Monday, November 15, 2010

OBX Half Marathon Recap

I often have chats with my runner friends about preparing for races.  You train properly, fuel properly, mentally prepare, and then get out there and hope everything goes well.  By all accounts, I had done everything right for my Sunday half marathon.  I'd spent months training and building mileage, I'd done speed work, I'd eaten relatively healthy, I'd been mentally prepared to go the distance.
I even headed to bed early to prepare for this race.. 

Here's where the plan went to awry.  I COULD NOT SLEEP AT ALL Saturday night!  It was up there with the top five worst nights of sleep I have ever gotten in my life!  There are two things I am pretty consistent about- one of them is being a good eater, the other is being a consistently good sleeper. 

Why couldn't I sleep??  I have two theories:
1.  I had a latte around 3pm.
2.  I was nervous/excited about the race.

  I'm not sure which was the culprit (or both), but I did not get a good nights sleep. 
In fact I wonder if I slept at all that night!

Regardless, come 5am, it was time to rise and shine and get rolling.

I put on a long sleeved tech shirt and shorts after some debate about whether to wear a short sleeved shirt or my cropped pants.  This ended up being a good decision, I was really happy in my running attire :)

Kelly and I headed downstairs where Brad's mom was already awake and waiting to get us ready and out the door.  We both had two slices of toast with PB and banana, coffee, and water.  I just hoped coffee and adrenaline would carry me through my lack of sleep.

Then we headed off on the 45 minute drive from Brad's parents' house to the starting line. 
Kelly walking to the starting area.

Our chauffer seeing us to the start line.

Quite possibly the worst picture I've ever seen of myself.  I blame lack of sleep and lack of self tanner (hey, I haven't been wearing shorts much since it got cooler)!

The race was bigger than I expected!  Check out all the runners everywhere at the start line!
Once there, we did the usual and waited in line to pee while Real McCoy "Runaway" blasted from the speakers, which will inevitably be stuck in our heads for days now...

Kelly and I ready to go!

Kelly led me over to the 9 minute mile corral.  I figured what the hell, even though I probably would have picked the 10 minute mile had I been alone.  It took a few minutes for our corral to start, but then it was our turn.  We did a quick high five, put on our head phones, and then that was the last time I saw Kelly for two hours (she's faster than me).

We started off on a highway.

Soon we came upon some dunes, which Brad later told me are some of the largest sand dunes on the East Coast (kind of hard to tell from this picture).

This is the first race I've run with my Garmin, so it was really interesting to know my pace and how far I'd gone the entire time.  I noticed early on that I was running at a faster than normal pace for me (9:15-9:40 minute mile pace).  I've thought a lot about this lately, since I know usually as a runner you want to strive for negative splits (start slower and get faster throughout the race).  The thing is, I don't feel like I'm necessarily one of those people who effectively "stores up" the extra energy saved from running slower at the beginning to use later in the race.  I'm pretty sure I'm going to be tired and slow in the end no matter what happened at the beginning.  Therefore, a large part of me thinks I should take quick miles where ever I can get them.  
So, I allowed myself to run at a faster than normal pace, since I felt ok physically. 

From the highway we ducked in to several neighborhoods.  Tons of people were out in their driveways on on their decks cheering.  Really cool!

After a bit, I finally saw the water!

Gorgeous right?  This made me happy :)

We kind of went back and forth between neighborhoods and highway for much of the race.

I felt great considering my lack of sleep and my faster-than-usual pace. 
My playlist was also pumping me up the entire time :)

I made the decision to stay well fueled early on.  Around mile 4 I had my first Shot Block, and I grabbed water as soon I saw the first water station.  From there, I took a Shot Block about every two miles and continued to grab water when I saw it offered.

Around mile 7-8 I saw a guy dressed as a Storm Trooper from Star Wars.  He even had a full plastic helmet on!  How the heck he ran and breathed in that thing, I have no idea!  I figured at some point I'd pass him and get a good picture of him, but sadly, he actually beat me! 
See him, third from the left??

I kept trucking along and soon there was Gatorade offered at some stations, so I started taking that over water since I'd been running for over an hour and needed the electrolytes.

During mile 9, I saw that we were approaching water again.

Then I saw it: the dreaded bridge! It was our only big hill of the course, but Kelly had warned me about it.
I actually gasped when I saw it.
It looks much worse from far away...


Luckily the slope felt fairly gradual.  I was amazed at how well all the runners surrounding me did, I maybe saw ONE person walking, everyone else kept running.  My pace was great- still around a 10-minute mile, even with the hill!

I took advantage of the downward slope once we got to the top and got in some great speed there.
The bridge was right at around mile 10, and at this point I knew I didn't have far to go and that I would PR.  I started to wonder if I could break two hours and tried to keep my speed up, but eventually I realized that I wouldn't make it in by the two hour mark, even though I'd be close.

