1) From strictly a numbers perspective, I'm showing improvement year on year on this course.
2007 - 02:36:58
2008 - 02:29:07
2009 - 02:25:14 (45 of 78 F40-44, 403 of 641 females, 885 of 1199 finishers, age grade 49% which makes me a mid-pack runner. wow. when did that happen?)
2) Husband signed up for the race and ran with me. He finished about 10ft in front of me because I just couldn't kick it at the end, but otherwise he was pretty much right there with me the entire way. Here is one of the pictures that my friend took at about the 7 mile mark. Husband is just a few steps ahead to my left. [You should recognize me from what I'm wearing based on your suggestions before the race.]
Coach was running the race as well. This photo was taken by the same person at basically the same spot on the course, just a different angle. Notice how nobody else is really in the picture running in either direction? That's because he's freaking fast! He took 2nd overall at a time of 1:17:15 a 5:54 pace!!.
He passed us well before we got to the 5 mile marker (he was probably 8.5 miles into the race). He spotted me in the crowd coming the other direction, reached out his arm to give me a high five as we crossed paths, and shouted at me "Good job, Lisa, keep going!"
He's running in 2nd position in the race and he takes time to tell *me* that I'm doing a good job?!? How incredible is that!?
4) Couldn't have asked for better weather. It was about 48deg when we arrived at the race venue. Maybe 50deg when the race started. It warmed up when the sun came up and I was out of my long sleeves before the 2mile marker. It never got too hot and it wasn't windy. Just a lovely day for running.
5) Despite a lot of pain all over my body, my knee never bothered me one bit. Considering where I was a year ago, that is incredible!
1) Didn't not achieve my primary objective, which was to finish strong and uninjured. Before the race, I was explaining to Husband that I've felt amazing after my recent training runs. I really didn't care too much about how long it took to get to the finish line, I just wanted to be able to run 13.1 miles and feel amazing.
He then asked what pace I expected to run at. I told him that I expected to finish right around an 11min/mi pace because that's been fairly comfortable in training. I thought it was within my grasp to finish at 2:20:00, and I expected to finish closer to 02:25:00 and I was fairly certain that even if I had a bad day it would be under 02:30:00. I also expected to go out too fast and have to slow down a bit in the the race.
I had an amazing race up to about the 8 mile marker. Then my body really started to hurt. Not in a good way and not in a way that I've experienced in training. I'm convinced that the difference is that I mostly run on dirt trails and this race was on pavement. My hips hurt. My ankles hurt. My shins hurt. My low back hurt. Every step was miserable.
2) It's a minor point, but I missed the 02:20:00-02:25:00 window by 22 seconds. I wasn't limited by my cardio-fitness level, I was limited by pain, and I gave up. I stopped having fun and started taking frequent walk breaks somewhere around the 11 mile marker. At that point, I just wanted it to be over.
1) The splits graph says it all. You can see where I started to slow down due to pain at mile 9. You can also see where I gave up on the race at mile 11.
2) It's the morning after, and I still feel like I've been hit by a truck. So my opinion of the experience is mostly unchanged. If I'm going to train for long-ish races on pavement, I'm going to need to do more training on pavement. I'm thinking 80% trails, 20% pavement would be a good mix. Otherwise, I really need to rethink whether or not I should be doing half marathon races on pavement at all.
While some of you define success by the numbers, and pour everything you've got out on the course on race day, I am truly seeking something different. Pain-free and joyful running. Feeling good at the end of the race. Knowing that the course didn't beat me (or beat me up).
I know it's out there. And I'm still seeking it...