Today I finally ran the Frederick Running Festival half-marathon!
The weather was beautiful and sunny but not too hot. The race started at 7:00am. I started out with the 2:10:00 pace group. This worked out so, so well! The three women pacing the group hit the mile-markers within about 20 sec of their goal times each time. I don't know how they did it so well. They kept me from going out too fast, so I didn't get tired out too fast. The women also chatted a bit and cheered and did a lot to provide some mental distraction. In addition, I chatted with another woman in our group for the first 4 - 5 miles, until I think she had to stop for a bathroom break. Too bad I don't remember her number to know how she ended up doing.
I stuck with the pace group until we hit the mile 9 marker. I was feeling pretty good at that point and decided that it was time to move up, if I could. It still amazes me to think that after running 9 miles I can say "I felt pretty good and wanted to go faster". A year ago I had just started running!
So, I pulled away from the 2:10:00 group. I figured that if I got tired and had to fall back, I could join back up with them. But I didn't need to. I managed to keep going a little faster and a little faster. However, the killer was after 12.5 miles, when the course goes uphill back to the Frederick fairgrounds. Ouch. I'm not sure if I even maintained my pace at that point, but I did manage to keep going. No walking except to drink the water!
I am very happy with how I finished. My time was 2:07:16 - I crushed my original 2:15:00 goal, and even did well compared to the 2:10:00 group! I finished 1809 out of 4109 runners. In my 40-44 women's age group, I was 122 out of 377. I am happy to have finished in the top half. Not bad for my first one!
I am hoping to do the Montgomery Parks Half-Marathon in September. I will have to see if I can get under 2:00:00 in that one. A good goal to work for!