For a while I was on the fence about running the Zombie Half Marathon. I’ve done a half marathon three weeks out from a marathon before, but I wasn’t sure I should race-race it and kill myself because as I’ve aged, I’ve found that my body takes longer to recover than it used to. Boo!
I then thought that I could at least turn the race into a marathon-paced workout for New York in three weeks versus doing a long run solo. It ended up being a good decision as it boosted my confidence that I am getting into better shape each week and every month.
If you have been following along, you know I ran two half marathons earlier this summer–just cracking 1:30, but I had to work a lot harder for those times than I did on Saturday at the Zombie Half Marathon. To feel so good and finish 2 minutes faster than I did last month is definitely a confidence-booster.
I could tell I wasn’t as nervous for this race and didn’t do my normal warm-up routine. I usually spend about 45 minutes warming-up for a half, but this time I ran 1.5 miles, hardly did any stretches, only a couple of short striders, and was off. It was a bit chilly at 40*F with rain, but I was fine once I got running. (My hands did get pretty cold by the end though.) I went out really comfortably the first mile to the point where it almost felt like an easy run. (It really wasn’t because I came through the first mile in 6:39. Ha!)
I mostly just spent the first few miles finding my groove, picking people off (who inevitably started out too fast), and settled into a very maintainable pace. The first 4 miles have a nice downhill grade, which I knew, so I factored that into how I felt as well.
As you can see from the elevation chart above, there’s a climb that starts at the end of mile 6 into mile 7. During this mile I ran up on a pack of three guys who I ran with for a bit but then felt like I could pass them, so I surged ahead, and just as I did that, I looked up and saw several of my friends out cheering for me! Both must have given me quite the boost because my GAP pace is 6:16 and 6:27 during those two miles. Ha!
After that climb, it is slightly downhill again, which I noticed when running. I felt like I was flying through the woods! These five miles seemed to drag out quite a bit though because I was running all by myself and only passing walkers occasionally. This stretch was all through the woods on a winding path, so I know my GPS wasn’t picking up a good signal. I didn’t let that affect me and knew I was probably running faster than what it actually said. The path also had fallen leaves on it, which were kind of slippery from being wet from the rain.
During this these miles, I imagined myself running the marathon strong and never hitting a wall. (I pray that actually happens this time!) Finally, the last half mile of this race has nearly 200 feet of elevation gain. No one likes the hill and everyone talks about it, but since I hadn’t busted my butt too hard during the race, I didn’t think the hill was that bad. There was a little bit of a plateau half way through where I was able to regain some energy and surge into the finish chute.
So thankful Cullen and Craig braved the rain, wind, and cold to watch me run! It’s not nearly as fun without family and friends being there with you!
Overall, it was a great morning, and I was glad to have another marathon-paced run under my belt. There is still work to be done, and I have to be good about all those little things (sleep, recovery, nutrition, etc.) in these last few weeks before the New York City Marathon on November 4th!!