Monday, April 2, 2012

Half Marathon Halfway Through Pregnancy!

Last Saturday I was able to celebrate hitting the halfway point in my pregnancy with a half marathon! At first, I was skeptical that running a half marathon while 20 weeks pregnant was the best idea. The half marathon, and how good I felt running it, both exceeded my expectations =)

I was very excited to discover that on my second-to-last day in WI, the city of Waukesha (45 min drive away) was hosting their annual full/half marathon. Describing the course, the race website (link) says: "Runners will experience the scenic views of the historic City of Waukesha, the Fox River and the Kettle Moraine scenery of southeast Wisconsin countryside." They weren't kidding. This was a beautiful course! Almost the whole thing was run an a quite bike path either along the river or through the countryside. I could have stayed out there much longer!

Before the race I was a little concerned about how I would feel running it 20 weeks pregnant. My longest runs of late have only been ~8 miles. So, I decided to take it very easy the first 7 miles, running (I think) around a 9:30 to 9:45 pace. In order to just relax and enjoy the scenery, I didn't wear my Garmin. I asked some runners around me for the time at the 7 mile mark, so, I think that is about where I sat.

Since I was feeling so good, I decided to have a little fun with the second half of the race. I gradually sped up over the next few miles and let myself comfortably push it the last 4 miles or so. Man, did it feel good to go a little faster for a change. I made sure my breathing was still easy, etc, but definitely had some fun out there.
Enjoying the run! (credit)

One thing this event did really well was stagger the full/half marathon starts. The full marathon (which covers the half marathon course +6 more miles out and back on the same trail) started 1.5 hours before the half marathon. Not only did this ensure that the trail wasn't too crowded at any given time (it was either sidewalks or a narrow bike path) but had the added bonus of some speedy (I consider 3:30 a speedy marathon time =)) marathoners finishing around the same time I did. Since I had sped up, I was keeping pace with some of the marathoners toward the end (they were likely going around 8:00/mile). This made the finish more fun and exciting! I was shocked, and pleased, when I came in at 1:58 feeling so good! While that's not a 'fast' time for me, it's ~9 minutes faster then the half I ran 10 weeks ago. I'll take it!

At the finish! (credit)

After having that much fun, I really hope my running continues to go well. If it does, perhaps I'll try another half marathon at 27 weeks. It's one of my favorites (Pasadena) and I was really sad when I thought I'd have to miss it this year, since this is likely the last year I could do it (we're moving out of CA soon). Maybe I'll get lucky and make it to that one too =)

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