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Akron Half Marathon Recap: How I captured a new PR

I have to confess, the only reason I signed up for the Akron half marathon this year was for this shirt.

New neon pink shirt!
New neon pink shirt!
Even Bodhi liked the shirt so much he tried to steal it. Good thing I'm so strong.
Even Bodhi liked the shirt so much he tried to steal it. Good thing I’m so strong.

I saw it months ago and had to have it. However, with asthma attacks all summer and a history of getting injured, I waited til the last-minute to register. The week of the race I started having issues with my right hamstring. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it but thought maybe it was going to be IT band monster all over again. I took it easy and did a lot of icing the rest of the week. On Friday I was questioning if I should even run the race. Was it worth being re-injured?

At the same time I was really mad. I had worked so hard lately and had been really careful. I couldn’t see why I would be injured again. Ok, maybe I might have sort of skipped out on cross training the past couple months… Either way, the day before the race I was questionable on if I would even start. Like any normal runner, I googled the injury and decided to work on the trigger points in this video.

AND IT WORKED! I didn’t know it until after but I HAD A KNOT IN MY HAMMY! I felt a lot better after knowing what it was (it’s still there if anyone wants to come get it out).

Race morning we were up at 3:30am to get dressed, foam rolled, eat breakfast (or a few bites of a clif bar) and were headed out the door at 4:15am. We arrived at our usual parking spot, to find they now charge $5 for parking but it’s literally across from the stadium so we parked there anyways. Being there early gave us plenty of time to go to the bathroom, hang out in the car and warm up before the race.

About 6:30 we headed to the start line and it was very crowded. We made it to the corral (corral A) with plenty of time to spare. I decided to start with the 3:15 group (7:27 pace) and hang with them to ensure I didn’t go out too fast. Ideally, I wanted to run with a 3:20 group but there wasn’t one. I figured I would start with 3:15 and slide into slower pace later on, just as long as I stayed in front of the 3:25 group.

At the start of the Cleveland Marathon they always play Cleveland Rocks and it pumps me up. However, in Akron they do not play that song, they did play the start of the Lion King though. I don’t know why but that was the perfect song to hear race morning. After the anthem, they reminded us to “look to the right and catch the sunrise as you cross over the bridge” and before I knew it we were off. Like literally, my watch didn’t even have satelliteย  yet.

Mile 1: 7:15-I stayed with the 3:15 pace group, they were supposed to be at a 7:27 but we ran a 7:15. I stayed with them for a half mile longer but they were settled into a 7:15 pace still so I backed down. (I really hate when pace team don’t run even splits)

Mile 2: 7:29, Mile 3: 7:26-At this point I looked down and thought I was going to fast. I had pretty much just ran close to my recent 5K times.

Mile 4: 7:25 – The clock said 29:35, pretty close to or maybe broke my 4 mile PR (from at least 4 years ago). I felt good so I kept going.

Mile 5: 7:40-Definitely feeling those fast couple miles. I said to myself “Jess, you are an idiot and went out to fast. Now hang in there, zone out and just try and stick to a sub 8 pace. (Clock said 37:15, faster than my past 2, 5 milers)

Mile 6: 7:37-I think I started to get into a groove and thought “I got this!”

Mile 7: 7:50– Clock said 53 minutes. I love running 7 miles in under an hour. Not sure why but it’s always been my thing. However, I lost my groove, I was about to hit the wall and thought “I should have brought gu with me” No joke, 2 mins later, I see a sign for Gu! Straight ahead! Seriously a life saver.

Mile 8: 7:52– I told myself to relax and save my energy and that every mile after this had to be faster. (This was my slowest mile the entire race)

Mile 9: 7:40, Mile 10: 7:27-Almost ran a 10 mile PR…during a half marathon. The clock said 1:15:41, my 10 mile PR is a 1:15:21 (I think). At this point, I wanted to hold onto the pace and cruise in for the finish.

Mile 11: 7:35, Mile 12: 7:48– I could not stop smiling! I kept doing the math in my head (which is never a good thing) and I knew I was going to PR. At mile 12, my math was horrible and I thought I was going to run a 1:36! When I got to the official 1 mile to go mark, I realized I was not going to run a 1:36 but would be close to coming to my goal of going sub 1:40.

Mile 13: 7:39-Almost done and my legs were really feeling it. My right leg was threatening to cramp with every downhill I experienced. Just before going into the stadium, my calf was so close to cramping and I was so close to going sub 1:40. I had to make am important decision. Do I push hard and risk the cramp and possibly cramp up and lose minutes off my time (while lying on the ground in pain) or do I slow down and not cramp and only lose a couple secs.

I chose to lose a few seconds, even if it did cost me the sub 1:40. I finished with an official time of 1:40:04 a 7:36 pace! Only 4 seconds from going sub 1:40.

IMG_2634I finished the race so much faster than Ryan expected that he didn’t think I finished! He thought maybe my hammy got bad and I pulled out. He was quite surprised to see me and the smile on my face probably gave way to how happy I was with my time.

Finisher Towels??? Seriously? BEST. THING. EVER.
Finisher Towels??? Seriously? BEST. THING. EVER.

Akron, I’ll see you next year.

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8 thoughts on “Akron Half Marathon Recap: How I captured a new PR

  1. OMG Congrats on a great PR especially after all you have had going on! That shirt is super cute and I like that medal too! Sometimes PR’s are so much easier to get when you aren’t expecting them!

  2. Congratulations on the PR! You are amazing. I’ll be thinking of you when I try my hand, er, foot at the half this Sunday. Probably won’t be running any sun 8-minute miles but I think I’m going to finish…then I’m coming for you, bwahahaha. Just kidding, but as always, thanks for being such a positive influence.

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