I can't stress how much I loved that this race started basically where I start all my runs. I was able to somewhat casually walk to the start line and get there about 15 minutes before the race started. I say somewhat casually since I still get pre-race jitters sometimes. I still don't have a solution for settling my stomach, but I've made do so far. Anyways, back to the race... It was definitely chilly out, though it didn't seem as bad as the weather forecast made it out to be. There was no snow, and the wind hadn't picked up yet. It was still in the low 30s and a windchill in the 20s though.
So my plan for the race was to just take it easy and cruise through it. I didn't want to waste energy chasing a PR since A. my longest training run was 9 miles and B. my parents would be arriving in town shortly after the race. I settle into the back of the 8:00 pace corral, just ahead of the 9:00 group. I figure I'd go out and see what happens. the 1:55 pacers got into the corral just ahead of me and I figured I'd be ok lagging behind them a bit. Once the race started I kept about 20-30 yards behind the 1:55 pacers and actually felt pretty good. I decided to keep pace as long as things felt comfortable.
It wasn't long before I had ideas of breaking my plan to run easy. I resisted temptation to break loose and see what I could do. I've noticed in training lately that I've become stronger a few miles into my run and this held true today. By the 6 mile mark I was right on the heels of the pacers and still feeling really strong. I decided to stick with them with plans to break off if I still felt strong at the 10 mile mark. When I hit mile 8 I started thinking that was a bad idea. I was still keeping pace, but now felt like my tank was emptying. I managed to get some gatorade at the next water station, and I guess that was enough of a boost. I felt great again by mile 10. One of the pacers started going a little ahead of pace and there was a few of us with him going strong. The other 2 pacers told him to take us in for a good finish. I kept with him, 2 other girls, and another guy for about a mile before I sped up some more, keeping up with the 2 girls. There was a last hydration station and after that I was off... one of the girls bolted, and I had no chance of catching her. The other girl she left behind, and I lost everyone else in the group so I ran on my own the last mile and a half. This is the first half I've ever done a negative split, and I do mean negative... its the first half that I've run any mile at a sub 8:00 pace, let alone the last mile. I went in hoping for 2:00-2:10, nice and easy... well I finished in 1:52:47, a new PR by 2:20, and I really only pushed myself the last couple miles.