Sunday, January 2, 2011

One of the Best Races of my Life!

DeLeon Springs Half Marathon

This race was an hour away from my house so I got up pretty early today and a nice hour commute to figure out what I wanted my goals for the race to be. I decided since my knees felt funky last night to just have a good race, a fast long run, and a good time. I got so much more!

When I got there it was "misting" and around 65 degrees. I thought it was pretty perfect. I did wear a hat today though to keep the sweat from running in my eyes since it was VERY VERY humid (like... literally mist floating around) so I knew I'd be dripping. I'm glad I wore it too!

I started my watch a few seconds late because there as no timing mat at teh beginning and I was waiting until I hit the timing mat to hit my watch, but after looking at my official posted time online I only started it about 4 seconds too late. Felt like longer! There were about 300 people when we started (the half marathon and 5k started together) and at the 5k turnaround it seemed about half the people were turning back to finish their shorter race. The race official at the turnaround point wished all of us half-marathoners good luck as we "bolted" past the "Turn around NOW for the 5k!" sign!

At this point I was feeling pretty good but low on energy. My goal was still to have a fun race. The scenery was absolutely georgous, with the sunlight streaming through the autumn leaves and every now and then there'd be a breeze and a bunch of nice golden leaves would flutter down around me. I was listening to Dierks Bentley - "Draw Me A Map" and it seemed to fit this "country" landscape really well. I had set up my playlist so it would start out with really calm songs and slowly build up to my "pushing it" songs toward the end.

After we hit about mile 2 my knees were feeling really good. I did have slight pain in my left one somewhere along the course but I don't remember where and it went away after a mile or so. Around this time (mile 2ish) we had our first aid station. Since the course was an "out and back" I made a mental note to eat the last of my "energy" at this aid station on the way back. If I had one comment to race directors it would be to put more aid stations out there! There were only 3 (so 6 if you count hitting them on the way back as well).

Around mile 5ish we started seeing the faster runners coming back. It was pretty inspiring. I actually like out-n-backs because I love watching all the people who are ahead of me and are now on their way back, and then when I'm coming back I like to inspire the people that are still on their way out. I like it, lots of camaraderie. It was around this time one of the faster males on his way back (he actually won his age group) caught my attention. He had this amazing smile on his face and right before he passed me I saw him put his arms out to the side and look up and kinda laugh, almost as if he was just... so happy. I don't know, but it made me cry. Maybe I was just emotional (races do that) but THIS is the reason I love running so much. It brings so much joy to me and other people, and that joy is so contagious! When he passed me yelled "looking amazing!" and he yelled back "stay strong!" and we went our separate ways. It was a nice moment.

When I came up to mile 12, they had the only clock on the course set up. I saw 1:54:XX and I was in disbelief. I had no thoughts about a PR the entire time until I saw that, I was just out enjoying myself. I even set my garmin on "distance only" so that I wouldn't be tempted to worry about my pace. Once I saw the clock though, the adrenaline kicked in and I hit the ground hard. I remember my old pace buddy telling me "the last mile is supposed to hurt, but it's only 8 minutes of pain, take it" and I started to push harder. Then when the last 1/2 mile hit and the course turned onto the gravel road that led to the finisher's area I remembered another mantra "claw the ground" and I did just that. I pictured every step as my feet and toes grabbing into the gravel and digging my way into the earth, "making my mark". I passed one person, and then another, and then I just started sprinting. Once in the finishing chute everyone was screaming and since I was the only person in the chute I got all excited it was for me. The guy that I saw earlier was yelling "kick it kick it kick it!" and I did! It was the most amazing finish of any race I think I've ever had. As I was driving back home I couldn't shake the incredible happiness I felt. I remembered my post from yesterday about how I was scared about the future and for some reason, right at that moment I just felt like everything was going to be okay. The feeling hasn't gone away :) Maybe it's runners high, I don't know, but I hope it lasts a little while!

The results: 
  • 2nd Place in my Age Group
  • PR by over 2 minutes!
  • Time: 2:04:23
  • Pace: 9:30/M
SPLITS: I'm consistent!

1 - 9:20
2 - 9:28
3 - 9:28
4 - 9:33
5 - 9:35
6 - 9:29
7 - 9:44
8 - 9:23
9 - 9:40
10 - 9:17
11 - 9:22
12 - 9:34
13 - 8:38

    One of the best races of my life!


    1. Congratulations!!! You rocked it!!!! All your hard work and training have paid off!

    2. Congratulations!! Way to push it that last mile!

    3. Lauren, just found your blog and got to read about your awesome race--congratulations! Love the time.

    4. congratulations! you did GREAT!! nice way to start off the year!!!!!

    5. CONGRATS!! I bet you're just on top of the world right now! How fun to PR to start out the year! Really enjoyed reading your report!

    6. Congrats on a great race! sounds like you really enjoyed yourself which is awesome! Great job!

    7. 'Claw the ground' - love that mantra! Congratulations chica, I loved reading this report. Smaller races are so much fun and fantastic things happen like, having the front runner cheer you on during and after the race. That never, EVER happens in larger races! Now that's camaraderie :) Now I have a runner's high. lol

    8. AWESOME!!! you done good girlie!!!

    9. Congrats Lauren!! That is so awesome!! What a great way to kick off 2011! You must still be beaming!

    10. What a great way to start the new year! I loved reading your report, I can feel your happiness from here! Congrats on a great race!

    11. Way to destroy it out there girl! SO proud of you and excited for you! Congrats on such an awesome race!!!! You def started off this new year right!

    12. Congratulations!!

      Hope your first day at the new job went well today :)