Well that was a confidence booster!
I left you on Thursday with my playlist and some serious doubts about my ability to run the whole half-marathon. Subscribe to that playlist, folks, because it worked pretty well for me!
Unlike most long races, the day began at a reasonable time because I live about 5 minutes from the start. Holla! This was especially handy since the temperatures were below 40° when I stepped foot outside. The only reasonable, classy thing to do was to walk to the Above + Beyond Cancer tent wrapped in a blanket, right? Right. #noshame
This “cape” pinned on my jacket also felt like it lent superpowers. >>
That’s the prayer flag I filled out to honor those affected by cancer. Today’s half was particularly meaningful for me, as it fell on my godmother’s birthday. Laurel was one of the main reasons I signed up for the Million Dollar Marathon in the first place—she has bravely fought metastatic breast cancer since 2010. If she can handle surgeries, chemo, etc., I can run for a couple hours!
(The other names are family and friends who are survivors or who we recently lost.)
Once my prayer flag and A + B bracelet was firmly in place (on top of my throw away gloves that I could ditch once warmed up), I headed to the corrals and lined up near the 10-minute pace group. That guess was as good as any for my speed!
The crowd of 10,000 runners was hopping and ready to take off toward the Capitol building. The whole course was beautiful and I loved being able to tour some of my go-to running haunts like Gray’s Lake and Water Works Park. Supportive fans lined much of the route, too, which is always a mood booster! Best sign of the day: “You run better than the government.”
I started tentatively, knocking out 9:45-ish miles, unsure of how long I’d even be able to run and waiting for the aches and pains to force me to walk. But somewhere around mile three, something just clicked. The minor hip, knee and foot pain seemed to diminish (thanks, endorphins!) and I decided to pick up the pace. What’s the worst that can happen, right?
For most of the rest of the course, I clocked in 8:50 miles and ended up negative splitting this race like never before.
- 6.5 mile split: 1:02:25
- Pace: 9:37
- Age group (females 25-29) rank: 186/573
- Finish: 1:58:54
- Average pace: 9:05
- Age group rank: 138/573
I caught up with my fabulous friend and fellow Team A + B member, Ashley, after the race to celebrate finally being able to do the same event! We’ll just consider it extending the celebrations for her inspiring marathon performance three months ago.
I can’t thank you all enough for the supportive calls, texts, tweets and words throughout my injury, recovery and return to running, not to mention your generous donations to my Above + Beyond Cancer fund. It means the world to know that I have such amazing people in my corner and I thought of you all during those 26,000-ish steps today! (Special mention goes to my A + B friends Steve and Matt for the loud cheers that pushed me at the finish and to my Mom for the “Go Karla!” texts every few miles.)
Congrats to all those racing today, either at the Des Moines Marathon or otherwise. You all inspire me to keep pushing and striving to be better!