After acknowledging my poor training, I had very little goals for this race. I wanted to run as much of it as I could and finish while still standing. The course itself was hilly, so I knew I may have some slower than normal miles. The only thing I was looking forward to was the perfect race conditions that were forecasted.
The race start was scheduled for 7:30 am. I arrive a little before 7 am. The temperature was in the mid 30s. Since it was a little chilly, I stayed in my car for a few minutes and mentally prepared. Then I got out and went for a half mile warm-up jog and stretch. I finally got around to finding the start line around 7:20. I ran with my phone in my FlipBelt, so I was able to see a couple of last minute "good luck" messages.
The Stonebridge half was a small race. 200 runners finished the half. We waited at the start line for about 5 extra minutes before the race was off. The first 2 miles were uphill. I knew this going in and focused on not letting it get to my head. I knew it was okay to take the first few miles slower and speed it up later.
After the first big hill, I was warming up. My fingers were no longer frozen. I was able to keep my pace around 9:40 which was my goal for the Dallas half when I was at peak training. Around the halfway point, there was another uphill. I took my time and walked a while taking in a Shot Blok and reset my iPod which was repeating songs I already heard (frustrating). I muscled my way through that long hill. I took another quick walk break right after passing the mile 9 sign. I was running basically alone at this point as the pack had spread out.
After that last break, I decided it was time to finish strong. I started picking up my pace slowly. I caught up to some people in front of me and focused on passing them one at a time. All the runners were really nice as I passed and we cheered each other on that we were almost done. My feet were aching, but I was feeling strong.
For the last quarter mile, the finish line was in sight. You could see it in my smile. I was ready to be done, but also excited because when I looked at my watch, I was within PR time. The temperature had climbed close to 50 so I was burning up. I spotted my mom right in front of the finish line waiting for me, which helped me finish strong.
My dad caught this perfect finish line shot with the race clock in the background reading 2:09, 2 minutes faster than my previous PR. I was shocked at my performance that day. I'm feeling confident with proper training, I will be able to get that sub-2:00 half this year. I was also so thankful that my parents came out to support my running. It means so much to me, even though they tell me I am crazy half the time.
I got home and checked out my race splits on my Garmin. I'm happy to announce that only 3 of the 13.1 miles took more than 10 minutes. I can't believe the improvements I've seen in my running over the past 2 years.
Overall, the Stonebridge Ranch Half Marathon was a great race for me. It reminded me why I love running. I personally like the small, local races, so I give this race a thumbs up. Now, I turn my focus to the Zooma half that I signed up for in April. Can't wait!