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River Run Half Marathon 2017

Last year I thought I ran awful at River Run. Actually, when I went back to look at my time, it wasn’t awful but it wasn’t a good time for me, especially on that course. I actually still remember how I felt that race. I wanted to quit by mile 2. My legs felt completely done. Not fatigue done, just absolutely no speed in them.
For this year’s River Run, I decided to approach it with the goal of running a 1:45 half and starting out slow and conservative. However, I did not anticipate the absolutely amazing forecast of weather that we were going to get. River Run generally has good weather but this was above and beyond good and damn near perfect. Actually, I take that back, it was a perfect weather day.
To run a 1:45 I would need to run 8 minute miles. I was confident that would feel easy and if I felt good later in the race I could pick it up. The first couple miles went really well, I couldn’t help but go faster.
Mile 1 – 7:37, Mile 2 – 7:48, Mile 3 – 7:38, Mile 4 – 7:45, Mile 5 – 7:43
I 100% blame the faster paces on the perfect weather. I was working really hard to hold back to these paces.
Mile 6 – 7:45, Mile 7 – 7:49, Mile 8 – 7:49, Mile 9 – 7:53, Mile 10 – 7:50
Somewhere around mile 9-10 there is a decent uphill. I tackled it as best I could but once you are at the top, you get to cruise back down the other side of the hill. Even with the downhill I was starting to feel the fatigue at mile 10. I had to start playing mind games with myself to keep the pace. Which really didn’t work too well.

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Mile 11 – 8:00, Mile 12 – 8:02, Mile 13 – 7:59
I really wish I could have had miles 11 and 12 under 8. I mean, I was really close but I was also really tired at that point. I’m pretty sure I gave the stink eye to friends who were doing their cool down miles while I was still running.

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Official Finish Time – 1:42:41 and 7th in my age group. I will take it and extremely happy with how this race went. I’ve had some rough races the past year so it was nice to see my hard work paying off. Almost 3 minutes under my goal time.

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River Run Half Marathon 2016

While I may have taken a couple weeks off this summer and lost all my speed. Literally, no speed whatsoever in these legs, I did not lose the distance. I could easily run long distances after taking so many weeks off. However, they were all very slow miles. Naturally, I thought it would be a great idea to run the River Run half marathon.

The River Run half marathon is a favorite in our house because that is where Ryan and I met. On the bus to the start of the race when I sat down next to him, all those years ago…

I should have went into this race with a realistic goal of like 1:45-1:50. Instead, in my head I thought I would run close to a 1:43. In the spring, I was in shape for a sub 1:40 so I thought 3 minutes slower would be easy.

To start, I went out too fast, no surprise there but by mile 2 I was done. Like completely ready to quit. In my head for the next couple miles, I told myself I could quit and should just stop running. Then I day dreamed about if I was smarter and was a spectator for the race instead.

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Current Status: Trying to figure out where to drop out of the race.

Surprisingly, as much as I was hating running and myself during the race, the miles clicked by quickly. Mile 6 was there before I knew it. I honestly have no idea why I kept running this race. I had no idea what my finish time would be but knew it would be much slower than what I had predicted.

The next couple miles kept going by fast despite my pace dropping significantly. I hit mile 10 and knew I was not going to quit by this point and I kept telling myself, only a 5K left.

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As I neared the finish line, I could see my friends who already finished that were heading out for some cool down miles. They cheered when they saw me but I wouldn’t even look at them. Despite being close to the finish line, I was still cranky about my declining time.

I finished with a time of 1:47:52 an 8:12 pace. One of my slowest half marathons in a very long time.

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River Run Half Marathom 2015

I am suddenly reminded that I should probably write race recaps within the first 2 weeks that I do a race. Otherwise, I am left doing them 2+ months later and trying to remember how it went and what the weather was like. AKA be a better blogger Jess.

I don’t remember exactly what the weather was like but I believe I remember seeing people somewhat bundled. Tights, capris, long sleeves etc. I was feeling brave and went with shorts and compression socks.

I usually try to make River Run a goal half marathon for the year. I feel it is a PR friendly course and it goes through some areas that I run through regularly so it is familiar to me. I can pick off my favorite area that I run through. I can also chip away and know exactly where I am on the course at all times.

River Run 2015 1

This year it was even easier to know where I was on the course because I had spent a lot of time biking in the metroparks while training for the Ironman.

Originally when I signed up for the River Run half marathon, I was pretty sure it would be my goal running race of the year and the race that I would PR at. As it got closer to race day, I slowly realized that the half marathon PR likely was not there. Ironman training slowly took over my life so a speedy half marathon did not seem likely.

