Beautiful, crisp, fall day in upper 50's. Gorgeous, scenic course in PennyPack Park with no traffic, but beware of hidden rocks on the trail. Finish time of 2:13:33...12 minutes faster than my last 1/2 marathon!!
My goals for this half marathon were to finish the race, run the whole race, and seek redemption from my failed 2:20 goal in the Rock N Roll Half Marathon on 9/19. I was disappointed in my 2:25 time at the Rock N Roll half...recall that I had a horrible side stitch and right side quad cramp and walked most of mile 11. As a result of my cramping issues at the Rock N Roll half, I adjusted my race strategy for this 1/2 by drinking electrolyte (NUUN) from the beginning of the race and doing shot blocks at the half way point. I guess it paid off!
We started out in grass and quickly moved onto a paved trail. It was a small field of about 170 runners. The field thinned quickly and I never felt like I had to jockey for position like you do in larger races (like Broad St and the Rock N Roll Half). I settled into my happy pace pretty early on and was quite comfortable rockin' out to my newly created playlist. The course has some really steep hills (although quite short). I was cruising nicely up (and down) them and was feeling great. I was thanking my running buddy Jeff for all the hill training he drug me on...especially when I was passing folks who were walking the hills! I caught up with two women ahead of me and were chatting with them as we approached 1/2 way. At 6.5 miles I was at 1:03 which is PHENOMENAL for me. I chomped my shot blocks and continued on. At about mile 7, there was an aid station. I refilled my water bottle and headed off into the trail portion of the course. And then the hell began....
They warned us at the start that there were lots of rocks on the trail and that the falling leaves were covering them. I slowed down immediately on the uneven ground. I HATE unstable footing. I kept focusing myself on watching my feet and trying not to get lost in the music or the beauty of the scenery. I rolled my right ankle twice with bad foot placement. Somewhere after mile 8, my left foot hit a rock in a bad way and I fell. I got up, brushed off, winced in pain, and realized I needed to keep going. Those first few steps were painful until the adrenaline & endorphins kicked in and my body realized I was going to run through the pain. I paid extra careful attention to my footing the rest of the trail.
I was never so happy to see a paved path again. I put my head down and took off. At mile 10, a woman next to me told me we were at 1:42. WOW...again, much faster than I anticipated. How could this be with a fall and a sore left ankle? For comparison, my Broad Street time was 1:50 and my 10 mile time in my previous 1/2 marathon was 1:45. At this point, I'm smiling because I know I have 2:20 in the bag.
I plowed through the last 3 miles. As I approached the finish, I smiled ear to ear when I saw Mike and the kids had decided to come and surprise me at the finish. 2:13:33! WOO HOO! So proud.
The foot was pretty swollen and red yesterday and I had quite a limp. Today, it seems noticeably better.