NODM half marathon 2014 race report
As I stood at the starting line for the North Olympic Discovery half marathon yesterday, I truly had no idea how the race would go for me. My doctor had only cleared me to run nine days earlier, after seven weeks of recovery from my broken arm. I’d run/walked four times in the week prior to the race, with a “long” run of 7 miles and total mileage of just under 19 miles. I was slow and my legs felt a little shaky, but I was running again — and I was determined to run as much as possible on race day!
Back when I was still thinking I’d have to walk the whole race, one of my running friends (who hasn’t run much over the past few months) decided that she’d walk it with me. A few days before the race I asked her if she was up to run/walking with me. I told her I thought I might be able to sustain a 12:00 to 12:30 pace. She sort of freaked out at the thought of running 13.1 miles on NO recent training, but was willing to give it a try. We promised each other that whenever either of us needed a walk break for any reason, we’d walk. We’d take as much time as we needed, and we’d enjoy a sunny day on a beautiful trail.
We started out running really slowly, as we each tested our legs in the early miles. I also tested my left arm — fortunately it seemed to be quite content to go along for the ride. Soon we settled into a comfortable rhythm, running 0.4 mile and then walking 0.1 mile. We did the first mile in 12:14. Then we reeled off several miles at about 11:45. In the hilly middle section we walked up all the hills but still kept ourselves at just under a 12-minute pace.
By the time we hit mile 8 I was getting a little tired. It was a warm day for this part of the world (mid-60s) and I was starting to feel my lack of training. My friend’s left leg was bothering her a little. Neither of us knew for sure how much we might be able to pick up the pace for the final five miles.
Mile 9 is slightly downhill under big trees to the waterfront. We ran that mile in 11:12, feeling good. When we turned west along the waterfront we were hoping for a cool breeze, but it didn’t happen. My left arm was starting to ache quite a bit. I struggled for the next couple of miles but still managed to maintain the 4/1 run/walk interval.
Approaching mile marker 12 I told my friend that I’d try to run from there to the finish. She was running much stronger than I was at that point, but still loyally staying with me. At 12.5 miles I knew I was going to need just one more walk break. Then I gave it everything I still had left, completing mile 13 in 10:47. At that point I told my friend to go ahead. She finished 12 seconds ahead of me.
My time was 2:33:40. My pace was 11:44 — much better than the 12:00 that I’d hoped to do! It was good enough to finish 17th out of 54 in my gender/age group. I was 21 minutes slower than my PR, but I did pretty well for one week of training — and I did set a PR for running with a broken arm! While I couldn’t muster a huge kick for the final miles, I did have a negative first/second half split of over 4 minutes.
After we’d both eaten a bit of food, we returned to the finish line area to wait for my friend CFL, who was walking his first half marathon. He power-walked every step of the way, refusing to break into a jog for even a single stride. He finished in a remarkable 3:10:57!
The three of us celebrated in style at Barhop Brewing, where we sat on the sunny patio and enjoyed the two-for-one beer special for race entrants. By the end of the afternoon I had achieved that rarest of things in the Pacific Northwest — a sunburn!
I woke up this morning and realized that my arm didn’t hurt at all. Not one bit! I’d almost forgotten what it felt like to wake up to a pain-free shoulder and arm. Running 13.1 miles seems to have loosened it up a little. I do have sore leg muscles, but nothing remarkable.
All things considered, I’m delighted with my race yesterday. I’m eager to get back to regular running, and to start training toward the half marathon PR that I hope to earn in Victoria this October. CFL is not sure whether he’ll do another one, but he’s open to the possibility. 🙂
One step at a time!