Well, it's over. And I finished! Let's start with that.
I finished, but it wasn't pretty. I ran with my mother-in-law, Karen, for the first couple miles. But they were both under 10 minutes per mile and I knew I wouldn't be able to maintain that pace, so I bid her farewell and slowed down.
Like with my 12-mile training run, the first six miles were pretty good. I sped up one mile, slowed down the next, but I averaged just over 10 minutes / mile, because at the six-mile mark my watch said 61 minutes and change.
Unfortunately, I had 7.1 more miles to go. I don't know exactly what happened. All throughout my training, I kept wondering if I was doing enough—putting in enough miles—to be truly prepared for the race. In the end, I don't think I was prepared. From mile 8 onward, I kept slowing down. It was just as much of an effort to do an 11-minute mile as it had been to go at a 10:15 pace a few miles back. Everything started to ache, and then my stomach cramped up again around mile 10.
But, as I said, I finished. Two years ago, I ran my first half-marathon in 2 hours and 13 minutes. Best-case scenario for this race was to be near to that time. Second best would be to finish in under 2:20. Third best would be to at least finish in under 2:30. So I did manage that part—I finished in 2:25, averaging just over 11-minutes per mile.
I think I'm glad I did it. I know that I couldn't have done any more; I felt awful after the race was over. Dizzy and ready to throw up. I was completely out of commission for several hours, and just curled up in a ball on the couch and fell asleep until I felt a little better.
So, overall, no regrets. I didn't know how it would go, but it was important for me prove to myself that I could do it again. I'm glad I set that goal, I enjoyed doing the best I could with the training, and I did finish the half-marathon.
However, in the future, if I'm not sure how much time I can devote to training, I think I'll stick to 5ks and 10ks. My opinion now is that you can kinda "fake" a 5k or 10k and muddle through, but you can't fake a half-marathon. My body wasn't fully prepared, and it showed.
Now we're headed off to Costa Rica. I'm ready for a break! I'm not packing my running shoes; if I want to get in some exercise, I'll swim in the gorgeous, warm ocean waters.
But once we get back, there's a 10k Thanksgiving Day Race in Cincinnati. I have been doing a lot of speedwork and tempo runs during my half-marathon training. Currently, my 10k PR is a 10:21 min/mile pace from the Flying Pig 10k in 2007. If I finished a half-marathon at an 11:04 pace, maybe I can set a new 10k PR in a few weeks....