Yes. I did.
That will be the extent of my bragging because I am certain that, as impressed as I am with myself, many people reading this could crush my time with little problem. But I couldn’t help but brag just a little because I am still high on race day success.
The Raleigh Rocks Half Marathon on Sunday went all but perfectly. The weather was great (in the 40’s at the starting line warming up a bit during the race to perfect, sunny running weather). The race was executed well from what I could tell, essentially for me this means the bathroom line was short AND INDOORS and the starting line wasn’t an inescapable, slow moving mob. Even my little pre-race struggle with my Garmin turned out in my favor. Even though I hadn’t used the average pace function before (either because it was not there before or because I am blind, still not sure), it worked beautifully for me during the race.
My goal for this race was to PR with a time around 1:45 and to keep it consistent at around an 8 minute per mile pace.
I started out keeping a close eye on my watch so that I wouldn’t go out too fast. I kept myself in the range of 7:59-8:01. I focused on evening out my breathing because I tend to get all giddy and excited at the beginning of a race and breath unnecessarily fast.
After mile 1 I had settled down quite a bit and just a couple miles after that I realized I was feeling wonderful so I picked the pace up just a bit so I was averaging around 7:57. Many of the subsequent miles were uneventful in a positive sense. I kept that exact pace for a really long time. I saw some interesting things here and there.
The rough part of the course was the second half, which covered some more rural roads. The scenery was much more engaging than the first 7 miles but I found myself in a position where there wasn’t another runner for over a quarter of a mile in front of or behind me. Not exactly motivational or conducive to setting a steady pace so I used my watch a good bit during this part of the race as well. I aimed to continue keeping my pace around 7:57. After running the course last year, I was conscious of the obnoxiously long hill that was waiting for me at mile 10 and wanted to give myself a little wiggle room if I had to slow down for it.
Although the hill was as unpleasant as I remembered (about 3/4 of a mile long, directly in the hot sun) my pace only barely suffered from it. And after the fact I was rewarded with a slow, steady downhill during the last mile that felt glorious. I was so excited during that last mile and a tenth that I booked it in at a 7:46 pace – my second fastest mile of the race.
Chip time: 1:44:43 (PR)
86th out of 580 overall
23rd female out of 363
5th out of 77 in my age group (female 20-24)