I love training races! They are horrible because you go in un-tapered, un-rested, un-prepared and un-expectant of anything spectacular.. sounds awful, but running a race during a training cycle helps prepare you for the physical & mental demands of racing hard. And the big reason to race before your ‘A’ race is to see where your current fitness is! I recover quickly from halfs, so i wanted to squeeze one in before the big day (NOV 7th!) to practice racing.
The most recent half I ran was for fun during an injury period (Delaware 1/2). The last real time I raced a half was almost a year ago in Philly with a PR of 1:39:25. Considering that was a flat course and the Parks 1/2 was a hilly course, I feel i’m in similar shape that I was last year, which is a great thing & a huge boost!
I still have 7 weeks of solid training before tapering, so as long as I stay healthy I should be able to PR come November. Now, I really want that sub 1:30 time. However, after sunday’s race, I think a sub 1:35 is much more attainable. Not gonna sell myself short, I’m still aiming for the stars, but staying healthy & consistent is priority #1. Always!
On to the recap! I looooove small races. The field was 2,700 on familiar trail systems and the start line was 8 miles from my house. Can’t beat that. (Or the sweet Brooks long sleeved tech shirt). It’s an inexpensive entry fee (i think i paid $65 and that was the late entry), with a ton of cool swag, and the volunteers and people in charge were super friendly and easy to find.
shirt, headband, wine stopper medal!
I kept my mind off of the race until the morning of–I honestly didn’t have a measure on how I should run the race. Last year I focused on the marathon, this spring it was the 5k, and an unexpected injury. I just started adding in speed work about 3 weeks ago..plus I just took a vacation where I only ran twice! What kind of pace does that equate to? No idea. I thought a 7:30-7:45 pace would be difficult, yet conservative, so I wouldn’t hit a wall. If I hit 7:30s I could potentially PR, if it was closer to 7:40s it would be a solid effort I could be extremely proud of. That was my game plan. Do something to be proud of and figure out how much work is left for November.
During the race itself, i didn’t have a lot of inner dialogue going. I was focused. That would be the best word for the race. Focus. I think I had 2 negative, oh-my-god-i’m-dying, thoughts, and each time it happened I focused on the time 1:30 & plastered a probably insane looking smile on my face, which ended up working and eliminated the negative thoughts like a charm.
2015 Parks Half Marathon – Photo by Alex Reichmann, MCRRC
For almost the entire 2nd half of the race I followed 3 dudes in front of me who were running similar paces. They don’t know it, but they helped me when the hurt set in. I wish I could thank them, but I lost them after I crossed the finish. All I can say is, it feels awesome running with the boys.
The last 4 miles were hard. I worked HARD for those last 4. I usually walk a little towards the end of these races and lose a lot of time, so I only let myself stop at water stations. I finished as the 38th women with 1:40:02 (7:38/pace) and 12/175 for my age group. I felt generally good the whole race and my mental game is getting stronger than it’s ever been.
And this picture is for my runner friend Emmeline, who always thinks my race pics are beautiful. This is what it looks like to sprint down the chute. Emmeline, you are welcome.
2015 Parks Half Marathon – Photo by Dan Reichmann, MCRRC
The finishing chute was short & sweet: medals, cups of water, winter head bands & a tent to check your official finishing time. Mama Lucia’s provided a huge breakfast–eggs, potatoes, bagels, pizza, fruit… too much food for me after a hard run. I grabbed a watermelon slice and some water and headed back home so I could shower and get brunch.
I ate at brunch at Matchbox and I got eggs benedict with potatoes.. so good!
Then, as per usual, I did something fun in the evening—> Death Cab for Cutie concert!
I’m so excited to see how the next 7 weeks of training unfolds, time to grind it out!
Monday: 10m long 8:45/pace
Wednesday: 6m Goal 1/2 Marathon Pace workout (2m warmup, 3 GMP @ 6:58/pace, 1m cool down)
Thursday: 20 minTRX upper body
Friday: 7m interval (10 x 400s @ 6:15/pace)
Sunday: Parks Half 13.1 race 7:38/pace
Total Miles: 35.1 (seems high, only because I pushed my 10mile long run to monday!)