Sunday, December 6, 2009

Race Day - Nittany Valley Half Marathon

My first half marathon is in the books! Unofficial time was 1:52:00. The snow/ice was only an issue for the first 2.5 miles and then on the steep downhill at 7.5-9 miles. I felt pretty great for the first 10 miles and then slogged for the last 5k. Having told the race "story" to the 3 people in the last 3 hours, I'm a little tired for a full race recap. Here are my splits:
mile 1 - 8:05 - trying not to fall on ice
mile 2 - 8:04 - still trying not to fall (watching others do so)
mile 3 - 8:09 - james handed me water and gushers at mile 2.9. having a support team rocks
mile 4 - 8:24 - this is where the 3 mile long ascent began
mile 5 - 8:45 - still climbing
mile 6 - 8:20 - second wind? still climbing
mile 7 - 8:19 - crested the hill at 6.25 where yuko was there to take my jacket, give me more water and gushers and generally cheer wildly!
mile 8 - 7:55 - steep downhill, trying again not to fall or lose complete control of my legs
mile 9 - 8:05 - actually still feeling pretty good, still going downhill :-)
mile 10 - 9:04 - 3 hills in this mile - legs starting to feel very heavy, just pushing through
mile 11 - 8:47 - a little bit of a flat - legs a little numb, grabbed water at a stop and hands got very cold
mile 12 - 9:06 - just holding on - can't feel legs, can't increase turnover - into the last big hill
mile 13 - 9:42 - all straight up hill - holding on for dear life - vowing not to walk
mile 13.1 - 1:07 (7:27) - could not see finish line so didn't know when to kick, kicked late. oh well.

Afterward, huffed and puffed, gave back my timing chip, drank water, then more water, got stiff, stretching, felt faint, then returned home. Felt generally calm afterward but not elated like after Spirit of Pittsburgh. Race could not have gone better. 1:52?!?!?

Here are some pics from the race

race face (according to james)

now this is what i call a race face. a chilly race face...

my butt and ugly stride - at mile 1.5

sucking wind at the finish line (while removing earbuds)...

trying (unsuccessfully) to capture the crazy dried salt on my face and neck.

post-race smiley thumbs up. not quite as attractive, but hey I just ran a HALF-MARATHON!!!

No finisher's medals or bibs for this race but I intend to wear my race t-shirt to work tomorrow as proof of my accomplishment.

Thanks to James and Yuko for being my awesome support team!


  1. Woohoo!!! Very nice, Rachel -- way to go and conquer the crazy half!! Sounds like you started strong, ran strong, and finished strong -- you definitely were kicking serious ass when I saw you. Was a lot of fun to watch you go (and yell encouragement at your back). :)

    Hope you are getting some much-deserved rest and enjoying your tremendous accomplishment!! :D Go Manic Defense!! (I don't know if you saw the sign Ben was holding -- I'll show you later, I misspelled a word in the morning stupor.) Look forward to seeing you in your race t-shirt tomorrow.

  2. Did we talk before the race?

    As you will read I totally screwed my self at the race. When will I learn!!?? I am upset at my pace when I know I have run halfs at almost 2 minutes a mile faster. GRRRRR! I hope I am still running when I finally get to a place where I am happy to finish. For real.

    Back to you. You did great. And really good on keeping you pace rather steady!

  3. Way to go! You did awesome! Nothing is worse than running on ice!

  4. You are in picture #49 (I think that is the right number) on the NVHM website. Check it out. Looking strong. Are you a running club member?

  5. What a GREAT time!! Congrats. that looks soooo cold..