Race Recap — Ft. Bliss Half Marathon

Running in Texas ain’t so bad, folks. Aaron and I ran the Ft. Bliss Half Marathon (13.1 miles). I was going into it pretty undertrained… I ran 8.6 miles on December 13, 11 on Sunday, and other than a few 3-5 mile runs I really wasn’t racking up much mileage. I’ve been spinning two times per week which has been amazing! Anyway.

My goal was 2:30, which was an 11:27 mile. Not gonna lie, I was giving myself a lot of wiggle room so I wouldn’t be disappointed. I was looking at it more as just a Saturday morning long run. It’s hard to get all amped up about 13.1 when you’ve done 26.2. Just sayin’.

It was COLD this morning. Well, cold by Texas standards. It was about 24* when we woke up at 6 AM and wasn’t supposed to feel much warmer than 40* by 10:00, when the race would be well underway. I wore leggings (I need new running tights!), shorts over those, a t-shirt and a long sleeve tech shirt over that. I had my cute gray running gloves Aaron got me and my earband. That was all quite enough, as once the Texas sun comes up, it gets warm.

The gun went off. Aaron was next to me for about 2.4 seconds and I didn’t see him again until I was 1/10 mile away from the finish line. He must have been blazing because I couldn’t make him out of the crowd.

I started off slow, around a 11:15-11:30 mile. People were zooming past me, of course, and while there was a 5K in progress at the same time, most of them were the half marathoners. I knew that if I held steady for the first few miles, I’d pass them towards the end.

Miles 1-3 of a long run I consider a warm-up. I get settled in my pace, focus on my form and breathing, and just relax. I walked the water stops too. By mile 5, when we were running past Aaron’s company building, I knew I was going to do well. I felt strong and was keeping about a 10:45 pace.

Mile 7 is when my feet started to HURT. I don’t what I did Sunday on the mountain run, but the bottoms and outsides of my feet were hurting all week, but felt better when I had more support. But, I decided to push through it and by the time I knew it I was to mile 9. Four more miles. That’s nothin’, right?! I was doing a 10:15-10:30 pace by this point and KNEW I had this race in the bag. I started passing a lot of the people that blew past me. I was so proud of myself for holding a steady and decently fast pace (for me).

Mile 10 I started telling myself, “Okay, Elizabeth, bring it in, bring it in!” At this point my goal had now shifted to 2:20. At the 12-mile mark, I had exactly 10 minutes to hit my goal.

I saw Aaron 1/10 mile before the finish line, high-fived him and raced to the end. I don’t have official times yet, but my Garmin reads 2:19:07, or a 10:36 pace. Heck yeah! Not too shabby! And technically a PR. 😉

Aaron told me he finished in about 1:50. Whoa. A sub-2??? Amazing. Downright amazing. And that was his longest distance ever and first half marathon!

This race was sponsored by Under Armour, who just opened a store on post near the PX. The first 200 registrants got a shirt and we all got finisher’s medals. (I do have to say, however, that there was no sizing chart. Also, running apparel should also be in tall sizes because this shirt is too short. Annoying.)

the goods

When results are posted, it’ll be interesting to see if I was even close to placing. I know I ran faster than some who  places in other age groups because they were handing out the cards as I crossed the line and asked me my age. A girl can dream….

I like the on-post races. They’re cheap (this one was only $35 for me; many halfs are $50+) and they have a hometown feel. Many of the runners know each other either from the military or other running groups from the community that participate. The course is only crowded for the first half mile or so, and after that you pretty much have the road tank trail to yourself.

I also decided that I really like the 13.1 distance. This was my first race for that distance, though I’ve run 13.1 before when training for the marathon (I finished that in 2:15, so not too far off!). It’s considered a long distance, but you don’t have to sacrifice hours and hours per week to train. I’d like to stay at a fitness level where I can run a half without much extra training.

I’m going to take off the recommended 13 days (one day for every mile you race) of hard running and do spin, yoga, and other cardio workouts. I still haven’t registered for that marathon that’s over my birthday weekend in New Mexico, but my success on this race was confirmation to me that I can still race long distance and I’m at about the same fitness level as when I ran the Illinois marathon.

My next step is to get a hold of these beauts. I tried them on at the PX and they felt great. The definitely relieved the pain I’ve been feeling this week. Time to retire the Brooks. 😦

new balance minimus

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