Johnny Kelley Half Marathon Re-cap

After a month of not posting, I’m back with a happy race report. This past weekend I took part in the Johnny Kelley Half Marathon in Hyannis. After the (cold and rainy) Hyannis Marathon in February, I regrouped and trained for this half, but still doubted that it would go well. I still wanted to be able to finish a half in under 2 hours and was wondering if I had it in me this time.

The weather was wet and cold for the weekend and I even ran out and bought a jacket the night before since I had packed for the forecasted 60 degree temperatures (not the 40′s!). Checking the race organizers page the day before, I saw that there was a last minute change in the route due to some issues with a culvert that is being repaired by the Army Corps of Engineers. Then on race morning, the start time got pushed back by 15 minutes and I started to ask myself if these weren’t all signs that it just wasn’t going to go well? Regardless of the signs, I decided to follow my plan of keeping a steady 9 min/mile pace and hope for the best.

My nutrition for this race went according to plan and worked very well for me. With an 8:15 am start time I needed to make sure I was up eating and drinking as soon as possible so that I would have plenty of time to digest my pre-race meal. I had my standard oatmeal with apples and milk as well as coffee and a large glass of water. I knew that would be it for liquids until I started running and I felt confident that I was starting out in a hydrated state. After feeling the effects of mild dehydration at this race last year, I made the decision to carry my own water and augment it with the aid stations along the way along with plenty of salted dates for fuel.

Happily things went better than I had even dared to hope. Each mile that passed I looked at my watch in astonishment to see that I was maintaining a very steady pace and hitting all of my goals. By about mile 10, I could hear other runners around me commenting that we were going to “make it” and I knew that I was not alone in this goal of a sub 2 hour finish. As I came down the home stretch I could not stop smiling – I knew I had made it under 2 hours, but by how much I didn’t yet know. I was afraid to really trust the time on my watch until I saw the clock at the finish. When I came around the corner and saw 1:57:XX, I surprised myself by promptly busting into tears! I couldn’t believe how well I had achieved my goal!

The post race food was once again a combination of fruit and some grilled items along with plenty of water. I grabbed some water and a banana to add to the chocolate milk and cherries I had brought with me from home. By the time I got home it was almost time for lunch (lucky me) and then on to an afternoon walking around Provincetown shopping – my legs felt great!

I found out later that day that my official time was 1:57:36, exactly 4 minutes faster than my PR of 2:01:36 from last year! I now feel confident as I start the training cycle for my next full marathon, I’ll be running the Newport RI marathon in October and I can’t wait to get started!

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