Yesterday was the Raleigh Rocks Half Marathon, which is my second half marathon race. In the days leading up to the race, I was feeling a little worried because the weather report was calling for thunderstorms all day on Saturday. The race website said that the race would still go on in the rain, but that it would be postponed or cancelled if there were thunderstorms. As it turned out, there were no thunderstorms on Saturday morning, just very overcast skies and a slight drizzle. However, the temperature was already above 60 degrees and it was really really humid. That said, I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to set a PR because I didn't want to run into a situation where I'm halfway through the race and I have to stop and walk b/c I'm really dehydrated. When I ran the half in November, the weather conditions were completely different; it was about 20 degrees cooler, clear skies, and dry. I didn't stop for any of the water stops on that race, but yesterday, I did grab water at several points. My official race time was 1:49:24, which is a 1:13 better than before, so I did end up with a PR, but not by much. In hindsight, I kind of wish I had run harder, but at the same time, I don't know if that would have been a good idea. I guess it's better to come out of it feeling good physically with some fuel still in the tank rather than injured or ill and mad for being too aggressive.
So now I enter maintenance mode, at least for the next couple months or so. I will keep doing a mix of easy and long runs along with tempo runs and some speedwork to maintain fitness. My next race is the Blue Ridge Relay at the beginning of September, so I'll probably start seriously training for that race at the beginning of the summer. I'm part of a team with about 12 other breast cancer researchers from UNC Hospital. Training for that race will be a bit different because while each individual leg is not terribly long, the total number of miles I'll run in a 24 hour period will be slightly more than a half marathon, and it will be in the mountains (hills and altitude effects!).
But for now, I rest and enjoy a big bowl of ice cream.