That didn’t mean I wouldn’t give it a try though. Basing off the past couple races of the summer I decided I would probably run a 1:42-1:43 and set out at that pace. Within the first mile, I found my unofficial pacer Maureen. Maureen is a local runner who kicks my ass at almost every race. I don’t know how she does it since she is in her 50s! She is pretty much my life goal to run her paces at that age.

I seriously spent the rest of the race pacing with Maureen. Neither one of us was backing down on the pace and it was awesome because it was exactly where I wanted to be. And I didn’t want to slow down because I knew I would never get back to that pace.

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However, after a tough battle, at mile 12 I was done. Not done done and had to walk done. Just done running a 7:xx pace (I have no idea what pace we were running). The last mile was easily my slowest but I kept trucking along to the finish.

I finished the race in 1:43:13, exactly where I thought I would be and I had zero disappointments in this race. I was actually very pleased with how I executed it. After the race I discovered that I had actually placed in my age group!!! This race is huge so I didn’t expect that to happen.

We celebrated the race with a crab and shrimp boil.

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River Run Half Marathon 2014

It was no secret that all summer I was hoping that River Run would be the race I would go sub 1:40. It’s know for being a fairly flat race and net downhill. All I had to do was run smart. (not always easy)

Race morning Ryan and I made a last minute decision to drive to the race instead of taking the buses. The buses take too long to leave and get there so when you get to the start of the race, you have to get into a ridiculously long bathroom line or warm up for the race. Driving to the start allowed Ryan and I to go to the bathroom, warm up, go to the bathroom again and keep as many layers on as I wanted without having to throw away clothes.

At the start of the race, it was laughable how many people (and I admit they were women) were at the very front of the start line and you knew there was no way they were going to run a fast half marathon. I wish newer runners understood, how important it is to line up where you belong for races and not at the very front. End Rant.

Sexy Hermes people modeling the River Run shirt which I am a huge fan of. Womens cut shirts and pink ink!
Sexy Hermes people modeling the River Run shirt which I am a huge fan of. Womens cut shirts and pink ink!

I had looked up the pace I had planned on running and had planned to stick as close to that as I could. In the past I have admittedly gone out way too fast for the first 3 miles and then died out for the last 10.1. When the race started I immediately dialed into my pace and was happy that it felt easy. My next hope was that someone nearby would be close to my pace and I could run with them for the race.

The first 3-4 flew by at a 7:34 pace for those miles and was feeling good and taking running very seriously. My watch was clicking early though as if the mile markers were off. There were a couple roller hills I had forgot about as well as a lot of turns but I was confident I would crush my PR and run around 1:38 because I thought I could pick it up. Miles 5-7 I ran crazy random paces at 6:49, 7:10 and 6:57.

I believe this photo was around mile 6? Yes the guy behind me has on a sweet purple mesh top.
I believe this photo was around mile 6? Yes the guy behind me has on a sweet purple mesh top.

I took my gu around mile 7 or 8. I really don’t remember but I was definitely needing it. I was hungry and getting these weird chills. Probably needed food or sugar because I don’t like to eat much before hard races.

I looked down at my watch and I was going back and forth between a 7:30 and a 7:40 pace and I knew at mile 9 a large hill was coming up that kicks my guza. I was wrong because i think the hill was mile 9.5 or 10 but it was killer. I passed a couple people but when I got to the top and got to come back down, I couldn’t get my legs to get going fast again. I slipped to a 7:45 pace and told myself the last couple miles would fly by and at mile 11 I’ll pick it up and cruise to the finish. My watch was continuing to beep early and every mile marker I had off by about .2.

Unfortunately, the wheels came off and I just didn’t have anything left in the tank. My pace slipped to an 8 or 8:15 pace and I had nothing. I felt like I was pushing my legs to go faster but they didn’t listen.

Look at that serious face in both pictures.
Look at that serious face in both pictures.

I swear I love running and was having a good time, despite the look on my face. I just really wanted that PR! I got a little discourage at the end of the race where I saw on my watch 1:39:45 at mile 13.1 but the finish line was further down 😦

I had the course measured at 13.34 but most of my friends had it around 13.17. I ended up coming in at a 1:41:39, a 7:46 pace. (faster than the 5 mile pace I ran the week before! That’s how bad that 5 miler went for me).

River Run Half Marathon Finishers medal
River Run Half Marathon Finishers medal

Overall I was very happy with my time and how well I ran. It wasn’t a PR but I feel like I ran as best as I could. I am now looking for an October or November half marathon so that I can get that half marathon PR!