NYRR Manhattan Half-Marathon, January 2009, 2:07:39, 9:44 average pace
Country Music Half-Marathon, Nashville, April 2009, 2:07:25, 9:43 average pace
NYRR Queens Half-Marathon, September 2009, 2:06:54, 9:41 average pace
NYRR Grete's Great Gallop, October 2010, 2:03:45, 9:26 average pace. Training run for the NYC Marathon.
By the time I ran my first half, I knew I'd be running the 2010 New York City Marathon as my first 26.2. Since that was nearly two years away at that point, I didn't worry too much about pace or fueling. I knew I was capable of running ~10 minute miles and coffee and a granola bar were enough to help me reach my main goal of finishing without stopping or walking. And what do you know? All PRs. (Such a vast improvement in 2009, lolz.)
NYRR Manhattan Half-Marathon, January 2011, 1:57:50, 8:59 average pace
Post-2010 NYCM, this was my first half with a concrete goal of running in under two hours. Before this one, I had a substantial variation (Nutella toast and coffee) of what I'll call my "perfect race breakfast," PRB for short. As for the goal? I nailed it! All I know is that even though it included the toughest hill in Central Park, I felt great the whole time. Why did I wait so long to get a Garmin?? (Because you were all but broke when you lived in New York, EB, lolz.) No mid-race fuel on this one either. Not even water, because both times that I ran this race, it was below freezing outside. Suffice it to say, I wasn't thirsty.
Houston Half-Marathon, October 2011, 1:45:57, 8:05 average pace
As you might know, despite the great marathon bonk of 2011, I had fantastic training, and this race was part of it. Before this one, I had the fully developed version of the PRB: 6 oz. cup of coffee, 12 oz. glass of half water, half Gatorade, two slices of toast with Nutella, and an energy gel. Goal time was 1:47:30. Ended up beating it by more than 90 seconds.
Livestrong Austin Half-Marathon, February 2012, 1:56:14, 8:52 average pace
Going in, I knew this would be my first non-PR and I was okay with it. Since neither Carla or I considered this a goal race, we didn't put too much thought into breakfast. I had coffee, a little bit of water, a Clif Bar and a few shot bloks. Again, nothing mid-race. I ended up slowing wayyy down in the final three miles and I'm still convinced that this was because of the gnarly uphills I wasn't used to.
And today: Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Half-Marathon: 1:53:58, 8:42 average pace
With the exception of some extra coffee (5:20 a.m. is earlyyy, yo), I had essentially the same breakfast as I did before the Houston Half. (Is the gel part weird? Today's was a strawberry banana PowerGel, so in a way, it was like yogurt...)
The Livestrong Half was my first half in which I had my Garmin on me. I say death-by-mile-10 was thanks to the beastly hills. Boyfriend said I should have fueled. When he agreed to pace me in today's half (he ended up sitting it out to avoid aggravating a potential injury, sad faces), he again suggested eating mid-race and I was dubious. But when several other runner friends also said it's been working for them lately, and since today wasn't a goal race (actually, especially since it wasn't a goal race-- never try anything new on a big race day!), I decided give it a shot. Three Clif Shot Bloks at mile 6, to be exact.
Here's how the race went down:
Mile 1: 8:02- Lots of adrenaline. Made sure to rein it in as soon as I clocked this one.
Mile 2: 8:25
Mile 3: 8:20
Mile 4: 8:21- Managed to throw back a sip of water without slowing down or spilling all over myself! Huzzah.
Mile 5: 8:24, saw BF here, listened to "Edge of Glory" by Lady Gaga twice, "Fighter" by Christina Aguilera 3x, and "Til I Collapse" by Eminem twice throughout Miles 5 and 6. (I felt like I was flying when these songs came on during the Houston Marathon. Needless to say, they're training/racing staples now.)
Mile 6: 8:28- Per the race volunteers, I was still averaging an 8:20 pace. I felt great and thought I could have held on to it if I just kept going. But I went for the shot bloks as planned. And since I wasn't actually hungry, I slowed down to avoid choking on them.
Mile 7: 8:40- I knew this one would be slower after the fuel point. I figured I should be able to pick it back up again on the next mile.
Mile 8: 8:40- No such luck. I have a really hard time picking my pace back up again once I slow down in a long run. This really wasn't anything new to me. Taking another sip of water here didn't help either, as I didn't grab it as gracefully as I had earlier.
Mile 9: 8:53- Took another sip of water just before this mile. Saw Boyfriend at the same spot (it was a double loop course) and he asked how I was doing. I really suck at talking when I'm working out hard, so I think I ended up giving him a high-five and a death glare at the same time. Oops...
|So humid. The sweat-soaked ponytail is totally in, right?|
Mile 11: 9:07
Mile 12: 9:03
Mile 13: 9:07
|Home stretch, por fin!|
Mile 13.1 (or 13.19, per the watch. Better than the 13.26 I ran in Austin!), 1:25, 7:22 pace. I definitely thought I'd have nothing left to give as I finished the last two miles. In the end, I did. Yay.
|With the spectator of the day.|
My final verdict on the fueling? If it ain't broke, don't fix it, or, as the ever-wise Megan often says, "Imma do me and you do you." In other words, everyone is different. I felt sufficiently fueled by my breakfast and the mid-race shot bloks were overkill, IMO. Today further confirmed what I believe works for me and, as I already knew deep down, I shouldn't let other people's habits influence my plans.
My next 13.1 is the Country Music Half in Nashville with Jocelyn. No mid-race run food will be consumed at this one. I just bought supplies for our race outfits and cannot wait!
What is your half-marathon fueling routine? And do you eat something immediately afterward? In addition to never feeling hungry while covering long distances, I also usually need to wait an hour or longer to eat after a half or full. When I cross the finish line, all I want are fluids. Am I totally weird??