As you all know, I am a very slow and steady kind of gal when it comes to running. I like to plod along, taking in the scenery, while thinking about how yummy that chocolate milk at the end will taste when I eventually get there. Something happened to me in my half on Saturday though. I was actually kind of speedy for once... Now averaging an 11:17 min/mile pace isn't going to win me any awards, but you guys, I felt like I was flying! I actually finished a half marathon in under 2:30! Not by much, but a 2:28:06 felt like someone should stick me up on a podium and play the national anthem. When the last half that I finished was about 20 minutes slower, it certainly felt like quite the accomplishment.
The race was the Timpanogos Half Marathon, coming down the American Fork canyon. It was a gorgeous morning, although a bit chilly at the start line. The course was a nice downhill, not too steep, for the first 8 miles or so. Then as we left the canyon, we started on a lovely path past a golf course and through some nice wooded areas. The path had a bit of the rolling hill thing going on, but it really didn't phase me. I surprised myself by passing the 2:30 pacer just after the mile 10 marker. I started having a small internal freak out, realizing I was set up to run my fastest half ever (the first one I ever ran was a 2:30 and I haven't come within 10 minutes or so of it since). There was the little voice of doubt that kept trying to sneak in and ruin my mojo by thoughts like "What if you trip and sprain your ankle?" "What if you burn out at mile 12?" and "You know if you have to take a walk break, you won't beat the pacer". Rude huh? But I managed to quiet that voice and just keep truckin'. I didn't dare look behind me though, I didn't want to know how close that 2:30 sign was to me. I did see one poor woman at mile 12 who was in an ambulance, her young daughter standing there, camera in hand, looking pretty disappointed. There are reasons I always try to go easy at these things.
You want to know something interesting about finishing in the 2:20's? That's where a TON of people finish. I mean whole massive gobs of people finish around that time. It's so very strange to be surrounded by that many people as you cross the line. I think this may be the first race where I wasn't totally by myself at any point. I've never had a race like this before. I was passed by people, sure. But I'm quite certain I've never passed so many either. It was an overall strange experience, and one that I'm actually still sore from, but enjoyable all the same. I've realized that PR's take a lot out of you, and I won't be gunning for another one anytime soon. My schedule is too full to be sore for 5 days after a race. But it was thrilling. My mother was beside herself. She kept asking me "where did that come from?!" and honestly, I don't know. I suppose I could be becoming a "proper" runner. Maybe this body of mine has decided it doesn't want to be out on the course for that long anymore. Whatever it was, my lazy body wanting to be done sooner, or some new found running prowess, I'll take it. And I'll take that big shiny medal too. *cue the the Star Spangled Banner :)