This past Saturday, May 30, I raced in my second competitive half marathon—the Famous Idaho Potato Half Marathon. My mom also ran, and this event marked our 9th race together. The last time we did the Famous Idaho Potato was in 2013 and we finished in 1:58, so we were excited to have another go at the course!
I ran my first competitive half in March, the Volition America Half Marathon, and finished in 1:33:09, beating my prior PR of 1:48 in '09 by 15-minutes. Since that race, where I was following the Hal Higdon Novice Training Program as I have for the past several years, I switched over to a combination of the Hal Higdon Intermediate & Advanced Half Marathon Training Programs, which are intended for more competitive and experienced runners. I thought it would be worth a shot!
Going in to the race, my only goal was to beat my time in March, where I had averaged splits of 7:08/mile. My colleague at work challenged me to finish in 1:27, and I knew that would require splits of 6:38/mile. I told him, "There's no way I'm taking 30-seconds off per mile, you're crazy dude!" So I just started out as fast as I could and just ran to run. I ended up feeling really good and ran my first few miles faster than I had expected. Once I set a pace, it's usually hard for me to break it, so when I was settled in just under a 6:30-per-mile pace by mile 4, I decided to take up my colleague's challenge!
I normally listen to my iPod on race day, but accidentally forgot it, so I ran intuitively—listening to my body, feet and breathing the whole time. I feel like it really helped me keep my pace, since I wasn't changing strides to match song beats, and while it was a little lonely and quiet in spots, I really enjoyed my time without it. In fact, I ended up creating a little chant, as I do every race, and repeated it over and over. Every four steps it was, "I feel go-od! I feel go-od! I FEEL GOOOO-OOOOOD!" Of course I was pretty much yelling it to myself by the end because I was so very tired and my foot was killing me due to an insanely huge blood blister, but I kept up my little mantra and pushed through!
In the end, I came across the line, smiling from ear to ear, at 1:26:09—a new PR by exactly 7-minutes! I ran straight into my husbands arms and couldn't have been happier! My splits averaged 6:35/mile, over 30-seconds faster per mile than my splits from my last race. My fastest mile was a 6:10 (mile 13) and my slowest was a 7:01 (mile 10—which was also my slowest mile in my last half!). However, I'm not sure about miles 2-3 and 9-10 because I missed timing my splits due to not seeing the mile markers, which were drawn on the ground in sand—so if you didn't look carefully you could easily run past them. Bummer!
I ended up finishing 15th overall (of 1,236), 3rd overall female (of 778), and 2nd in my age group (25-29, though wasn't awarded this due to being an "overall" finisher). This was my first long-distance race where I've been an overall winner (I've won 5K awards before) so it was thrilling to go up and accept my plaque and—get this—a BAG OF POTATOES! It was a fitting trophy, after all, it was the Famous Idaho POTATO Half Marathon.
My mom also did very well! She won her age group and finished in 1:53:01. It was so awesome to finish my run and then jog back to find her so we could finish together. I'm so proud of her... she's my rockstar mom & total running inspiration!
See a couple of fun photos from our post-race celebration below!
Crossing the line at 1:26:09, a new PR!
So excited about how the race went! This is apparently my post-race signature photo.
Immediately after my mom came across—we were so happy to be finished!
Joining the other two winners on the podium! 1st place ran 1:22:35 (6:19/mile splits) and 2nd finished in 1:25:12 (6:31/mile splits)—I totally cheered the 2nd place girl on as she passed me at mile 11. She was rockin' her pace! Aren't the potatoes hilarious?
We love running together in our matching outfits! Mom & Daughter races rule!
Through the whole race, all that kept me going was a constant countdown for "how long until I got to see my sweetie." Every mile marker and every time I looked down at my watch (especially toward the end), I was just ticking the seconds away until he got to see me finish. It made a huge difference and really pushed me toward a strong kick at the end!
After my last half marathon, I knew I wanted to amp up my training and really push myself, saying, "I think with a dedicated training plan I could significantly improve this time [of 1:33:09]! We'll see what the future holds for half marathon races." I think it's safe to say that the training plan made all the difference! To finish in 1:26;09, take off 7-minutes and over 30-seconds a mile in just two months sounds too good to be true. I'm continuing to train (following this running & strength plan), and can't wait to see what happens with my time in the next few races I have this year, which I'll also be running with my mom! I don't have any big goals in mind—just to stay healthy and injury free!
Can't wait to show you where these feet take me to next.
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