Oshkosh Half Marathon

This was a good day, overall.  Although, for a while, I wasn’t sure it would end that way.

Today, I ran the Oshkosh Half Marathon.  This was my first half marathon in almost two years.

There were a lot of things that went really well during this race.  Unfortunately, my Garmin wasn’t one of them.  It didn’t find a satellite until about .4 miles into the race.  I started the clock when I crossed the start line, but my splits are a little messed up.  No worries.

So, when you look at the first mile split, it is actually about 1.4 miles.  It also adjusts my average pace.  Instead of a 10:17 pace, I averaged a 10:01 pace.

So…I started out running with Tim.  The 5K and the half started at the same time.  And, just like every other 5K, all the walkers lined up (some with strollers) right at the beginning of the pack, just waiting for us to plow them over.  Seriously, if there is one thing I hate, it is walkers who don’t line up at the back.  Someone is going to get hurt!

Just shy of the one mile mark, the 5K runners made a left and the half marathon kept going straight.  Tim and I amused the runners behind us by trying to kiss each other before we split.  But, we didn’t stop running, so we ended up just bashing our faces into each other.  Apparently, it was hilarious!

I quickly realized that I should have worn my gloves.  My hands were freezing, quickly going numb, and anytime I tried to do anything with my fingers for the next 10 miles, I was reminded that I made a bad choice.  I almost couldn’t get my gel out of my SPI-belt, because my fingers couldn’t work the zipper.

In addition to cold fingers, the first four miles were awful.  I honestly had thoughts of quitting.  I was having a hard time maintaining what I thought was a good pace.  In reality, I didn’t really know what my pace was because I had pulled the sleeves over my hands in a (failed) attempt to warm them up.

During this time, I threw all of my time goals out the window.  I was just hoping that I would be able to finish.

Finally, around mile 6 or 7, I started to feel pretty good.  My pace picked up a bit, although I still wasn’t checking my watch.  I was running more comfortably and instead of being passed, I was actually passing people.  That does wonders for your confidence.

When I got to mile 10, I finally started to warm up.  I freed my hands from my sleeves and looked at my watch.  I realized that my B goal (2:15) was still a possibility.  But what motivated me even more, was knowing that I could beat my sister’s half marathon time of 2:14.  All I had to do was keep each of the last 3 miles under 10:00.  I started to pick up the pace….considerably.

I started those last three miles, trying to just keep my pace under 10:00/mile.  My legs kept going faster than that.  In my head, I knew that I wanted to save something for the last mile.  But then I started thinking that I might be able to reach my A goal (2:10), so I really threw down.

Sometime during mile 13, I realized that the A goal wasn’t going to happen.  I also realized that I was pushing my legs to their limits and they were starting to shut down.  Then I saw that I had a bridge to run up before I got to the park where the finish line was.  I let the A goal go out the window and just tried to hang on as much as I could at the finish line.

It was pretty amazing to get to the end and know that I had giving it absolutely everything I had.  And it felt so good to know that I was able to push through feeling awful around mile 4 and keep going.

There were a lot of differences between this race and my first two half marathons.

* Other than the water stops, I never walked.  That certainly wasn’t the case in my first two half marathons.

* This time, my training plan included speed work.

* During this race, I wasn’t afraid to feel uncomfortable.  Even during those early miles, when I contemplated quitting, I knew that I was stronger than the discomfort I was feeling.  I kept telling myself “I can do anything for one mile.”  Over and over again.

Probably the best part about this race, other than the 9+ minute PR, is that I didn’t have any GI issues.  Truthfully, this is good news and bad news.  The good news is that I can run without stomach problems.  The bad news is that it took changing my eating habits DRASTICALLY for the 2 days prior to the race.

I will continue to experiment with different dietary changes for my long runs when I start my training for the Milwaukee Lakeshore Marathon.  That training will start on June 10.  My next training plan starts on Tuesday.  (I’m giving myself tomorrow off.)  Tuesday, I will start my speedwork training for the Bellin Run 10K in June.  I am hoping to get another PR at that race.  Today was very encouraging for that race, too.  I know that my last 3 miles were my fastest.  And the last 1.77 miles were run at a faster pace than I will need to run to PR for my 10K.

Check out the fun photo of Jaden running the kids’ race on Saturday.  He has such a determined look on his face.  Love that effort.  He had a great time.  He is also going to be running at Bellin.  They put on a great kid’s race.

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