How did it happen? I have no idea.
Maybe it was the buffalo chicken I had as a pre-race dinner. Or the Lucky Charms for breakfast.
I felt more undertrained for this race than any I’ve ever done. I ran, on average, two or three times per week. The longest training run was 10 a couple of weeks ago and even that was split into 5 + 2 + 3.1. The rest of my mid-weeks runs had been 2-4 milers for the most part.
This was the toughest course I’ve ever attempted. I saw men and women with Ironman tattoos and shirts walking/shuffling or stretching on the side of the road. I know central Kentucky is known for rolling hills but it truly was non-stop, albeit a beautiful view for 13.1 miles.
The hills started a quarter mile in and I was hurting by mile 2. Knowing I’d started out too fast (for me), I actually said before mile 3, “I’m in trouble. I should have trained better.” But I pushed on to the water stop around 4. Realizing I hadn’t stopped to walk yet (except to lose my Goodwill long-sleeve throwaway). I thought I’d try to make it 10 more minutes. I made it to the next water stop (a couple of miles later). I got to 10K around 1:01 and, doing the math the entire time, figured I could break 2:10 and my PR of 2:17 if I kept this pace. I was so determined that, at some points, I just jogged through the water stops instead of walking them. Turns out I actually ran the back half faster somehow?
I’ve never run a half without walking. I’ve never defeated hills while feeling like they’ve defeated me. But I told myself, “You’ve come this far without walking and you’re killing it so don’t stop now. Just keep moving.”
So I did. Official time was 2:07:55 (a PR of ~10 minutes) on a course that gained 725 feet.
And I only stepped in horse poop once.