Route 66 Half Marathon 2013
This was my third year running the Route 66 Half Marathon. The first year, I ran faster than expected, which led to my first half still holding my PR of 2:02:53. The second year, I struggled a lot in my training, but still finished in 2:27:59. This year, I had pretty good training up until my 11 mile run and I struggled through it and my 12 mile run, so I was interested to see what race day held for me.
I woke up at 6:15 and went through my normal race day morning preparation. I got dressed, made sure I had everything I needed (spibelt with 3 gu’s, chapstick, water bottle, phone, ear buds), and ate a little breakfast (a piece of bread with a little peanut butter). I wasn’t sure what to wear for the race. It was much colder than any of the long races I’d done before (in the 20’s with a wind chill in the teens). I didn’t want to overdress, but I also didn’t want to underdress. I ended up going with running leggings, a thin longs sleeved shirt, and a thick running pullover along with a headband and gloves.
My friend/cousin, Minnie, and I left my apartment at 6:45 to go find parking. We ended up finding parking only a few blocks from the start. Because it was so cold, we sat in the car until 7:30 (the race started at 8). It was so cold walking over to the start and even colder once we were just standing there. We said our goodbyes at about 7:45 and I headed to my corral and she headed to hers.
My wave got to start at 8:10. I have been relying on runkeeper on my phone since my garmin died, so I made sure to get it set up about a minute early so I could get my gloves back on and situated. I didn’t even think about the fact that this was going to throw my pace calculations off the whole race. Once we got going, I was so happy to be moving! The first few miles went really well. I began to calculate my pace in my head and I was maintaining between a 10:00 and 10:15 pace those first few miles. I knew this was too fast, but I just kept going. At about mile 3, I realized just how hilly this course was going to be. The route had changed this year and I swear it was way hillier than it had been in the past…at least it felt like it. We would go on a long incline and then go downhill, just to turn around and do it over again. I was struggling on the uphills, but feeling good on the downhills.
At about mile 4-5, I stepped in a hole and almost twisted my ankle. It threw me off for a second, but I didn’t feel any pain, so I kept going. At mile 6-7, I slid on some ice on the ground, but kept my balance and kept running. Mile 8 was about the point that I really started to feel the pain. I could tell my pace was slowing down some, but I was determined to keep moving. I had taken in a Gu at mile 5, which I think helped a little bit in keeping my energy up. I was sweating, but knew if I took my pullover off that I would be freezing, so I kept alternating running with gloves off or gloves on. I think this helped regulate my temperature a little bit.
Miles 10 and 11 were hard. This was a flat portion of the course, but I was struggling. I was cold. My legs hurt. I was so ready to be done! And then I got to the hill at mile 12. I had mentally prepared myself for this hill. I knew it was coming, but when I got to it, I just couldn’t do it. I had to take my first walking break. I was really disappointed at first, but I saw so many other people around me walking too and I knew it was okay. I was still going to finish the half, even if I walked a little. What I underestimated was how hard it was going to be to start running again. Because of the cold, my legs had a lot of trouble getting going again. I ended up alternating walk/run those last two miles, which slowed my pace considerably.
The last mile was hard. I knew the end was near, but it seemed like every time I thought it was getting close, I’d turn another corner and not be able to see it. Finally, I turned a corner and saw it. I ran (or shuffled) the rest of the way to the finish. My chip time ended up being 2:23:29. As I crossed the finish line, I was a little dizzy and wobbly and a first aid person came over to check if I was okay. After a few big breaths, I kept going. I got my medal, pushed my way through the food tent (they were serving spaghetti and the smell was making my sick), and got outside where Tim was waiting.
He led me over to a curb where we could sit down. I tried wrapping the foil blanket around me, but it was so cold that it wasn’t doing much good. After sitting for a few minutes, we decided to walk to my car and sit in the heat while we waited for Minnie to get close. The walk was brutal. We had to go up a hill and walk several blocks. My hands were absolutely frozen by the time we got back to the car. I think my running gloves were a little sweaty on the inside, so once I stopped moving and the cold hit them, it just iced my hands. It was painful. We sat in the car for a while. I couldn’t stop shaking, but finally warmed up a little. I didn’t want to get back out in the cold, but I wanted to watch Minnie finish…it was her first Half and I knew she had worked so hard to get here. We found a close parking spot and walked over to watch her finish. I was so happy for her seeing her cross that finish line!
Even though it was cold and miserable, I am so glad I persevered. And even though I struggled, I still have a love for the Half Marathon and can’t wait to do my next one! And maybe someday, to attempt the full again!