So yeah I ran my 18th half marathon and that felt pretty darn amazing. I hem hawed around about this race for awhile. My friend and co-worker Nikki signed up to run this race and it was going to be her first ever half-- her first ever race, in fact. Nikki asked me if I would consider running with her. It wasn't that I didn't want to do the race, but I was waiting on my kids' spring sports' schedules and I had originally wanted to run the Pirate's 5k, which was the same day. Yada yada yada, I decided to run the half marathon race with Nikki.
|Natalie (fellow pharmacist), Nikki (our tech), Moi, my friend Kelli (not an pharmacist but she's an accountant ha!)|
Nikki is new to running and she told me that she was going to run a slower pace. I was totally ok with that, but then she told me she was planning to run a 14:00 mile and I'll be honest, I panicked a little. I started thinking about being on my feet for 14 minutes per mile for 13.1 miles and I got scared that I couldn't do it. The morning of the race Nikki told me she just wanted to finish before noon (that meant less than 3 hours).
It was a beautiful day for a race, however, and I just wanted to enjoy my time running. I tried not to think about running for 3 hours.
Nikki told me that she starts off slowly for the first 4 miles or so and then she picks up. It was definitely true, right around the 4 mile mark Nikki seemed to get into a groove and she really picked up her pace.
Nikki also refused to talk to me. Ha! She had her headphones in and would only speak a yes or no if spoken to. She was focused on running and that was it. It's not a bad thing by any means, but poor little old chatty runner me didn't know what to do with herself. I chose to take in the beautiful scenery.
This was an out and back course, so I knew we would see Kelli along the way. I'm not sure what mile marker it was (maybe 8) and I saw the beautiful Kelli barreling on down the trail right on pace to a 1:55 half. She amazes me!
After we saw Kelli, we started watching out for Natalie. Soon enough we saw her smiling face. I hope it was a pick me up for her to hear Nikki and I cheering her on. I think that was the only time Nikki spoke! haha
We hit the turn around point and I have to admit I was VERY happy. We were at the half way point at 1:26. I told Nikki that meant if we kept on pace that we could run a 2:52 half and meet her goal of coming in before noon.
After running in silence for 6.5 miles, I noticed something about Nikki. She wasn't really laboring that badly. I kept checking on her and she said her energy levels were good. She was taking water and Gatorade as I told her. She had one Gu at mile 4 and another planned at mile 8. Everything was perfect for stepping up the pace and having a faster back half.
I didn't tell Nikki what I was doing, but I picked up the pace. I ran about 6 to 8 feet in front of her the whole time, forcing her to hang on. We started picking off people left and right. After awhile, I asked Nikki if she noticed how well she was doing and that she was passing so many people. I think she got pretty pumped about passing everyone. We'd see someone up ahead and I'd challenge her to get her next "victim." We weren't being mean, but it was so motivating to be passing people. Nikki passed about 15 runners in the back half of the marathon. AMAZING!
Around mile 10 Nikki did hit her wall and that's when I really started talking to her. I told her not to mentally give up and not to go to that self defeating place. I told her to think about the old (40 pound heavier) Nikki and what she would say to her. I told her to show everyone how strong the new Nikki is and finish with everything she had.
Nikki did amazingly well those last 3 miles. She pushed herself hard. She didn't walk one single time and she never gave up. I'm so proud of her.
She ran the second half in 1:21 (5 minutes faster than the front half). That's 46 seconds faster per mile people. That is HUGE!
Nikki's final time was 2:47:49 and that was WELL under her goal of under 3 hours and well under 14:00 minute miles that she predicted prior to the race.
I am beyond proud of you Nikki. Celebrate, and savor this moment. You have so much more in you that you don't even know is there. It's only just begun.