Here’s a race report from Steidl Running athlete Anna MCCONNELL about her experience at the 2019 Capital City Half Marathon:
Had a really good day today and felt strong for the whole race. Went out a little fast for the first mile, had a brief “oh shit” panic moment, but told myself to just correct it and move on and thought, “Trisha said to be patient -- this is when to do that.” About mile 4, I saw another woman within a quarter mile and knew I wanted to pass her, so I slowly worked my way up. I was kind of hoping to work together for a bit, but I think she got nervous when she noticed me and put in a few surges that I knew were too early. I kept working my way back up to her, not ready to move around her and just let her do the work while tiring herself out by surging. I knew once I decided to pass her I was committing to dropping my pace. I went by her at the halfway point, got kind of nervous and unsure if I could keep it up for the rest of the race AND try to run a fast final 5k. I mentally landed on, “Trisha said fierce, this is probably time for that.” Apparently I listen to you. :)
I let myself cruise down the long hill at mile 8 and considered it a “free mile” and a way to prepare for the hill that is basically all of mile 9. I felt strong up the hill and was running with some guy. We caught up to a couple other guys, and my plan was to attach myself to them and just let them do the work up the hill. Then, the person I was running with said to the others, "Hey guys, let her through” (thanks, I guess?). This derailed my plan a little, but I just said to myself, “OK I guess I'm going,” ran ahead, and stayed pretty steady for the hill. My new escort was coaching me a little, which was obviously unsolicited, but turned out to actually be kind of helpful. And I'm also surprised I wasn't completely annoyed. When we were cresting the hill he reminded me to not back off and this was the time to go leading into the final 5k (I'm guessing he could have been running harder himself since he was talking at me, but whatever).
I started to really push, running away from my adviser. I could sense a couple people coming up on me -- it turned out to be Joan Benoit Samuelson and her daughter! I thought something like, “Well, if anyone is going to pass me, I'm OK with that.” But then I quickly switched it to thinking I would probably never get this chance again, I should at least try because “Hey, why can’t I stick with them?” and maybe I can learn something from racing an Olympian/badass running legend. I ran right with them from about mile 10.5-ish to mile 12, and it was crazy. Usually when I'm racing with people, I can feel them (and myself) kind of back off on the little rollers and turns, and it's a weird game of who is kicking too early and a lot of back-and-forth. But Joan and Abby were non-stop pressing and steadily cranking it up. I had the thought of, “Trisha said relentless. That's what they're doing. I should go too.” They broke away from me a little at mile 12, but I regained some ground during the last stretch and finished pretty close. Joan greeted me at the end and told me I got her to actually race today knowing that I was right there -- definitely one of the coolest experiences of my running life. I'm A LITTLE frustrated that they bumped me out of the top 3. But I'm OK with it.
Overall, a really good day, and I feel a kind of sense of relief getting to race and run in the way I know how. I was very disappointed and kind of heartbroken after Boston (your newsletter was once again very timely for me), so today just felt really needed. And it was so nice to have fun with it.
This was also almost a 4.5 min CR for me and almost a 45 second PR.