Thoughts on Breaking 2 Hours in the Half: A Guest Post

Hey there!

So I’m finally back from walking in my college graduation this past weekend! Even though I officially finished up in December, it still feels a little surreal. It feels like it was only yesterday I was making the drive up to Geneseo to begin my freshman year.

Graduation | 2 Generations RunningBut anyways… exciting things are in the works, but I’ll do a post on those a little later on. For now, I want to go back to the Cox Providence Half Marathon! Yes, it was a couple weeks ago but life got crazy, and I didn’t have enough time to post some of my reflections from that race – and my mom’s thoughts on breaking 2 hours for the first time! So today, I’m sharing a guest post from my mom.


So as you all know, we ran the Ragnar Relay 2 weekends ago, which was tons of fun and a perfect way to spend part of a mother’s day weekend. But as awesome as that experience was, I want to say a few words about the Cox Providence Half since, as you already know from Nora’s post (catch it here if you missed it!), it was a special race for both of us.

Cox Providence Half MarathonSince Nora’s talked about the confusion at the start, I’ll just cut to the chase, literally for me, the chase of that very coveted sub-two hour half marathon – which translates into the chase of that 2:00 hour pacer! I wasn’t really thinking I would catch this gentleman, but I found the 2:15 hour pacer and set myself up somewhere ahead of him, but behind the 2:00 hour pacer. My plan, such as it was, was to try to keep the 2 hour pacer in sight, and see whether I felt good enough at the end to close the gap. We did have a really nice day, so I knew I would not be able to use the heat as an excuse (aka whining). The night before I had tried to figure out what pace I needed and realized that a rough pace of about 9:04, was going to be very close to my best – and I didn’t really think I could manage that for 13+ miles. But while browsing the internet, I came across one runner in Scotland who, after multiple attempts to break that two hour barrier, had said that he found that if he finished mile 10, at 1 hour and 32 minutes, he knew he could beat the 2 hour mark because he knew he could run a 5k in under 28 minutes. And I decided to try and do that.

Cox Providence Half Marathon 2015I ran, certainly faster than was comfortable for me, always trying to keep the 2:00 pacer in sight. For the first time, I didn’t walk at the water stops, I did my GU on the fly, and I didn’t walk any hills! I don’t know exactly what my time was at the 10 mile mark, (a week has passed and another long race – and it’s all becoming a bit of a blur) but I knew that pacer was moving away, and I began to panic and ran mile ten at an 8:38 pace- fast for me! But then suddenly, there was a nice gentle downhill, and I decided that, damn it, I was going to catch that guy!

Cox Providence Half MarathonThe crowd at the start

By mile 12, as we moved back into Providence itself, I found myself close enough to overhear his conversations with the young ladies that had been with him all along. (They may have had enough breath to chat with him the whole way, but by this point I was kind of praying to see the end of the course!) Suddenly he said  he was going to slow down a bit, so that the people behind would know they were still on pace to finish in their projected 2 hours, but that we should go on ahead because, as he said, “you’ve got this!” So we did! Mile 13 was a pretty speedy 8:44 for me, and though I do remember saying some cuss words in my head as I ran, the younger girls beside were more vocal (I resisted the urge to voice my frustration, thinking that I should set a good example)! But we all made it! As I approached the chute, Nora was standing by and saw the finish clock said 1:59. She was thrilled to see, I had “pushed myself.” I had – and I was tired and happy. My official “net time” is 1:58:48, and I was 9/61 in my age group. Pretty nice birthday present!

Kind of on that topic, Nora has asked me to do a blog post about running/racing – and being older. And so I’m thinking about that – as we plan our next running adventure!

Have you ever had a goal that you surprised yourself by reaching? 

7 thoughts on “Thoughts on Breaking 2 Hours in the Half: A Guest Post

  1. Wow! I just found your blog and this was so inspiring! I’ve reached a few goals that surprised the hell out of me last year and I have some big ones that I’m still trying to chase after. I love the strategy that the dude from Scotland has – just get to X miles in XX time and set an attainable goal for the last stretch of the race. Awesome idea, and congrats to your mom on breaking 2 hours!


  2. charissarunning

    Congrats on breaking 2 hours!!! That’s a huge accomplishment, but not so surprising because you work hard for it! I’m glad it all came together and you were able to finish so strong 🙂


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