I’ll admit that I didn’t really know what to expect out of this race. After feeling really good and ahead of my training schedule in January and February, I began to get more anxious in March when a few long runs were compromised. (Although KU basketball was a worthy excuse.)
Fortunately, my saving grace through the weeks of training was my friend and training partner, Mandy. We helped keep each other accountable with our runs and focused on our goal of completing the race.
With all those highs and lows under our belts, Mandy, my friend Katelyn and I lined up at the start of the Garmin-sponsored Oz Half-Marathon just before 7 on Saturday morning. Before we had too much time to think about it, the race was off and we were running…
Unlike many of our 80 or 90+ degree training runs back in March, the temperature was a crisp 40 degrees at the start of the race. We layered up with windbreakers and long-sleeve shirts, but my hands were still numb with the cold for the first few miles.
In the beginning, however, that was all there was to complain about. I felt strong, even with a faster-than-training, sub-10 pace. Mandy and I were even able to keep a good conversation going for the first five or six miles.
This was also the first race I’ve run with my Garmin watch and I don’t think I can ever go back. I seriously feel so much more confident when I knew what pace I was keeping. Without it, I really think we would have started off too strong – it’s so easy to get caught up in the excitement and momentum of the race.
As we went on, it quickly became apparent that there wasn’t going to be much crowd support. Although we ran around a mall and through neighborhoods, there were only a few pockets of people cheering. Fortunately, Mandy and I saw her boyfriend, Mike, six times during the course. He’s also the one the thank for these pictures. (Dan had to work, which was understandable but still a bummer.)
What we lacked in crowd support, we made up for with an incredibly flat course and a few entertaining costumes.
We saw plenty of Dorothy runners, one lion and one awesome flying monkey. (I guess that a tin-man costume would have been a little too bulky and a scarecrow’s straw probably would cause chafing.)
Before I knew it, we were at mile 10.
“Only a 5K to go,” I thought… then I quickly hit a wall. For mile No. 11, my pace slowed past 10 for the first time. Mile No. 12 only got slower. It could have turned into an ugly ending for an otherwise awesome race.
But, Mandy was there to help keep me going. We pushed through it together and finished strong — her first half-marathon and my new PR!
The official clock time was 2:11:26 for a 10:03 pace, but my Garmin showed a 9:54 pace for 13.27 miles. Plus, we finished in front of the 2:10 pace group, even though we started beside them.
So, do I believe Garmin (my watch) or Garmin (the race sponsor)?
Personally, I want to believe my watch so I can say that I beat 2:10 and a 10-minute-mile pace. But, the reality is that it doesn’t matter, because I still PR’ed by nearly 10 minutes. That is reason enough to be happy.
(Meanwhile, Katelyn went and broke 2 hours with a 1:58 finish!)
Now, even though my legs are slightly sore and I’m glad I don’t have to do any training runs this week, I’m already looking forward to what’s next!