Friday, March 28, 2014

Alamo 13.1 Race Recap

Last Sunday a little after 7 AM, I arrived to the starting area for the Alamo 13.1 half marathon. I felt very calm and at ease knowing that I had zero goals but to enjoy the run. Since I had just finished my first full marathon a few weeks prior, I was able to head into the race with no pace expectations (I signed up for this race months ago – even before I registered for the Woodlands Marathon).

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After taking a few pre-race photos and chatting with other participants, we headed to the start line where a cannon blast headed us off, which was very cool! Amidst the inevitable crowding at first, my pace increased while trying to maneuver around other runners, so when I looked down at my Garmin as it beeped at the end of mile 1, I was shocked to see a 9:46 minute/mile pace. I laughed at myself and just thought “way to start out too fast Lauren, there is NO way you can keep that pace for another 12 miles.”

Photo from the Alamo 13.1 Facebook Page

Now, usually my strategy would be to slow down and conserve anything I had for the last part of the race, but since I really did not have expectations, I decided to take a risk and just keep going until I couldn’t go anymore. I kid you not when I say the thought which led to this decision was “eh, why not? What’s the worst that could happen?” I was fully aware that I could get burnt out, but I decided to give it a try.

The miles ticked off one-by-one, and every moment I expected to feel the need to slow down, and yet almost every mile clocked in at a consistent, or quicker, pace. I kept thinking that my legs would surely be exhausted soon, but the fatigue never arrived.

Around mile 6 is where the ‘fun’ began. The first hill was a massive highway overpass that made the accumulation of runDisney’s overpass hills look like mere child’s play. After that, more up-and-down’s for the entire mile. At the start of mile 7, we ran a lap on the track of a local university which was a nice break, if only for a quarter-mile. After that, the course laughed at my temporarily feeling of relief and threw in another mile of hills. I just knew I had probably reached my downfall at this point, but my pace still showed consistency. Heck, I even discovered a new way to run hills more efficiently – if I ran on my tippy-toes, it lessened that ‘out-of-breath’ feeling and allowed me to stay strong after each hill.

I kept moving and when my Garmin beeped to display my pace after mile 10, I gasped as what I saw – an 8:40 minute/mile pace. Um, what?! I don’t run that fast, y’all. Honestly, for a moment there, I wasn’t sure if my Garmin was telling me the truth. Nevertheless, that is when it hit me that I had a shot at a sub-2 hour half marathon. This was a goal that I figured was reachable in the next year, but certainly not today!

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That’s when I decided to race the clock. It was going to be very close but I pushed as hard as I could. With the last couple miles winding around the River Walk, it was hard to maintain a consistent pace without the need to slow down for each sharp turn. After I crossed the finish, I was unsure of my time but ecstatic knowing I had definitely PR’d!

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My official time was 2:00:52 – only 53 seconds away from a sub-2 hour half marathon! I cannot believe how close I was, and now I know this goal can be attained sooner than I thought! It’s funny how you can go into a race thinking one thing, and end up doing quite another. I think both my marathon training, and all the “GO ARMY!” and “HOOAH!” comments I got from wearing that Army shirt is what helped me earn a 13-minute PR.

Official Race Stats:
1st 6.55 Mile Split (First Half) – 1:02:24
2nd 6.55 Mile Split (Last Half) – 58:27:00
Finish Time – 2:00:52
Age Group Place: 39/167
Gender Place: 142/917
Overall Place: 388/1558

After the race, I got my medal, beer, chocolate milk and donut (they also had a bunch of other food but I didn’t feel like eating too much). Overall, I highly recommend this race! It was small and very well organized. The course, for the most part, was great, and the race goodies and post-race perks were all awesome!

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QOTD: Have you ever surprised yourself at the end of a race?

30 comments

  1. Congrats Lauren! What a way to rock a 13 minute PR. You will definitely go sub 2 hours on your next half. Smaller races are sometimes the best with attention to small details and less course crowding. While I love the Disney races and look forward to running Marine Corps Marathon, my local races are some of my favorites. (PS Yes, in answer to your question, I surprised myself earlier this month at the end of my marathon....finished 4 minutes faster than I ever thought possible! )

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    1. Thanks! Local races really are fantastic. You did amazing on your BQ marathon!!

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  2. WOW Congratulations on your PR! I love the feeling of a run being easier than you anticipated. It just goes to show that hard work and training do pay off.

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    1. Thank you! That hard work absolutely paid off.

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  3. O wow! That is a GREAT time no doubt but it stinks that it is only 53 seconds over your eventual goal! We'll now you know a sub 2 goal is closer than you think! I often run on tip toe up hills too but I think to myself that that probably can't be good form. Not that anyone ever told me different, but up till now I never heard anyone else say they do that so I just assumed I did it wrong ( and is probably why I am injured...haha). Have good weekend friend!

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    1. Thanks ladies! I can't believe how close I was - was pretty shocking for sure! I should definitely check out proper hill running form just in case. Thanks for the info!

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  4. Great job! Sometimes I think we should just throw away the garmins and go by feel. Without that the tech side, some fun surprises can happen.

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  5. I say screw those 53 seconds!! :) haha That's so awesome!!! Look at what that marathon did - made you Speedy McGonalez!!!!

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    1. Haha heck yeah! Who knew marathon training would make me faster at the half distance? lol :0)

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  6. Way to go, Lauren!! Congrats on an amazing time! Isn't it funny how longer distances help you get faster at the shorter distances? I'm at 2:01 so I feel your pain. My goal is under 2, also. So close!!}

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    1. Thanks Karen! I had no idea that the longer distance training would actually make me faster. Pleasant surprise! :0) We'll get there soon!

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  7. So awesome! That marathon training has paid huge dividends. You are going to smash that sub-2 hour goal next time around! Congrats!!

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  8. Congrats Lauren!! That is so awesome!! I eventually want to get under 2 but I need a lot of training before I get there. I'm definitely more of a tortoise but I dream of being a hare haha

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    1. Thanks Courtney! You will definitely get there, I know it!

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  9. Yay! That's so awesome. Congrats on the PR and you'll be sub-2 before you know it!

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  10. Congrats on your PR!!!! That's so exciting especially when you weren't even planning on it. Shows how we can underestimate ourselves. Were you in the Army?

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    1. Thank you! I think the unexpectedness of it made it that much more amazing to me. No, I was not in the Army. My brother currently serves and is actually in his Army Individual Training in San Antonio right now!

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  11. A sub-2 is yours next time! Congrats on the huge PR!

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  12. Way to go, Lauren! That sub-2 is going to be yours before you know it!

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  13. Congratulations!! I love it when you surprise yourself and what a way to do it! You'll get that sub-2 next time for sure. It's gotta feel good to PR and so easily too. Looks like a great race. I've never done one in TX!

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    1. Thank you Karla! You should try a race in Texas... definitely a lot of fun! I would avoid racing during the summer months though...very hot and humid!

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  14. Wow! Way to go , Lauren!!! I think that will be my plan for my next race ;)

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    1. Thanks Jewell!! What made it even more surprising was that I had Mexican food for lunch and Fuddruckers for dinner the day before the race! I wasn't sure how my stomach would be that morning lol!

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  15. Yay!!! What an awesome PR!!! I love that you were just going at your own pace. You will for sure get that sub-2 hr next race!

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    1. Thanks Kim!! It would definitely be amazing to get that sub-2 hr next race!

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