This was the inaugural Her Tern Half-Marathon. It was a female-only event complete with cupcakes, mimosas, massages, a photo booth, and bracelets for running the race. This was the first women-only event I have done. It honestly didn’t feel too different, but I received a TON of encouragement during the race. (The course was an out-and-back route, so as I passed people on the way back, I think every tenth person gave me some sort of encouragement. I was awesome!)I arrived 30 minutes before the race and started my pre-race ritual warm-up. I was hopeful for a PR but after a week of 85 miles followed by 72 miles, I didn’t know what to expect from my body. But Coach Kristy (my sister—not really my coach) advised me to take the day off prior to the race, so my legs were nice and relaxed for the race.
I was nervous before the race, but I was also pretty confident. It was sunny, warm, and the atmosphere was fun and uplifting.
The race started on the Park Strip in downtown Anchorage. I did have to laugh when the DJ announced the race would be starting 10 minutes late. Only a women’s race would do that. I was actually glad for the extra time because I wasn’t quite ready. Since I had some extra time, I decided to wait in line for the bathroom. After 10 minutes—and barely any movement in the line—I decided to forget about it and head to the start. I had to go a little bit, but I thought I would be okay. (<– read: foreshadowing)
I found a place at the front of the start and prepped myself mentally. When the race started, I quickly settled into a pretty decent pace. I came through the first mile in 6:43, which is definitely on the quick side for me, but there was a lot of downhill, and I felt like I could maintain this pace for a while.
Mile 2 and 3 were 7:03 and 7:10, which was nearly right where I wanted to be. At this point in time, we were on the Coastal Trail, and I was all by myself. I could not see anyone in front of me, and while I’ve run countless times on this trail, there are so many off-shoots and intersections on the trail, at one point I had to ask a bystander which way to go. I started to get frustrated but relaxed after I knew I was going the right way. (After finishing, there were other girls who said they weren’t always sure which way to go and could have easily gotten lost.)
The next few miles were really smooth sailing. I was feeling good, I was running faster than my goal pace, and I felt good. The one thing that was not so good was my bladder that was more full than I thought. I tried to hold it in, but that was not going to happen. Let’s just hope everyone thought my shorts were wet from sweating so much. (Yes, it is true.) The other disgusting thing that happened was when a larger insect flew right into my mouth. I coughed and tried to spit it out, but I ended up having to swallow it. Oh the things I will do for a PR!
That’s right, at the end, I was able to PR by one minute, 22 seconds. I’ll take it. (And if it hadn’t been for that darn hill at the end, I know I could have broken 1:30. I’m convinced a stipulation for any road race in this town is that it has to end on a hill!)
I was very happy with my performance.
After crossing the finish line, we were each handed a handmade bracelet by Kim Kogane at Fresh Tangerine. I love it and know I will wear it often! (I think they got the idea from the Tiffany necklaces at the Nike Women’s Marathon.)
After the race, I ran another 10 miles for a total of 24 miles for the day. (I ran 1 mile warm-up.) It was a beautiful sunny day and while those last 10 miles were slow, if I could have ran the last 2 miles in 8:00 miles, I would have set a marathon PR!!
1 mile warm-up: 8:30
13.1 mile race: 1:30
10 miles after the race: 1:24
Projected time for 2 more miles: 16:00
Now to decide whether to try and break my half-marathon or marathon PR in August.