Freeport Half Race Recap

DSCN0492 Freeport Half Race Recap

Three years ago, I came up to Portland, Maine to watch one of my best friends get married. I clearly wasn’t a very active person; my idea of activity at the time included a trip to the gym maybe once a week. If I was lucky.

A few months ago, Lizzy and Lindsay and I started talking about the Freeport Half. Lindsay was flying home from Hawaii, and Lizzy was driving up from outside of Boston. If Lindsay could fly 6,000 miles for a race, I could certainly travel 325 miles. Done.

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After a carb-tastic pasta salad dinner (I believe it included bowtie pasta, basil, feta, olive oil, grape tomatoes and awesomeness), we got to bed early so that we could be up and at ‘em by 5:30. After the sprint tri and the Queens Half, 5:30 was sleeping in. (One day, I would like to actually sleep in, but that’s a different topic for a different day.)

We drove from Westbrook to Freeport, and started getting intimate with the bathroom in the Hilton. A real bathroom before a race? Whoa.

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Oh, and apparently Lindsay and I were being mean to Liz.

“You KNOW we only hang out with other blond girls.”

(I don’t actually know why we’re both making such bitchy faces.)

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I <3 Sweat. Clearly.

We hung out for a little while before lining up. Second difference: there were no corrals. After running so many crowded NYRR races, this was both really nice and really weird.

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There were only 274 runners! This was the whole field! (Also, #81? If you are reading this, I would like your abs. Thanks.)

(And thanks to Judy, Lindsay’s mom, for being our race chauffeur and photographer.)

Before I continue, I’d like you to take a look at this elevation profile.

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There was basically no flat land in this course. The hills just kept coming. I live in NYC and mostly train along the Hudson River on the path there, so this elevation map made me very nervous last night. I wanted to PR, but I realized it might not be possible.

Early in the race, Liz tried to tell me that it was really hard to PR during marathon training. I’m not sure if she meant to do this, but it gave me that extra fire in my belly.

What’s that? It’s hard? Oh, you just watch me.

Lindsay dashed off ahead of us, but Liz had promised to pace me. We stuck together for the first 9 hilly, hilly miles, incredulous at how hilly the course was. We ran our first mile in 8:30-something, and when I looked at my watch, I knew that it was either going to be a great race or a terrible race. If I could hold on to a fast pace, it would be great. If not, it would be hard. Early on, the hills scared me. I really thought that a PR wouldn’t be in reach, so I didn’t look at my watch until after we were at halfway.

We got to 6.6 in exactly an hour, and I got cautiously excited. I knew that if I could hold on to the pace I was at, I had it, but I knew there was a big hill coming up. I kept plugging along and didn’t look at my watch again until Liz and I separated somewhere between miles 9 and 10. Liz and I had talked about a pace band, but never looked one up. By doing some quick mental math, I figured that if I could 10 miles by 1:30 and hang on to that pace, I’d be golden. I could certainly run 3.1 miles in 30 minutes. I could certainly keep under a 10-minute pace.

At that point, my strategy was just to run as strong and hard as I could. From here on out, I concentrated on holding my core taut. It’s something you’re supposed to do anyway, but I always forget. I’m not sure why I did it, but it definitely helped me feel stronger.

From 10-12, I ran at pretty close to a 9-minute pace. It was difficult, but doable. I hit mile 12 at 1:48ish and knew I had 12 minutes to make my goal of sub-2:00.

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After mile 12? I. RAN. LIKE. HELL. There was no way in hell I was going to let this goal eclipse me yet again. Lindsay’s mom took this picture as I rounded the corners that took me from 13 to 13.1. She said that she wish she got a picture of the crazy look of determination on my face, but all I remember is smiling as I saw Lindsay’s mom, and nearly crying when she said “The New York Marathon will be a piece of cake after this!”

This was my fifth half-marathon this year (recaps here), and I spent the first three aggressively chasing my sub-2:00 goal. (The fourth half-marathon was run just as a long training run.) Today was going to be the day that I beat it.

