Over the past few months, I’ve shared bits and pieces of my training for Rock the Parkway, a rather large, springtime Kansas City half-marathon. After my last half-marathon in October, I’d struggled with some disheartening ITBS issues, but after much research and consultation with friends, personal trainers, a physical therapist, and fellow runners, I began taking many preventative measures to keep that pain at bay.
This being said, I went into Rock the Parkway without any big goals in mind. I was pleased with my PR of 2:02:02 in October, and didn’t want to push too hard this time and end up injured again. I was pleased with how my training had gone. During training, I had encountered a few obstacles: a week of insanely strong winds, a couple of busy weekends, a trip to Florida for Spring Break, and a nasty head cold. However, I managed to stay flexible and fit in my weekly long runs, even doing one 10-miler on a 90-degree evening (in April!). As I explained to my Fan Club (a.k.a. my parents) on the way to the race, I would be happy with any time under 2:10, and would work toward my goal of breaking the 2-hour mark later in the year.
At 7:30am, the race began, and I fired up my audiobook (The Sixes by Kate White), hit “Start” on my MapMyRun app, and took off running. Now, I have a general strategy for races that I always use. I break the race into three segments: 5 miles, 5 miles, and 3 miles. The first five miles, I run slow and steady. The second five, I pick a strong pace that I can keep up with. The last three, I kick it into high gear. Although I intended to use this strategy again, I ended up starting a little bit in front of the 1:55 pace group. Surrounded by all these faster runners, my “slow and steady” pace wasn’t necessarily so slow this time.
By the time I finished the first leg of my journey, I was already averaging a 9:12 mile, which was 6 seconds faster than my overall average in my last half-marathon.
You should probably take it down a notch, I told myself. But I kept on running.
You can’t keep this up the rest of the way! I fretted. But I kept on running.
Really, pull it back, Katie. But my next mile clocked 9:02.
At the end of my second leg (10 miles), I was definitely feeling it. But then the voice in my head (well, the lady from MapMyRun), said, Time… 1:30:29… Distance… 10.0 miles…
What?!? I thought excitedly. It was at this pace that I realized I might actually be doing this. I might actually break the two-hour mark on this race. All I had to do was finish this last 5K in under 30 minutes, something I do on a regular basis.
That realization gave me the nudge I needed to push through those last 3.1 miles.
When I crossed the finish line, I saw the big clock that read 1:57:something. I knew that I’d done it! Not only had I completed Rock the Parkway, but I had Rocked the Parkway!!