Ten months ago today my knee was in shambles and I was on an operating table having cartilage removed and ligaments reconstructed.
Today, ten months later, I ran my personal best half marathon.
My goal was to finish. I ran my first half marathon 2 years ago in 2:14 and change. I had trained hard but my ligament was partially torn at the time. Today I ran pain free (aside from some ITBS that I chose to ignore for the day) and had the best race of my life. I shaved at least two full minutes off my time, did not walk except to drink water, powered past people on hills (normally my weakness), and ran negative splits. On top of all that, today I ran further than I have since that half marathon two years ago. I accomplished a lot today in those 2 hours.
The Race In Brief - for my records
The first 5k: The gun went off and we started down Grafton Street. I tried not to cry when I became overwhelmed with the emotion of being here, and doing this, again. I was a runner again. Finally. Despite my excitement, I really did not know what was in store so I kept my pace slow and steady.
5k - 10k: Trying to stay at 10:30min/mi pace but the miles flew by slightly quicker. My legs felt good and my heart rate was around 175. I felt like I had a lot left but did not want to quicken my pace too early. There are 2 brutal hills during the last 5k and I was anticipating them.
10k - 15k: I was running behind a couple who were a little too slow for my liking. I picked it up to pass and it felt good. I didn't drop my pace back down. My heart rate was still 175ish and my legs had lots to give. I only had 6 miles left.. then 5, then 4.. and my pace was quickening with each mile passed. I started to get excited at the thought of running each consecutive mile faster than the last but was weary of those last 5k.
16k - 21k: The hardest part of the race. I knew it was coming. Long, steep hills. The second longer and steeper than the first. I kept my pace steady and told myself it wasn't as bad as the hill I train on in Point Pleasant. I passed ~5 people on each hill. That felt so good! I stopped at the water station at 18k to grab a water. A lady came up behind me and said "Don't stop now, you're my pace bunny!". I hadn't planned on stopping but I downed the water and continued up the hill as not to disappoint. The first hill was over before I knew it. Not so bad but for the first time I was feeling fatigue. I kept my pace steady and when the second hill came into view, so did the 2:15 pace bunny. She had been so far ahead of me but now I could catch her. And I did. And I passed her. Before I knew it there was 1k left. My legs did not have much left but I pushed to maintain my pace. I saw the finish. 1/3 of a km left. I turned off my music. I eyed the clock. 2:12-something it read. I sprinted. I heard them call my name. I finished. Two ladies held me up and took the chip off my ankle. Somebody gave me a blanket and put a medal around my neck. I saw my mom and sister. My sister couldn't believe how fast I ran (she ran a 1:58 and knew I was anticipating 2:30). I couldn't either. I had just ran my best race ever. It was my comeback race.
I couldn't be happier with my results!
13.1 miles | 2:12:02 | 10:05min/mi | 6:15min/km
Now what? I think a full marathon in May.
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