Well, yesterday marked my second time running the More/Fitness Women’s Half Marathon in Central Park. I had been doing some serious struggling the past few weeks with wanting to run fast and PR at this half, but also not wanting to push my knee too hard since a full marathon is only three weeks away. Of course I don’t want to potentially injure myself any more than I already am … but I also knew that deep down I am way too competitive to not try my hardest to PR.
I picked up my bib on Saturday and was thrilled to see #672 which meant that I was in the first corral again this year. I am very aware that I’m not as fast as the majority of women that I was surrounded by in this corral, but I would much rather be surrounded by them than try and run through thousands of people after the gun goes off. On race day I ended up being only a few steps behind the start line and very close to three incredible runners (Alemtsehay Misganaw - who set a new course record of 1:13:25-, Jen Rhines, and Michelle Frey). It was so nice to hear the gun go off and be able to run full out right away.
For miles 1-4 I kept a pace under 7:30 and then increased a bit when the hills hit. I had forgotten how hilly this course was! Pretty much a gradual increase for half the loop (the course is 2+ loops of the park). But I was able to keep a pretty steady pace around 8:00-8:15 for the majority of the hills. I tried to go all out on the downhill/flats because I knew my pace was going to suffer from all the uphill.
It was great to see Aaron & Francesca around mile 6 (I usually never find my family/friends in the crowd!) and I was still feeling strong for the start of the second loop. My knee started to hurt a bit around mile 7 so I backed off a bit, but was still keeping a pace around 7:45 and was feeling good about PRing.
Miles 9-12 were a bit rough since they were all uphill and my knee was starting to get unhappy. This was the point where I decided it was better to slow my pace than push my knee more than I should. So I slowed a bit on the uphills hoping to still be able to sprint for the last 1.5ish miles of flat/downhill.
I was still feeling strong and was able to sprint through the finish line, which always feels so incredible. And whaddya know .. I PRed!
1:45:17. Average pace of 8:03. #229 out of 7,100 racers.
Of course I’m happy with the results .. my best half marathon time yet! But I was really hoping for 1:44 or less. I know I have it in me.. I felt strong and confident running between a 7:00-7:30 pace and once I’m all healed up and able to do more speed work, I know I’ll be able to get there.