Navy/Air Force Half Marathon

A few months ago, I decided to sign up for the Navy/Air Force Half. This was my first half marathon since the RnR DC half back in March. Since I am deep into marathon training, this was a good way to get in some miles and keep the motivation up! Plus it helped that I wore this shirt the night before:

When I feel sad, I stop and be awesome instead! My pop hooked me up w this shirt! Hopefully, while I'm out racing/running, it inspires you to be awesome!

It was a happy reminder of my dad and he used to tell me to do this regularly. 

Anyway, so I spoke with my coach a couple of weeks before and switched my long run to Sunday, having Saturday off, which was good because I got something resembling food poisoning or an intestinal like stomach bug on Thursday night – IT WAS TERRIBLE. I was up most of the night on Thursday, in the bathroom. Thank god I was scheduled to work from home on Friday! Anyway, so my weekend started out somewhat less than pleasantly. Fast forward through Friday to Saturday where I am mostly recovered, but my stomach still felt slightly off and I was working hard to catch up on sleep. My mom decided to come to the race expo with me, because she hadn’t been down to nats stadium and the waterfront in SE since they started building it all up! We had a fun little adventure; we drove down to where I work, and parked there and took the metro a few stops over to Navy yard-Stadium on the green line. When we got there people had already lined up and were waiting. Apparently, unlike many other larger races, the Navy/Air Force half doesn’t assign bib numbers beforehand, which can cause some confusion and slowing of packet pickup, but overall not as much of a cluster as it could have been. My mom and I each got on a packet line and raced to the front (she won). 

mommy
Candid shot of my mom, racing me in line 🙂

Anyway, we blew through packet pick up and went back home to take the dogs to the vet and relax. I spent the day praying my stomach would right itself. We cleaned a lot too. My husband got his office set up, we moved a fold out couch into his office among other things. He spent most of the evening in his newly set up office and I spent it watching reruns on our couch in the other room. I had 16 miles to complete the following morning and initially was going to get up and run the 2.9 before the race, but decided against it. I went to bed early with my clothes laid out and an extra shirt packed for the extra miles I had planned on doing following the race. 

On Sunday morning, I woke up at 4:23am (don’t ask, for some reason I have an OCD thing about getting up at __:30 or __:00 or any number ending in 5). I snuggled with my pug for a bit and checked my phone, like all good computer geeks do and then proceeded to get up and get dressed. When I went to let the dogs out, I realized the dark portion of the morning was a little chillier than anticipated which would have made for excellent running weather but not so awesome for waiting around weather. So I grabbed a sweater and some arm sleeves for the start of the race. 

I drove downtown and parked at work. And hung out in my car for a few mins before headed to the start line. I got over to the start around 6:45 and realized I really needed to go to the bathroom. The line for the port-a-potties was pretty long and the race was starting at 7:10, although quite a few people thought it was starting at 7am. Anyway, I made it to the port-a-potty and back out to the start line. By the time we were starting, I had already stripped off the arm sleeves and tucked them into the back of my capris for the race.

me-start
Me, at the start line.

The race started promptly at 7:10am and it took me a solid 2 mins to get to the start, because like at all other races, people think it is a good idea to walk across the start… Anyway, it was bunched up at the start like at all other races. So I tried to get out to the side and find my groove. I started out going like 9:38 and then slowed down to 9:58.

Miles 1-5, I started running and was going pretty strong and when I checked my watch at the first beep, I was like whoa! 9:58, sweet! but I don’t think I can hold this for 13 miles… can I? As I continued to motor along, I managed to hold the pace around 10mm, and was thinking I might PR, like MASSIVELY and then had the follow up thought of let’s not get ahead of ourselves… there is a lot of race left. 

Miles 6-7, I hung in there and held on to my 10 mm average. 

Miles 8-10, my mileage times started to creep up slowly but surely. First, 10:13, then 10:32, then 10:58.

Mile 11-12 were between 11:11 and 11:30. I had to stop and stretch my left calf which was getting tight. (my right one started getting tight on haines point during the Cherry Blossom ten miler).

Miles 13 and 0.1 (really 0.37), I sucked it up and found SOMEthing left to finish the race up. I ended up improving my old 1/2 marathon time by 8 minutes! My old PR, from RnR DC half was 2:27:xx and I finished the NAF Half on Sunday in 2:19:07!!! WOOOO!!!

medal
my Navy/Air Force Half medal
8 min PR  now to head home and do 2.9 more miles!   (was on target for 12 min pr but crapped out at mile 10)
Me after the race, with an 8 min PR!

I was beating myself up for a bit following the race because I was on target during the first 7 miles for a 12 min PR and I lost 4 minutes during miles 8-12 🙁  and I was mostly beating myself up because i KNOW I could have done better.

BUT you win some you lose some right?

Lessons learned: stop beating yourself up!

Did you race this past weekend? When was your last shiny new PR? How did it feel? Do you ever beat yourself up when you don’t live up to your own harsh standards?

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