Saturday, February 13, 2010

Run the Reagan half-marathon

Today I was scheduled for a 15-mile long run, but my running coach agreed that it would be a good idea to incorporate it into a local half-marathon.  I think the first time I ran this race was in 1995.  I still have the sweatshirt. Back then, the race was held in late October. I have fond memories of my mom coming to visit while I ran this race, on her birthday.  At some point, they switched it from October to February.  I can't find my old running logs, but I think this is my 5th time running this race.  Last year I ran the 10K.  My mom died 10 years ago; each time I run this race I think of her. Fond memories.

I picked up my race packet yesterday afternoon.  They said to check the website for potential changes in start times or cancellation because of the weather.  The race was originally supposed to begin at 8 a.m.  But, the metro-Atlanta area received heavy snowfall yesterday.  This photo was taken at 7 p.m. on Friday.  Early evening they sent an email and posted on the website that the race start was postponed until 10 a.m.  I set my alarm clock for 7 a.m. I started making breakfast and got another update; race postponed until noon.  I have 3 inches of snow in my yard. Lots of accidents reported on local news.  Although it would only normally take me 20 minutes to drive to the race start, I decided to leave home at 9:30 in case roads were bad/closed.  Good thing I did. I made it several miles down one road before I had to turn around and pick a different route because of ice/cars all over the road. The next route was better, but still slippery in some areas with cars lining the ditches. I was so stressed driving. I eventually made it to the race start, safe and sound, at 11 a.m.  I'd had several adrenaline rushes during near slips off the road. Not a good way to start a race. Anyway, I was just happy to have made it.

They close down the Ronald Reagan Parkway for this race.  At 11:30 a.m. I did a warm-up mile along the route. The road was clear, but snow lined the median and ditches. It was gorgeous! During the half-mile out, I ran against a strong wind; when I turned around, it felt like the temperature had risen 20 degrees. 

The race started at noon for those running the half-marathon and 10K.  It was about 30 degrees and windy.  I felt really good about this run/race. I only walked for a few seconds at 4 hydration stations, and a few seconds under 4 bridges where the road was icy/slippery. I felt better about this half-marathon than other ones that I've done in the past two years. I tried to follow my coach's pacing plan and came close. The first 3 miles were mostly downhill, so as hard as I tried, I couldn't get down to 12 minutes/mile that my coach had prescribed, but it was definitely an easy pace. And since this was an out-and-back, the last 3 miles were mostly uphill, so they were slower than rest. My mile splits (and coach's goal) were:  first 3 miles (goal 12 minutes/mile) 11:04, 11:30, 11:45.  Middle 7 miles (goal 11:30-11:40 minutes/mile): 11:26, 11:32, 11:37, 11:19, 11:27, 11:33, 11:27. Last 3 miles (goal solid comfortable): 11:28, 12:05, 11:25.

I ran strong through the finish and received my medal. The medal is much cooler this year than two years ago.  My Garmin read 2:29:59.  (Later I looked at official results, which listed 2:29:58.)  After receiving my medal, I did a 1-mile cool down jog/walk/jog to get my total of 15 miles in for the day.  It wasn't a PR, but a PR wasn't my goal for today, anyway.  However, I did run it more than 16 minutes faster than I did two years ago, and it definitely felt easier than it did two years ago, also. Progress!

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