Ahh the Space Coast Half Marathon. AKA my slowest race ever. First, before we even talk about the race, look at these splits: 5K – 35:33, 10K – 1:16:07, 15K – 1:57:02, Half – 2:48:12, Average Pace – 12:51 — Yes, that average pace was even slower than my first marathon here last year. And you know what? I’m 100% okay with that!
So lets back up a bit. The day before the Space Coast Half Marathon, I had my first appointment with Dr. McDaniels at Jacksonville Sport and Spine. I’d been dealing with pain in my achilles tendon for well over a year and it was starting to affect my gait while running, causing issues with my knees and hips. He gave me a few exercises to do to strengthen my ankles, sent me over for a massage, and adjusted me. He promised that within a few months he’d have me running pain-free and that I’d be stronger and probably faster. I wasn’t 100% sold, but it sounded good to me. As I was getting ready to leave, I mentioned that I was planning to run a half marathon the next morning. He laughed and said “typical”. Oh yes, we runners can be quite predictable.
He said it was okay though and agreed that it was best to take it easy, especially if I started hurting, so that is what I did. I lined up with Adam around the 10:00/mile pace group and ran the first two-ish miles with him in sight. Right after mile two, the nagging pain in my hip came back. I knew I could run through it, but I also knew I had a marathon coming up and that pushing was probably a stupid idea. So I made a pit-stop at the port-o-potty. I ended up having to wait for a few minutes, which ended up being a blessing.
As I came out, I saw my buddy TK run by. You may remember her — I did most of my long training runs with her last year when I was training for my first marathon. We also ran the Disney Princess Half Marathon together earlier this year (while she was pregnant with twins!). She was 11 weeks post-partum (with twins!! total rockstar!!) so she was taking it easy and running 1:1 intervals. I asked if she minded if I tagged along and she said she was glad to have the company. I was too! It’s been a while since we’ve run together, so it was really nice to catch up. My hip continued to bug me, but the pain wasn’t nearly as bad as it had been when I wasn’t stopping for walk breaks.
One of the things I remember us talking about was our running goals. TK is very supportive and motivating — the best type of running friend you can have. Even as we were slogging along, not exactly feeling our best, we were chatting about our goals, and they’re big ones. Even when we can’t perform our best, it’s nice to think about it. Our talk made the miles fly by and before I realized it (and with a few extra walk breaks thrown in), we finished in 2:48:12. TK did it not even three months after delivering her twin boys and I did it without injuring myself anymore — and with smiles — so we were happy and anxious to move on to our next race!