The theme of my Des Moines Half experience (2:00:20, to boast once more) was doing everything right.
When I told people my goals, their responses were either "Oh, you can totally do that" or "I think you'll do even better than that."
But previous races have shown me that executing my part of the plan isn't a given — nor is the continuation of the weather conditions that I've trained in.
That wasn't so Sunday. While it was cooler than the majority of my training, it was just about identical to the taper runs I'd done over the past week.
First good move: fighting off the paranoia about being too cold and trusting (correctly) that I'd warm up enough to appreciate a T-shirt and shorts.
I must've tapered properly, because the only body part that demanded "why are we running?" was my brain. My legs felt fresh and fluid, and I definitely did not get the sense early on that it wasn't going to be my day.
I feared starting off too fast and burning myself out. So once we got started — and wow was this a big race; I think it took about three minutes to cross the starting line — I kept an eagle eye on my phone until I settled into a comfortable pace.
Mission accomplished. MapMyRun says the first mile was my slowest, and it also says I stayed within a 40-second range.
Throughout the race, I mostly trusted my body. I've never taken so few water breaks during a half marathon, but I just wasn't thirsty, and I also really didn't want to stop and break my stride. I did have water around the halfway point, because I'd taken my gel, but that was it.
I've also never taken so few walk breaks. Again, I was in the zone and didn't want to leave it. There were times when I wanted to, but my practice telling myself "you got this" paid off.
The bargaining method ("you can walk at mile 10") worked even better than during training — as other runners have observed, once I reached whatever marker, I actually felt fine and just kept going.
On the converse side, I felt queasy twice. The first time was after the only hill in the half marathon, and after I passed some AWESOME friends who showed up to cheer me on with a sign; the second time was within sight of the finish line.
I let myself walk both times — embarrassing during the second time — and the nausea subsided.
Finally, to wrap this up, my post-race activities were mostly spot-on. I got the massage as soon as possible; I didn't go completely sedentary, but I didn't stay on my feet the entire time; I hit up a hot tub later in the day; and I went to bed at 9:30 p.m.
In conclusion? ALL GOALS ACCOMPLISHED.