>> Saturday, January 26, 2008
I did it! My first official half marathon is in the bag! I’m sitting on the couch, icing my knee, so I figured I’d start typing up my report.
The day started normally: up early, solid breakfast, a few solid poops. I had 2 different time goals for this race. I figured that I could run this half marathon in 1:35:00. But, I had a CRAZY goal of breaking 1:30:00. So I taped a pace chart to my arm that had a finishing time of 1:30, with mile splits of 6:51.9. I wasn’t going to go out that fast, but I wanted to see how close to that pace I could run.
Pharmie’s photo shortly after the start
I wasn’t keeping to my pace for the first few miles, but I knew that would be the case. That was the plan. I ran the first 3 miles in 21:00 on the nose. My pace was over 7 minute miles, and I reached the turn around in 45:59, which was 59 seconds off my pace.
Mile 1: 6:57
Mile 2 & 3: 14:03 (7:02 ave)
Mile 4: 7:00
Mile 5: 7:14
Mile 6: 7:15
Turn Around: 45:59
I was pretty happy with where I was. (Except for the fact that I saw a guy in a giant penguin costume before turning around who was a half-mile in front of me. Dang.) I sometimes call myself “Captain Negative Spilt” because I’m great at running negative splits on my long runs. My second half of all of my long runs in the past 6 weeks have been 15 seconds to 2 and a half minutes faster than the first half. If I held onto this pace, I’d finish happily around 1:32, but if I could pull out a negative split, I still had a shot at my CRAZY goal!
After the turn around point, I saw Jeremy shortly after. We shouted sweet nothings to each other. A bit later, I saw Iron Girl Nyhus, who I didn’t know was running this race. We shouted “hellos!” And then, just a little bit later, IronMomJenny jumps into the median with her camera to take a photo of me as she’s shouting “STEVE IN A SPEEDO! GROSS!” I shouted my thanks back to her. It was at about that point that I started running with a man in a blue jacket, wearing a Lifetime Fitness hat backwards. He was chattier than I was! He was a great guy, but I never got his name. I told him it was my first half, and he said my pace was awesome. I think he kind of took me under his wing. I asked if he thought we could break 1:30. He said “Keep it under 7 a mile, and we’ll do it!” We stayed no more than 10 feet apart for the last 4-5 miles of the race. I started to pick it up. So did the nameless man in the LTF hat.
Mile 7: 6:29
Mile 8: 6:38
Mile 9: 6:40
Mile 10: 6:39
At this point, I was only about 21 seconds behind my crazy goal. I WAS HURTING, but I also knew I had a shot to break 1:30. And then I did this:
Mile 11: 5:35
What? WHAT?!? I don’t know if that was a short mile, or if I had just really been kicking it in the ass, but I was now running nearly 1 minute FASTER than my goal. I knew I couldn’t let up.
Mile 12: 7:28
I had slipped a little, but I was still giving it everything. I was now only 20 seconds faster than my goal (the pace chart on my sleeve was SUCH A GREAT IDEA!). Nobody passed me in the last 5 miles. Even though I felt like I was dying, I was still passing people.
Nearing downtown St. Paul, I glanced at my watch. The nameless man must have seen me do that, and he uttered under his breath, “you’re gonna make it...” We turned up that BASTARD of a hill to get back into downtown, and my legs felt like bags of shit. Heavy, stinky, slow bags of shit. I knew that hill would take a bite out of my pace. I heard Phamie shouting my name from 2 blocks away. I was hardly moving, and I knew it was going to be close. I locked my sight on the finish line and gave her hell.
I had done it! I had 35 seconds to spare! I was ecstatic! And sore. And wet. And sore. And tired. And sore.
I found Phamie, my SUPER SUPPORTER, and she gave me my heavy winter jacket. We cheered for finishers for about a half hour. We saw Jeremy and Iron Girl Nyhus finish, and then we grabbed a finish line photo as we were on our way out: