First half marathon of 2013, done! And a nice big personal record for both of us!
On Saturday, January 5th Mitch and I ran the Mississippi Blues Half Marathon. Two years ago we were both part of marathon relay teams and really enjoyed the race so we wanted to run it again. The course is a hilly one, winding through downtown Jackson as well as a couple neighborhoods.
My goal this year was to run a half marathon in 2 hours or just under. I wasn't really sure I could do it in the Mississippi Blues, though, because of the hills. I tried to run on hills as much as I could in training but my neighborhood, where I do most of my running, isn't as hilly as downtown Jackson. I figured if I didn't break 2 hours in this half marathon I could try again next month at Disney Princess which is a much flatter course. Either way I was excited to be running!
The race started at 7:00am, after listening to the Star Spangled Banner played by electric guitar. Awesome! Mitch and I lined up near a 2 hour half marathon pacer since that was our goal. All 3000 runners started together so the first mile or so was pretty crowded. At times I felt like it was a struggle to keep up with the 2 hour pacer. At mile 3 the marathoners went one way and us half marathoners went another so the course thinned out a bit. I was feeling good and inched ahead of the 2 hour pacer, and Mitch was feeling even better and ran ahead. I told him to go on, since I wanted to maintain a 9 minute/mile pace and not go much faster and get tired out later on.
The next couple miles must have been mostly downhill because I kept picking up the pace and was feeling great. I told myself to get back to a 9 minute pace until mile 10 and then see how I was feeling. At mile 5 I took half an energy gel with water. Around mile 6 the hills got worse so I was slowing down but holding steady at just above 9 minute miles. At mile 7 I took the other half of my energy gel. After that I stuck to gatorade at about every other water stop and it felt like it was enough. I walked through the water stops at but otherwise kept on running.
Sometime after mile 9 I saw Mitch up ahead so I made it my goal to catch up to him. I was passing people and breathing harder and hoping it wouldn't come back to bite me in the end. Finally a little after mile 11 I caught him! He was struggling and his calves were hurting (darn minimalist shoes) but we stayed together after that.
When we had 1 mile left to go I looked at my watch and it said I was at 1:49 something. I was pumped because I knew that even if I slowed way down that last mile I was going to make my 2 hour goal! The adrenaline kicked in and on the final ascent to the finish line I took off, as much as one can take off running uphill.
Erin's official time: 1:57:43
Mitch : 1:58:06
We both made it under 2 hours with a couple minutes to spare, woot!
And we got this cool looking medal too
Next up Disney Princess Half Marathon! Now we need to figure out what our goals for that race will be, besides getting Mitch in a tutu. :)