So I’m a bit behind in my blog updates. The weekend after Thanksgiving, I ran my first and only half marathon for the year. This was my sixth year running the Space Coast Half, but this year felt a bit more important, since I hadn’t raced a 13.1 since the previous year’s Space Coast Half.
Obviously, if I’ve done a race six years in a row, I probably like it. And the one thing I have to say is that these race organizers are always improving.
In terms of my performance in the race, I wasn’t too concerned about the distance. I knew I would be slow, but my coach had me do a 13 mile training run, something I had never done in half marathon training. I wondered why I was doing it, but didn’t question her expertise, and I’m glad I didn’t. What that training run gave me was the confidence that I could cover the distance without pain from my labral tear, but it also gave me an idea of how fast I would race, so I didn’t have to put a lot of time into worrying about that. It was really freeing to not be focusing on a finishing time.
This year was the first year in a new four year race series, and they made a few changes for this year. The expo continues to grow, which is nice, though I so rarely buy anything at race expos anymore, especially when I travel to a race. I need to make more room for stuff in my luggage so I can shop.
Race morning, my sister Caitlin and I made plans to race together. I think I’ve seen her more this year than I have since we lived in the same timezone. That’s been pretty awesome. Dad dropped us off at the race start, which was a huge perk. No worries about parking! Another change this year was that they added a second half marathon. The marathon course is sort of shaped like an infinity symbol, and previously, the half marathon was only the south side of the course. The marathoners ran the north loop, then joined the half marathoners on the south loop. This year, there was an option to run the north loop half marathon course. The big difference between the two, aside from the scenery, is that the north half has a 3.5 hour time limit, while the south half has a 7 hour time limit (the full marathon time limit). Even though I’ve run the south course 5 times, when it was time for race registration, I was completely unable to run thanks to my hip, so I registered for the south course, in case I had to walk the entire race.
The start line was as crowded as ever, though this year, marathoners and north runners were instructed to be on the right side of the street, and south runners on the left. Until we got much closer to the start, there was no indication of divided corrals. Additionally, as we made our way up to the start line after the race started, we realized that there were some very poorly placed pace signs. That meant that the start was quite crowded and there was lots of darting around people in the first mile or so. If that’s the worst thing I can say about the race, so be it.
We really lucked out with weather. It was cool and slightly overcast all day. Absolutely perfect. And the spectators were out in full force. Some of the people in the neighborhood set up bars in their front yards for the runners. You know I love a run where I can have a mini margarita!
Aside from one mild calf cramp that I think was due to low sodium (at least I think so, since some salt helped it), this race went really well. I ran exactly as planned. My pace was where I thought I would be based on training, and most importantly, I felt amazing throughout the race. I wasn’t sore at all and I felt like my form was pretty decent.
I was so, so excited to be racing again. Sure, I have a ways to go to get back to my previous pace, but that will come with time, and it’s still not something I’m terribly worried about. Since it’s not like I’m trying to qualify for anything, it makes sense to just let my pace evolve naturally as I continue to train.
Look out 2019, here I come.