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The Wickedly Fast Half

Well, the Garmin Wickedly Fast Half is over. If you are a regular reader of my blog you know that this was a different kind of race for me than I had wanted it to be. I had registered 6 months ago, hoping to blow my previous half marathon times out of the water. I decided to start training as hard as soon as I could, so when we had a streak of awesome weather this past January, I ran really hard. And really often. And I didn't listen to my body when my shin started hurting, brushing it off as normal pain. Well it wasn't normal pain. It was a stress fracture that kept me in an air cast for just over a month, and away from running for 2 months.

About a month ago I was able to start running without pain again, so my training for this half was not what I had planned. I did get a few 8s, a couple 10s and a 12 miler in before the race, but I had to train at a slower pace than I wanted.

But, I did run the race. 

And I didn't do as bad as I imagined I would.

Two of my munchkins helped me pick up my race 
packet the day before.

My daughter was my photographer at packet pick up.

Gear ready the night before.

Just before the start of the race.

Not only was my training a little different this time, but this was my first Kansas City race that I ran alone. I usually have a running buddy, but she opted to sit this one out. 

My goal, which was ambitious simply due to coming off the stress fracture, was to finish in under 2 hours. I decided to start the race with the 1:55 pace group and I did stay with them until about mile 4. At mile 4 I pushed ahead of the group a little cause I was feeling really good. But I was cautious.

Then a pretty big hill hit the race route.

After the hill, I slowed my pace just a little and the 1:55 pace group caught up to me. I stuck with them until about mile 8 when they just got too fast for me. My lack of training was catching up with me. I knew though that as along as the 2:00 pace group stayed behind me I would be able to finish at the pace I had hoped for. Miles 10 and 11 were kinda hard for me, but I felt great by mile 12 through the end.

It rained a little, but the heavy rain and hail didn't happen until I passed the finish line, which was at 1:58:27. My average pace was 9:03. Not my fastest half, but not my slowest either. Last year I ran this half in 1:55:49, with an 8:51 average pace.

I finished in the top 16% of women my age. I finished in the top 13% of all women. I finished in the top 25% of all runners (throwing in the men kills my percentage a little!). 

Since it was supposed to rain during the race, I hadn't expected my husband to bring the kids out to cheer me on. Boy was I surprised when I saw them at the finish line! It was such a wonderful way to finish the race. I love it when my kids get to see me run; I think it helps me get re-energized to pull through, but more than anything I am role modeling healthy behavior. I want them to see that their mom is a strong woman that can accomplish goals through hard work and perseverance.

And of course, they also got me flowers!

MapMyRun Splits.

A nice week for miles.

Overall this race was a good experience. This was my 2nd time running it. The medals for this one are always really awesome. The shirts are great. I love that the race has the Wizard of Oz theme. It is one of my favorites to run. I will say the support of the volunteers in the Des Moines Marathon was a little better; there were hilarious signs all over the place and the spectators and volunteers use your name to cheer you on because it is printed on your bib. The Garmin didn't have a true photographer this year; you only had pictures taken of you if you did the full. I waited all week to post this, hoping to include some professional race pictures, but after researching a little I found out that they didn't have any of me. That was a little disappointing.

It's strange, but it felt weird running just a half marathon this time. The last race I ran was in October and it was my first full marathon, so I kind of I felt like this wasn't that much of an accomplishment anymore. I remember talking to a fellow marathoner in October before the race, he was running his 20th marathon, and when I asked him how many halfs he had run and he whispered to me that he doesn't even count those anymore. I remember thinking that he, although very nice, sounded a little like a "snobby runner," if there is such a thing.

I do see what he means now. It definitely is different running a half marathon after you have run a full marathon. This will be something I have to continue to consider as I register for more races and set my running goals each year.

In the end, I am really proud that I was able to get back out there after injury and run this race, even though I knew it would be hard. Some people give up after injury because they are afraid to re-injury. Others give up because you literally have to start from scratch when you've taken two months off. Last fall I ran 26.2 miles in one race! Six weeks ago I had to start at a hard 3 mile run again and somehow work my endurance up to 13.1 miles for this race in a pretty short amount of time.

But I did it. And that is pretty cool.

I am going to start incorporating some other types of workouts into my regimen this summer, while still trying to get 15-20 miles of running in per week too. And then in August I will start training again for my big running goal this year: 2 Halfs in 2 days.

I already have running partners to keep me going during those races this fall, my husband and my brother, so I am a lucky girl.

I just hope I can keep up with them!

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