I got to break the tape at the finish line, and I lead almost the entire race. It was an amazing experience!
I can not tell you my splits because I ran without my Garmin, however I am confident that my first three miles (downhill) and the last three miles (I was feeling awesome!) were the fastest.
I knew that it was possible for me to win, but the race had more people this year (still a small race though) and you never know who will show up on race day. Before the race I told Josh and our friends that if I was in a position to win, I would prefer to have people to "catch" and pass over the last few miles instead of leading and wondering who was coming up behind me. Then I ended up leading (out of the girls) almost the entire way.
A few women ahead of me took off very fast at the beginning and I ignored what they did and made sure I ran my own race. Without my Garmin to check my pace I had to go by feel, and I just continually tried to maintain a pace that felt like I was running fast and pushing myself, but doing so at a pace I could maintain for 13.1 miles.
By the end of the first 2-3 miles I was the lead female. I stayed that way until I had to jump into a portapotty at the 8.5 mile aid station. When I came out (and had lost just over a minute), one girl was up ahead of me and another was hot on my heels. I did not panic, but found my groove and pace again and knew that I would catch the girl ahead of me pretty quickly. I did, and I built a good lead back up. I never did look behind me, but the second and third place girls were just under two minutes behind me.
When I turned into the final stretch and saw them raise the tape up for me to run through it was pretty amazing. I was all smiles then, but I get teary-eyed thinking about it now. I know my time wasn't super impressive and it was just a small half-marathon, but it was still an incredible experience.
Just as wonderful as winning was, was how good I felt the whole time. I felt strong and fast and confident. I really, really enjoyed it. I think I smiled most of the last three miles, especially every time someone yelled at me that I was the first female.
I knew people (friends and neighbors) all along the course, had someone recognize me from the Runner's World article, re-met someone I had met in the airport on the way home from the Boston Marathon, and had someone drive by and yell out her car window that she reads my blog (hi!).
I crossed the finish line, got my medal and some congrats, and then turned to look at the finish chute, and who was coming in? MY SHANE! The kid is 12 years old, and ran a 1:33:00 half marathon. Unbelievable! We ran together for the first almost six miles and then he fell behind. We met back up after my pit stop and then he fell behind again, but still finished less than a minute behind me. I am amazed and insanely proud!
Josh ran a strong race and finished in 1:45, and our Ryan (14) ran a 2:00 for his first half marathon. It definitely was a good racing day for the Henderson's.
I got a sweet handmade, wooden plaque and $100!
|Back at home with my prizes, Before a shower! :)|
|With my Shane|
|With two friends, and my Ryan photo bombing us! :)|
The newspaper is going to email me the pics of me crossing the finish line and I will post them when I get them, but here is a link to an article they posted today and there is a fun slideshow of pics from today (I am near the end).
More soon! I am off to use my "winnings" to take the kids to see Ice Age. :)