Thursday, November 3, 2011

Murfreesboro Middle Half Marathon Recap

As you might recall from my recap of the Country Music Marathon, I signed up to run my third half marathon on October 15th.  After the last race kicked my butt, I was looking for a little redemption.

The date of the race promised beautiful weather, but training in the summer was less than ideal and resulted in a very abbreviated training plan of about 8 weeks.  I ran only 2-3 days a week and completed just two 9-mile runs in the weeks leading up to the race.  I was nervous about my lack of preparation but encouraged by the forecast and the promise of a flat course.

Race morning arrived without my normal pre-race/pre-long run jitters.  We made it to Murfreesboro without too much trouble (after ditching the traffic line to the parking lot and walking the rest of the way).  Mike took a pre-race picture right as the sun rose and wished me good luck and I headed to the start line.  There were no wave starts or corrals so I found the 2 hour pace sign and smooshed myself into the crowd. 

The singing of the national anthem brought tears to my eyes as usual.  Nerves kicked in at the realization that I was on my own for this 13.1-  No husband to lean on if I got to the "omg please someone shoot me" stage.

The start horn came pretty quickly and I was off to weave through all the crazy people who lined up with the 9 min/mile pace but were actually running a 15 minute pace (why does this always happen?).  Eventually, I got in a groove at a comfortable pace and was happy to see my Garmin reading around 8:45.

One setback occurred in the first 2 miles of the race.  We were running down a neighborhood road when a whole bunch of runners came at us from a side street and informed everyone we'd gone the wrong way.  Police had accidentally blocked the correct path and sent us all down a few more streets.  This explained why I didn't see Mike cheering at the spot we'd planned.  It was pretty disheartening for me as I had a goal of breaking 2 hours and the half mile detour would be enough to put this out of reach.  I quickly made up my mind to just take my Garmin time for 13.1 and kept on running.

The first half of the course was really neat consisting of lots of neighborhood roads, out and backs along college campuses and by town landmarks, and a loop through their historic downtown complete with an amazing pumpkin display.  I saw Mike around miles 3 and 6 and was always happy to report to him that my pace was on track to break 2:00 and that I was still feeling great!

little kid high-fives are my favorite

The last 6 or so miles were less than exciting (though still perfectly flat) as we followed a pretty major highway for forever.  It was long and straight and had a lot less spectators than earlier portions.  Luckily, I was still feeling great and focused on seeing Mike at mile 10 and then on making it to the finish line. 

I had a mini celebration dance (in my mind, don't worry) when my watch signaled 13.1 at 1:58.  I would have happily stopped there but I could see the turn coming up for the finish and just kept running. 

Finishing on the track

I was beyond thrilled just to have completed the race on my own and never to have hit the "wall" I've encountered in the past.  It was even more exciting when the official (adjusted) chip time was posted at 1:58:48, right at a 9 minute mile. 

fruit tastes so good after a long run

Can't believe one month from today I'll be back at it... this time with three of my best friends!!  yay!

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