Today was the day I was supposed to run my first half-marathon. It was a race I was not totally prepared for and shouldn’t have signed up for in the first place. After a bout with shingles, I dropped down to the 5K and I must say, it’s probably one of the better decisions I’ve made this year. I felt nothing but relief and happiness with my decision, even while witnessing all the half runners getting ready for their race. Maybe one day I’ll be ready to tackle a half-marathon but not just yet.
So today was the day. Last year, I participated in the IronGirl 5K while my mom did the 15K. I haven’t been running much lately. Right now, I’m focusing on running short distances (like 1 mile short) and I’m going to slowly work my way up from there. I’m no longer putting a time limit on how far I should be running by a certain point. By taking that pressure off, running has become less of a stress-inducer and more of a stress-reliever.
My goal was just to beat last year’s time of 44:54 and I had a secret goal of PR-ing. The fact that I hadn’t been running much didn’t make me positive this would happen. So, at the very least, I wanted to run as much as I could.
I’m not quite sure of my times, but I do know I finished my first mile in about 11 minutes, give or take a few seconds. I don’t run 11-minute miles. Right now, I’m just shooting to run a mile in 12 minutes, so this is big for me.
I took a few walking breaks during the race. I took a 3-minute break after I ran the first mile, a short 1-minute break during the water station, and then another 3-minute break after I ran the second mile. Around Mile 2, my side began cramping up, right around my ribcage. I have such a problem with side cramps while running and haven’t found anything to help them. Usually, taking big gulps of breath and massaging the area helps a little. Luckily, I hit 2 miles and took a walking break before the pain got too bad and was just determined to finish this race. I desperately wanted to PR.
When my last mile started, I took it at a super slow pace. I didn’t want to go out too fast and have the cramping flare up again or get too tired to finish the race running. And while I swear that last mile was more like 4 miles than 1.1, I pushed through it and pushed myself to finish strong. This was actually one of the first races where I had to push myself to keep going. My mom left me in the dust about half a mile in and it was all up to me this time.
I crossed the finish line in 41:07, with a pace of 13:17. I took 1 minute, 7 seconds off my previous PR.
Umm…AMAZING! I was so incredibly proud of myself for getting another PR, especially since I haven’t been running much. I think by taking the pressure off me to run a certain distance at a certain pace by a certain time, I’ve grown to like running a little bit more. (I’m still not sure I want to say I love it.) I think I took on too much too soon and it burned me out.
IronGirl is a race you must do if you can. They have them all over the U.S. and it’s just such a fun atmosphere to be a part in. It’s all women of all age groups and fitness levels. The event was well organized and the energy is electric. As soon as I got over my pre-race jitters, I became excited to run this race and push myself, surrounded by women doing the same thing.
And I have to give a special shout-out to Katy whom I met last night! Awesome blogger, awesome girl, and a crazy-fast runner. I think I had just passed the Mile 1 marker when I saw her on the other side, closing in on Mile 2. Yeah. She’s fast. (And she placed 4th in our age group…while I placed 121st, ha.)
Oh, and a shout-out to my mom, who crushed her previous PR by 5 minutes. Incredible.