AND. I. DID. I ran 13.1, glorious hilly miles in 1:58:27. (9:01 pace!)

Screen shot 2011 08 14 at 7.07.37 PM Freeport Half Race Recap

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Major thumbs up! When the medal dude put the medal around my neck (after I nearly ran him over crossing the finish line), he said “you really earned this,” and I nearly teared up again. While it would have been awesome to have achieved this goal earlier this year, trying for it and narrowly missing it so many times made achieving it today so much sweeter.

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Still happy.

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Still happy! (And sweaty. My apologies to anyone I traveled with today who got a whiff of Eau de Theodora Ran a Half Marathon.)

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And then Lindsay and I ran 3.5 more miles on the way home to round us off to 16.6, or as I call it, nearly 17, so we could hit our mileage goals for the day. And then, I was really tired. And hungry.

photo 26 Freeport Half Race Recap

But refueling at The Front Room with a giant plate of eggs, toast and bacon with an Allagash White helped.

I know that running a 1:58 half on a hilly bitch of a course means I have an even faster PR in me, but for now, I am plenty happy with this one.

Thanks to everyone for your awesome tweets, Facebook messages, texts and smoke signals.

Tell me about your most epic PR. And your favorite beer.

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53 comments on “Freeport Half Race Recap

  1. Stephanie

    Woooowwww congrats! This is soo amazing, good for you! I am running mcm, my first marathon a week before NYC but I am planning on coming tom cheer u new yorkers on. Actually will be running 10friday morning in NYC if u need a buddy for a few miles at least

    Reply
  2. Lindsay

    I had such a great weekend with you guys! Congrats again. I will never forget that look of determination you had when you rounded that corner for the final .1miles – it was amazing.

    Reply
      1. Lizzy

        @Theodora:
        I had such an amazing weekend with you guys!! I miss you both already.

        Theo, I am so incredibly proud of you. You are an amazing runner and you are going to get so much stronger. Your determination (and stubbornness hehe) is so admirable and I loved being part of your run today. I’m soooooo amazed and proud of you!!!!!!!!!!!!! BIG XO my love.

        PS- are you home yet?

        Reply
  3. alison

    Major congratulations on a PR!! You worked so hard and totally deserve that sub 2hr half. I’m chasing the same goal and hope to do it October; you’re a great inspiration!

    Reply
  4. Meg Gayman

    So proud of you!! Way to grab that PR on a hilly course. You have to come out west sometime and run in Vancouver! (I would say Seattle, but I haven’t LOVED any of my Seattle halfs(?) yet.) It is an amazing feeling to get a PR that you haven’t had an easy time getting. To many more!

    Reply
  5. Christine

    wow – you look amazing in that picture right at mile 13. and so happy.

    thanks for boosting my inspiration – i’m determined to reach sub 2 now too :)

    CONGRATS!

    Reply
  6. Margaret

    NICE JOB! Inspiring! I SOOO want to hit sub-2 at the Staten Island half in October.

    My most epic race was probably the first marathon I ran. I was shooting for sub-4:30 and crushed the goal with a time of 4:13. I was THRILLED! I couldn’t wipe the goofy smile of my face for the next week (except when I walked down stairs. Then I was wincing more than smiling).

    My favorite beer was consumed soon after the marathon — Schneider Weise hefe weizern!

    Reply
  7. Carol Blanchfield

    I really wish I was with you today in Maine at every turn in the road,
    but remember I am with you in thought cheering you on
    always. You are going to ACE the New York Marathon.
    I have seen this determination and strong will many times in your eyes growing up, you can accomplish anything you set your mind to.
    We are proud of you, looking forward to seeing you with hugs and kisses,
    Bailey wants a medal too for being a good doggie.

