After the Rock’N’Roll San Antonio half marathon, I got to thinking about what I wanted 2012 to look like in regard to running and races. I decided I wanted to run four half marathons with the first being somewhere around March. There were several races I considered, including the Rock’N’Roll race in New Orleans so I could run with my friend Katie, or the Rock’N’Roll in Dallas. I also wanted to run a race closer to home, and I stumbled upon Moe’s Better Half Marathon race in San Marcos, just an hour up the road from San Antonio. Last week, I found out there is a Alamo13.1 race on March 18th that starts and ends at the Alamo, and runs right around my neighborhood. There wasn’t much advertising on this race, or it would have been my top choice.
As I mentioned in my workout log from last week, I really felt unprepared for this race. I kept telling myself it was ok that I had only trained up to 7.5 miles because this was a training race. I had two goals for this race:
1) Run a negative split – meaning the first half of the race is slower than the second half.
2) Finish under 2:15
After the San Antonio half marathon, I realized I needed to work on my pacing because I had run the first 6 miles WAY too fast and just ran out of energy by the time I got to mile 9. Also, this was a new course that had a pretty intense elevation profile, which you can see from the website’s course evaluation:
“The half marathon is run on a fairly challenging, certified course on rural roads southeast of the Tanger Outlet Center. It is an out-and-back course that includes a loop of approximately 9 miles. The course is fairly flat between miles 4 and 5.5, and again between miles 7 and 8.5; the rest is moderately-rolling hills, with a rather nasty one at mile 2.5. “
I started out race day with a pre-race meal of home-made gluten-free pumpkin pancakes and plain rotisserie chicken from Central Market. I was battling with my stomach this week and really wanted something that would be easy to digest but still full of nutrition.
Everything for race day was ready to go and I was in bed by 9pm. I did have a little trouble falling asleep and was wide away when the alarm went of a 4:00am! Banana, water and a Banana Bread LARA bar were breakfast. Ben and I got on the road right after 5:00am and stopped at What-a-Burger for a honey chicken biscuit and coffee for Ben. He talked to a couple that was running the race, who said there were only about 300 runners. That made me nervous because it was such a small race and I started to think I would be the last, slowest runner. We arrived at the Tanger Outlets by 6:00am so I could pick up my number and cool new shirt (the real reason I pay money to run 13.1 miles). It was a chilly 45 degrees, so I put on my headband and decided to run with my jacket for possibly the whole race.
We started promptly at 7:00 and I crossed the start line at 7:01am. Ben rode his bike along side of me and we just chatted for the first 3 miles. It was a great way for me to relax and keep an easy pace. It was hard to not go out as fast as the other runners but I kept to my goal of ~10 minute miles and hit mile 1 in 10 minutes, mile 2 in ~9:30. Between 2.5 and 5 I didn’t really check the time, but I enjoyed the scenery and beautiful day.
Ben was gracious enough to take some pictures along the way as well. I was a little miffed when an “old” guy passed me at mile 4; he was 60+ and in good shape, but in reality I was a little embarrassed I didn’t try to keep up with him. I hit mile 6 at 58 minutes, mile 7 at 1:08 and mile 8 at 1:18.
At that point, I was feeling a little tired and grabbed my goo to get some energy and mentally started racing; it was time to step up the pace to meet my goal of running a quicker second half. I handed my jacket off to Ben and switched up my music to more upbeat songs. Mile 10 was pretty much a long up hill and I just kept chugging along and at Mile 11, I was at 1:45 and ate my second goo. At that point, I realized I was only 2.1 miles from the finish and I wasn’t that tired, I hadn’t pushed that hard and I decided that was wrong. This was a race, I’m competing, and I’m just leisurely running along. So I pushed a little more between 11 and 12, and a lot more during 12, which was 2/3 up hill. The hill was misleading because when I got to the top, I was only about 3 – 4 minutes from the finish. So I gave it my all down the hill and saw the “old” man (dark shirt to my left in the 2nd picture below) who passed me at mile 4 and had all the motivation I needed to pass him and run full-out around the corner to the finish line. I had handed my phone/music/watch off to Ben at mile 12, and wasn’t paying attention to the finish timer when I crossed the line, so I guessed it was somewhere around 2:05.
After the award ceremony, I got to see the results sheet, and I placed 15th out of 19 with a time of 2:03:21. This race didn’t have the great swag bag of other races, but it was a small race with a challenging course in the countryside. I was more than happy to be running on a country road smelling manure and seeing fields, horses, cows and farms.