Ethan and I finished our first half marathon, and it went well! We ran and finished together, and our finish time was 2:23:46 (pace: 10:59 min/mile). I’m really happy with that achievement, especially since my goal pace was about 11 min/mile.
The Madison Half Marathon started at 7 am on Sunday 5/26, so we had to get up at 5:30 am to get dressed, eat something, and get to the start line. I was a little nervous about getting up so early, but it worked out pretty well, in that it was too early for me to get nervous about how the run would go. My primary concerns leading up to the race were that one of us would get injured and half to stop and that the hills would be too much for us, since we live in a very flat place, and it’s difficult for us to train on hills.
Neither of us were injured, thankfully. We were definitely both sore and tired after the race, and for the next few days, and Ethan’s ankles were bothering him for the second half of the race, but no show stoppers. Tonight is our first post-race run, so we’ll see how much our legs have recovered.
I’m happy to report that the hills were also not a problem. The course had three hills I’d classify as ‘moderate’ and one I would call ‘intense.’ Ethan and his brother used to have to run the intense hill in high school, and before the race they were talking about what an unpleasant hill it is. My take on it was “if we have to walk, we walk,” as long as we finished, I would be happy. To me, the moderate hills were not very challenging. In fact, getting to the top of each seemed like a mini victory, and helped break up the course. Just after mile 10, we finally came to the intense hill, which was the last big hill on the course. I saw that a lot of people were walking it, and I heard some people grumbling as we approached. In my head I told myself “just run as far as you can; don’t walk until you need to.” There were many volunteers and spectators at that hill, cheering us on, and Ethan and I ran by them all. I realized that everyone else on the hill right then was walking, and we were the only ones to run up it. As we ran past one of the spectators, he shouted some encouraging words to us, and I felt totally energized. It felt great to run up that hill. After that, the next 3 miles felt almost easy, like I could do anything.
The weather was basically perfect for a long run, too. It was between 50 and 60 F that morning, with some sun. Cool enough that I didn’t feel hot at any point during the run, but not so cold that I was freezing in shorts and running jacket before we got started. Both of us were wearing long sleeves at the start of the run and stripped a layer mid-run, tying our jackets around our waists.
All in all, it was a wonderful first distance race, and I look forward to more of them in the future.