You guys! I totally ran another half marathon! I ran my first one back in April and decided to give it another go. It went better this go around. Final time was 13.1 miles in 2 hours 7 minutes 14 seconds (average pace 9:43 per mile). Here's a link to the whole thing on Garmin's website. Note that this is way better than my time last April by about 16 minutes, which is progress I'll take.
Speaking of the Garmin GPS device, I'm super annoyed with myself because I was looking forward to using it on the run, but I made two substantial mistakes. First, I somehow accidentally changed the settings to show miles per hour instead of minutes per mile and I was used to using the latter to pace myself. I didn't realize it until the race had started and I didn't want to stop and fiddle with menus. Second, I had intended to use the "Lap" feature at each mile marker to measure my speed on each one, but at Mile 1 I accidentally hit the button to pause the timer instead of the button clearly marked "Lap." This I failed to realize until about half a mile later, so I was never quite sure what my exact time or distance was until the finish. Alas, but I'll know better next race and at least I was able to manually edit the race data on the website.
On the "things that went right" side of the house, there are several things that made this better than last April. First, the weather was perfect --about 60 degrees amd partly cloudy for most of the race. Couldn't have asked for better, especially in St. Louis. Second, I was way more agressive about fuel on the run. Last time I felt the bottom drop out of my energey around mile #11, and I had to walk most of the rest of the way. This time I ate a big bowl of oatmeal and peanut butter in the morning, a banana on the drive to the race, a meal replacement bar about 5 minutes before start, some jelly beans at mile #4, a packet of Gu (think really expensive cake icing in a little tube) at mile #7, and some energy gummy candy things at mile #11. That and brief stops at all the aid stations for water or sports drinks kept me going no problem.
The other major thing I think I did right was doing my outside training in areas with lots of hills. The course in the 1/2 marathon was fairly flat, but there were a few hills, and my experience and mental attitude towards running uphill meant that I was able to keep a good pace instead of even thinking about stopping to walk. I passed people for almost the whole race, probably because I was in starting corral #16 out of 23, and should have been up further. In fact, I surprised myself for taking NO breaks to walk the whole time, except briefly to grab drinks at the aid station. I never did that for so long a run, even while training.
So it was a great race and I surpassed my own expecations with the time. During the last leg of the race I was really hoping I could come in UNDER 2 hours, but I guess I still have a bit of work to do. The thing is, this went well enough that I think I'm going to shoot for the full marathon next year. The idea of what I just wen through just being the halfway point is a bit crazy, but I think if I put in the training I could do it. Who dares me to?
Oh, also, pictures!