4 hour course limit
Why This Race?Before my oh-so-triumphant return to racing last spring, I'd only done one women's race -- the Danskin triathlon. I didn't really care about the concept of women's racing, other than that I preferred races with gender-specific wave swim starts. Getting mauled by some huge guy in the water was not how I liked to start my races. Since becoming a mom, though, I see something so wonderful about racing with a bunch of other women. It felt like a kinder, gentler place to start back and I had a great race. This isn't to say that women's races aren't competitive (I'm sure they are at all levels, even down to a middle-of-the-pack competition between friends) or that men aren't supportive (my husband brings our kids out to watch me race and nothing says supportive like watching four kids in the high-energy, crowded environment of a race). The races just have a sense of camaraderie, especially at the back of the pack. I figured that will help me with any first half marathon jitters I'm having. Also, everything at this race is pink. A cliché, perhaps, but I love pink. The pink 13.1 sticker that comes in the race bag will also subtly let everyone who ever sees my minivan know that I earned that sticker, not my husband.
GoalsMy obvious goal is just to finish. The best thing about a new race distance is the automatic PR you get from finishing! I am setting a stretch goal of finishing in under 3:30, since two races I'm doing next summer have that shorter course limit.
StrategyMy plan is to try to start slowly and have a negative split. I'm adding nothing new -- my shoes have about 300 miles on them, I've worn everything I'm wearing on long training walks. I'm carrying one water bottle and a couple of gels so I don't have to stop on the course. I was pleasantly surprised to find that they still make tangerine PowerGel, since I last ate one over a decade ago. Christian is always trying new gels, but I like to stick with my tried and true favorite. For a while I felt that since I am walking, I didn't need to replace calories. Christian talked me into trying it when I did my first 8-mile walk and it made such a difference with how I felt at the end.
Starting the week after my Esprit de She race, I started training with this race in mind. Assuming I make my three walks next week, I will have put in 289.75 miles specifically working up to this race -- that number somehow makes me feel more ready. I can hardly believe I'm going to do a half marathon a week from today!