After my husband and I finished the Franklin Classic on September 2nd, we decided to sign-up for the YMCA Harvest Half Marathon in Brentwood, TN (his first half) on November 2nd! We took a week off to recover and then began our training. We started with our longest weekend run at 6 miles and then did somewhere between 6-10ish miles during the week split between two runs - one was normally easy and the other was a tempo run. We finished with our longest run at 11 miles and then tapered the week before the race. We both felt physically ready except that my stomach was not doing so well during the week so that was causing a lot of anxiety for me. I ended up listening to a podcast on mental strength to help take my mind off of it and it was very helpful. Luckily my stomach was okay the day of the race but it did lead to me not fueling properly and not feeling well the night after the race BUT the race itself was wonderful!
We picked up our race packets the night before (love the shirts!) and then went to the Franklin Art Scene for a bit with a friend before coming home and relaxing and preparing for the next morning. The morning of the race we woke up and felt good! It was cold (28 degrees) but I enjoy running in the cold and did a practice run the morning before in the same temperature so I felt prepared with what I was going to wear (long tights + long sleeve shirt + Team Beef shirt) and it ended up being perfect. I didn't get too cold or too hot. We did about a 1/2 mile warm-up which helped ease my race anxiety, went inside the Y for a bit and then came out to line up and get started! By that time I was excited and ready to go.
They started the race by doing a little mindset/visualization exercise which I loved! I think all races should do that to help ease the pre-race jitters! Most people know that they have trained and are physically prepared for their race but it is the mind that gets in the way. Your self concept is only limited by what you think you can do. I kept that in mind during the times it got tough!
The path for the 13.1 miles was along the Brentwood Parks Trail System + an area of the trails that I had never been to before (the hilliest portion that I didn't know existed). It was a beautiful course! The first 4 miles were small rolling hills along the paved path, under the trees, beside the river, by some farmland and train tracks and through some tunnels and eventually out across Wilson Pike. The next 2.5 miles took us by Ravenwood High School and up Raintree Parkway before turning back around at the halfway point. Those 5 miles on Raintree Parkway had an elevation gain of about 400 ft vs the rest of the 8 miles at 300 ft, so those 5 miles were tough!
I ended up wearing my hydration pack so I could drink water whenever I wanted and not have to worry about a water stop...plus it was a convenient way to hold my fuel source - apple/banana baby food pouches. I like to try and stick with real foods as fuel and those are always so gentle on my stomach, they are perfect! I decided to bring 3 so I ended up having them at miles 3.5, 7 and 10. I look forward to them and they help me physically and mentally to keep going.
During some of the harder parts of the race I decided to dedicate that specific mile to someone I love and think about them throughout that mile to help me to keep going and send them good vibes as well. I usually resort to that as well as pretending I just started running for my mental tricks. For example: I will tell myself I am fresh and at the beginning of a 3 mile run (once I get to 10 miles) to help me chunk the race into smaller, easier to manage pieces. I specifically remember who/what I thought of for the different miles of the race so thank you to everyone who helped me get through :) Mile 5 - Josh (how much I love him and am proud of him for being out there running as well and hoping he was feeling great), Miles 6 & 7 - for those suffering from cancer or any ailment that prohibits them from running + the feeling of being thankful and gracious that I am able to do it even though it feels so hard, Mile 8 - Mom and Dad, Mile 9 - my sisters Lisa and Kelly (and her family), Mile 10 - my dogs Lola and Penny (here I also imagined how great it would be to soon cuddle up with them on the couch once I finished), Mile 11 - in memory of my Nana + feeling grateful for my uncle Paul's health, Mile 12 - me (I remembered my training, what I have been through this year and reminded myself that I am strong and powerful and capable of anything I set my mind to).
I normally also try to talk to people along the way but I never really was running right beside anyone. I talked to a few people briefly and also want to thank the 3 people who helped me pull my fuel pouches out from my bag because it was hard for my arms to reach! I also appreciate all of the support along the route from volunteers and the officers helping with the traffic!
Although I had been training for the race I hadn't been pushing myself super hard because of some things that were going on but I still knew I was trained and could do well as long as I stayed in the game mentally. I had been doing my longer training runs around a little less than 9 minute/mile pace so I knew I could at least do that. My only goal was to stay in front of the 9 minute/mile pacer. I settled into a good pace from the start and hung in there for the first half with only one mile (the biggest hill) being a little over 9 minute miles. Once I started heading back at the halfway point though I started picking up speed. Then once I got to mile 9 and I knew the biggest hills were behind me, I really started kicking it into gear. This was where I started to pass a lot of people up that were starting to slow down. I finished my last mile at 7:59 and felt good and strong!
I ended up with a time of 1:55:18, came in 5th out of 22 women ages 30-34, 22nd out of 144 women overall, and 63rd out of 255 total at a 8:48 minute/mile pace. Josh did AMAZING! I kept getting a glance of him in front of me and I am so proud of him for doing (and actually enjoying) his first half marathon! He finished in 1:52:42!
We stayed around for a bit before heading back home to relax with the dogs :)
I recommend this race to anyone who wants a bit of a challenge (hills) plus a beautiful and scenic course!
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I am a food loving, activity seeking health coach who resides in Franklin, TN with my husband and two sweet dogs (Lola & Penny).
I believe everyone should eat balanced and not cut food groups if you don't medically need to. All foods can fit in a healthy diet. Unfortunately, I have to avoid gluten and also limit myself with dairy, so my goal is to provide healthy, gluten-free/dairy-free recipes so EVERYONE can enjoy all foods, even if you do have to cut out certain food groups. My recipes are encouraged for everyone to eat, not just for those with sensitivities/allergies! Most of my recipes can be easily converted by using real dairy and whole-wheat in place of my allergy-free substitutes.
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