There were several things I did differently this race which I think allowed me to improve my time and be happy with my finish. First of all, I've been training with SacFit since last June and have been running pretty regularly since then. Since I am training for a 50 mile trail race, I've been running lots of hills and much longer distances. So, running 13.1 miles on flat terrain was easier than my long distance trail runs I've become used to running. This race I was so much more well-conditioned than previous half marathons and training with a running group has really helped me reach this goal.
In SacFit most pace groups run intervals. On Saturdays my group runs 6:1 intervals; we run for 6 minutes, walk 1 minute. It might seem a little silly to walk so much during a race, but those short walk breaks really help me keep going and give my muscles and bones time to recuperate from running hard. So, Lauren and I decided to do 8:1 intervals for this race and it worked really well for us.
Additionally, I learned how to hydrate and fuel while running. SacFit has offered several seminars regarding these topics and Fleet Feet Sacramento has given me a lot of advice too. I ended up eating about 100 calories every 4 miles. At mile 4 I ate a citrus Clif gel, at mile 8 I ate three orange Clif shot blocks, and at mile 12 I just ate 1 shot block. I also drank water throughout the entire run, and had a cup of Nuun five times. Compared to last year's complete lack of fuel, this year was a great improvement. Eating every 4 miles and getting my electrolytes from Nuun worked for me. The most important thing about running is do what is best for you, do what works for your own body.
My mom saw us cross the finish line and took Lauren and me out to lunch afterwards. We went to Wicked 'Wich and I had the vegan tree hugger burger again. Delicious!