So, today was the half marathon and I'm happy to report that I finished strong in spite of major calf cramping the last two miles. This is the first half marathon I ever ran (last April), so it has a special place in my heart. It's a great course and I just love the whole vibe of the race. It's a local race for me, which makes it even better.
This was my third half marathon, and I have to admit that I went into this one with a lot of anxiety and self-doubt. It's strange, because I was more nervous than I was the first time I ran a half marathon. I finally figured out that it was because my last half marathon was a pretty awful one. I started out strong but ended up walking most of the last mile because of severe leg cramping, and my final time was actually 9 minutes slower than my first half marathon. So, I think I had some fear that I would have the same problems again this time.
I started out really strong this time and felt confident most of the run. This half had a relay, so I was able to see my time at the halfway point. When I ran through the relay exchange, the clock said 1:00:15, and I was elated. For me, this was a fantastic time. It meant I was actually running faster than I thought. The second half of the run was great...until I hit mile 11. Just like my last half, my calves started to cramp up. I ran the last two miles with charlie horses in both of my legs. It wasn't fun. But, unlike last time, I made myself keep running. I knew that if I stopped I would never start running again. So, I reduced my speed, found my groove and just kept running. It wasn't the most enjoyable experience, and I had to do a lot of bargaining with myself and give myself a lot of motivational talks during those last two long miles. But, in the end, I was OK. I didn't stop to walk and I crossed the finish line feeling strong and proud. My time was 2:07 (still waiting for the exact chip time). Last year, I ran the same race in 2:13:37, so this was an improvement for me. It was also a PR! I feel good about my results, even though I was secretly hoping to be under 2:05. If my legs hadn't cramped the last two miles, I would have met my secret goal. Oh well, I guess I'll just have to train better for the next one.
So, that's the first half of my post, but what is the adventure part of all this, you ask?
Well, I didn't wear my Garmin during the race. I know this might not seem like a big deal to some of you, but it's huge for me. I'm a bit addicted to my Garmin. I need to use it so I can know at all times how far and fast I'm running. Quite honestly, I think sometimes it does more harm than good. So, since I was already feeling anxious about this run, I decided t leave my watch at home and just listen to my body. I ran the whole 13.1 miles paying attention to the cues my body was giving me and reassured myself that I would run the half in the amount of time that my body was capable of running. Other than the time clock at the halfway point, I had no idea how fast I was running. It was actually really liberating. Sometimes I become fixated on my watch and ruin my run because I put too much pressure on myself. I really liked running without it today. So, I think I'm going to leave it at home more often. I'm still going to use it...just not for every run.