I ran my first half marathon in an entire year today! Last year I ran the same race, at approx 22 weeks pregnant, and it took me 2.5 hrs. I’m just over 7 months postpartum now, and have really been starting to feel strong. Like I posted a few days ago, I had struggled with whether to race this race or not. I had left the option open to not race it because of the dicey weather around this time of year, and then it took a bit of a shift in mindset to decide to race it. I was encouraged by everyone I asked to race it (THANKS for all the encouragement friends!!) When I thought about it, I realized that it was silly to not race it, that I was probably just psyching myself out, and that I should get over that and go for it.
Once I decided to race it, I had to figure out what my time goal should be. I haven’t actually raced a race since last New Years as I spent most of last year pregnant with Olivia. Postpartum running is a strange time of massive improvement, and change in your body. A couple weeks ago I had had a very good cruise interval training run where I had run my tempo’s at approx a 5:00/km pace. I based that pace on an approximate half time of 1:55. I decided that this was a good goal at least to start with. I’m pretty good at feeling out a pace once I get rolling in a race, so I knew that my body would tell me once I was rolling.
I woke up nice and early this morning thanks to Olivia. She usually wakes to nurse sometime between 5 and 6am, and then goes back to sleep. This morning when she woke up at 5am, I just stayed up. I ate my breakfast, had some coffee and waited for my bowels to start working. Once I was dressed and ready to go, I was out of the house around 6:30 am. The race didn’t start until 8am, so I had plenty of time to use the bathrooms, and be nervous. I said a quick hello to my running partner Lori when she arrived (she ran the 5k race), and then made my way to the start line. This is a smallish race and didn’t have any pacers, starting corrals, or anything. I just picked a place in the front 1/3 of the crowd and went with it. My plan going in was to not run any of the first few km’s faster than a 5:15 pace. As you can see from my splits, that didn’t happen. I was trying to reign it in but I felt good and decided to just roll with it, especially since I knew I had some hills on the course that would slow me down. It was in general a fairly uneventful race, I felt fairly good, strong. My glutes did start to fatique by approximately the halfway point but I knew I was fine to just keep powering through at my pace. The km’s ticked by fairly quickly.
Just before the 15km mark, there is a fairly large hill that goes up and out of weaslehead park. I ran up the first half of this hill and then walked up the rest of it. I could have easily run up the whole hill but I decided that I would use up more energy running it, than making up the time once I was back on the flat again. You can see the pace on that km below as being 6:14. I don’t think I would have been able to run up faster than a 5:45 pace, and it would have trashed my legs to do so. Anyone have any comments on this? Is it better to walk the steep hills or run them? I think I like trail races where everyone walks the big hills 😉
My plan was to pick it up after the 16km mark when I was down to just 5k left. I did pick it up as much as I could. There was an overpass that took us over Glenmore during one of those first km’s. Then I had 3 good km’s where I was able to get my pace down a bit. Then for the last km I had no kick left in me. I guess that’s a good sign that I didn’t leave much left to race it in. At the 1 mile left sign I knew that if I could run an 8 min mile I could get in at a 1:53 even, but alas, I did not have that kick.
All in all, I’m super thrilled with this race. I’m still improving and getting my fitness back post baby, and know that I have lots more improvement to come in the next months. After I had Maiya, my first half marathon back was at 6 months postpartum, I finished that race in 1:56, which at the time was a PR. I feel like this was a tougher course, and like I’m further ahead than I was after having Maiya. I don’t think I’ll be beating my half PR this year, but I can see my numbers going in that direction, which is just awesome!
Splits: 5:10 / 5:15 / 5:13 / 5:21 / 5:27 / 5:14 / 5:16 / 5:19 / 5:30 / 5:20 / 5:28 / 5:21 / 5:21 / 5:23 / 6:14 / 5:20 / 5:18 / 5:14 / 5:05 / 5:08 / 5:16
Overall: 429/1289 (33%)
Pace 5:22 / km
Category 30-39F Place: 39/194 (20%)
Gen Place: 93/590 (16%)