Six months ago my sister Meghan announced she would like to run a 10K. Knowing she could do more, I challenged her to join me on the next 13.1…and told her I’d buy her a new pair of running capris if she agreed. Best $50 I’ve ever spent.
So earlier this month, with hundreds of training miles behind us, Meg & I found ourselves at the start of the Rock the Parkway Half Marathon in KC. (Special shoutout to our mom who rocked the 10k)! Whoever ordered the dream racing weather–mid 40s throughout–I thank you. Dearly. With the fantastic weather and good tunes in our ears, we set out.
I had mapped out a pace plan that had us starting slow–around 10:20 per mile–and shaving a bit off every mile after that. Around mile 2 we spotted our families at McGonigle’s, headed to the curb for some high fives, and pushed on. Through miles 4 & 5 our pace had jumped to 8:55. Somewhere in there I stopped for a snack (newfound love Hammer Gel Espresso) and was feeling good.
Just at the start of mile 6, I checked in with Meg. She asked to slow the pace a bit and I gladly obliged. If I’ve learned anything in going 13.1, it’s that if it feels too fast halfway through, it is. Seven miles leaves a hell of a lot of distance to cover, so I switched gears to our plan “B” goal–get in under 2:10.
As I had been following a sub 2:00 training plan, the new conservative pace felt amazing. With regular chirps from my Garmin, the miles were ticking by with ease. Around mile 10, I could tell Meg was letting her head get to her. She was pulling back a bit and had a grimace on her face that she could have stolen from me in my first Half. I offered a few encouraging words, but I knew all-too-well what was going through her mind. Running your first 13.1 is tough. You get caught up in the excitement and somewhere around mile 10 you are cruelly reminded that running this distance is actually a lot of work.
Our fams appeared again at mile 11 and offered another round of much-needed high fives. I turned to Meg, pointed to my watch, and shouted “we can still hit 2:10, but we have to keep this pace.” It was all she needed. With an easy, downhill finish, we pushed through the final stretch and crossed the line side by side. Or so I thought. My time? 2:09:50:9. Hers? 2:09:50:8. Damn her. Can I pretend I let her win? 😉
While not a PR for me, it was my greatest race experience yet. Sharing those miles with my sister is worth more than minutes or seconds on the clock.