I signed up for the Capital City Half Marathon the week following my 2:00:22 running of the Covenant Health Knoxville Half Marathon.  Given the hilly nature of east Tennessee, I figured I could run sub 2 on a flat course and finally put that goal to bed.

In any give half, 13.1 is rarely the distance from start to finish.  Between wide turns (very difficult to run the tangents even when thinking about it) and passing people along the way, I always seem to pick up an extra tenth of a mile or so along the way.

 I knew the 9:09 pace wouldn’t be good enough for that reason, and set the goal to run this race at a 9:00 pace. Going into the race I had no doubt I was physically ready to run a sub 2 race, but I was struggling mentally.  After all 9:00 is practically 8:59. 

And I don’t run distance races in the 8s! 

I became even more intimidated when I arrived at the race starting line.  My projected finishing time had landed me in corral B, while the slowest of racers would start in corral F.  The sizes of corrals C-F were the same size of corral A + B.  My projected race of 1:5X:XX would put me finishing with the top of racers.

I’m not a top racer!

The race organizers asked us to load into the corral at 7:40 for an 8:00 start.  Thankfully Jay and MIL were able to stand close by, and I spent most of the time dancing around and acting goofy in an effort to embarrass him.  I chatted with a couple of my fellow corral Bers, the Mayor addressed the crowd, then the Race Director spoke.

The National Anthem was preceded by Sweet Carolineand a moment of silence for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing. I started to tear up, knowing how blessed I am to be a part of such a great community of runners.

With the sound of the gun we were off.  A lot of runners passed me in the first mile, and I told myself it was because I was in the wrong corral.  I didn’t deserve to be that far forward in the pack.

Mile 1 – 9:01

Along the course, we hit a few inclines to change up the flat terrain.  I certainly wouldn’t call them hills, but my body reacted to them as if they were.  I noticed on the incline portions I slowed, but didn’t gain any speed on the decline portions.

Mile 2 – 9:22

Throughout the race, the crowd never really thinned.  When the quarter marathoners split off, the roads seem to get narrower.  Passing was never easy and I was always surrounded by people.  The benefit to the large race was the amount of spectators along the roads. 

Mile 3 – 9:07

Early in the race, I started battling with my mind.  I saw my slow 2 mile pace and kept telling myself the pace wasn’t good enough to meet my goal.  Somehow I morphed it into ME not being good enough.  I settled into a comfortable pace, afraid of not being able to sustain more over the constant flat terrain.

Mile 4 – 9:21

Mile 5 – 9:14

Mile 6 – 9:16

At this point I knew I was losing the battle in my mind and needed a distraction.  I turned my iPod on and tried to concentrate on running with the music.  My next few miles reflected the wisdom with that decision.

Mile 7 – 9:05

Mile 8 – 9:04

Mile 9 – 9:01

Jay and his mother were looking for me around the 8/9 mile point of the race.  Never has a girl be so happy to see her mother-in-law, and their cheers brought a smile to my face.  I waved at them and pushed on.  Around the next corner the wind was pretty strong.  I appreciated the coolness of the breeze, however, so I accepted it as the gift it was.

Mile 10 – 9:08

Mile 11 – 9:02

Mile 12 – 9:02

Mile 13 – 9:00

I had seen a “Boston strong” poster along the side of the course, and decided my final few miles would be for those who didn’t get to finish their race due to the bombings.  I pushed through to finish strong.  My efforts (and sharpie) were rewarded as I received several cheers-by-name in the final miles.

0.1/0.25 – {8:31}

With the finish line in site, I gave it one final push.  The closer I got to the clock, the more disappointed I became.

Garmin time: 2:00:47
Chip time: 2:00:52

Son of a Bitch, I tweeted while waiting in line for bottled water.  I grab my snack bag and filled it as I went down the finishing shoot.  The finish line was so crowded; we were corralled in all the way to the after party.

I was PISSED.  I wanted to yell, scream, and say ugly words, but there were too many children waiting around the finish line.  Jay knew I was upset and tried to tell me what a great job I did, but I wouldn’t listen.

I had come to Columbus to break 2 hours.  And I failed.  This race was a failure.  I was a failure.  I AM a failure. 

I really haven’t had a chance to scream, cry, and cuss like I wanted.  Jay rarely gets to visit with his family and I didn’t want to make the weekend all about me.  Intellectually, I know I shouldn’t be disappointed with this run – I barely trained, I didn’t push myself during the race and yet I still ran a 2 hour half marathon. On some level, I know how awesome that is.  Eventually I’ll get around to being proud of how far this former 2:44:5X half marathoner has come.

But for now, I’m pouting.  Pouting because I drove all that way for nothing.* Wasted 2 hours running.* Have a really cool medal and tech shirt that piss me off at the thought of them.

*Once again, intellectually I know this isn’t the case, but it’s how I feel.

My head beat me out of a sub 2 hour time.  I’m open to suggestions regarding mental training plans to keep this from happening again.

Finally, here are my stats from the race.  Not too shabby at all for a race I half-assed.

Overall: 2822/8107 (top 1/3)
Division: 195/863 (top 1/4)
Female: 1056/4722 (top 1/4)