Half marathon number 4: The Stonebridge Half Marathon...and I wanted the first number to start with a "1" so badly.
I ran Austin last week with a 5-min PR of 2:05:41. I later found out I ran it with bronchitis. I knew I could do better. So today, Feb. 21, 2010, was my chance. I knew going into this that a 6-minute PR would be hard, but doable. My training pace had been around 9:20 min/mile. With the right course and conditions, I could do it.
The course was good. A few hills, but certainly NOTHING compared to Austin last week. A decent hill at mile 4 and a few others, but really nothing that I haven't trained on.
The conditions were not good. Right off the bat, I twisted my ankle on this stupid stamped concrete that looks like cobble stone. It started raining at mile 4 a little. At first it was nice, cooled me down. Just a light drizzle. Then the downpour hit! And I mean Texas sized gully washer! Certainly this can't last long. They never do in Texas....except today.
My pace had been dead on until...
Mile 8: Lightening. Thunder. Questioning my sanity. But what am I going to do? Can't go back. Not anywhere near the finish line. I'm soaking wet. My shoes must weigh 5 pounds each. I have a river going in between my toes. Only thing to do is press on.
Mile 10: Hail. Ok, this hurts. I turn to the guy next to me, "This is by far the stupidest thing I have ever done." He told me that he's 1 mile from his house. I nearly invited myself to a stranger's house. Well, only 3 more miles. That's a 5K. I'm slower, but I think I can PR this beast.
Finish line: Guess what, the rain lets up with .25 miles to go. Just my luck. But if I kick it up, I'm going to see that first number be a "1".
1:59:49 - I did it! I broke the 2-hour mark. Damn, this feels good. REALLY, REALLY good! I seriously never thought I would see this at my 4th half marathon.
I started reflecting on how far I've come:
Nov. 7, 2009 - First half marathon 2:11:46
Dec. 13, 2009 - Second half marathon 2:09:41
Feb. 14, 2010 - Third half marathon 2:05:41
Feb. 21, 2010 - Fourth half marathon 1:59:49
I'm starting to wonder if adversity and a challenge is what drives me to perform. God forbid I have nice weather for RnR Dallas on March 14.
Of course, my running partner Bojana ran this with me. And we agreed, we're either hard core or crazy. Or a little both.
I also had the chance to Tweet up @asianstyleguy and @libbyruns at the race. And big special thanks to @AprilBRuns for her volunteer work at mile 4!
This is a small race, a little under 200 people. But the PlayTri group is fantastically organized. Always enough water and volunteers on the course. And God bless those volunteers who also had to brave the weather.
The course takes you through the neighborhoods of Stonebridge Ranch. Nice houses and a little canal to by (although I swear I ran through it). It was a nice change of running through city streets.
Not a lot of bells and whistles, got a nice medal and a long-sleeved shirt. The race was priced right at $60 (got a $5 discount through my running group, so $55 for me).