I decided to run the Victory Half Marathon as a test of fitness for the Boston Marathon. This almost made me more nervous for this race than if I’d just been racing. I had really wanted to run the Phoenix Half Marathon, but didn’t really want to add another weekend trip to my schedule. So when I learned about this race about a 15 minute drive from my house, I jumped at the opportunity. I told my Dad about it – flat course & by the water – he thought it would be a great race to do too.
The race started at 8:00am, and the plan was to leave the house by 6:30am. I got up at 5:00am, got dressed, got ready and had breakfast. Oatmeal with 1/2 scoop of protein powder, berries, banana, peanut butter, bee pollen and cinnamon. Plus coffee with 1 scoop of Vital Proteins. Not the prettiest picture, but you get the point.
We drove over to the race and parked, then my parents and Bennie The Dog stayed in the car where it was warm while I ran 2 warm up miles all bundled up. The wind was freezing cold! I ran my warm up in the Nike Vomeros and then changed into the Vaporfly 4% for the race.
The race had sent out an email that said if you littered (at the water stops), you’d be disqualified! I was sort of nervous about being able to drink out of the water cups and get them in the trash! Turns out, the people putting on the race were very nice, and as long as your tried your best to throw the cups away, it was ok.
The plan was to run the first 8 miles at goal marathon pace (7:40). For the last 5 miles, cutdown (gradually get faster each mile) until the final mile was an all out effort. I initially went out with the 1:40 pacer, but he was running closer to 7:30s, so I decided to run my own race and let him go. For the first 5 miles, this pace felt incredibly easy, and I kept having to hold back. At mile 4, my shoe came untied twice, which was frustrating, but I didn’t let it rattle me. At mile 7ish – there was a loop of trail that we all ran around to change directions. I very nearly went the wrong way. Someone snapped a picture of me below taking off my glasses to “hear better” as I was pointed in the right direction. Makes total sense, right? I also took off my gloves at about mile 6 and tucked them under my sports bra strap.
Miles 5-8 were starting to feel a little harder, and I worried about being able to do the cutdowns. I got to see my dad at mile 8 as the course was an out and back, and that gave me a big boost. Overall though, I was having way more fun than I was worried. I decided to go with that. I’ve read or heard somewhere before that smiling helps shut down some of the pain centers in your brain. So I spent the majority of that race just being grateful and smiling. I was having a lot of fun, the weather was great, and I was just so damn happy to be out there running. I know it sounds cheesy, but it was working. As I started to do the cutdowns, I caught up with the 1:40 pace group. I ran with a guy for a couple of miles and we kind of fed off each other. I eventually passed the 1:40 pace group. It made me a tiny bit nervous to leave them, even though I had only run with them for about a mile.
The day ended up like this: 2 mile warm up at 9:36 average, half marathon race: first 8 miles at GMP (7:39/7:39/7:34/7:46/7:39/7:40/7:27/7:39), final 5 miles gradually cutting down to finish last mile as hard as you can (7:36/7:25/7:26/7:10/7:11), 2.34 mile cool down at 9:34 average. I didn’t do those cutdowns perfectly, but I was still really happy with that.
Normally, with a half marathon, I’d take a gel only halfway. I decided to fuel for this race a little differently – especially since I was running 17 miles total for the day. I took a tube of blocks (two servings) with me and had half of them at mile 4.5, and the other half at mile 9. So more fuel that I’d normally have for 13.1, but about the right amount for 17 miles. I do think that fueling more often during a workout like that works for me.
And having my mom & Bennie The Dog at the finish line might have been the best part! Look at how proud he is with his medals.
After the race, I had two cool down miles to run and the thought of running them was making me want to cry haha! My dad hadn’t finished yet, but I knew he wouldn’t be far behind. So I took off my bib and asked the race director if I could run along the the edge of the course to go run my dad in as long as I didn’t cross the finish line again. He said that was no problem and it was the perfect way to get my cool down done! I only had to go out a little over a mile before I found my dad. We ran back in together.
I also got to see my friend Lani who ran an amazing 10k! She is coming back from injury and still won her age group!
I was really excited to be 2nd in my age group! That post race hair…yikes haha.
Overall stats for the race:
After the race, everyone got an opportunity to shop the Columbia employee store, which was fun – everything was discounted pretty significantly. From there, we went to the Sierra Nevada Torpedo room over in Berkely. Highly recommend if you get the chance!
Don’t tell, but Bennie might have gotten to come inside with us and have a piece of cheese (or three).
The medals for this race are really nice! And the age group medal was really fun too.
And for dinner I had a delicious burger, fries & a glass of wine! YUM.
I was pretty fatigued and achy after this race, but I recovered pretty well which is a good sign. Going forward, I am going to remember to run with gratitude and joy and fuel more often while I am running hard.
I’ve also gotta give my dad a shoutout – this was his second half marathon ever, a very short time off his first half. He ran an almost 5 minute PR! He’s been dedicated and worked so hard and it paid off!