Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sauvie Island 1/2 marathon...finally

Okay let's give this a try again! On Wednesday I finished my whole blog post and then somehow lost it, so frustrating. This might be an abbreviated version though.

Since my last 1/2 on June 11th, I had been feeling a little burnt out. My runs had been hard and I was just not feeling it. Mentally I was not into it and I felt a lot of pressure because I had set a goal and shared it. I was seriously doubting myself and my ability to pull off a sub 1:30. I wanted to run for fun not race. Tell me I am not the only one who ever feels this way!

Luckily the night before I was able to talk to the ever encouraging Nicole from I Dream of Running who helped me wrap my mind around the race and gave me a great pep talk. It always helps to have someone else who understands and believes in you even when you are doubting.

It was a beautiful morning and I was excited to run and then get on with all of the 4th of July festivities with the fam :) I decided to just drive myself because I did not want to risk having my family miss the parade later if they came to see me and we did not make it home in time. I was a little sad that I was not going to have any of my family there but I was hoping to meet up with several blogging buddies and my running friend Eric was running this race and we planned to run together and hopefully pace each other to new PR's.

I arrived plenty early and just chilled in the car for a while then went and visited the port a potty a few times. Before I knew it the marathoners were taking off and then it was only 15 minutes until the start of the race. I did about a 3/4 mile slow warm up and then made my way to the start. This was the first race that I had ever done any sort of warm up for and I will be doing it again. I lined up pretty close to the front and luckily Eric found me. We talked game plan and luckily we were on the same page. For the first time I was going to try and go out slower than race pace and then drop down to race pace and then hopefully be able to kick it in the last mile. I was nervous about this plan because I was worried that I would not be able to make of the time after a slow first mile but I know this is how all the elites do it so there must be something to it.

So the goal was 1st mile around 7:20 and then drop down and hold at 6:50ish through mile 12 and then see what I had left. How did I do....

Well I tried to go out slow

Mile 1- 7:07 Shortly after mile run I saw Nicole on the side of the rode on her bike waiting to take pics of her friends and cheer us all on. How fun to see her :)

Mile 2- 6:43 Feeling good, chatting with Eric and hoping that the miles were going to fly by. Still doubting a little bit that I was going to be able to pull it off.

Mile 3- 6:52 Made myself slow a little just because there was so much race left and I wanted to have something left in he last couple of miles

Mile 4 - 6:42 This was the pace that was feeling good at the time so I went with it. There was a short out and back here. Always fun to see the competition :)

Mile 5 - 6:41 Nicole rode up and we chatted for a bit, it was nice to have someone checking up on me and pushing me.

Mile 6 - 6:41 Started running into a headwind, it was not too strong but I was feeling it. Took 2 energy blasts.

Mile 7 - 6:51 My legs were starting to hurt and I remember telling Eric that I was hurting, he told me toto draft behind him and it seemed to help some.

Mile 8 - 6:47 Felt like I was already having to dig deep which made me wonder if I was going to hit a major wall. Took another energy blast.

Mile 9 - 6:51 Turned and had a little bit of a tail wind which helped.

Mile 10 - 6:46 I remember thinking just another 5K, I can do this!!! Wish I had been able to carry on more conversation but I was pushing hard and it was not happening!

Mile 11 - 6:53 My legs were hurting but we could see the building where the finish was and we started discussing our strategy. Although I was not sure I would have anything left, I was going to give it everything in the last mile.

Mile 12 - 6:45 Can we be done yet? Although I had been taking Nuun or water at every aid station I was thirsty but was just going to gun it out.

Mile 13 - 6:35 Eric left with about mile left to chase down a couple of guys in front of us. I wished him luck and was on my own but only for a few seconds before Nicole rode up. Thank heavens she did, she pushed me through the last half mile, calling out splits, giving me encouragement, getting water at the aid station when I turned it down, making me believe that I could push harder. When she saw the clock she told me to kick it as I was going to be able to break 1:28. What? My goal was to break 1:30, was this for real?

I crossed the finish line at 1:27:49

1st in my age group

6th female overall

6:42 pace

I honestly could not believe that I had done it. Eric had crossed about 30 seconds ahead of me and we were both so happy. Nicole went back to pace some of her friends, seriously that girl is amazing!!!! I know it must have been hard for her to be at a race that she so badly wanted to be running. She was a lifesaver and I am so grateful that she was there!

Lessons learned:

  • Starting out slow does pay off in the end
  • Warming up does help
  • Although I do take something at every aid station, I think that I probably need to give hydration belts another try. Any suggestions?
  • My body is capable of a lot more than I thought :)
  • It is amazing what it does when someone believes in you :) Thank you to all of my friends and family who constantly believe in me.
  • If it doesn't feel a little uncomfortable I am probably not pushing as hard as I can. It felt somewhat uncomfortable the whole race.

It was an amazing race! I left it all out there and finished strong.

Running on air :) Coach Nicole pushing me!!!


  1. What a great race report Stephanie!!!! I was so glad I could help but you did this all on your own! I love what you said about being uncomfortable. I said that to my other friend racing a few times " This is supposed to be uncomfortable, it's a RACE! not a training run! now move it!" LOL.... thanks for letting me have my first mini coaching experience. I loved it. Even though you were exhuasted that last bit, I knew you had more...there is almost always a little bit more down really inspired me when you dug down there and FOUND IT that last quarter mile! You are amazing and were SO strong! i will be thinking of your race as inspiration as I push for a sub 1:30 in October! great job girl!! love ya!

  2. You are amazing!! Awesome race! You are inspiring :).

  3. Congratulations speedy! That's pretty awesome. I think it's the agressive, challenging goals that are really meaningful and push us to do better. Anyone can set a gimme goal but that goal that isn't a sure thing that you put out to the world sometimes becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.