This past Sunday was the Newport Liberty Half Marathon. This race always attracts a pretty large field and this year there were 2700 finishers.
I was able to find someone else in the club who had similar goals for the race as I did, although after about half a mile I was slightly ahead of him so didn’t really know whether he was still there – as we entered Liberty State Park, at around 4.5 miles in, there were members of the club cheering us on (another big benefit – definitely gave me a boost), and I heard them say his name, so I knew he was still there and we were both still on the same pace.
At this point the pace had been faster than I had really expected or intended, but I felt strong. Somehow my pace was incredibly consistent with the first 4 mile splits according to my Garmin being 6:48, 6:49, 6:49, 6:48.
I did start to think I may have to slow down and at some point during the 6th mile I really felt like that was it. At some point during that mile I was passed by the club member who had a similar goal. As he passed, he encouraged me to keep with him and I pushed myself to stay behind him (without that I’m not sure I would have been able to keep the pace going), and that’s where I stayed into the 8th mile. During much of that time there was a strong head wind and I had the benefit of using him to shield me (as he tucked in behind others too where possible). During the 8th mile I felt good again and pushed to pass him again (hoping I could return the favor to some extent – although I’m pretty small so don’t offer good protection from the wind). It was here that the cheer squad reappeared and I got an extra boost from that again. Splits for those miles were: 6:52, 6:48, 6:48, 6:46.
During the 9th mile with the Statue of Liberty behind us, I felt so good I smiled and waved for the cameras as we passed by (my pictures are here – be warned that a video with sound starts playing when you open the page. The photo above is an official photo – first time I’ve felt I wanted to buy one, and with the Active Advantage benefit of $15 reimbursement I decided it was worth it).
It was at this point that I realized that I was out on my own again but I was determined to finish strong.
I knew I was going to struggle to maintain the pace all the way to the finish, and my splits for the remaining miles show how much I had left in me: so from mile 9 at 6:53, I dropped to 7:02 in mile 10, then 7:08 and 7:13 before being able to give a little extra push in mile 13 for a 7:04.
Thanks to the running club I have a new half marathon PR – clock time was 1:31:01.99, and it seems that the chip time is listed as the same (it looks like maybe the chip time didn’t work for the first few seconds as there seems to be quite a lot of that on the results page). I stopped my Garmin at 1:30:59 so I’ll call that my PR – 59 seconds faster than my previous PR.