Look, I know I am not as fast as most of my runner friends out there.
I know that. It doesn't bother me (most of the time). I have accepted my pace for what it is and my running legs have been good to me, relatively injury-free and bringing me much happiness. However, I would be lying if I told you that I didn't care about my race times. I mean, sometimes I don't care about my race times and other times, I do.
I purposely did not share any race goals for today's half marathon because 1)I was afraid of sharing them and failing miserably 2)I almost, kinda did and kinda didn't want to put undue pressure on myself 3)I was fearful of jinxing myself.
Ridiculous I know, but that's where I was.
By not sharing any goals, I was already setting myself up with excuses if I didn't meet those goals that I did not share.
Am I making any sense?
Last night I set out my gear. It was like I was on auto pilot. I have done so many runs and so many races that I don't have to give it a second thought as to what I need- I just begin to pull it all out and set it to the side.
This morning I continued on auto-pilot. In fact, I would say on I was on auto-pilot pretty much until Mile 10-11 of the race.
First few miles were nice and easy. I enjoyed watching the sunrise. The air was crisp and fresh, cool but not too cool. I felt pretty good, keeping my heart rate low. My initial strategy for this race was to keep to my intervals for the first few miles, then lengthen out the intervals for miles 4-6, then a crap shoot or whatever I felt like for the last half.
Let's just say that miles 4-6 have been and will always be my favorite miles. I just love love love those miles. My legs are warmed up, I have take one Gu, my hydration is still spot on and my legs just feel GOOD. During those miles, I feel like I could run forever. Today, during those early middle miles, my pace differently picked up and I was hauling. Silly me...I must have temporarily forgotten that I still had 7 more miles to go after mile 6!
I also promised myself that I was not stopping for ANYTHING- not to stretch, not to go to the bathroom, nor anything else. I am proud to say I did not stop moving the entire time.
Miles 7, 8 and 9 were still good but not as great as 4 5, and 6. I was starting to get tired but still holding it together. Mile 10 was OK and I started wishing for the finish line to hurry up and get here because I was ready to be done. The day had warmed up, the sun was shining in my face and I was sweaty and tired. At this point, I decided that I would keep running as long as I could (just to get the damn thing over with) and only walk if I absolutely needed to. Although my mind was strong, the pain in my knee was stronger and at Mile 11.66, the side cramp I developed was even stronger and then I was really PISSED.
It was more that I saw the finish line off in the distance and I just wanted to be finished with my 13.1 miles as quickly as possible so that I could tend to my side cramp!!!!
So a summary of this race:
1st 7 miles- LOVELY, AWESOME, I can do anything, I can run forever, I am going to sign up for a million races
Last 6 miles- OK, this is getting harder now, when will I be done running, what am I going to have for lunch, this really sucks, damn you side cramp, oh thank god I see the finish line!
Several more things......
1. I PR'd this race.
My last PR was the 3M Half Marathon 2013- time 2:41:11
Today I blew that out of the water.
New PR- 3M Half Marathon 2014- time 2:34:39 (faster by 6:32min)- WOOT WOOT!!!!
2. It really is time for me to stick with a half marathon training plan, or hell, at least pick one to begin with.
Yet once again I *trained* for a half with no real training plan. Basically, I ran 3 times a week and if I had time, I would strength train with yoga thrown in when I was feeling tight. Imagine what I could do if I had a plan? What's that saying- plan your work and work your plan?
3. I think I might need to hook up with her bad-assness herself, the incomparable Steph and have her whip my running butt into shape. She kind of scares me but also, I look up to her. She is awesome. Or join a training group or something organized because obviously, I am not.
4. It's time to retire my current running shoes. I realized too late that I needed a new pair (like a few days prior to the race). That wasn't enough time to break them in. Instead, I cut off the part of my shoe that was flapping on the bottom and ran like that today. Hilarious and I so totally would have been freaking out about this if it has been my first race. I seriously contemplated duct taping the part that was falling off but opted instead for cutting it off. My old shoes could be why my right knee is so sore tonight as my knees typically don't give me problems when I run long.
5. My family meeting me at the finish line was pretty cool. Even more awesome? All of us wearing one of my prior race medals as jewelry for my celebratory lunch!
I am proud of my achievements thus far. I am at peace with my running self- doing the best I can for now. I am proud of MY PR- it's my personal record only to be compared to my previous PR. I stomped the old PR into the ground and came up with a new time to beat.
That is pretty darn awesome, don't you think?