I've also been really busy with coordinating our Hutch Rec Race Series summer events. We had great success in our first two in the series - Firecracker 5K in July; Salty Dog/Pup Triathlons in August. Perhaps the one I'm really excited about is our Run for the Rocks Half Marathon, the third and final event in our Race Series. It's going on next Sunday, and this running mama is a bit nutty, but the light is at the end of the tunnel!
Our half-marathon is in its third year and once again brought out some awesome running friends - new and old. We launched our first-ever RFR weekly group runs. A group of us running mamas alternate weeks and help lead newbies and veteran runners alike through the streets of Hutchinson to prep for the 13.1-mile trek. It's been a treat getting to know new runners and pass along the excitement, all while garnering closer relationships with several runners I've already known. Amazing the connections you make while running!
Which brings me to the See Jane Run Half-Marathon.....
Every year, as we crazily plan and put hundreds and hundreds of details into place for our own 13.1-mile race, I can't help but feel a twinge of sadness on race day. All of the excitement that race day can bring...beautiful morning...fast and flat course.....PR's and great times had by all. I wish I could be running it. But that's just not possible when you're the coordinator. (Believe me, by Sunday morning, I wish I could "just" get up and run it!)
This year it just so happened there was a half-marathon the weekend before RFR. I'm not gonna lie, it wasn't really my style - pretty much an all-women's event (only 8 men competed!); girlie-girl (not in a bad way - just catered to women with chocolate and champagne at the end); 80's aerobics for a warm-up before the start (not an aerobics fan, but who doesn't bust some type of move with Olivia Newton John's "Let's Get Physical?"); and it was a bit pricier than I would normally pay (meaning: experience/fun run). Again, these aren't bad, I've just never experienced anything like it before.
That's where one of our Run for the Rocks pace team leaders stepped in. Kelly mentioned her KC running group offering a group discount, making the race more in my comfortable price range. I figured - why not experience a girlie girl race before a crazy week of race planning?
I'm so glad I did! Not only did I jump on board, but another pace team leader for RFR, Jen, came along as did one of our Saturday morning running groupies, Staci (it was her first half!).
Again, it's amazing how running connects so many people. Kelly (second from the left) is not only a RFR pacer, but a Buhler alum (like Staci and I) and K-State alum (I knew I loved her for a reason!). Love seeing the excitement of running in so many people - the energy is contagious!
Overall, the race was fun. It's been a while since I've actually raced a half-marathon - I've been in full marathon training mode all winter/spring and have done a few10K's and a 10-mile race in between, but haven't competed in a half-marathon race since Spring 2012.
I didn't have the greatest of double-digit long training runs leading up to this event, thanks to the August/early September brutal heat and humidity combo. I came to the race with a few different goals - I've found having a range of goals help as you never know the conditions of weather, your body, and overall course/race/life happenings and it's nice to have various goals for the different elements.
Ultimately I dreamed for a 1:55 half-marathon, a PR that's been in the making since pre-kiddos and about six years. The range I was shooting for was 1:55-1:58, which would still be faster than some of my most recent half-marathon times, which has been between 1:58-2:00.
I finished See Jane Run in 1:57:57, just squeaking by! I felt great for a majority of the race and was on pace to finish 1:55-1:56. The weather (for the most part) was beautiful, cool, and calm - the sun wasn't too hot when it started beating down (maybe it's because we've been used to so much heat and humidity?). I felt fatigued around Mile 10-11. The last 5K - like the last 10K in a full marathon - always get to me. I need to figure out how to not only mentally push through for a strong finish, but also strengthen my body through training so I'm feeling better at the end of a race.
Again, I'm pretty happy with my time - I placed 54th overall (out of about 450-500) and 18th out of 122 in my age group (I'm now in that 30-34 tough age bracket!).
It was the perfect way to kick off my own crazy race week, which is currently filled with about five pages of to-do's (more added daily) in the next seven days.
And...I'll probably still feel that twinge of sadness when the runners start Run for the Rocks next Sunday. It's usually a beautiful, cool morning with a course that's super flat, meaning super fast. The competitor in me can't help but wonder if I would be among the many that set PR's in our race.....but alas, Run for the Rocks isn't for me. It's for the great community of runners who I'm thankful to have met through this wonderful sport!