Huntsville Half Marathon
Saturday, November 12, 2011
I didn't give a whole lot of consideration training-wise to this race. Thought I did rest on Thursday, I ran on Friday for about 5 miles with the double jogging stroller. I woke up on Saturday with a slightly sore upper body from that. Oh well. The weather had been perfect on Friday, and I enjoyed spending the day off without having to get up early to run (Rick was off too but spent the whole day staining our fence).
On Saturday morning we made it to the race around 7:15 a.m. The race takes place at Hillwood Baptist Church in Southeast Huntsville, right off of South Parkway. The church lets us use their facilities, so we can stay warm in their gym and use their bathrooms before the race too (I am not a port-a-potty fan, so that is important to me!). I actually hit the bathroom 3 times before the race, so it was good to have a nice one to use! Our babysitter, Courtney, got our kids busy on the church's playground as we headed to the start line.
I chatted with a few friends before the start and ran into most of my running group also. I think there were 8 of us running in the half, which is almost all of our group. For 3 of the girls, it was their first half. It was exciting to think that they were about to run further than they'd ever run before and to know they had a nice medal and finisher's shirt waiting for them at the end!
As the race begun, I fell into pace with my friend and fellow Fleet Feet teammate Kathy Youngren. Kathy is an amazing runner (visit the Fleet Feet Racing Team website to read her bio and PRs). It felt fun and even lighthearted to be running with her and some of our other teammates. They were joking around, and the atmosphere was just very positive. I didn't feel like I was in the beginning of a very tough race! I asked Kathy what pace she was aiming for, and she said 7:15. Well, our first mile came in at 6:32! I guess you could say we were banking that time for later!
The race passed back by the church (I think) in the 3rd mile. Here is a picture of Kathy and me running side by side.
|Katie (back left in black) and Kathy (in same uniform) in the Huntsville Half|
Photo by James Hurley
You can see in this picture that there was a girl right ahead of us. She came from out of town and was a very strong runner. We weren't able to pass her.
I ran with Kathy until Mile 7, one of the greenway miles. I ran out of steam and my pace dropped a little while hers stayed the same or even increased by a bit. After the turnaround (Mile 8? I am NO help at all with specifics of this course!), I was so encouraged by my friends calling out my name as they made their way to the turnaround. "Go Katie!" helped me feel so much better, even though I was still struggling with feeling out of gas! I made it a point to try to see each person who called my name, and to in turn shout back similar encouragement. It made the miles go by very fast! I think I did this exchange probably 20 times or so. It was fun for me to see where each of my running group friends was too. Everyone looked strong! After passing all of my friends, I took to just calling out, "Keep it up!" or "Looking strong!" to the people near the back. It helped distract me from how I was feeling and hopefully was an encouragement to them also.
Around Mile 10, I decided that I only had a 5K left to go. I figured I could stick with it for that long! I actually caught up to and then passed Kathy around Mile 11. I figured she would stick with me, but she didn't. So it was a pretty lonely last few miles, but I knew the end was near. Rick had warned me about a slow 12th mile but then a fast 13th. I proved him right by running a 7:15 12th mile (my slowest in the race) and a 6:45 13th mile (my second fastest in the race). At Mile 13, I actually made some audible grunts as I chugged up the last little hill to the finish. I saw the clock with 1:30 on it and was ecstatic to be getting a PR! I crossed with a time of 1:30:53, 5th overall female and 1/80 in my age group. It felt great to have exceeded my expectations.
Then it was time to find Rick and the kids and to see how all of my friends did. The neatest story was how 2 of my Sunday School friends were running next to my hairstylist and befriended her along the way. Seeing them all come and and congratulate one another was so neat! I also saw my friend Tracey finish in 1:47, an impressive 1st half time! Her family of 5 children were all watching her come in. I enjoyed getting my medal, finisher's shirt, and a nice reflective vest as my age group award, plus filling up with bagels and pizza!
Look for another post about how I have now beaten 3 of my 8 year old PRs (the 5K, half marathon, and marathon) in 4 months!
5th Overall Female