DRC Half Race Recap

A week ago (Sunday, November 6th), one week after Marine Corps Marathon, I ran the DRC Half Marathon.  I think everyone knows that I have a serious race addiction, and well, when I deal came through for this half, I registered immediately... it was almost a month later that I realized it was only one week post-marathon.  OOPS!  Hey, I've made worse mistakes in life, so I just went with it.  The good news is that I ran Marine Corps nice and easy, so I was feeling great, but I still knew it would be dumb to push my pace at this half.  Many of the awesome ladies I coach were going to run this one, so for me, this day was about THEM.  I couldn't wait to celebrate the day with them. 

Denya, Holly F, Holly C, Me, Monica, Christina, Deanna

Deanna and Christina would be running their FIRST half marathon.  Holly F and Holly C would be running their 3rd half marathon.  Denya, running her 5th half, would be doing the awesome job of keeping Christina company on the course.  And Monica was going to be running her 4th half, and we felt like it was time for a fresh PR, so I decided to run with her.  I knew the PR would be difficult, but totally possible!

I also got to see some awesome frunners before the race start... EW, then Michelle...

Then I saw Shannon (IronTexasMommy)...
Then caught up briefly with Jason and his wife Karen in front of the porta potties (hey, you take what you can get pre-race)!

Race Start

DRC Half is pretty hilly for the first 7 miles or so, then relatively flat for the last 6.  The goal for Monica and I was to start out around 12:30s and to push near 12:15s as we got warmed up and just hold it steady.  I was excited for the day. 

Mile 1 - 12:19
Mile 2 - 12:20
Mile 3 - 12:17

Monica and me looking very distorted.  Phone camera doesn't like action shots!

Everything super smooth... then we hit the hills.  They aren't pretty, but we hold pace up the hills each and every time.

Mile 4 - 12:19
Mile 5 - 12:12
Mile 6 - 12:27

I'm sure by this point with all the hills and Monica focusing on her breathing and me talking incessantly (I know, you're shocked, right?) that Monica was regretting the decision to let me pace her.  I posted a photo of her on course to facebook saying that I thought she still liked me... to which a good friend responded "Just give her time."  Bwahahahahaha!  I'm a nice coach/pacer... aren't I? 

Mile 7 - 11:42
Mile 8 - 11:52

Can you say yeah for a lot of downhill during 7 and 8?  I think we did a great job of taking advantage of the downhill without going out of control.  Woo-hoo!

Mile 9 - 12:16

It was right about here that Monica wasn't feeling great.  Let's face it, pretty much any half marathon you're trying to PR, you start to really feel the effects at mile 9 or 10.  So we started taking on a walk break strategy.  Every water stop or mile marker, we would walk for 30 seconds.  Now ya know, 30 seconds isn't long... just enough to catch your breath.  And even when we walked, we kept the pace brisk.

Mile 10 - 12:10
Mile 11 - 12:27

A little slow down at mile 11, but still below PR pace and trucking along.  Now I start my long monologue to try encourage Monica, but I know at this point she just wants to focus on one foot in front of the other, but she's entirely too nice to tell me to be quiet.  She was doing awesome.  So we did what everyone does when you're really hurting at the end of a half marathon, we sped up.

Mile 12 - 12:03
Mile 13 - 11:52

Yes, yes, yes.  I know Monica was hurting, but she hung on.  Head down, one foot in front of the other.  Seriously, I was stoked... there's no other word for it.  It was even more amazing because I knew this was a tough pace, and I knew she wanted to stop, but she kept going every single step... every moment.  Then we see the finish, and you all know how I roll... finish STRONG... every time.  I told her to go for it, and no kidding, I could barely keep up with her...

Last .23 - 9:19

Superstar performance!  Seriously.  Awesomesauce. Major PR.  2:40:21  A PR by 4 minutes 35 seconds.

And at the finish line... Christina and Deanna who felt great after their first half - PRs!  (Yes, you can totally claim a PR win on your first half, that's the best part about a new distance.)  Denya, who was a superstar pacer and true friend for them was waiting there too.  Holly F had also finished with a PR, but had to jet. 

Denya and Deanna

I went back out to run Holly C in, and the dude at the finish (who was a photographer) told me I wasn't allowed back on the course.  Huh?  This isn't some big 30,000 person race.  You can't stop me from running on the lake.  Ugh.  I pulled off my timing chip, and went through the grass to get back a different way.  Holly was less than a mile from the finish and trucking along just fine.  She looked well, and happy.  We ran it in, and I cheered as she sprinted the finish (why do I get so much satisfaction from sprinting finishes?).  And Holly C grabbed a PR too.  Not only did she get a PR, but she clearly felt a ton better than at her other halves.  I know she's got a lot more in her.  Such an awesome journey.

Super proud of this group.  They work their tails off, and deserved a great day, and they all had one.

And bonus, on the way out, I finally got to meet Teal and Beth of Life is a Run

Now onto the little side note... what I skipped in this whole report was that somewhere around mile 10, I noticed an excruciating pain near my left hip.  It hit pretty suddenly, and I've never felt anything like it.  I wasn't tired, my muscles weren't sore, it was like a shock that radiated up into my back and down into my ankle.  It felt like my leg would collapse at any second.  Bad news:  Intense pain.  Good news:  It didn't feel any better when I walked, and I had to get back to the car anyhow.  Pacing Monica was nice and distracting to keep me moving.  But man, I had never felt anything like that.  For the record, it turned out that it was my sciatic which was entrapped in a tight glute.  I was sitting on ice for 2 days, then I finally got into the sports chiro (Premier Sports Chiropractic), and he dug into that glute, and I'm happy to say that after another day of being really sore and sitting on more ice, I was right back in business.  Woo-hoo for A.R.T.