I hadn't panned to run this race because of it proximity to both the Tobacco Road Half and allergy season. However, Hiroko's former employer's were one of the sponsor and were were able to a free entry while she was still employed with them, so I decided to run.
Prior to the Tobacco Road Half Marathon on March 17th, I was fighting injury and worrying about finishing the race. Following that race, things got really hectic, and I decided to just give myself a bit of a rest until this race. I ran some shorter runs, but nothing more than five miles. I biked to work, and began stroller runs with Kaito, who would be turning 6 months old on the day of the race. During the Tobacco Road Half, I stayed with the 2 hour pace group in hopes hitting that mark and not pushing my injured calfs too much. After the race, I felt like this might have been a mistake and that I could have run harder earlier in the race without really effecting the end of the race. So going in to the Run Raleigh Half Marathon I had it in my mind that I might just run at whatever pace felt good and not worry about fading at the end. This decision was aided by the knowledge that there a big fat hill sitting right on the 12 mile mark that I was planning to walk up unless I just felt amazing when I hit the hill.
Start of the Race:
|Start of the Run Raleigh Half Marathon: I am 759|
Mile 1-3: I started behind the 2 hour pace group, but worked my way up to them by the end of the first mile. I attempted to do as little waeving and dodging as possible before the everyone thinned out. Luckliy, this race is still on the smallish side and run on pretty wide streets so I was able to keep on a fairly straight line. Shortly after the 1 mile Mark, I passed the 2 hour pace group and decided that regardless of the outcome I was going to push myself and run at a pace that felt right.
Mile 1: 8:57
Mile 2: 8:48
Mile 3: 8:57
By the end of Mile Six, I was really enjoying myself, we were running in the morning sun and the weather was perfect. Miles 4 and 5 had felt much better than they had a Tobacco Road and despite this race being run on concrete rather than the ultra forgiving compacted gravel of the Tobacco Trail, I was feeling really strong. I had decided to wear my I-pod, and I found some serious motivation from Journey, Incubus, the Beastie Boys, and Massive Attack. I took on a nice little hill a the end of the sixth mile without feeling any real strain and was beginning to have a good feeling about this race, if I could survive the Beast of Ashe Avenue.
Mile 4: 8:54
Mile 5: 8:55
Mile 6: 9:04
At the end of Mile 7 Kanye West's Jesus Walks provided me with a nice boost along with Massive Attack's Teardrop. Right around the 8 mile mark we left the roads and dropper down onto the Raleigh Greenway system, which we would stay on until just before Mile 12 and the Beast of Ashe Avenue. I felt really dialed in and focused at this point. I love when your running and get that point where your mind just kind of switches off and you feel like your body is just on auto pilot. That is how I felt through these miles, like some kind of running Buddha.
Mile 7: 8:58
Mile 8: 8:55
Mile 9: 9:06
The time of struggles -- Mile 10 was mostly up hill. I kept trying to convince myself that I wasn't slowing down, but I knew the truth. As soon as I hit the 10 mile mark all of my mental focus kind fell apart and all that I could think about was that stinking motherless whore of a hill on 12 that was going to kick my ass. Music wasn't helping, nor was Gu. That hill was all I could think about. Yeah, it's not really the best way to keep it together, but at this point. I wasn't really keeping it together. I knew that the 2 hour pace group was gaining on me, and I was sure that I wouldn't be able to fight them off. As soon as I got off of the greenway I could see the beast, I decided to try to run up it, and got about a quarter of the way up when I just knew it wasn't going to work. I needed to walk it. I could see the two hour pace group gaining on me, but I knew I could get over the Hill before they caught me. Just as I crested that beast, I made myself a promise to run this race again next year and run up that mofo!
Mile 10: 9:20
Mile 11: 9:32
Mile 12: 10:10
I would love to tell you how I was able to rally and fight off the 2 hour pace group, but it wasn't meant to be they caught me with less than half a mile to go as I struggled to run/walk my way to the finish. I was able to muster up a small kick for the last two tenths of a mile that nearly caused me to puke but helped to secure a brand new shiny PR by 22 seconds!