked AMAZING when we saw you at Mile 13!!!
Thanks! I'm most comfortable with a couple of slow miles to start a half marathon and then firing up the jets once I'm warmed up. I think I also get nervous about crashing and burning by going out too fast which I've done a few times in half marathons. Declan's Prairie State recap is over at his blog (yes it still exists)!Delete
I DEFINITELY get nervous about crashing and burning at half marathons. I'm much more willing to fire on all cylinders at shorter races like 5Ks since I can walk and still finish in reasonable time if needed. But dying at the midway point of a half marathon can lead to a long journey to the finish!Delete
Yay for Declan starting up his blog again!
YAY!! You looked so strong out there! I am so glad you had such a great day (and it was a GREAT running day - such a beautiful weather day!) Congratulations on your shiny new PR!ReplyDelete
(laughing at your reply to Marcia - I was astounded at how many this year's MKE shirts I saw out there (which was last Sunday) - crazy people everywhere!)
Thank you so much, Bobbi! It was so awesome seeing you on the course. I wasn't sure I would since I didn't know where you planned to be stationed. So it was an amazing and wonderful surprise to find you! Thank you again for being out there and for taking the fab photos. You rock!Delete
OMG, people that ran Milwaukee last week and Chicago this week are certifiably NUTS. They call some of those folks Marathon Maniacs for good reason! =D
Congratulations on a strong race and achieving your sub 2:10 goal. That is fantastic. I would still have a huge grin on my face.ReplyDelete
Thank you so much, HoHo! I was definitely cheesing it for a good while afterwards. =DDelete
Great job on your PR! I was there too. Sorry I missed you.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Colleen! Sorry that I missed you, too! Congratulations on winning our age group!!!Delete
Love this race and your recap! Congratulations on a PR and a race well run. So glad I could share in it :) (PS. Michelle and I are in the same age group!)ReplyDelete
Thank you so much, Erica! Congratulations to you, too, on your AG placement and for your usual bevvy of strong performances at ALL races. =) You are one of the strongest, most consistent runners I know!!! I was telling my mom and Adam that you literally run with a really fast crowd. =) So great to meet Michelle, too!Delete
Congratulations on a great race and a PR!! That is an awesome time :)ReplyDelete
How awesome to feel that strong all day. That is the kind of day we all dream about right?!
That would be a dream time for me, I sure hope I can pull it off one day!
Thank you so much, Karen! Yes, it is so rare to have those days when the running feels good and you don't feel like your legs are dead weights. It has taken me years and years of work to get to where I'm at right now - and heaven knows I've got many years of work still ahead of me. =D I am absolutely certain you can achieve any goals you've got as long as you have enough time to train!Delete
Awesome job! I know it's difficult not to think about times and everything during sporting events. Pressure is inevitable, but I've always found if you don't worry about goals and let things happen, they do happen :)ReplyDelete
Thank you so much, Lesley! You are absolutely right - it's all mental and the pressure of the goals often just makes things even tougher. It's always best when we are able to let go and just have a good time! (SO hard to do, though, right?)Delete
Yay!! I'm so glad you had a good race since I know you were nervous and not feeling super motivated. Congrats on your PR, too. Did this give you your running mojo back? :-)ReplyDelete
Thank you so much, Erin! I am definitely feeling better about running now. But I won't kid you, I am also enjoying not having to worry about training for anything. =D Admittedly, I am thinking about trying to sign up for something else that is purely for fun between now and Thanksgiving. October and November are such good racing months that it feels like a shame to not take more advantage of them, you know? Regardless, long live the running "off-season" after completing goal races!!!Delete
Congrats!! Sometimes not worrying is the perfect solution :)ReplyDelete
Thanks Alexandra! Not worrying is always a great solution - it's just so hard to put it into play and NOT worry, you know? =DDelete
WOOHOO!! I was so so so excited when I saw this on Facebook. You've been working for this for so long, and I'm thrilled you finally got your sub-2:10 AND a brand new shiny PR. Way to go!!ReplyDelete
Bethany @ Accidental Intentions
Thank you so much, Bethany!!! Likewise - huge congratulations to you on your shiny new Chicago Marathon PR!!! You are a ROCKSTAR!!!Delete
YAY!! Congrats on the PR!!!ReplyDelete
Thank you so much, Sara!!! =DDelete
Congrats Emily! Love your pictures!!ReplyDelete
Thanks so much, Zenaida!!!Delete