Friday, December 14, 2012

Fayetteville Half Marathon Recap

Last weekend I ran the Fayetteville Half Marathon with a goal to set a massive personal record. Seeing how I was the poster child for this race, I knew I wanted to do well.
Why yes, I love this very flattering picture of me, so of course you can plaster it all around Fayetteville.  You're welcome. 

Let's back track a little here. The first months of my training were awesome. I was consistent with my tempo, speed, hill and long runs and was hitting ideal paces for my 2:00.00 goal. Then November came around, as did some IT band issues, parties, holiday gatherings, and other lame excuses that affected my training. By the time December was here, it had been weeks since I had a quality run, much less the amount of weekly mileage I needed.

Story of my life: Dish out some awesome training, then screw it up a month before the race. Why even do the work if I'm going to throw it all out the window. I suck.
Flash back to March 2012, when I spent months training for 26.2 miles only to back out weeks prior to the race and only run the half. Again, story of my life.

As race day crawled closer, I altered my plans. I decided 2:10 was a more realistic time goal, but still seemed like a dream. Worst case scenario, I was hoping for anything under 2:17 (which would give me a PR).

SPOILER ALERT: I wanted to drop out by mile 8. Worst. Case. Scenario.

You would thinking, living in Fayetteville, I wouldn't be surprised by the hills. And you would think, looking at the elevation chart, that the hills wouldn't be too unbearable. But my friends, for this flat-road loving girl, you would be wrong. The hills kicked by sweet booty, and I cursed each one.

Half mile hill at 1.5-I got this.
1.5mile climb at miles 6 and 10- I hate you.

Looking at my splits, you can see the exact correlation between a hill and my dropping pace (i.e.: miles 2, 7, 8, and 12). 

Mile 1- 10:07
Mile 2- 10:51
Mile 3- 9:25
Mile 4- 10:04
Mile 5- 9:33
Mile 6- 9:47
Mile 7-11:04
Mile 8- 11:26 *Seriously wanted to quit.
Mile 9- 10:19
Mile 10- 10:10
Mile 11- 10:29
Mile 12- 11:37
Mile 13- 9:31
.13- 10:00

I really think I should win the award for most consistent splits ever. NOT!

I was never able to get in a rhythm during this race (obviously). Each hill totally screwed up my breathing and left me mentally defeated; by the time I got settled into a good stride, the next hill came and did the exact same thing. I knew Josh was waiting for me at mile 8, so I put every effort into just making it to him. If I wanted to quit at that point, then I would.

When I finally saw him, he could tell I was struggling. I told him I wanted to quit; I was miserable, I hated my training and my goals were out the window. He let me vent a little, then kindly encouraged me to keep going for "only five more miles."

That's when I remember that my husband basically walked this course last year because of an injury, and that didn't cause him to quit. If he could finish, I could too. I was going to cross that dadgum finish line, even if I had to crawl!
Fayetteville Half 2011
aka: Clark Walk-a-thon

While I went slower the second half, I hunkered down and finished. After seeing Josh, at every mile marker, I tried to do the math to find out what pace I needed to maintain to get me there under 2:17.

..."If I'm at mile 9.25 with x total time of running, how fast do I need to run to get there under 2:17." Yea, impossible for me, even with a calculator.

But I must have done some kind of calculations right, because as I rounded onto the John McDonnell Track I knew I'd be crossing the finish line with 2:15:xx on the board.

Alex Clark
10:21 pace
F25-29: 15/40
Overall: 343/520

Look, a blurry picture of my medal.
Please ignore the unwrapped presents under our tree. 
A new shiny PR, and hopefully, a lesson learned: If you don't give 100% in training, then you can't give 100% on race day.

Happy Racing,

1 comment:

  1. That's still a great time! Congratulations.
    I wanted to get a PR and a sub-2hr race this year and then....I didn't even run any races. Sometimes you can plan all you want and then life (and stupid knees) get in the way. Be proud.