Not a ton to write like my usual race reports, but a decent amount of emotion went into this race so I wanted to write something up (even if it's just for my own reflection). I'll start with the woe is me back story. This has been a really crappy year for me. I've failed 2 nursing simulation exams causing an almost 1 year setback on finishing my degree. I cut my running way back because of this. Stress, anxiety, depression, and lack of running equaled a 25 lb weight gain. Second back story my husband - some people know he has been less than enthusiastic about my running, but one thing about him is he can't stand to see me down. So after my second fail in April I decided that was it I wasn't letting nursing school suck another minute of my life away. I jokingly asked my husband if he'd run Charlevoix Half Marathon with me. To my surprise he said yes. I knew he could run even though he doesn't run. We met in the Navy and back then he was pretty fast. I also know after almost 16 years of marriage that he wasn't going to follow any of my running rules or a training plan. That he could give 2 sh*ts about his time and was only running this because he knew this would make me happy. Good enough for me. So with that came what I've been jokingly calling the 4 runs and a cigarette training plan.
Month of April I had 41 miles total mileage (and my yearly total at that point wasn't looking much better.) My main goal was getting my mileage up as quickly add possible without getting injured. I did no speed work whatsoever. I got my first 10 mile run in June 1 and ran 10 again June 2. Ran 10 again June 9 and 12 last Friday and that was about it for training. I lost 8 of the 25 pounds. My husband ran even less than me - once a week, maybe twice and some weeks not at all due his work schedule. He ran one 10 miler with me, but I knew if he was keeping my pace he'd be fine.
Show up at the race. So we get parked and my husband goes to smoke a cigarette before the race which I knew he was going to do since he's a smoker, but I'm about ready to kill him because he's outside the car stretching for the race with a cigarette in his mouth. The cigarette battle I'll save for another day. He did make a good attempt at quitting in December, but the whole time I was thinking could you at least have smoked the cigarette in the car and been done by the time we parked it. We get to the start line a few minutes late because I had to go to the bathroom and I knew from last year it was a chip timed race. (I wound up starting late last year too so I wasn't sweating the late start.) We get started and mile 1 husband is ahead of me, not out of site, but ahead of me, but I thought we had planned to run this together. I didn't actually care if he ran ahead of me. He waits for me at the first water stop 1 1/2. First mile pace 10:09. I think okay, maybe I'm not going to suck as bad as I thought. (My PR for the course is 2:03:38.) Second mile was a little faster at 9:46, but having run this before there is a nice downhill on that mile and it's always been my fastest mile. At this point set a goal for a 10:15 pace. I figured I'd try to hold 10:15 or better and I wasn't stepping up faster than 9:45 until I was at least to mile 9. Somewhere around mile 2 I lost my husband. I didn't care at this point and wasn't going to even try to keep his pace. I'm plugging along and my anxiety is disappearing and I do that thing I do where I tune into a pace now and I love this distance (although I'm going to work on being able to dial it up a bit too.) Anyway, I'm real good with halfs and fulls once I find that sweet spot on my pacing I feel like I can dial in to my little computer in my head and then once I find that pace I have no problem holding it. I have a big problem convincing my legs to move any faster than that though. So with that most of my miles were dead on with pacing. Real tickled with how much better my pacing is. I'm not all over the place like I used to be. - Mile 3 - 10:14, mile 4 - 10:11, mile 5 - 10:16, mile 6 10:11.
As we are about 1/2 mile from the turn around I start chatting with this lady and tell her I've lost my husband on the course and I'm beginning to wonder if he just left and went home. About then I finally see my husband I tell him to go run fast now instead of holding back for me and see what you can do. He of course does not listen to me which was okay too, and turns around where he's at and runs with me back through the turn around and asks what took me so long. He also knows from running with me that I will not keep his pacing, but he's one of the few guys I know that if I ask him to dial it down to my pacing sort of does it. At this point I tell him that I am not picking up the pacing until we are at mile 9 and that't there is a nice uphill through mile 8 and just not to lose me there if he wants to run with me because I was going to be slow. Mile 8 was my slowest mile at 10:55. We get to 9 and I'm trying to pick it up a little at this point. Nope, back to my rhythm pace 10:14, mile 10 -10:10, mile 11 9:52, mile 12 - another hill - 10:24. That sucked a lot out of me and I was struggling to finish the last mile strong. I had told my husband that I was going to try and push hard on the last mile and only then could he do his run hard and fast crap, but was really struggling with gas. I didn't pick it up really until 12 1/2 miles, but finished mile 13 at 9:39. About 12.75 on my Garmin I take my husband's hand and tell him I'm ready to bring this in. (This has what has constituted the only speed work I've done. He's done this sh*t a few times to me on our runs together where he grabs my hand for the last 1/4 mile or so and pushes me to his pace/well probably not his, but closer to his.) So I tell him none of his 7 min mile pacing crap, not 8 min mile crap either, 9 min/mile and that's where I wanted it. We're coming around the corner to the finish line hand and hand (yes, we're silly like that oh well 16 years of marriage and 7 kids will do that for you) and the crowds cheering and I'm really struggling to keep up with his turnover. I tell him he's gotta back off his pace a little my legs can't keep up. He slows it down a tad, but I'm pushing as hard as my little engine will go and with that we cross the finish together - SWEET! (The last .13 miles 7:12 pacing! Hot diggety I never run that fast!) So finish time for this one in 2:13:38 official. No where close to a PR, but very happy nonetheless. It's good to be racing again!