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The Best (and Slowest) Half Marathon Ever: Tybee Half Marathon

Last year’s Tybee Race was the fastest half marathon I’ve run, finishing just under 2 hours and 25 minutes. (Slow by some accounts… but fast for me.)

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I felt that I was in better shape this year  (weighing less, nutrition-wise, etc.), though I didn’t quite have the miles in my legs that I had last year. (My longest run in recent history was a half mary in November…but since then, only 7 or 8).

Also, last year’s race was pre-broken foot of 2012.  It was pre-sprained (other) foot.  Pre-cracked up toe.  And pre-foot sprain, round 2. [Holy cow, I am a footed mess.  If I only had hooves.]  And I can’t forget the down time from the broken rib(s) in December. (Extra note: when I went back to the doctor a few weeks ago, they confirmed that I actually had suffered TWO broken ribs. Ha. Who knew?)  Good grief… can I reiterate how happy I am that 2012 is over?

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I have finished three stand-alone half marathons (not counting the two in the 70.3 races)—and this past weekend boasted the slowest of the three. —–But it was also the BEST race to date.

Wha?

For starters, take the race photos.  Here is Photo #1 from last year.  Yes, I was a little heavier last year, but not much.

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Tybee 2012

And here is the same angle/location photo, taken this year.

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Tybee 2013

I can see a difference in my body composition. Well, mostly just the size of my giant noggin—it has shrunk at least seven sizes. (Likely due to the brain leakage from having children.) BONUS!

Also, my body position is better.  Though it still slightly resembles chicken wing-itis.

I had the same race number as last year.  That’s some sort of statistical freak show.  What are the odds of that?

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The most notable thing about this race was how I felt the entire run.

For 12 miles, I felt in control, well-paced, and that I held reasonably solid running form. At Mile 12, I fell apart. Cramping, swearing and the whole thing…but for 12 miles, I really felt quite good.

Part of this was, perhaps, thinking about my Ironman—five months away.  I wanted to maintain a pace like an IM pace, and for almost twelve miles, I thought, “This is good. I can do a marathon at this pace.” Okay, so that wasn’t true and Mile 12 told me differently, but I ran… smarter, I guess.

Of course, a great part was running with my long-time friend, W (who finished her first half ever! Go girl.)

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Another positive about this race?  Despite a slower finish time… I ran a negative split (faster second half of the race)—and despite falling apart the last 1.1 miles. I paced about 12:15-12:30 the first 6 miles, then 11:15-11:45 the next 6… then who knows the last mile… 18:00?? Lawdy.

I lost about 5 minutes going to the Porta-Potty, waiting in line. But again, it was better than last year where I lost control of my potty…..well, that’s another story. I lost another 2 minutes fiddling with taking my jacket off, then putting it back on.  So, I lost 7 minutes.  That still wouldn’t have saved my overall time – which was almost 17  minutes slower than last year.

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This run made me realize that growth is not always about speed.  I am learning this in strange ways, really… But I was happy with this race because it was proof of growth.  For example, because I have been working on my running form, I had virtually no soreness the next night (morning was a little tough). Ice bath helped, too.

[Hey – look there’s my kankles… #Boogerface.]

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I ran 5 miles today with no soreness… usually 13.1 would knock me down for a solid week.  I have been religious about my core work, which helped me maintain a better form on the run as well.  Finally, my heart race was in a good Zone 2…meaning I am developing a good, solid base.

Truth. I just felt better this race.

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One funny story:  I was in a pace with a group of three Galloway-ers.  Now, I have spoken highly of Galloway Method – and really, running this way has been a lifesaver for me – but on this day, I was being driven insane by the very method I use for long runs.  Let me explain.

Pre-race, I decided that because the aide stations were every two miles, that I would Galloway at the aide stations–run until the water stop, then walk through the water stop for one minutes, and then power on. That’s a little further than I usually do (my long run method is usually run 1 mile, walk 1 minute; but I see that changing now…).  Anyway, this group of Galloway-ers (who I nicknamed the “Brothers Galloway”) and I met around Mile 9.  They were using what appeared to be a Run 30 seconds / Walk 1 minute method.  And everytime I would run past them, they would catch up to me, go around me (they were running fast), and then proceed to block the running path…whereby I would catch them, dodge around, and then we would repeat.

After about 2 miles of this, I started to lose my marbles. Which actually, come to think of it, might explain my last 1.1 mile being so terrible…anyway, I digress.

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Over-striding a little here. I have a disease where if I see a camera, I run super fast, like the photo is going to convey that effort. #dingbat

Around Mile 11.5, I couldn’t take it anymore.  I ran a little faster.  So when it was time for the Brothers Galloway to run, they did zoom past me again—but not as far past.  Oh, so close.  Still, I couldn’t take it. When they caught up to me on the next time, Eminem came on my iPhone and I sprinted for a solid 1/4 mile.  I ran at a 9:40 pace until I was heaving, then I slowed down to my race pace.

I glanced behind me, and I was safe.

I was also blown.  Okay, so I didn’t run this race smarter.  I was stupid–but just for a little while!!  By Mile 12 with my 1/4 long sprint… I had turned to jello.  I amend my prior writing to say that I ran smart for 12 miles. It was a lie. I ran smart for 11.75 miles.

