The bonus was that my friend of many years Helen was running it as well. She promised to run with me. When I told her that running it at 2 hours and 19 minutes would be a personal record for me she simply said, "We can do that." She had not run with me in at least a year and the last race she ran with me was a very long time ago in Myrtle Beach and I may have run in the 2 hour 30 minute range. Maybe.
Boris, my Savannah running partner told me that I should be able to run at least a 2 hour 15 minute race. But he said that last year and I ran a 2 hour 26 minute race. I died at mile 10 because I started out way too fast. That is my nemesis in every race.
This time I ran with a strategy. I would start out slower. We got in the 2 hour 20 minute pace group. That kept us from starting out too fast. We almost got ahead of the group a few times, but we held back. And then around mile 5 we moved on. Helen kept track of our time at every mile. I used to hate that, but realized the necessity and paid attention.
In the end I ran a 2 hour 14 minute and 33 second half. That is my fastest half marathon EVER. Yes, EVER. And I wasn't even tired. I will admit that the last two miles were tough. They were tough because that is the place it always gets tough for me. I must get mental. Hey, it is what it is.
It was a wonderful journey. I thanked Helen first of all, everyone who ran at 4am with me, Boris who listened to to me whine about speed work, and everyone else. Running is a solo event, but it takes many to help reach a goal.