And it was a HOT one. But why would I think otherwise in June in Mississippi?
I got up at 3:40 so I could eat breakfast (toast with peanut butter and a banana) and drink some coffee and chug water 2 hours before start time which was 6:00am. Checked the weather and it was 80 degrees with a feels like temp of 87 and 85% humidity. Not even 4:00! Got dressed, put my timing tag on my shoe, grabbed my garmin watch and ipod and was out the door. Picked up friend A, then picked up friend M and we were at the race site by 5:20.
6:00am and the horn sounds and we are off! There were nearly 1000 people running the half marathon, and it was so exciting to be part of it! I made sure to keep my pace comfortable and slowish, just under 10 minute miles, because I didn't want to go out too fast and fade out later. The sun was out now and we were running in it which made for a hot run. I grabbed water from every water stop and drank on the run.
By mile 6 I was feeling hot and tired, and I wanted to walk a little. In training I was able to run 12 miles only stopping for about 30 seconds once to take a drink so I was a little disappointed that I wanted to walk so soon. I kept telling myself "there's no shame in walking, there's no shame in walking". Just over the halfway mark at the next water stop they had ice in the water which made it so refreshing and cold. I decided to walk and drink it and savor it. The next couple miles were pretty hilly and sunny so I took walk breaks on the harder hills. I walked fast and then was able to run faster after each walk break so I still kept up with the runners around me.
Miles 8 and 9 had some shade and more downhills than uphills which felt pretty good. But at mile 10 we turned onto a road that was full sun and facing the sun which was not so fun. Mile 11 they had us run through a neighborhood that was full sun and just brutal. I walked through the water stop and kept walking. I tried running but was just too hot and tired. I probably walked an entire mile. Caught up with friend M who said "this blows" and I couldn't have agreed with her more.
At 12.1 miles I told myself ok ONE MORE MILE I can do this. I saw the guy directing runners toward the parking lot of our finish line so I started running. I would have been perfectly happy walking that last mile but I really wanted to run across the finish line. They had us run around the parking lot and down the frontage road (so close and yet so far!), up the exit ramp (ugh, one last hill!) and then down around back to the parking lot and the finish line. At this point I was running by myself so all the people standing around the finish line were cheering for ME, go me! I saw the time clock was at 2:19-something so I pushed a little harder so I could finish under 2:20 and I did - official time was 2 hours, 19 minutes, 31 seconds. I finished.
I felt amazingly good. My knee, which usually hurts after long runs, didn't even hurt. My muscles felt stiff and a little tight but otherwise I felt fine. I am now a believer in walk breaks! I don't feel like they slowed me down any, and I felt so much better when I took them. Hopefully walk breaks will make marathon training this summer more manageable!