Our girls' weekend continued Sunday morning with warmer temperatures and an earlier wake-up.
Despite getting to bed around 8:30 the night before, I slept fitfully Saturday night. The half Sunday began at 6am, so we were out of bed by 4:00. Surprisingly, my legs felt really good.
|Flat-Ali, take two! The headband is a new one from the expo and I love it...it even has a hidden pocket.|
I had set up my clothes the night before, as usual. Funnily enough, although Mari, Kristin, and I all agreed to wear our GGM tanks for the 15k, we hadn't planned any other matching outfits...and we still managed to match Sunday!
The moment we stepped outside, we knew we were in for a totally different day. The temperatures had increased from 43 to 58, and we were looking at finishing the race with temperatures in the 60s or higher. It was also much more humid than Saturday morning, and I noticed a difference in my breathing immediately.
|Waiting for the start!|
We didn't really have plans for this race...Or at least, I didn't. Mari was in the sub-2:00 corral and Kristin was hoping to PR; I just wanted to run the race and enjoy it.
Although I started out with Kristin, we lost each other before the first mile-marker. It was so crowded! I was bobbing and weaving all over the place to avoid walkers. I probably started out too far back (around the 11:27 pacer) and ended up paying for it, but I also didn't reach the start line until about eight minutes after the gun, so I didn't really mind starting toward the back.
|I literally do not remember where this was or what mile we were at!|
I settled into a comfortable pace and tried to pick someone in the crowd to latch onto, but I kept passing all my targets. My legs felt pretty good the entire time; I had a small pain in one foot from the slant of the road and had to keep changing sides to adjust for that.
Around mile 6 I could feel myself speeding up because it was the halfway point and I wanted to be done; the smart side of my brain told me to stay easy, but the impatient side seemed to be in charge.
Once more, I kept myself distracted by searching for Mari at the turnaround, and then searching for Kristin once I'd made the turn myself.
|...And then I hit the wall.|
The hardest part of this race, besides the full-on heat of the morning, was a kind of virtual marathon-wall I hit around mile 10. Usually in a half, my wall is at mile 9 and I hit a peak again at 11, and I can plan accordingly. But during this half, my legs already had 9.3 miles on them! Around mile 11, I felt like I was at the tail-end of a marathon. Mentally, it was hard to push myself and keep from walking. All around me, those who had run the challenges all weekend were walking; I had to ignore them and stop myself from giving in.
Then, my Nike+ started cutting out like it had during Space Coast and A1A! (Side-note: I immediately tweeted Nike Support after this race and they told me to uninstall and reinstall, so we'll see if this issue is fixed next time.) My stomach felt gross and I wanted to puke but I just trudged along and kept going. I had nothing in me to sprint the end, and I was so relieved to be finished!
I totally enjoyed this race; it was beautiful and fun, but it was mentally very challenging after the 15k. (I was having flashbacks to the last time I did back-to-back races!) Once again I ran into people in the finishing chute because they stopped too short over the line.
|Success! Kristin PR'd by 7 minutes and Mari came in sub-2!|
The medal really did make it all worth it.
|Despite tired legs, I ran perfectly even splits and managed a great final time, only three minutes slower than last weekend's half!|
We had breakfast at some random cafe, showered up, and headed home! We did make one necessary pit-stop in Sarasota for gluten free cupcakes.
|I ate the coconut cupcake and took a white-chocolate one to go!|
After 22.4 miles in a single weekend, I think we definitely earned that treat.
I've now run eight half marathons, and I'm beginning to see that my average times are closer to the 2:20s than 2:40s, where they used to hover. It's nice to see progress and to see that I'm getting better at racing longer distances! Who knows what I could have done on this course with fresh legs?
Overall, this was a fantastic weekend and I'm so glad that Kristin - who has coveted that skull medal for ages - convinced us to sign up with her!