Well...this was quite the half-marathon. It started out with some reminders of how absent-minded I can be at times. I had intended to run 3 miles before the half with lots of time to stretch and talk strategy with David. In reality...I missed the turn for Boulder and ended up taking the tollway to get there. So I was about 30 minutes later than I had planned. I did manage to get 2 miles in as a warm up so 2 is better than nothing.
During the warm-up I noticed that both of my calves were a little twingy, so after David had already found us a nice spot in the starting group I ran back to my car to grab a gel and then put on the compression sock. Here is where the story gets fun! When I was putting back on my socks, the left one started ripping so it took awhile to get completely back on. In my haste to get the shoes and and back to the start....I FORGOT to put my timing anklet back on. So I headed back to the start with a couple of minutes to spare and then waited for the go.
We had run a couple of tenths of a mile, when I looked down and saw my anklet was on. I won't tell you the words that were in my head and some that might have slipped out...but I told David and he said go grab it and I will wait. I felt horrible. I know he wasn't looking to do any serious damage today...but still. So I ran...hard...back to my car...grabbed the anklet and then back to the start and over the timing mat. By that time...we wee quite behind everyone. And David said not to sweat it and we would have fun passing everyone all race long...he was right.
I haven't done a lot of running with other people, and I have never raced with anyone so this was a new experience for me. David graciously took the lead and wove us in and out of people to try to get our pacing for each mile. I had told him I was really wanting to break 1:50 and he had a plan to get us there. The weaving in and out took its toll on our mileage and the Garmins over the long haul I believe but more on that in a bit.
The trail is very similar to the Heart and Sole Half that I did in August. So I was recognizing some things on the way out and that was kind of reassuring. David just kept making the way for us going up and down....in and out...he was really something. I was a little concerned with the pace going out because of the mileage I had already run this week, but go hard or go home was the only thing that felt right today.
At mile 3 we decided to get Gatorade. I will apologize to the woman I accidentally spilled Gatorade on...but...DON'T STOP....I had to reach in to grab a cup and as soon as I took it from the volunteer, the woman was right in front because she stopped drink. I did feel bad...hope it didn't anger her too much...but she should have pulled off to the side...anyway...bad karma...
I was really impressed with how in the moment David was. He would clap for people coming back for the 10K and then the Half front runners. He really has a good spirit and it is contagious. He kept giving me warning of what was coming up and whether we were going to speed or slow down. I just kept packed in behind him and tried my best to keep up.
By the time we hit the turn around, my stomach was really sour. I had taken a gel at my car, but it had definitely worn off. I just didn't feel comfortable taking another at that point. So I just passed the station without taking anything. And David asked if I was ready to get it started...and I was....so off we went. Starting at mile 8 we put in some solid times for the miles. I could already see that the course and the Garmin was off by quite a bit. We tried to hit most the tangents, but I think all that weaving played a roll.
In between 9 and 10 we came up on a guy in probably his late 20s early 30s....we had been cruising by people at a pretty steady clip since the start...but he didn't want us to pass. He charged twice and it just struck me because I hadn't really noticed something like that before so far from a finish. The little devil in my ear just kept saying...go ahead...we will pass you soon enough...and eventually we did. A little bit later we were talking about our pace, and I think a guy was debating try to join us because he thought we were aiming for sub 4...but when David said 1:50 he looked at us with a funny look and I said: "We got a late start." and then the guy asks if one of us forgot the timing bracelet....it was kind of funny at the moment.
We kept trudging and pushing as the the finish line became nearer. I am pretty sure David could tell I was getting to the end of my rope the last couple of miles. He kept trying to pull me along. Right after the final mile marker is where the wheels kind of fell off for me. I just couldn't get any kind of turnover to go faster and there were a couple of hills that just seemed to go on forever.
Finally, David turns to me and says: "Let's finish to 13.1 on the Garmins." I tried to give what I had and after awhile he informs me that we hit 13.1 as the Garmin was going 1:50. I think we might even have been a little better than that based on my splits, but it didn't matter. We were still 3 tenths of a mile from the finish. A few guys were flying by and I don't think David was digging it...he wanted to finish strong the last .1 and I churned me legs as best I could until we hit that final timing mat.
I know sub 1:50 isn't the biggest thing in the world, but I did want it. David did everything in his power to help he get it...at one point turning around and encouraging me backwards. Just couldn't make up the added distance. Truthfully though...on this day...on that course...after this week...I am proud of my effort. It was a great experience with someone that is really becoming a good running friend. So thank you David!