What happens when a nation-wide event comes to a nearby city? And, let's just suppose, for a moment, this event happens right in the middle of your 26.2 training?
Well, if you're anything like me...you would go for it and register!
|At the Des Moines Women's Half Marathon with my friend, Barb
Leading up to this half marathon, I also had run one of my fastest 5K's ever (Wednesday, four days prior) and had also run a decent half marathon the previous weekend (Saturday, eight days prior). I also had done two (easy-paced) 5-mile runs (on Monday and Friday). I have a few more weeks of increasing distance for my long runs (peaking at the end of May), and then it will time for the taper. So, in other words, these two back-to-back half marathons happened at a great time since I'd be doing long runs of a comparable distance anyways.
The Jasper Winery was the setting for the inaugural Des Moines Women's Half Marathon (and 5K). Sponsored by Shape magazine, this was an event for (and all about) celebrating women.
|Ready for the start line
For the most part, the course was pretty flat, and it was fast! Given my state of 26.2 training, I did have a bit of an inner-self battle with trying to hold back (and run easy) versus just letting the spirit of the morning take me (and risk injury by running too fast on a somewhat still-in-recovery body). After all, I had a beautiful morning and ideal conditions to go for a PR.
The first couple miles were fast for me (sub-9:00), and I could tell I'd need to reign it back. Although I felt good and wanted to keep going at that fast pace, I knew I needed to focus on the big picture (the upcoming marathon, and not the current race). I was able to progressively slow down some, but both sides of my brain had nonstop chatter about racing a 13.1 vs. training for a 26.2.
I did have to pullover for a potty stop in the sixth mile, which cost me 1:10 of "running time" due to the slowpoke ahead of me (seriously, why does it take some people so long to do their business???). Other than that, I ran the entire race without walking (except for the water stations) and never felt fatigued.
It was great seeing so many women, many of whom were embarking on their first half marathon. The course was well supported with numerous aid stations and occasional marshals on bikes. Everyone (of legal age) also received a glass of wine after the finish line!
1-This was a very successful race for me, especially in terms of how effortless it felt. I felt great the entire race and was able to tap into a decent surge at the end. It was difficult trying to hold back, though. Although I don't consider myself fast, I do have a difficult time trying to make myself run slower than what feels "natural." There were times when I wanted to just let loose and go...but feared I'd crash and burn well before the finish line if I did so. Being a training run, this was more about running the distance efficiently and not about how fast I could do it. I still probably ran it faster than I should have, but I think I ran it well since I felt like I still had a little bit of mojo remaining when I finished. (I also did a slow cool-down run after the finish line)
2-My splits tell a good story. It's obvious that I progressively slowed my pace as the miles worn on. Some of that was due to the temperature rising, but most of it was a concerted effort to not "race" through the miles. If you've ever had to consciously make yourself slow down, you can appreciate how challenging it is to fight and keep your body from doing what it wants to do.
(9:51 if you 13-8:57
subtract the (.1-:29)
3- Free race pics! We're talking free printed pics, folks. We were encouraged to post our own pics on social media (and hash tag them #dsmwomenshalf). Throughout the morning they would print off these pictures and display them on a board...and the pics were free to take home with us. I've never see that before!
|One of my pics on the display board
|Isn't the medal pretty? (pay no attention to the salt smears on my face)
And, kudos to my friend Barb, who placed third in her age group, and another friend, Nettie, who won their age group!
I'm linking this with Meranda and Lacey and Rachel for the Friday Five 2.0.
And also with Nicole for the Fit & Fashionable Friday link-up