A race recap of the the Mistletoe Half Marathon 2016 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. It’s one of my favorite races for veteran runners and first-time racers. I shared how I ran, how I trained, and a really dumb thing I did leading up to the race. 🙂
This past Saturday, I ran the Mistletoe Half Marathon in Winston-Salem. The best part – I set a new PR of 1:33:29 (average pace 7:08), when I 100% did NOT expect to PR. Between lots of travel, the very hilly course, and not having run a race in 2+ years, I told Tommy right before I started that I would be happy with a time under 1:40. I didn’t think I’d even come close to my PR. My previous official PR was 1:34:36 (and sorta 1:33:50 at another race, but that was an extrapolated time since the course was unintentionally short). So either way, I definitely set a PR and I was so, so happy — and shocked!
It’s the 5th time I’ve run this race, and it’s one of my very favorite. (You can read my Top 10 Reasons I love this race here (2011) and here (2010).) I’ve run this race in freezing temperatures, in the rain, and in the snow so I was thrilled to see the forecast of mid-40s and clear skies. I ran in my Adidas Adizero Boston Boosts (review here), Oiselle Toolbelt shorts, compression calf sleeves, a long-sleeved half zip top (similar), a SpiBelt, bluetooth earbuds and a hat. And my Garmin, of course. I wore gloves and an extra jacket to the start, but I handed them off to Tommy right before the race. (Perks of a smaller race!)
I loved having Tommy at the starting line. It’s the first race he’s seen me run (well, he saw me start, not finish – he had a golf tournament to get to and couldn’t see me finish). 🙂
How I ran
- I ran really relaxed, but relaxed does not mean easy. I was definitely pushing the pace, but I was never going all out until the last 1-1.5 miles, when it took a LOT of effort to keep my pace strong. Overall, I felt like I paced myself really well throughout and did a good job of listening to my body.
- I started with the 1:35 pace group until I felt like I had a good handle on how my body was feeling. And my body wanted to pick up the pace just a bit after a few miles.
- The first 3-4 miles, I had some random wicked shin splints, but I knew if I could keep going, they would eventually loosen up. They did, and then I really felt amazing.
- I never looked at my Garmin after I left the pace group. But now I wish I had – I think I probably could have broken 1:32!
My training plan
- I used a Strava training plan, which comes with a premium account and totally worth the $7/month. The plan was challenging but I really enjoyed it too. I think their plans are great whether you’re a beginner or veteran runner.
- I stuck to the plan 98% and tweaked it only a few times when life got in the way or when I needed to switch up training days to better suit my life, e.g. moving long runs from Sundays to Saturdays half-way through the plan.
- Given how hard I trained for the race, I was really upset when I found out that I would be traveling for two straight weeks leading up to the race. I had booked a trip to Utah months ago, and then found out a month before the race that I needed to be in San Francisco the week after Utah, which meant I’d be away for two weeks — and my body would firmly be on West Coast time. But, when I woke up on Saturday morning, I had tons of pre-race energy and endorphins and was really excited once I lined up!
A Dumb Thing I did Pre-Race
- I forgot packet pickup. Like, completely forgot it was a thing. On Friday night, I went to Whole Foods after work to shop for pre-race fuel. When I was back home and planning out my racing outfit, I looked up the start time. And then I saw the section about packet picket — that ended in 10 minutes. I flew out the door and got over there just in time to get my bib. Um, wow, Teri. Out of racing practice for sure.
Why I love this race
- There aren’t many winter races. But, the gorgeous fall running weather in Winston extends well into November. This race lets you take advantage of all that great fall training!
- It’s on the route I run for almost all my runs. I know the course well, so I can just focus on my running and not worrying about where to turn.
- It’s big, but not too big. There were about 3,000 runners this year. It’s nice because you’re never running alone, but it’s not overly crowded. I’ve run bigger races where I’m tripping on others or dodging other runners.
I’ll share with you in a future post how I fueled and how I dealt with pre-race nerves. I think my pre-race fuel was key to how strong I felt throughout the race. And I think CrossFit was also a major key.
Thanks again to all of you who were so supportive and encouraged me to run when I was expressing doubts with all the travel. Your kind, encouraging words meant more than you know!
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