Another 13.1 mile race in the books. I honestly don't know how many half-marathons I've run, a lot, at any rate. This was the premier year for this awesome race in Rochester, New York. I must say it was a huge success! The course was excellent, just the right amount of challenge, great route, good crowd support, fabulous volunteers, and the event organization was amazing all around. The finish felt like a marathon and they treated all the participants like rock stars, there was even live music at the finish! (and a couple places along the course...)
Rain was the dismal forecast for race day weather so I was completely dreading it the night before the race. However, I chatted with my friend Amy who was running her very first half marathon and I got excited and motivated for the morning run! It was so much fun to hash it all out with her before hand and look forward to her first race at that distance! To make things even better, I woke up to temps near 50 and no rain!
Amy and I made our way to the start and lined up with the 1:50 pace leader. We decided to start out with him and just see how the day went for us, never planning to run together, but just to start together. A light misty rain did start but it was perfectly fine, actually felt good. I was completely comfortable in a running tank and skirt. I was surprised at how great I felt on the run because just two days before I had run a miserable 4 miles with IT band pain. But on race day it was like that had never happened!
We hit our first hill at mile 6 or 7 and I fell off the pace group. The course wound through the city, and then a section through the beautiful Mount Hope Cemetery for miles 7 through 9 basically had rolling hills before flattening out again for the final segment of the run. I determined to keep the pace group in sight with the hopes of possibly catching back up to them. Our pace leader was great, Ultra-Runner-Bill was nice and steady on our 8:23 pace, and had an ultra run himself the following weekend where he would run for 24 hours straight hoping to cover 108 miles-wow!
So back to the moment, I had fallen off the group and just when I thought I was not going to catch up, I picked it up and ran a 7:44 mile and was back with them. Amy was ahead of the group and in sight, she was running strong! I knew she would have an awesome race, she is a natural runner and just easily settled into her pace. Gradually I lost complete sight of her as she moved ahead of our pace group.
By the end of the cemetery section, I was feeling tired and Bill gave me some words that stayed with me to the finish line. He said "Your body is strong, you've trained for this! Your mind is weak and wants to quit and give up. Tell your mind to SHUT UP, you'll talk later. You can do anything for 30 minutes." He was completely RIGHT! This was purely mental! Of course I could do this! And I did. I made it to the end in 1:50:31. My Garmin read 13.2 miles at an 8:20 pace. Not a PR, but definitely the best I could do on that given day. You get out what you put in, I put no speed work in and that's what I got. :) I'm happy with it. Maybe next year I can beat my time from this year. I loved this race and can't wait to run it again!
My friend Amy? She ran a 1:46! Super race for her, she got 9th in her age group and I got 10th in mine. There were over 100 in each of our groups, not a bad day for either of us! I have a feeling she'll be even faster next year.
A ton of my friends and running partners ran this race and we all loved it. Can't wait for next year! Kudos to the Rochester Fleet Feet team for putting on an outstanding event!