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“Someday my PR will come” – Love my #MotherRunner Shirt!

Still, I love to run.

I love all of triathlon—swimming, biking and running.  Hell, I even love to plank. The pain, the joy, the suffering, the feeling that I can’t possibly put another foot in front of me… and finding somewhere inside… another 1000, 2000, or more steps.  I wouldn’t trade any race experience for the world, because with every finish line—I learn more about myself, I grow stronger.

Coach Monster told me this morning, “Finishing an Ironman is not the hard part.  The hard part is getting to the Starting Line.”

I believe him.  Because with every workout, every race between now and Coeur d’Alene, I am working towards becoming a better version of myself… Iron kankles and all.

Race day is just the celebration.

Official Time: 2:42:57, 12:26 avg. pace.

#BringIt2013 #NoBoogerFaces #IMCDA #JustKeepMovingForward

 

20 Comments

  • Kelly

    February 6, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    Im racing my first half marathon next weekend and this post just gave me the push I need to get to the start line. Im scared half to death and was actually thinking about backing out. Im so glad I found you! lol!

    Reply
  • AliKane

    February 6, 2013 at 4:16 pm

    Haven’t you ever noticed how water (ice baths included) creates a distorted illusion, kinda like those goofy mirrors in the Fun House at the amusement park? Those aren’t Kankles my friend, those are IMankles and those will carry to the Finish Line!

    Reply
  • Karen

    February 6, 2013 at 4:19 pm

    Funny about the Galloway brothers. I have gotten caught up for miles with them at times and it drives me bonkers. (Of course maybe I am driving them bonkers for the same reason). The constant passing and then being passed. UGH! Totally agree with Coach M. Training for an IM is much more difficult than the IM itself. Once you get to the start, that is like the celebration!

    Reply
  • Kim Possible

    February 6, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    I reallllly wish part of Galloway training was consideration. I hit the same thing last year at the Donna run in Jax. A large group maybe 15, “running” passing me….”walking” just in front of me,for a good mile,, and yes creating a massive wall of walking Galloways!!! Finally another lady and I just said it, ” Move to the side and stop blocking!” I get a bit of road rage now when I see the Galloway groups.

    Reply
  • Karen

    February 6, 2013 at 4:36 pm

    It’s been a tough day but I LOVED reading this. I’m borrowing your positivity, can you send some over the pond to the UK? I’ll pay it forward in a few days or so 😉

    Reply
  • Brenda Englehart

    February 6, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    Love your posts, sounded like a great race, I think feeling good about a race is much better than having a faster time can’t wait to read about the ironman.

    Reply
  • Matthew Roach

    February 6, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    I kind of used that method for my 50K. I was doing 25 min run/5 min walk so it wasn’t as frequent passings as you had. I finally decided to just run the last 6 with her and talk because it was annoying me to play the cat/mouse game (I can’t imagine what it was like for her).

    Reply
  • Shelly

    February 6, 2013 at 5:32 pm

    CONGRATS on your race!!!! I too have been taunted by some “Galloway Brothers”!!! I personally call them chicken runners…. as they remind me of a chicken strutting around the yard…. fast…. then slow… then fast…. and while I know and understand this method, it is like fingernails on a chalkboard to me when I am running!!! I had some guy run like that with me for the last 3 miles of a half a few years back and I finally yell “COMMIT WOULD YA!!!! Either run OR walk…. but COMMIT!!!!” He gave me the stink eye and took off like a streak of lightening….. crossing the finish line about 30 seconds before me…. and I over heard him telling his wife that he had just PR’ed!!!! 🙂

    Reply
  • Danielle

    February 6, 2013 at 9:34 pm

    Hi Meredith,
    I LOVE LOVE LOVE your blog and am inspired every time I read a post. I hope you don’t mind, but I wanted to mention that “run 1 mile, walk 1 minute” is not actually the Galloway method…it’s sort of a modification of the Galloway method. There is a lot of information on his website / books about choosing the appropriate intervals for your speed, but the 1 mile/ 1 min isn’t one. Don’t get me wrong, I am really glad you’ve found something that works for you, just thought it may be confusing to some to hear it referred to as this.
    Love reading about your adventures and am totally contemplating the half and full iron distances because of you!
    Danielle

    Reply
  • Txcristen

    February 7, 2013 at 12:36 am

    I have my 4th half marathon in less than 2 weeks, on the 17th but this will be my first to have trained for with an honest running plan set up by a coach. Not expecting a PR, because this half is a hilly-nilly throughout downtown Austin, but I hope to FEEL better by the end. Thanks for the inspiration!

    Reply
  • Sarah F

    February 7, 2013 at 10:42 am

    I love this. I couldn’t agree more. Getting to an Ironman is about the journey. It’s the journey of becoming who you are. Congrats on feeling strong and may each and every race feel stronger!

    Reply
  • Erin

    February 8, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    Coach Monster is right – IM day is a celebration of everything you have accomplished, leading up to the race day.

    Great progress on your running. Its a super good sign that you weren’t sore the next day. 🙂

    Reply

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