Race Recap – Frederick Half Marathon

I took a blogging break for a few months – honestly, because I kind of lost my training mojo and just wasn’t particularly inspired to run, train or write.  I figured when I felt I had something  that I wanted to share, I’d start back up.  I was finally inspired after this last weekend and officially have gotten my groove back.

I’d set a PR goal for the Frederick Half Marathon last year – I wanted to break two hours. My current PR for a half was 2:05 from Richmond in 2015 and I hadn’t really ever trained for a PR since then.  I started in this winter on the Hanson’s half marathon training and after hitting a strong high point with a 10K PR mid-cycle, I lost some serious steam on training.

I mean SERIOUS steam.  I went for two weeks without running, then I pretty much ran between 10 – 20 miles/week….no speedwork or tempo runs and maybe two long runs (one which was a trail run.)  My cross-training was pretty solid but I didn’t think that would be enough.  So, I’d pretty much decided I’d thrown away my sub-2 for Frederick.

I did think that I could still PR, though.  Despite my training decline, I’m still a faster and stronger runner than I was in 2015.  So, I figured that I’d just try to beat 2:05 and try for a sub-2 in the fall.

Pre-race preparation

  • I didn’t look at the course or the elevation so I really had no idea what I had in store.  Rookie move, but I didn’t think I was going to need it
  • Pre-race meal:  Pork chop and a half a baked potato – this is my go-to, pre-race meal.  I know it makes me a horrible Jew, but I always have great races after pork chop dinner
  • Race Day Fueling:  Paleo banana bread for breakfast; chia gel right before race start, tailwind in my handheld for the race
  • Race-wear – Oiselle singlet and UA heat-gear leggings.  It was going to be chilly but I run best when I’m cold
  • Running support – I had a running buddy planning to jump in @ mile 8 to help me make my PR.  She’s a faster runner than I am, so I knew I could count on her to help me get it done.

Race Day

I have never been to Frederick, nor did I really familiarize myself with the parking situation, but fortunately, I just followed people with 13.1 and 26.2 stickers on their cars and found my way.  I wasn’t “going for it’ so I wasn’t really stressing about the run. Although I still had my typical pre-race anxiety of coughing and constipation – I just can’t help that.

I lined up with the 2:00 pace group.  All I had to do is stay under a 9:32 pace for the race – and the 2:00 group is 9:10 – so I figured as long as I could see those pacers – I should be fine.

It was a very small start line – I don’t know what the total number of runners was, but this definitely was a lot smaller than I’m used to.  I knew crowd support wouldn’t be what I needed to keep moving, so I was musically motivated as I started off.   I stayed at tempo pace for the first few miles, and then deliberately tried to throttle back to closer to 9:15 – 9:20 because I wanted to try and save my steam for the latter part of the race.  I know I can run low 9’s for the first half…but wasn’t sure if I could maintain for the second, given my lack of training.

It wasn’t the most exciting course, I’m not going to lie.  Considering that it was raining, I was impressed and appreciative on the crowd support that was there.  It’s also a little more hilly than I’d realized.

I hit the halfway point of the race and I was starting to hit a tired spot, but I saw some birds at the water-stop and they got me going again.  It’s really amazing how much a few cheers can help.

Mile 8 – enter Courtney.  She asked me how I was doing and we figured out that I was good for a new PR, but “close” for a sub 2 race, so by mile 9, she basically told me that I should go for it and how we were going to do it.  The plan – at mile 10, she’d run faster and I’d just have to keep up.  Now that I think about it, she didn’t really ASK me if I wanted to do it….she just told me I was doing it.

Why the hell not?

I turned my Garmin around so I couldn’t see my pace and at mile 10, we started running faster.  I know that it’s normal to hit hard spots to work through during a race, but I have never cycled as fast through them as I did in this race.  I would be in agony for  a few minutes, and then I’d work through it and be fine…and then 2 minutes later I was dying again.

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Looking at my paces after the fact, miles 11 – 13 were all sub-9, which is pretty amazing for me.  I wish I could tell you I handled those final miles with the strength of a warrior.  But I didn’t.  I whined LIKE A BITCH for a fair amount of them.  I wheezed, I struggled to control my breathing, I announced multiple times “I can’t do this!” and I almost coughed up a lung.  But Courtney ignored all that…she kept running and telling me I could keep going and I could do it.  If I would have been able to catch her, I wasn’t sure if I’d hug her or beat her up.

But I just didn’t stop, even though every fiber in my being wanted to.  I whined and struggled, but I kept running as fast as I could.  There are two hills in the last two miles that almost brought me to tears, but I got through them.  I crossed the finish line and came dangerously close to vomiting – but I didn’t.  Then I saw my finish time of 1:59:56 and it was all worth it.   I couldn’t believe I did it, considering the lack of training. I know that I short-change myself all the time on what I’m capable of, but clearly I’m much stronger and faster than I think I am.  Now what I really have to think about…if I can do this when I don’t train, what am I really capable of when I’m all in?


Lesson learned – Always go for it.  Why the hell not?

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Running for Medals. And Bacon.

8 thoughts on “Race Recap – Frederick Half Marathon

  1. So proud of you! You really are much stronger than you give yourself credit for and I knew that. You killed it and we were running really fast those last few miles. Can’t wait to see where the rest of this year takes you, lady! xx

    1. I’m so grateful you came out to run with me. I’m now pondering my full target and thinking I may stretch my comfort zone this summer.

  2. Great job! I ran this race 2 years ago and found it to be very well-organized. I enjoyed the course and had one of the best finish times I’d had in a while. The weather was pretty close to perfect then, too, so that definitely helped! Glad this race helped get your groove back.

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