Today, I ran my third half-marathon of the year, and managed to break two hours for the first time since having my daughter 11 months ago. I wasn’t expecting this to be my first sub-2 half, but when I arrived at the start line, I saw they offered pace groups. Since I ran my last marathon with a pace group and they really helped me push through the tough parts, I figured, “why not?” So I introduced myself to the 2-hour pacers and was on my merry way.
The race was the Heart Mini Marathon in Cincinnati. I have to admit, I hadn’t given the race much thought before yesterday, when I suddenly realized I had no idea where the start line was, much less where the course went. I had a quick look at the course map but nothing more. I was more excited to be in Cincinnati on a Saturday so that we could eat at one of our favorite restaurants. So when I woke up at 4:15 (it was meant to be 5:15 but I was so nervous of being late because of the time change that I accidentally woke up an hour early), I had a quick look to see where the start was, and where the best place to park would be.
It’s about 50 minutes’ drive to Cincinnati, and it rained the entire way. I don’t mind running in the rain usually, but 13.1 miles is a long way to run in inclement weather and I saw that thunderstorms were a possibility. So, understandably, I was a little nervous. When I arrived in Cincy, though, the rain had stopped, though it was pretty muggy and warmer than I’m used to.
Since I didn’t really have any expectations or goals going into this race, it was a surprise that I had such a good time. There were hills… many hills… but the pacers kept us going and gave us great advice about form which helped me keep going. From time to time, I felt like I had the energy to pick it up, but I held back and kept with the pacers and I’m glad I did, because I ended up with enough energy in the bank to pick up the pace for the last mile or so and finish in 1:58:58.
I actually ended up loving this race. The course was fairly boring in places, but the support was great and there were plenty of runners so there weren’t any weird spots where I was alone. So I might do this next year, too!
Last month, I ran my second half of the year. It was actually a virtual race through Moms Run This Town. It was scheduled for a really cold day where there was a frostbite warning, so I decided to run it the following weekend with a friend. We finished in around 2:02 and I really enjoyed our run!
Yesterday I ran a 5K with my husband and the baby in the stroller. I didn’t intend to race it, but my husband is super fast (he actually ran 18 miles before the 5K, then ended his training run with us slow pokes) so I ended up finishing in 24:28. That wasn’t a PR for me, but it was faster than I thought I could run at this point in my life, and it was good enough for second place in my age group!
I have a 10-mile trail run planned next Sunday with the local running club, and then my next half in four weeks. I have two halfs scheduled for April (they are actually two weekends in a row) so it’ll be a busy racing month for me. But I feel like, now I have broken 2 hours and proven I can still do it, I might take it easier and just try to enjoy the next couple of races. Having said that, I’ve run the first one (Ohio River Road Runners Half Marathon) twice before and PR’d both times… and there are really good cookies at the end… so we’ll see what happens.