Hey all! I’ve been off the grid a little bit recently trying to clear my head after last week’s election debacle. After a few good cries watching this and some time to grieve, I think it’s really healthy for all of us to move up and out of the negativity and treat ourselves to some TLC, which for me meant pushing forward full steam ahead into this weekend’s half marathon. I had been going back and forth about my plans and goals for this race–part of me wanted to just run to enjoy it and not worry about pace at all, and part of me knew that I had a PR in me and that I owed it to myself to give it my all. Spoiler alert–my competitive side definitely won out and I ended up PRing by more than 3 minutes!
While this was the first-ever running of the Cambridge Half Marathon, the race organizers are true pros and have organized a series of popular 5ks in the area. I picked up my bib and shirt on Saturday at the Cambridgeside Galleria, and the despite a decent line the process was really smooth. Sunday morning I woke up at 6, ate my new favorite race day oatmeal from Run Fast Eat Slow, and then Jeremy gave me a lift over to the mall for the race start. Probably the weirdest part of this race was the fact that all of the race-related events (including the after party) took place in the parking garage of the mall–but it actually was totally fine. I dropped my bag at the bag check, waited in the porto lines (long but nothing unexpected), and then happily happened to run into the track gals as I tucked into the 8 minute mile corral.
The start was a little bit chaotic since all 6,000 runners went off at once, but it pretty quickly evened itself out and I didn’t have to do too much bobbing and weaving to get into a comfortable part of the pack. Local Boston-area races like this one tend to attract a fast crowd, and this was no exception. The course was really lovely–some small rolling hills but mostly flat, and on a mix of roads and scenic paved paths. There were a few crowded moments along the way, but again, nothing that really slowed me down. I used to live in Cambridge and it was a blast to run through some of my old haunts! The weather was absolutely perfect too–in the upper 40s at the start to lower 50s by the end. I spent the first few miles feeling things out and found myself feeling decently comfortable running 7:25-7:30s. I didn’t let myself get too excited, but I picked it up a bit and squeaked out two 7:14s during miles 6 and 7. The next few miles were a bit slower, but I started doing the math in my head and decided to negative split the last three miles to solidify my PR. I really kept my mental game on point for this race, using the mantra “fast and relaxed” and envisioning myself digging deep into the well to finish strong. At mile 11 I ran by Bry, who was volunteering, and yelled out “I’m going to PR!” Power of positivity, right??
The last three miles the crowd had thinned considerably–most of the runners I had been pacing with had dropped back, and I was mostly in a group of buff-looking dudes. So of course I channeled my inner nasty woman and gunned it, running my last mile at a 6:55 and sprinting it into the finish at a 6:11 pace. My official finish time was 1:36:55, which was certainly a new PR over the Hyannis Half which I ran in 1:40:27 back in February! I am beyond elated–this is something I’ve worked so hard for and it definitely felt like a little bit of redemption after Chicago. We celebrated with some cider and photos at the after party, and then J and I headed to a well-deserved brunch 🙂
A quick word about the gals in that picture above–I am beyond grateful to have found some awesome, welcoming running friends. Finding a crew that’s right for you isn’t easy, and the NRC track ladies have been amazing. More to come on this topic, which deserves its own post, but if you haven’t found the right running crew yet don’t give up! They are out there for you!
Last but not least–my BIG NEWS: as you might have noticed, the ole blog has a new name and a fresh new look! Shorter and Faster actually came up when we were running 200s at the end of a hard track workout–I immediately decided I wanted that on a t-shirt. Even better? On a blog! So welcome to the brand new Shorter and Faster… stay tuned for all of the adventures still to come!