Race Recap: Lansing Half Marathon
Today was my first big, goal race for the year: the Lansing Half Marathon in Lansing, MI. The start time was 8am with about an hour drive, so it was an early morning. There is truly not much that I like about getting up at 5am for a race, but getting a stunning sunrise on the drive over was a nice perk. Thanks, nature.
My roommate has become my race day buddy! We don’t run the races together, but it’s always nice knowing there’s someone out there, running “with” me. This was the fourth race we’ve done together, I think. We picked up the run for boston. shirts at a running store in town, and they drew a lot of attention our way. I was expecting to see a lot more Boston related shirts, but it was really a small handful, but they weren’t as brightly obnoxious. After the events at the Boston Marathon, running this race meant even more to me. I ran for the victims – those that died, but also all of the amputees – and for the runners that didn’t get to finish their race. Every time I wanted to slow down, that was my fire to keep going.
Sara caught me being goofy waiting for the race to start, trying to warm up (it was only about 30 degrees at the start) and burn off some nervous energy. This was right around the time I was dancing to “Yeah!” by Usher. I think I have a few more dance skills than Kevin James in Hitch, but probably not much. We had time before the race started, so I did my best to have fun with it!
They started the morning with a special ceremony to honor a woman who had been at the Boston Marathon, but was in the mass of people stopped half a mile before the finish line. She ran her half last mile at Lansing, which was the race where she earned her Boston Qualifying time. It was an incredibly special moment to experience. The announcer said that Lansing was the first US marathon since Boston, which made the whole day even more meaningful. I’ll be honest, the race itself? Kind of a blur.
My big fear was starting out too early and crashing later on in the race. Every time I checked my pace in the first couple miles, it was somewhere in the 9 minute/mile range. I tried to slow down, but kept speeding back up, so I ultimately decided to just go with it. My legs were feeling good, and if I paid for the fast start later, well, I’d deal with it then. There was a minor freaking out moment when my knee started to twitch around mile four, just like it did in Chicago. Thankfully, it passed, because I’m pretty sure I would have thrown in the towel this time. I hit the 10k mark at exactly 1:03 and was smiling from ear to ear for about the next mile. In fact, from that point on, as I kept an eye on my pace, there were a lot of smiles.
I was definitely tired in the last 5k, but I don’t think that would have been any different if I had been going slower at the beginning. I’ve been running without music quite a bit lately, but I ran with my headphones going the entire time, and I think that helped my spirits and energy quite a bit. I planned to pause the music once I found my groove a couple miles in, but it was working for me today, so I let it go on.
I really wanted to run as much of this race as I could. I walked through each water station and when I took a Gu around mile 10 (I was coordinated enough to run and Gu at mile 5). I had to stop during mile 11 because I don’t know how it happened, but my phone started calling people! I tried to take care of it and run at the same time, but it was so tucked away that it was easier to just stop. Beyond that, I ran the whole thing – that in itself is a huge accomplishment!
Mile 1: 10:03
Mile 2: 9:56
Mile 3: 10:15
Mile 4: 10:04
Mile 5: 10:11
Mile 6: 10:31
Mile 7: 10:16
Mile 8: 10:01
Mile 9: 10:27
Mile 10: 10:23
Mile 11: 11:13
Mile 12: 11:12
Mile 13: 10:29
Mile .26: 2:41
My chip time was 2:17:40 (average pace of 10:30) – a PR of THIRTEEN minutes! I knew that barring an injury, much like last year’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago Half, a PR was extremely doable. Like any race, goal number one was to finish with a smile on my face. A tired smile, sure, but a smile nonetheless. Baseline beyond that, was PR. My realistic goal was 2:25, and my dream goal was 2:20. So, to beat my dream goal for this race was something I could not be prouder of. There were tears of joy and pride at the finish line.
All in all, I was pretty impressed with this race, especially considering it was only their second year. There were an awesome number of water stations (it felt like pretty close to one every mile!) and amazing crowd support! They had to re-route the course due to flooding on the original path, but the course I did was great. Relatively flat, which I know helped with my PR. The marathon was a second loop of the half marathon course, so I don’t know that I would do the full here, but I would do this half again. The one negative part of the race was that they ran out of medals, so some of the finishers – like my roommate – didn’t walk away with one. They’re going to order more and send them out, but that’s just not the same.
This afternoon, I went to my dad’s retirement party and impressed my family by demolishing a very large plate of cake. I was a bit sick from all the sugar when all was said and done, but if there’s ever a day to eat two massive pieces of cake, this was it.
All in all? A day I’m extremely proud of!! While I am absolutely relishing the glow of a big, fat PR, I am admittedly excited for some day down the road when I can do a race recap talking about how I crushed this PR. But for today, I celebrate.