Foot Traffic Flat 1/2 Marathon Race Report

Half marathons are tricky buggers. On the good side, they so much more do-able than actual marathons. They let you settle in and find a pace and allow you to finish strong without any of the residual soreness and utter fatigue that accompagny 26.2 miles. Mostly, i think 1/2’s rock. They build confidence. You can find them locally, get them done in the morning and still have time for a great post-race breakfast. And what’s better and more fulfilling than digging into a gigantic/fantastic breakfast feast after a race?

On the other hand, half marathons are savage beasts as they require a lot of physical and mental effort. Today I ran the Foot Traffic Flat Half Marathon. As the name suggests, it’s flat, fast and perfect for pushing yourself to a PR.

Here’s how my race went down.

4:30 AM: Only five hours of sleep, but who cares, it’s RACE DAY!

4:35: Begin Pre-race rituals in this order: drink water, clip toenails, shower, shave, drink coffee, eat rice porridge, and listen to a  pre-race music mix featuring Tupac Shakur and Ice Cube. I know I can kick butt when I’ve got gangster rappers backing me up.

6:30:Pick up race packet at the race start area. The t-shirt is nice, but as usual, totally gigantic. When did small mean “big enough to upholster a loveseat”

6:35: Time to lube up, get rid of the sweatpants, ingest a Chocolate Outrage GU, hit the portapotty and get nervous/excited.

7:05: Line up. Ignore the tummy butterflies.

BANG! We’re off! 

My unnofficial goal was to beat my old half marathon PR which was 1:37:58. In my mind I was hoping to beat 1:36.00. I knew that I’d have to start aggresively if I wanted to make it.

Mile 1: The course is beautiful. If I weren’t so caught up in the race I might have had time to enjoy the scenerey. Rolling hills, farmland, green pastures. It’s a great place and day to be running.

Mile 2:My first splits are right at 7 min/mile. I start to get anxious that I’ve started too quickly and I won’t be able to sustain the pace. Images of hitting a wall or finishing slow fill my mind. I try to gently guide my mind to postive images and positive thoughts. “Run Happy. Run Strong. Run Happy. Run Strong. Remember, this is fun…”

Miles 3-8: Most of race is a battle of negative and positive thoughts. When I start to feel anxious or stress about pace, like magic, my pace slows and my mile splits get slower. When I concentrate on the feeling of my legs working with my core and I think about how great it is to be out here competing my pace gets faster, I feel lighter and my shoulders relax. I can feel my breath getting more even and I slip into that zone… for a few seconds before my inner-worrywart starts to chatter again.

Mile 8: I’ve been jockeying back and forth with guy for most of the race. At mile 8 I decide I’m going to stare at his back and think good thoughts until I pass him.

Mile 9: I pull even with the guy. I say to myself, “Let’s run this mile like it’s the last mile in the race.”

Mile 10: I reset my mental odometer. “I’m going to run THIS mile like it’s my last mile.” I pass the guy I’ve been starting at for most of the race.

Mile 11: Now I’m going to run THIS mile like it’s my last mile.

Mile 11.5: I really wish this was my last mile and the last 1.6 miles seems like an eternity. But I just keep thinking that I’m going to run this last 1/2 mile like it’s my last 800 meters. I’m not going to think any further than that.

Mile 12: My vision blurs. I dig deep. I’ve bottomed out and a queasy/sick feeling settles in the lower part of my gut. I push that aside and try to concentrate on my stride and form. Just a few more minutes to the finish line I think.

Mile 13.1: The last mile always feels the longest, no matter what the distance. I don’t remember a thing about the last 100 meters, but I remember clearly stopping my watch at the finish line and starring at it in disbelief. Could that be right? No way. I look again. And again. And slowly I process the fact that I’ve beaten my old PR by almost 4 minutes. I feel like a rock star. Like I’ve broken the world record and won a gold medal. I am elated. I am overcome! I am so freaking happy!

Finishing TIme: 1:34

Average Pace: 7:10/mile

The only thing that tastes better than a post-race breakfast is the savory goodness of surpassing your own expectations.


About heatherdaniel

I'm a runner, writer, eater and traveler.
This entry was posted in portland, race report, running and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Foot Traffic Flat 1/2 Marathon Race Report

  1. emily says:

    comment about t-shirt: ‘small’ has totally become ginormous! If I wear a size 2, what do thin people wear?!?

    Happy 4th of july, ma tablette!

  2. Andrea Hill says:

    1:34??!?! Holy crap, that’s awesome! Evidently your drive and ability to trick yourself worked!

    Please tell me the course was certified and you’re going to use this as a qualifying race for NYCM. Just b/c that’s a goal of mine 🙂

    Fantastic job!!!

  3. chefsy says:

    I hope this marathon gets you for SF marathon this august! 🙂 Good job and phew, you’re inspirational!! very motivating. Happy 4th of July, fellow runner. 🙂

    Run on. 🙂

  4. smchurchi says:

    Wow! You’re a goddess! What a fantastic half, and congrats on shattering your pr! You just keep getting better and better. Keep it going, Heather!

  5. Marvin says:

    Yes, congrats on a PR! Good pacing by the way, starting at 7 and averaging 7:10, you didn’t start too fast at all. A 1:34 half marathon predicts a sub 3:20 marathon. I think you can do it!

    I totally agree with clothing sizes, especially for cycle clothing. I buy smalls but they fit way too loose. I don’t think I’m ex-small.

  6. pinkcowgirl says:

    AWESOME!!! Congrats on the PR!!! Sounds like you had a great time! 🙂

  7. Totally agreed. I love the half-marathon distance. It’s long enough that it’s a mental challenge as well as a physical one, yet short enough that you don’t have to worry about hitting the wall or need to train for months like a marathon…

    Anyway, totally awesome run. Congrats on your PR! Beating it by 4 minutes at your speed is a big big accomplishment!

  8. Irish Cream says:

    Wow. Wow. Wow. Great race. Great race report . . . you are seriously a rockstar! Congrats on smashing your PR!!

  9. heatherdaniel says:

    Thanks for the wonderful comments and great support. I so enjoy sharing my experiences with so many other talented runners. Thanks again for reading my race reports and blog. It’s much appreciated and keeps me continually energized and motivated.

  10. Betsy says:

    What a great race. Congratulations on an amazing PR!

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