This past weekend on St. Patrick’s day, I ran a half marathon in New Bedford, MA. It was a great race overall and I was happy with my execution and time, even despite the grueling hills at the beginning and end and a pesky headwind throughout!
My training up to the race was pretty solid. I have been working with coaches Julie and Lisa who had me on a high mileage half marathon program as I train towards my goal race, a full marathon in June. I built up to 17 miles and was feeling strong on race morning. A few weeks ago, I ran my first postpartum half in Hyannis with friends. The windy, icy, monsoon rain conditions were not ideal, but it was a perfect race experience because I learned so much (again!) about pacing, fueling, incorporating music. Basically, I did everything wrong at Hyannis half, so I was excited to turn this around at Sunday’s race.
Bib pickup and pre-race organization was smooth- everything was stationed at the New Bedford YMCA. Thankfully my parents were able to babysit this time. We had an easy time getting to the race and parking before 11am gun time. I ran 2 warmup miles earlier and was ready to race!
I went out conservatively for the first couple of miles @~8:00/mile pace. There were a couple of big hills towards the beginning, but the remainder of the course (apart from mile 12!) was flat. I split the race into three sections and aimed to run the first 2 five mile sections in about 39 minutes each. Ultimately my conservative start led to a negative split in the second half, which has taken a lot of practice to be able to execute.
I ate half of a honey stinger waffle 20 minutes before the start and two GUs throughout (chocolate will always be my favorite). I decided to “enjoy” each GU sparingly and took a little at a time, and I think that plan went well. In my next half (first weekend in April) or in a training run, I may try for additional GUs but I was nervous to take in too much this time.
One thing I nailed during this race compared to others was running the tangents. I stuck to the middle of the course and ran an even 13.1 on my watch (which happens rarely!). I think I am getting better at that aspect of the race. I also tried to draft when I could in the windier sections, and that helped a little although it didn’t seem like anyone was running my exact pace.
My “A” goal was sub-1:43, a 7:50 pace and ultimately I ran a 1:41, about a 7:45 minute pace. I was thrilled to hit my goal!
This week is low mileage with some rest days and easy runs enjoying the slightly warmer weather in Boston. Here are some views of a recent run through the North End. I never take Boston’s historic beauty for granted!
I am happy for the mental and physical break until next week. It will be a fun one with a mom’s group spin class and celebrating Mark’s birthday. After next weekend, we are 11 weeks away from my goal marathon in Seattle. I didn’t think I’d be able to stay motivated to train all winter, but it has helped to find other running buddies, add in some goal halfs in new and interesting places, and just try to enjoy the process of getting back in to shape and work towards something you want so badly.
Enjoy the rest of your week!