Picture from Parkshalfmrathon.com
The course wasn't super flat but neither super hilly. It was a nice course with the first few miles downhill, then a big hill at around mile 4, then mostly flat until mile 11- finish.
I was taking a mini taper by running only 6 miles on Thursday instead of 10+ miles like every week. Then I did the cross training on Friday and no running at all on Saturday. I was eating Chipotle (BIG meal) for dinner on Saturday, then went to bed super early (around 7:30-8 pm).
I woke up around 5 am, ate two slices of bread with Nutella, got dressed, did my normal knee stretches, then I woke Brian up around 6 am. The starting line was at Rockville metro station. We got there around 6:30. It was about 10 minutes walk from where we parked to the starting line. There were lots of potties there but there was still a quite line. I went to pee three times before toeing the starting line. My goal was to break sub 1:50. I found the 1:50 pacer and planned to try to stick with her.
The weather was around late 40 which was kinda chilly. But as soon as the gun went off at 7 am, and I started running, I felt great. Laura (the pacer) was weaving through people the first mile since it was crowded (about 2500-3000 runners). I didn't set my Garmin to do the auto lap like usual. I just hit the lap button each time I ran pass the mile marker (it was clearly visible on the course). I ran the first two miles too fast (8:14, 8:17) because they were downhill. I realized that I got in front of Laura, so I slowed down and walked through the water station. Mile 3 came out at 8:42 which was the slowest mile for me.
After the big hill at mile 4, I just kept following Laura. I may not be running right by her, but hearing her voice assured me that I wasn't too far from her. I pretty much drank Gatorade and walked through all water station. One good thing about this course was there was a sign before the water and aid station which let me know when to take Gu gel. Right before mile 8, I took Gu gel, and drank it down with water. Around mile 9, I saw Sherene, a runner from my XMP pace group. We just said hi to each other, and I kept running.Mile 9 and 10 were the fastest miles for me at 8:02, and 8:08, not sure if it was from Gu gel or what.
Mile 11 came the hill, I just concentrated on my form running uphill. When we hit mile marker 12, I decided to take off from the 1:50 group. I heard Laura cheering me on. I was getting tired at that point, but kept running. From mile 11-finish was pretty much uphill even though you didn't really see the hills but your legs felt them. I managed to pass a few more runners. As soon as I hit mile 13, I sprinted the last 0.1 miles to the finish line. It felt good passing lots of other runners at the end. But my photo probably didn't say so. LOL
I gave it all I had at this point.
I was smiling running through the finish line.
My Garmin showed 1:48:53, and my official time was 1:48:51. I was super happy with the result. I did it!!! I ran sub 1:50. I felt that I ran the race smartly. I even had energy left to sprint the last 0.1 miles to the finish line. I may be able to run little faster if I didn't slow down too much at mile 3, but I'm definitely happy with this race.The weather was perfect, the course was nice, volunteers were very helpful, and I did beat my PR by 4 minutes.
Here are the splits from my Garmin.
The result from the race; I got 125/983 (overall female), 26/150(AG),time 1:48:51, pace 8:19.
About 6 weeks before the MCM, I feel more confidence that I will be able to run sub-4 marathon. :)