I really tried to give it everything in the last 2-3 miles.  I finally saw the finish line and also spotted Kelly, Brad, and Brad's mom in the crowd on the left right before I hit the finish!

My official time was 2:04:40!  Over a 10 minute PR (personal record) from my last half marathon!!
Woooo hooo!

Here's the breakdown:

Mile1: 9:15
Mile 2: 9:24
Mile 3: 9:25
Mile 4: 9:37
Mile 5: 9:30
Mile 6: 9:35
Mile 7: 9:25
Mile 8: 9:38
Mile 9: 9:50 (dreaded bridge)
Mile 10: 9:44
Mile 11: 9:21
Mile 12: 9:15
Mile 13: 9:05 (who am I??)
Not sure about my last nub, since I forgot to turn the Garmin off right at the finish line.

That is a 9:32 pace per mile :)

I was handed my medal and some water, Gatorade, and a little lunch box. 
I also had my picture taken with a pirate.  The race has kind of a pirate theme... 

Then I found Kelly and everyone else in the crowd.  Kelly had PR'd too- 1:56, under two hours!  Awesome!

We headed to a close-by cafe in Manteo (where we finished) for some brunch.

I ordered the quiche special, which had crab and spinach in it and came with a side of fruit.

Yum :)

Kelly and I also got a coffee to go after at a local coffee shop.  Actually, I had a chai latte.

Haha, love this!

I finally got a picture of Kelly and I together with our medals!

So everything worked out better than I thought it would. 

Here's my thoughts on how it went down.
  • It helped IMMENSELY that I have run a half marathon before.  I never doubted for a second that I wouldn't be able to do it since I knew I had done it before.
  • It didn't end up mattering that I didn't get enough sleep Saturday night.  I slept great the night before (Friday night), and because I was prepared in every other way, adrenaline did indeed step in and make sure I got in a great run.  Even so, in the future, I'll never let myself have caffeine the afternoon before a race again in case that was the reason I couldn't sleep.
  • I think my "speed work" has actually paid off.  My 9ish minute mile range felt like my new normal and I really didn't want to slow down.
  • I did really well listening to my body.  I fueled often and went as fast as I felt like I wanted to go.
  • My music/playlist helped.  I love running with music and I just felt like it kept me pumped the whole way.
  • I ran the tangents, and I think that helped me not do more than I had to- I finished right at 13.1.
I had a blast! 
In the past couple weeks I had wondered if I did the right thing choosing this particular half marathon as my second instead of one that was right in Charlotte last weekend.  I wondered if travel would be difficult and affect me or if it would stress me out too much to do well, but this trip was awesome thanks to Kelly, Brad, and Brad's parents.  I LOVED the OBX course too.  Aside from the bridge/hill, it was flat and scenic and I loved running there.

I'm so glad I did this race!


Lizzy said...

Congrats! nice PR!!! I see a sub 2 hour in the future especially with a fast last mile. Great job girl!

Ashley and Nate said...

Congratulations! Sounds like everything clicked.... and more importantly, you enjoyed it and had fun.

Molly said...

Nice job conquering the bridge, and congrats on the huge PR!! I hate not sleeping the night before a race, it must come with the territory! : )

Jen said...

Congratulations on a great race and your awesome 10 minute PR!!! Love that you took pictures along the course. Looks like a beautiful race.

Sana said...

Congrats on your half! I am so proud of you for training smart!
Yay for recovering from an injury!

Anonymous said...

Awesome job girl! What a pretty place to race to boot. Yay for a huge PR!

RunningOnCoffee said...

Way to go!! I would love to get that kind of time. I think speed work makes all the difference too.

My first half in April was a 2:21...I wanted to improve on it for my September half, but it was impossible to do speedwork in the 90s outside this summer! I stuck with the mileage in my plan, but not all the speedwork sessions - and did 2:30 on my September half. It was also 25 degrees warmer than the one I ran in April :( Hoping to improve my time at another early spring half marathon.

Jen (She said.She said.) said...

So exciting! Congrats Britt! I'm so happy for you. That is an amazing PR. Thanks for the inspiring recap!

Anonymous said...

Yay congrats! I knew you'd PR! I'm happy you did this race, too. Flat races are such a treat. And that one looked beautiful! May you only improve from here!

Cindi said...

Way to go, Brittney!!!

Becky said...

Congrats on a great race and new PR! It sounds like you ran such a smart race. The scenery was gorgeous, too!

Monique said...

holy crap! That's so awesome :) It looked like a goregous day too! Congrats :)

(P.S., I can never sleep the night before something big like this. I get way to antsy/nervous)

Heather @ Get Healthy with Heather said...

That's awesome that you have so many pics. Way to go!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on a great half marathon!!! I'm planning on running my 3rd in May. I may have to use your strategies. :-)

Anonymous said...

i'm out of the blog loop this week and just catching up... congratulations on your half!!

Anonymous said...

Finally blog with usable informations.

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