My heart was so so full after the past few days. The race went really well for both my sister and me, I ate countless vegan treats, I saw two of my very best friends, AND I got a new niece! How does one person even deserve all this goodness?! I don't know but I'm thanking my lucky stars.
First up, race recap.
Weather: Our prayers were answered because the weather did a complete 180 from Saturday to Sunday, so thank you to everyone who sent up silent little intentions for us! Sunday in PA was HOT, hot, hot, and extremely humid. In fact, dozens of runners were treated for heat illness at Saturday's Bird-in-Hand Half Marathon in Lancaster on Saturday. My thoughts were definitely with everyone participating in the race that day as I knew how difficult and dangerous the weather was. My sister and I were understandably pretty apprehensive about the weather for the following morning, but by some stroke of incredible luck (the Universe looking out for us!), a strong front of thunderstorms rolled in late Saturday night and cooled things off. When we got up Sunday morning the temps were in the 60's! The humidity was still really high (85%) at the start of the race, but the cooler temps were incredible.
Pre-race fuel: My sister decided to sleep over my parents' house the night before since the race was early (7am) and their house was closer to the starting line. This means I lucked out in the food department, because she cooked us a delicious spaghetti and meatball dinner from scratch! It certainly beats the jar of Prego sauce I usually eat on my pasta the night before a race (I am the worst Italian ever). I also stopped by Vegan Treats while I was home and had some Speculoos (ie. "cookie butter") and Brownie Batter vegan soft serve. Probably the most incredible combo in the entire world. I really wish you could taste this through the screen because it was beyond perfect.
Race day morning I had a plain untoasted blueberry bagel, a bottle of water and 1/2 bottle of Gatorade.
Me and my sis pre-race. AKA 6am.
The race: Race start was early at 7am, but I'm thankful for this because the day did end up getting pretty hot by the afternoon. The only pre-race glitch I experienced was that I hit the start on my Garmin a bit late and it took FORever to find a signal. This is something I've experienced off and on with my Forerunner 10. Sometimes it searches and searches and gets stuck and I have to start the process over again. Annnnnnnnd this is what happened at the start of the race! Anyone else ever have this issue with this watch? So I have no idea how many minutes into the race it finally found the signal and started tracking (4 mins? 5 mins?) but that kind of threw me off the first mile or so. At least I was still getting splits but they weren't at race mile markers. My first mile pace was 9:27 and the rest were all between 9:21 and 9:01 except the last three miles which ranged between 8:45 and 8:51. So I did a pretty good job of negative splitting.
The course was absolutely BEAUTIFUL! It was mostly what I would consider a trail race because we were running on a dirt/gravel path along the river for almost the entire thing. Much much different than the road races I usually run. The surroundings were serene and shaded and I loved it. Also, the surface was much more forgiving on your legs. It was only at the end of the race when we got back on the concrete and asphalt that I noticed how much harder it felt on my legs. (Note to self: Need to find more trails to run on.)
I felt really really good the entire race, which is both a good and a bad thing. Good because I felt strong and had no pain or breathing issues, but bad because I think I was 'too comfortable'. At the end of every race, I always say 'I could've gone faster'. Any why don't I? Simply put, because I don't like being uncomfortable. I feel like I don't ever push myself hard enough in a race situation. Sarah recently wrote a post on getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. In order to see results (in running, life, or any endeavor), you can't stay in your comfort zone. It doesn't work that way. But this is often what most of us do. When I'm running, if I start pushing and start feeling a bit uncomfortable, I always pull back. I think I'm afraid that I won't finish or I'll burn out if I push too hard, but ultimately, I end up psyching myself out. If I don't push, my race times won't improve. This unfortunately is how I often approach life situations. I feel like I push myself just to the brink of being uncomfortable and then pull back. Afraid of failure. Afraid that I won't make it and so to save face, I just stay where I'm comfortable. No bueno Jilly. Ain't nobody got time for that kind of behavior. Time for me to start getting more comfortable with being uncomfortable in ALL situations or I'll never reach my full potential.
Results: Official finish 1:59. Squeaked in just under 2 hours! Yeehaw! My PR is 1:58 but that was for a MUCH hillier course at the Runner's World Half last year. So I conceivably should have run this flat course much faster. I think the warmer temps of this race compared to that one and my shorter training cycle played a part, but I also know I could have pushed my pace a bit harder.
Other result info: Overall finish - 362nd of 1,001. Female finish - 163rd of 628. Age group finish (35-39) - 31st of 104.
My sis had a HUGE PR and finished 9 mins faster than her first half marathon! Whoo hooo!
Other notes: I have had NO SHIN PAIN this entire training cycle! If you know my history, you know how long I've fought with my recurring shin splints. I've tried so many things through the years, but I think the Spenco insoles I got from Charm City Run may have finally solved the problem. I don't know why no one ever recommended I try insoles for my hella high arches before but once again I am thanking my lucky stars that the staff at Charm City finally helped me. This was the first half marathon I was able to run sans compression sleeves and it felt incredible to have NAKED legs this time around!
I didn't think the weekend could get any better, but later that afternoon my mom called from Atlanta to tell us that my sister had the baby! I now have a brand new beautiful niece. Meet our family's newest little slice of heaven:
When I got back to Baltimore late Sunday, I was almost overcome with feelings of warmth and goodness. Everything just came together this weekend and there were so many unexpected blessings, small and large. Sometimes I get down on myself about the things I don't have or haven't accomplished so far in my life (hey, I'm human), but then there are days like these when I realize how fortunate I really am. A day with running, a new baby and vegan treats honestly felt like winning the lottery. LIFE IS GOOD my friends!
**If you haven't entered my AMRAP Protein Bar Giveaway hop on over there! Three winners will be chosen on Thursday!
How was your weekend?!
What are you thankful for these days?