Last Sunday, on a beautiful late September morning dappled with fog and sunshine, I enjoyed my first competitive half marathon in over a year. My miles averaged 10-11 minutes, and I was pleased with a finishing at around the 2:20 mark. I trained more strategically for this half than I ever had for a half marathon before, and it paid off during race day. I wasn’t super speedy, but I felt really steady throughout the entire run.
Miles 1-3 were a warm-up time. I enjoyed the sights and sounds of running through downtown and my neighborhood.
Miles 4-9 were probably my favorite. As we turned up near the airport and ran back toward the bay, there were tons of pockets of fog. The leaves under my feet were crunchy and the air smelled fantastic. The volunteers had much more pep this year because it wasn’t raining buckets like it did last year. I enjoyed several stretches of time in the zone.
Miles 10-13 were a bit difficult, particularly as we scaled a large hill at the onset of Mile 11. I was proud of myself for using positive self-talk to get through what felt like the beginning of hitting a wall. The last half of the last mile was a scramble downhill toward the finish, so it was all guts.
My favorite part was hanging around at the side of the shoot and watching my friends (and also lots of strangers!) cross the finish line. Usually when I finish a long distance race, I immediately get home and into the shower. This time I had the opportunity to share the experience of crossing that line with many others, and it was the perfect way to end my race day and this chapter of training.
What next? I would like to run another half this fall. I keep coming back to this 13.1 mile distance as my favorite type of race. I am thinking of running Seattle in late November or perhaps another regional race around that same time.