This weekend was the Half Marathon Unplugged, a race that starts in Colchester, VT and ends in Burlington, VT. My coach Denise Goode from The Sustainable Athlete and I decided that this would be a perfect race for me to add to my training calendar for the Vermont City Marathon as a warm-up race for the big day.
The weather on race day was incredible. Beautiful, clear blue skies, temps in the 50’s-60’s. My friend Bridget and I were signed up to run in the second wave of racers with race time being 11 o’clock. It was a bit difficult knowing we had a lot of time in the morning before the race to allow the nerves to take over. However on the plus side I had extra time to get enough fuel for my body.
Fueling my body to have enough energy stores during the race has been a big focus for me during my training. I made sure to get enough calories in the days leading up to the race. The night before the race I ate a hearty breakfast of banana pancakes with hemp protein powder, two fried eggs and some fresh fruit and then before bed a giant bowl of granola. On race day I started off with an enormous bowl of oatmeal with whole milk and strawberries, sipped on water with NUUN U Natural Tangerine Ginger.
We arrived at the start early enough to grab bagels and for Bridget an English muffin (a craving for nooks and crannies???). We had plenty of time to warm-up and stretch and also time for some rocket fuel . . .I mean GU ROCTANE to add in the extra energy punch at the starting line. It is amazing how much thought goes into pre-race fueling!
At the starting line I was feeling nervous. This race was going to be a good test of my speed for the actual marathon. I have definitely been feeling strong but surprised myself at this race. During the fall I ran quite a few half-marathons but took a different approach to the race-I wanted to enjoy the race, run hard, feel good, and trust my training. Before this half I was very focused on hitting my split times. When the race started I was able to let myself go and just race rather than to over-think. I knew that my training has been intense, lots of hills, mountain races, tempo runs, and running with some super fast training partners. I reminded myself that this race was “short” in comparison to the longer training runs. Also, starting this fall I decided to not even focus on the first half of the race but to only really think about the actual race with 6 miles to go because I know I am a strong 10K runner. I have been working hard to keep my thoughts positive. Instead of thinking 3 miles to go, I would think to myself, “3 miles is easy, just a 5k, time to kick up the pace.” I also thought of people who inspire me, who I know are strong. I have also learned from running relay events to use the energy of the runners in front of me and imagine their energy pulling you closer. How do you inspire yourself in the middle of a hard race?
I went out fast. Perhaps a bit too fast but I was feeling supercharged. My pace the first 2 miles averaged 7:11 minutes per mile. I have definitely never run that fast at this distance before! I knew I had to slow it down and eased into a 7:23 min/mile pace. I felt strong as I ran the course (which by the way runs right along scenic Lake Champlain and also along much of the VT City Marathon course). There were many strong women runners on the course including my friend Bridget who finished first in our age group (30-39) running a super fast 1:32.23. Seeing strong women on the course reminded me that I could run like that too and knowing that Bridget was up ahead made me want to run faster. The toughest half mile was the second to last where my first 2 miles definitely caught up with me. With a half mile to go however I decided I needed to pick up the pace and finish the race strong.
During the race I never looked to see how long I had been running. I only checked my pace and to see how many miles I had run. When I approached the finish line I knew I was coming in faster than I had before but was surprised to see that I had crushed my previous PR by almost 8 minutes! I ran a time of 1:37.48 which put me 5/52 in my age group (30-39) and 35 overall out of 317 runners.
I am totally psyched and can’t wait for marathon day! I can start to see the possibility of qualifying for Boston coming within reach. I am going to train my a$$ off for the last month and a half of training.
I am going to reach for my dream!
- Who inspires you? (organicrunnermom.wordpress.com)