I did it! I did it! Got a new half-marathon PR at the 2018 Phoenix Marathon on February 24, 2018. My goal was 2:20 and I crushed it with a 2:16:22 finish. I’d sworn off anything over 10K but am rethinking that now!
I ran four half-marathons between fall of 2013, and then took some time off. I hurt my foot while training for the first two and felt like I kept getting sick while training for the other two. My best time for those was 2:24 (on what I believe was a short course of 12.9 miles). I swore off distance events for a while because I felt like I couldn’t manage to train with my schedule.
Last summer I started thinking I should sign up for another half. I wanted a goal so I’d have a reason to remain consistent and increase mileage. As the start date for training approached, I looked at various plans including Hal Higdon’s and one I’d previously gotten from a coach (but only had the last half of). Instead of winging it, I decided to hire a new coach (previous one isn’t coaching anymore). I got my 12 week plan, based on a long phone call with the coach, and started training.
Training went amazingly well. The schedule fit mine perfectly. I ran 3 days a week, went to spin class one day, and did at least 2 days of weight training plus targeted core work. I felt strong throughout, never exhausted. I did most of my runs with several women from my Moms Run This Town/She Runs This Town group. We met Tuesdays after dropoff, REALLY early Thursday, and Saturday or Sunday mornings.
There were a couple of hitches. I got sick just after Christmas, the weekend my husband was out of town. Fortunately my kids had a playdate (with the children of one of my MRTT friends) so I got some rest. Another weekend my husband was out of town I actually managed to find a neighbor’s teen to come over and stay with the kids (at 6 AM on a Saturday!) so I could do 9 miles with my friends.
The week before the race I had some serious taper crazies. My plan didn’t have a full-on taper so I was still running, just fewer miles than before. I think I went through every possibility of what could go wrong. It was supposed to be cold and I couldn’t figure out what to wear, I got my period, I wasn’t sure how to handle the pacing. In the end, none of this was an issue.
I rode to the race with three friends. Had a little anxiety on the way because traffic was horrible! We got there just in time to catch the bus and hit the portapotties. I did a quick warmup and drills as I’d been doing on my training runs. Discovered my earphones (which I planned to use for the last 5K) were dead. As the national anthem was sung, I positioned myself in front of the 2:20 pacer as someone had suggested. I knew I needed a 10:40 average pace and didn’t want to start out too fast.
I ended up sticking with about a 10:30 for most of the race. It felt comfortable without being too hard. I enjoyed seeing all the families and signs along the way. I ran alone but never minded. I told myself I’d get tired eventually and needed to be prepared. I repeated the mantras I’d used during training—Head up, shoulders back! Run with your butt! Light and fast! We are strong! I didn’t carry water, just stopped at three of the water stations to pop a couple of Honey Stinger chews in my mouth and take a quick sip of water.
I never felt out of breath. At about 10 miles, my feet started to hurt and I got tired, but instead of slowing down, sped up a bit now and then. I told myself I’d walk through the water stop at the 11 mile mark and open it up from there. And that’s exactly what I did! When I saw that I was still well under 2:20, I sped up to try to get close to 2:15. Ended up at 2:16:22 and was SO happy!
I never could have done it without my coach and my MRTT ladies! And now I’m thinking next year, I need to get under a 2:15. It’s good to have goals!