I think the mac and cheese did the trick for pre-race fuel — I set a new personal record at the Chi Town Half Marathon this morning of 1:38:11.
I was so nervous for this race, especially when the weather forecast looked so bleak. All day Saturday I was not myself, full of nerves over whether I could still beat 1 hour, 40 minutes in bad conditions.
Luckily, it never snowed and the wind was manageable.
But the magic ingredient that got me to my PR was the pacing teams. I positioned myself right behind Paul, a pacer who was running a 7:38 pace and finishing in 1:40. I knew if I could stay with him, I could pull away in the last mile and break 1:40.
But by mile 4, I had pulled ahead of Paul’s pacing group by about 30 feet, though apprehensively. I felt pretty strong, but worried I was picking up the pace too soon and I’d run out of gas in a few miles.
Then I saw my amazing fiancé and my sister cheering for me! Maggie even made a sign. I tried to look like I was having a grand old time.
Seeing them gave me a big confidence boost and I decided to keep trucking and trust I had enough endurance to stay ahead of the pacing group.
I remembered what Mike had told me last night. “You’ve done the training. You are capable, you know you can do this.”
We ran into the wind for the next 4 miles. It was the hardest part of the race. I held on, thanks to some Kelly Clarkson tunes and a fellow runner named Ron, who was “taking it easy” for the race and running at about my pace.
I kept him within eyesight and tucked behind him when the wind really picked up. I feared Paul’s pacing group would catch up and pass me, and I’d see my goal time slip away. So I kept pushing.
At Mile 9, we turned back south, running towards the finish with the wind at our back. That made a huge difference. I knew we were getting close.
When I hit mile 12, my time was 1:30, giving me 10 minutes to cover the last mile and still get under 1:40. I saw Mike and Maggie again and gave it everything I had, though it felt like I was moving in slow motion.
Feet across the finish.
BEST FEELING EVER.
And now, I rest.