Today was half marathon #4, the MO'Cowbell. It's advertised as the "fastest, flattest half marathon in the midwest" and it didn't disappoint!
I woke up at 5am and started my pre-race routines - eating a banana, trying to decide if I need KT taped, etc. We woke the kiddos up at 5:30 and headed out.
We drove to the park and I can't remember being this nervous before a race! I was starting to freak out when my little guy said "Mommy! I see stars!" "Twinkle twinkle little star, up above the world so high." He sang it through once, in his cute little way, and it really calmed me! So I asked him to keep singing. <3 And he did!
By the time we got to the park, I had pretty well talked myself out of the nerves. We lined up and rocked out to "Don't Fear the Reaper" (it IS the MO'Cowbell half, afterall!), ringing our cowbells and off we went.
I made a pact with myself not to kill myself for a PR. I know, I know. Seriously, me not try to PR? But it put so much pressure on me, I just couldn't do it this time. So as I was running, if Runkeeper was telling me I was going faster than 10:30 min/mile, I consciously tried to make myself slow down.
I had a discussion with someone at the expo on Friday about my last half and how AWFUL mile 8 was and she said I was definitely hitting a wall. Talking to her I realized that despite thinking I was getting the race nutrition I needed, I haven't been having ANY carbs!! So this time, I ran without my hydration belt and grabbed Gatorade. I took the GU pack instead of the honey stinger I usually use. And amazingly - There was NO wall. I ran the WHOLE race - only walking so that I didn't wear my water/Gatorade instead of ingest it.
The wonderful part is that once I hit 10 miles, it was just another Wednesday morning run! I am thankful that I'm in a place where 3 miles is something that I can do a few times a week instead of a huge distance. It made the last few miles really fly when I could say "Just 30 more minutes" or "2 miles, I do that before work everyday!" It was just such a nice place to be not to be MENTALLY drained during the race!
Of course, my phone died. FIVE MINUTES before I finished - my phone died!! THAT was my huge disappointment. I guess all in all, that's not a bad disappointment :-)
I finished in 2:21:40, 39 seconds behind my PR from April. BUT - the huge victory here is that I felt GOOD. No, I felt GREAT! Mentally, I wasn't defeated. I had a great time on the race, I didn't stop moving, I KNEW I could finish and I did it. I'm excited that I have a solution to my mile-8-hatred and I almost can't wait to do another half to try to PR - I came SO CLOSE this time!
Next weekend is the GO St. Louis Halloween 10K. Last year, I did the 10K then the half the following weekend. I almost think the half first is a better plan (ask me about that assessment again next Sunday night!) because now the 10K will seem like a cake walk!