    Love,
    Mom and Dad

    Reply
  8. Sokphal

    Great race re-cap and CONGRATS! I remember being estatic when I hit below 2 hours at the Toronto Half Marathon last year! Good luck with the rest of your training! :)

    Reply
  9. Katie

    Congrats!! How exciting!! Are you doing NY in the fall? I’m doing the Bronx in 2 weeks, and I realllly want to do a sub 2:00 too, but at the same time, don’t know if I should just take it slow and focus on it as a training run. Decisions, decisions..hmmm

    Reply
    1. Theodora Post author

      @Katie: I just came back to this post and saw this–sorry, yes, I’m running NYC in the fall!!!! :) Are you going to do a replacement half for the Bronx half?

      Reply
  10. Melissa Burton

    Congrats! Did you notice that your number was 26?! Well I guess it couldn’t be 26.2 now could it?

    My own PR for a half was 2:09:15 from the Queens Half in 1999 (thank you NYRR for having the records that let me know that I was considerably faster 12 years ago) but this time around (Divas Half in Oct) I’m just hoping to enjoy myself.

    Regarding beers, I like many but I guess it depends on the food you’re eating with it – Coronas w/Mexican, Kingfisher with Indian, Sapporo with Japanese…..

    Reply
  11. Sugarpopnyc

    That is awesome!! Congrats on the sub 2 hour half! That has been my goal all year, but I’ve had a lot of trouble PRing in this distance this year. Also, my favorite beer of this summer has definitely been Shock Top!

    Reply
  12. Bridget

    What a fabulous race recap – so inspiring. And I think my new goal is to have a picture of myself running that is as badass as the one you posted here. You look fierce there!

    Reply
  13. k

    Congratulations on the PR what an awesome achievement.

    I am fairly new to your blog, but I am training for my first full marathon and am registered for a few halfs as training runs. I was interested in that last bit at the end where you did a few more miles after the race to get your training in. Do you have any tips on how to plan for that?

    I have my first half coming up in about a month, and it’s a 15 mile day. I am not sure if I can cross the finish line, and then just keep going for a mile and then back or if it’s better to just plan to leave the race area and get them in elsewhere. Any thoughts?

    Reply
    1. Theodora

      @k: My advice? Do whatever is easiest and safest and most convenient. It wasn’t ideal for me to get in a car and then do my extra mileage, but it was more ideal than making my friends wait around while Lindsay and I ran extra miles.

      I would probably say leaving the race area though; there will be less people.

      Reply
  14. Caitlin

    Congrats! You are totally my inspiration. I also beat 2 hours this weekend (but in a training run, so I feel like it doesn’t really count) so my goal is to do it at the Bronx half in two weeks for real. I’m nervous, but reading this makes me feel like it’s within reach!

    Reply
  15. Kimra

    Woohoooo! Reading this recap made me so happy, but not nearly as happy as running that race must have made you!

    My half PR was less than a minute faster than my first half (I’ve only done two), but it meant so much more to me — it was a tougher race, I ran it alone, I ran it in unexpectedly hot and sunny conditions (…for February in San Francisco, but STILL), and I was coming back from injury and was worried my training wasn’t going to get me there. The moment when I hit mile 12 and realized I could PR was insane! I’d gone in just hoping to finish healthy, but like you, I ran that last mile like hell!

    Reply
  16. Mindy

    When I read your blog, it’s often hard to correlate who you are now with the idea of someone who is out of shape, and who had an extra 50 lbs on their frame. The two just don’t seem to connect for me. But this post really brought home to me the changes you must have gone through in the past three years. I couldn’t recognize that picture of you in the wedding pic at first (comparing it to the pics in your regular every day posts). To have see that picture and then to read about you smashing your PR in the same post – A.W.E.S.O.M.E.!!! Makes it even more impressive,and more inspirational. Keep on keepin on! :)

    Reply
  17. Lauren

    CONGRATULATIONS!!! I loved reading this post – I could seriously feel your determination and excitement throughout the entire thing. A PR on a hilly course during marathon training?!? You are awesome!!!

    And I’m glad you didn’t listen to Lizzy. That girl doesn’t know what she’s talking about ;) My half marathon PR is from a race I did in the middle of marathon training (in the snow). I haven’t been able to run as fast since! So I say, there’s got to be something to it.

    Hope you are still celebrating!

    Reply

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