If you follow me on twitter or we are friends on facebook, you’re well aware that the running bug bit me last fall. I got it in my head that I could finish a half-marathon and started running. Then my knees decided they hated me (or the non-running shoes I was running in!) so I was sidelined for a few weeks while I let them heal. Once I could walk again without any pain, I paid a quick visit to Jacksonville Running Company and got fitted for a pair of running shoes (Asics GT-2170). Running in them is seriously like walking on a cloud, heaven! So with my lovely new shoes, I started training for the runDisney Princess Half Marathon.
As with most things, I started researching everything I could about the race and what to expect. I’ve run in the past, but never in a real race. I quickly realized that while this is an official race with a required pace, a lot of people do it just because it is Disney. They’re in it just for fun, for pictures with the characters, they walk the whole thing, etc. While I love Disney and totally respect that, I’m not obsessed with it and really don’t have a desire to do any of the character pictures, so I was a bit worried that I’d get discouraged weaving around walkers and those who did opt to stop. Several people recommended that I do another race first so I’d have a time to submit to Disney to move up to a quicker corral (Ha! I’m slow! Move up?? Yeah, okay!.. or so I thought!)
So, I started looking for local races that were at least 10K and fit into my training plan, and I found the Florida Striders Resolution Run, a 5K and 10K race that landed on the exact weekend I was scheduled to do a 6 mile training run. Sign me up!
The morning of the race, I was really nervous. Adam had planned to go with me, but Braden had his first basketball game and I thought it was more important that Adam and my parents were there for him, so I sent them to the game and I went to the race on my own. I had no clue what to do or where to go, so I’m really glad that I did a small, local race first to help get rid of the pre-race jitters! I ended up just following the crowd and found my way to the chip pick-up and start line just a few minutes before the race started.
I started way in the back because I didn’t want to get in the way of any faster runners, but that was a mistake. I spent the entire first mile running zig-zag, weaving in and out of walkers. Once I got to the 2 mile mark though, the course opened up and I was free to run at a comfortable pace. I really didn’t want to stress over my time so I tried really hard not to look at my Garmin. My plan was to just run a nice, comfortable pace and see where I ended up. Around mile 3, I started getting hot and pulled my sleeves up, then I noticed on my watch that I was running at a 9:53 pace.. what?! I made myself slow down so I didn’t tire too soon, but every time I looked down, I was still at a sub-10 pace. I think it was a combination of adrenaline and awesome weather, because I normally run around a 10:30-11:00 pace!
The entire time I felt really good and strong, I was really suprised because at this point in my training, six miles still sounds like a really long way to run. I’m trying NOT to think about the fact that in just about 2 months, I’ll be toeing the start line of a 13.1 mile race. Ack!
The course was really nice, the majority of it was down River Road in Orange Park so we had a nice breeze off of the water and some gorgeous houses to look at. It was nice to have the change of scenery since I’m used to running the same route around my neighborhood. I slowed down a bit toward the end, I actually thought we were coming up on the finish line, but it was the 5K finish. The 10K finish had another mile or so to go past the finish line, then looped back around to finish. I was a bit frustrated when I realized it and slowed down behind another runner, but when I came out of the loop and saw the clock on the finish line, I realized I had run the race a LOT faster than I expected, so I sped up to finish strong.
I’m not kidding when I say I was stalking the 1st Place Sports website for my results. I forgot to stop my watch when I crossed the finish line, so although I knew I finished well above where I wanted to, I wasn’t sure how well. I was ecstatic when they posted the results and saw the chip time of 1:02:24 for a 10:03 pace! Now I’m really anxious to see what corral that puts me in for the Princess half!
This was the first time EVER that I ran negative splits too! I was shocked when I downloaded the stats from my Garmin! (Well, excluding the last mile where I was pouting!)
Mile 1 – 10:12
Mile 2 – 10:00
Mile 3 – 9:59
Mile 4 – 9:58
Mile 5 – 9:43
Mile 6 – 10:03
Last .2 – 14:35 (I forgot to stop my watch and walked a good bit, so the pace here is way off.)
I didn’t stick around for any of the post-race festivities, I was trying to get to Braden’s game before it was over but unfortunately I missed the entire thing. Thankfully he didn’t seem to mind, we treated him to breakfast at Chick-fil-a and he told me all about it and how well he did.. I have to say I’m a little bit happy that he didn’t make a basket today, I’d be super bummed if I missed his first one!