March Madness Half Marathon

In November I made a rough outline of all the races that I wanted to run this year. I like to run about one race a month. I find it keeps me motivated to continue with training, and I love doing races. My friend Jen told me about The March Madness Half Marathon in Bountiful when I was signing up for other races during Black Friday sales (ps. you know your a runner when the only thing you buy on Black Friday are race entries), and since this one was close to home and only $30, I went for it!

The tricky thing about this race was that since I'm training for the Salt Lake Marathon, I needed 16 miles on Saturday instead of just 13.1. I had a lot of advice on what I should do. Some people said to run the extra 3 miles after the race, some said to run 1.5 before, and 1.5 after, but I decided to just run all 3 before the race, that way when I crossed the finish line after the race, I really could be mentally and physically done for the day. 

I got to the race at about 8:15am. I checked in, and then ran my 3 miles. I had just enough time to run the 3 miles, use the bathroom, find Jen, and then head to the starting line. Jen was chasing a sub 2 hour time, so I knew I wouldn't be running with her for the race since I had already run 3 miles, and this was more of a training run for me, and not an all out effort. 

The gun (or whatever loud noise they actually used), went off and the race began. Jen quickly took off and I settled in to find my comfortable pace. During the first mile I saw one of the girls that I ran most of the race with during the Sun Half Marathon in St. George last month. We talked for the first mile, but I knew she was chasing sub 2 as well, and so I said bye and sent her on her way. (Funny side note, she wound up getting sub 2 and in the race pictures I saw she finished just barely before Jen! So fun to see my friends hit their goals like that!) 

I had found a good stride around mile five and just kept plugging away. I was constantly torn between wanting to conserve energy because I had to do sixteen miles, and wanting to go for it because I was feeling so well. I wound up passing quite a few people before the half way turn around, and every time I looked at my watch, I was shocked to see I was a doing a low 10 minute or high 9 minute pace. 

Once I hit the turn around point though, I was basically in no-mans-land for the rest of the race. There was a big pack of people that were all chasing that sub two mark, and then I'd already passed a lot of people who I assume were doing about 2:20:00, and so I was just floating in the middle all by myself. I actually liked that since it made the run feel like an actual training run instead of a race. I saw two more people that I pushed hard to pass in the last two miles, and then I just had to hang on for as long as I could to the finish. 

My legs were definitely tired by the time my watch said 13 miles, but since I was doing 16, I still had a lot more running to do. The main goal for this run was to be able to finish hard on tired legs, and I feel like I did a great job at accomplishing that. My goal time for the race was to finish in 2:20:00, and I actually wound up finishing in 2:11:18, which is a lot faster than I thought I would do. I ran a 15 mile training run last week, and I actually wound up running my 16 miles this week, 8 minutes faster than I ran my 15 miles the week before. 

The biggest reason I love running races is because I feel like each race holds a special memory, and this one's big take away memory was that I can actually train hard and fast, and this was the first time where I felt like I really could run a marathon in April. So here's to hoping the rest of my training goes as well as it did yesterday. 

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