I usually like to have things planned out in advance. I'm one of those people who needs an actual planner so I can see the whole month layer out in front of me. I can't just rely on a smartphone - I need to see the details written in the little boxes for the month. Same goes for races. I like to be registered for them in advance, and have everything planned out. However, it seems to me when I do things on a whim with racing it all works out, and I PR.
Medal from my PR half marathon - DeLeon Springs 1/2

The only race before today that I didn't plan out in advance was the YMCA Corporate 5k. I wasn't sure what my work schedule was going to be so I didn't pre-register. I wound up being off, or getting off early (I can't remember which), so I decided to run that race. I registered last minute, on site. I was part of team insanemarathon.com . It was a rainy race, but it was there that I set my current 5k PR.

During this past week I notice that there was a race on the other side of the state taking place on Sunday. I hadn't done a half in a while. Well, almost a month, which seems like a while after you do 4 on back to back weekends. I needed a fix. The DeLeon Springs half marathon was supposedly a small, flat race. It was cheap too. Only $35 dollars to sign up at this point, if I didn't get a shirt. And the shirts are usually too big on me, so that was fine. This sounded like a great opportunity for me, but I had a problem. I worked a 10 hours shift Sat, from 10-8. How would I get my carbs in? Would I be tired? Should I drive there after and get a hotel? Go in the morning? I contemplated for a while.

The decision was made to wake up and drive across the state in the wee hours of the morning. I had to get up at 3:30am to get ready and hit the road. Got to the race site at 7, and registered. Then sat in the car and rested until start.

I lined up at the start a bit back from the start line. I don't usually like staying at the front because everyone up there is so fast, and it makes me start out with a pace that's too fast. Then I get winded quickly and it messes me up for the rest of the race. My overall goal for the year is set at 2:20 for the half. My current PR at this point was 2:26:56. I was aiming for a 2:25. beat the old PR, but not too much pressure on myself to have to take THAT much time off of my PR.

Unfortunately there was no line to actually cross at the start, they were using gun time. I would have stayed up front if I would have known that. And off I went. My legs felt a bit heavy for the first few miles and my calves were cramping a bit. I stayed hopeful, because that also happened at the women's half, and I was able to run through it. Somewhere during mile 2 I decided it was too hot and had to take off my top layer. Somehow during this costume change I dropped my shirt and knocked my sparkly headband from Vegas off of my head. These were nowhere to be found later. I also had to fix my iPod. So there was some walking in the beginning of the race. I thought my time was getting damaged, but when I looked at my watch I was at 3.1 with a time of 29:57. Sub 30! I can't really say I met my goal for 5k, because I wasn't doing an actual 5k, but now I know I can.

I was going pretty fast for the first half of the race. Mile 1 was at 9:14, mile 2: 10:14, mile 3: 9:40, mile 4: 10:30, mile 5: 10:37, mile 6: 10:27, mile 7: 10:28. All 7 miles under an 11 min/mile pace. I knew I needed to maintain an 11:04 for a 2:25 half, and a 10:40 for 2:20. Could I meet my goal?

Then I started losing some energy. It started getting hot. During the way back, the sun was shining brightly in my face. My times started to go up. I was slowing down. The pace went to around 11:30. Still ok, and I thought I might still have a change to get close 10 2:20, because my earlier miles were faster than planned. I was going to try. And then the insides of my legs started hurting. I was chaffing! I had never had this problem before, so I never used anything like body glide. Now I'll be investing in some of that.

Running the race
At the finish

I started to approach the finish line and I could see the clock. I gave it whatever I had left. Clock time, and official time - 2:23:12. I beat my previous PR by 3 minutes, 43 seconds. I was a little disappointed that it wasn't truly chip timed, because my watch had me at 2:22:06. Took me over a minute to cross the start! Either way, I still PR'ed! And I'm proud. That's 23 minutes less than my first ever half, and that was less than one year ago.

I'm so close to meeting my half marathon goal, and I would have PRed in a 5k. This first race of the year has really gotten me pumped up and excited to see what else is in store for me.