Saturday, October 2, 2010

Jacksonville Marine Corps Half Marathon


I trust everyone is having a fabulous weekend so far, mine has been really great!

Today I did my anniversary race and 2nd half marathon, I walked away with close to a 16 minute PR and feeling re-energized and ready to tackle my marathon in 3 weeks.

Jacksonville Marine Corps Half Marathon 184

So after my minor injury flare up this week, I took 3 days off going into this race, I was nervous on my way to the race this morning after a nightmare about missing my goal time and having my injury flare up. I got in an almost 2 mile warm-up, I wanted to be able to start warm at my goal pace and gauge how my leg was before the start. I FLEW through my warm-up, several minutes of it were well under a 9 minute pace, I kept having to back it off more and more as to not expend too much energy, but it was obvious my legs were fresh and ready to run.

I made the decision as I was waiting for the gun that I felt good enough, and was so rested that with the perfect weather 71*, overcast and breezy, I was going for my A Goal of a sub-2:00.

After the gun I was able to get up to speed pretty easily, and fell naturally into a 9:20 pace which was my plan for the first few miles. The 2 bridges in this race fell within the first 3 miles (I thought just the first 2 miles). Each bridge (both up and end down) each ended up falling within their own mile which made my splits look fine since the huge speediness on the downhills majorly negated the slow paces from the uphills.

Jacksonville Marine Corps Half Marathon 065   

Mile 1-  9:15

Mile 2-  9:04

Mile 3-  9:09

Jacksonville Marine Corps Half Marathon 066

The first bridge was shorter and much easier, I felt fine and my pace never dropped below my 9:20, the second bridge as I already knew was a bitch! It was long, steep and never-ending, my pace suffered significantly, but the downhill was just as intense as going up so I was able to get through it in great time.

Jacksonville Marine Corps Half Marathon 067

After coming off the bridges I fell into a pace range of 8:55-9:05 and it seemed so natural, I never really had to pick it up or slow it down, it just kind of was on its own which was a great feeling to know that I was ready for that pace without barely running it at all. We ran through some beautiful neighborhoods along the river which kept the temps nice and the breeze steady, it started at 71* and was only 73* by the time I finished, I am hoping these temps are around to stay. The middle miles flew by so quickly, and before I knew it, I was at mile 9.

Jacksonville Marine Corps Half Marathon 069

Mile 4-  8:55

Mile 5-  9:03

Mile 6-  9:03

Mile 7-  8:58

Mile 8-  9:06

Mile 9-  8:54

Jacksonville Marine Corps Half Marathon 167        

The water stations were using plastic cups today instead of paper, it made it impossible to make the cup into a v to drink while running, and I spilled on myself many times. The last couple water stations I was barely jogging through to try to get the water in, but never once did I stop to walk. My biggest fear of walking is that I will not be able to get moving again because my legs will be so heavy and I will never get back up to the pace I had been at before I stopped, but today I never felt the need to walk, I never felt out of breath until the very end and I felt like I had found the right pace and was just chugging along.

Jacksonville Marine Corps Half Marathon 173

Right as we came up to mile 11 there was a big ramp that I was unaware of that was tough, I held my own, and used the spiral ramp going down to make up some lost ground.

Mile 10-  9:06

Mile 11-  9:00

Jacksonville Marine Corps Half Marathon 168

The last mile and half were when it started to get a little tough, I was getting tired, and probably should have taken more gu instead of just Gatorade near mile 10, but too late now. I knew I needed to get in a sub 8:45 last mile to make sure I felt safe, and what had been so easy up until that point, suddenly felt so hard. At mile 12 we turned the corner onto the final mile stretch, this part was identical to the last mile of the 5k course I did last year, I remember the stretch being so hard last year too, but I was in a whole new place, and 1 last water stop later I caught a 2nd wind with about .7 miles to go. I was able to keep my pace down for the rest of the race and as I saw John I tried to tell him that I was going to make it, but it just came out as another picture with me and my mouth open :)

Jacksonville Marine Corps Half Marathon 170

Jacksonville Marine Corps Half Marathon 174

Mile 12-  9:11 (up-ramp)

Mile 13-  8:35

Mile 13-13.16-  1:18 (8:04 pace)

Jacksonville Marine Corps Half Marathon 176

I finally got my sub-2:00 that I have waited/worked so long for,

13.1 Miles-  1:58:43, 9:04 pace!

Jacksonville Marine Corps Half Marathon 181     

John and I hung around the post race festivities for a bit, but with the breeze and being so sweaty I was getting chilly. We did have some fun in the parking lot though taking ridiculous pictures.

Jacksonville Marine Corps Half Marathon 207

Jacksonville Marine Corps Half Marathon 209

Jacksonville Marine Corps Half Marathon 211

I was SO happy with my time, and the fact that I didn’t feel bad or in pain at all through this race. I probably could have pushed a little harder, but I felt so even keeled and consistent and it leaves me super pumped and ready for my marathon. While I certainly don’t think I am quite at the point of doubling what I did today at the same pace, I think 20-30 seconds/mile slower is totally attainable, especially under the same conditions! Another successful race down, and another on deck- 3 weeks!!! 


  1. omg you are SO ready for the marathon. BEAST! congrats on such a huge pr! i love the pictures. you look so amazing and like your having a total blast :)

  2. How exciting!! You ran a great race today! You're in great shape! Recover this week!!! Recover a lot. Only three more weeks!

  3. Congratulations!!!!! Isn't that the best feeling?! Great race and awesome pictures! I wish I could look that good running!

  4. Wow Stephanie, Congratulations!!

    All those mornings getting up at (what crazy hour is it??) 3:30? 4? They paid off! What an amazing PR and on top of that, you look amazing. Seriously! My goal is to look that great in a tank and shorts! You look hot!

    I loved the pics in this post.. I can see you are having a great run!