Frostbite Half-Marathon Race Report

I had a good race overall. I'm not totally thrilled with my finish time, but I can't complain either. One huge difference from last October's half--I felt happy to be out running today. I didn't hate it or get mad at running (again) or say I was going to find a new sport (like last time). It just took it for what it was (difficult!) and was thankful to be out there.

First of all, the race course was much tougher than I expected. Then, as usual, I went out too fast. My first three miles were my fastest of the day at 9:30, 9:29, and 9:43/pace. I've got to figure out what to do with that adrenaline rush at the start and run the first two or three miles at a more reasonable pace for me! I always pay the price for those too-fast starts later in the race.

The first 6 or 7 miles were the best part of the course. There were a few gently rolling hills including one long downhill in mile 2. At the midway point of 6.55 miles, I was feeling good and on track for a 2:09 finish--a six-minute PR. I was rocking it and I knew it! Then the gravel road happened. Three miles of loosely packed gravel with LOTS of hills. Running uphill in gravel? Kind of tough. I slowed from a 9:30-:10:15 pace to an 11:15, 10:15, and finally, 11:49 pace on those three hard miles (including more walking than I want to admit). I was unable to rebound from the effort on the gravel, so my last few miles were all around 10:30/pace. I finished in 2:15:10, a 39-second PR. (But a PR nontheless!)
I had a few realizations today:

1. I should have started closer to a 10:15/pace for the first two miles at least.
2. I need to do more work on hills. I see one and give up and walk (especially in the last miles when I'm tired).
3. I need to do longer tempo runs at race pace.
4. The full marathon is going to be very, very.... VERY painful.
5. Strawberry Clif Shots taste like strawberry Pop Tarts. Just sayin.'

I have a PAVED, flat half in exactly one month. I have a sub-2:15 half-marathon in me, I KNOW I do! Maybe that will be the one. Today's run will help, next week's 16-miler will extend my endurance, and hopefully I can get in a few 8 or 9 mile tempo runs. I run out of steam in mile 8 every time.

After all, it's a journey, not a destination.

P. S. I ran/walked/hobbled a final mile to make it to 14 since my training plan called for it. Fourteen feels a lot like thirteen. Good to know.

P.S.S. There were NO port-o-potties on the course. My biggest victory of the day was running 14 miles without going to the bathroom. I have given birth three times, you know, so this was no small feat.


MCM Mama said…
Good job getting it done. That gravel sounds like no fun!

I'm running a half in May that has no porta potties on the course either. I don't usually need one, but I'm sure I will just because there won't be one.
Lana said…
I wondered if you knew the course had a "not fast" reputation, but didn't want to be the spoilsport who mentioned it.

Another idea for your list of realizations might be "know the feet of ascent/descent" of the course.

On the other hand, if you know every little detail about a course, where's the adventure?

You did great, Donna. A PR on a tough course. Does it get better than that?!

And the Tom King is flat and fast, with a finish inside the Stadium shown on the Jumbotron. Very fun. You'll do great -- again!
Run Mommy said…
Great report! Your time is very respectable and a PR none the less. You should be happy about that! I also totally admire your ability to run that far with no port o potties..having given birth myself. :)
Yay! Congratulations on the PR!!! And, way to tackle the tough course. Yay!
tamara said…
Ummm, did you say "no porta-potties" and "loosely packed gravel road"???? Where in the heck was this race? In the deep woods of Alabama (I can say that because I live there)?? It just seems like they should have to disclose things like that.
I read this post yesterday while driving home, on my hubby's blackberry, but didn't get to leave a comment.

I am so happy you did so well. I thought of you all day Sat, and Sun while I was running, wishing my race had been Sat and not Sun... ;)

Sounds like you did really well. Those gravel roads are tuff. At least you didn't slip and fall.I always do at least one day a week, straight hill work. Not really right now, but in Ut I did cause my long runs never really had hills in them. Yes, the full is going to be brutal, you will hate every mile after about 17.. UGH.. so worth it though. Just take each mile as it comes.
Laura Lohr said…
"I have given birth three times, you know, so this was no small feat."

I have only given birth once, but totally understand why this was no small feat. LOL.

I just discovered your blog via the RBF. I am going to blogmark your site. Good luck with the 18!