Let’s start at the end. I PR’d my 10th half marathon in a row. I don’t know when this crazy ass streak will end, I’m hoping not anytime soon! I went into this race with no idea of what pace I could maintain or a race plan in general, I figured the day would choose the pace.
I was not tapered or rested in the slightest, this wasn’t a “goal race”, I’ve never done a race this difficult before a half or full marathon, and I’m coming off an injury where training began later than ideal (mid-July). Which is why i didn’t have a goal time in mind. At the last minute I figured I’d think of this as a long tempo workout instead of a race. It definitely helped to take the pressure off.
My tempo workouts (holding a faster-than-goal-pace for X amount of miles) have been in the 7:00-7:35 range, so I wanted to be conservative and try to stay as close to 7:30s as possible and push if anything was left at the end. Unfortunately my Garmin went a little haywire after Mile 1 and I was on my own as far as pacing goes.
Pacing is not a strong suit of mine and as the first miles flashed across my watch– 7:30 (sweet!), 7:07 (shit!), 7:17 (sllloooww down!).. I really tried to run based on feel and effort while still trying to keep as close to the 7:30 pace as I could. After mile 7 I realized just how hard it was going to be to finish the race at this pace for several reasons.
It was warm and muggy . Even in the early morning hours it was close to 80 degrees and SUPER humid. There’s a good article on how humidity affects your running. Basically the more moisture in the air, the hotter your body feels. And I was definitely feeling warm. So much so that I actually felt nauseous at mile 8 until the race was over. There were definite moments of “i’m gonna run against the grass just in case I hurl…” and “this is going to be a funny finishing photo of projectile vomiting.” No joke, it was bad. But obviously that didn’t happen, so yay!
Those were the two things that were physically effecting me. The mental side was a different story. I was coming up with
reasons excuses not to do my best when I felt like giving up because things weren’t going perfectly. It’s a very strange feeling running a race with friends/family/bloggers/coaches looking for you to hit your goals (sometimes this is a great motivator, other times it’s stressful).
So there I was, in the middle of running my “not for a PR, not a goal race” pace and I’m coming up with all these excuses as to why i didn’t PR or do my best BEFORE I was even finished!! I battled with this for a while and finally snapped out of it. Every runner was dealing with the same humid conditions, and every runner came out there to accomplish something. I went out to run a 13 mile tempo–not an 8 mile tempo and a few slogging miles.
I did the best thing I could have done. I shushed my brain and checked in with my body. Legs felt better than fine, arms weren’t tired, and form was good. Why was I being such a wuss!? My mental game hasn’t been the best and to get me out of feeling sorry for myself I started to focus on the big picture. I was injured 4 months ago, and coming back from that was a slow process. I am so fortunate and lucky that I was able to jump right back into a marathon training plan and stick to my fall schedule.
Here’s a secret: i love racing. I love testing the training and seeing improvements. I love running alongside people with similar goal paces. I love crossing the finish line feeling good about myself and the countless hours and miles I put my body through. I get excited each and every time I cross a finish line, look to the sky and think, “what’s next?”
Around this time of self- high-fiving, a girl ran up next to me and said “You look great, you’ve been pacing us for the last 5 miles, are you going for a 1:35:00 too?” I looked at her laughed and said thank you and no i wasn’t shooting for that time, just trying to stay under 1:40:00. But it was just what I needed to give me a boost, stop thinking about puking and keep putting one foot down in front of the other.
Her name was Maria and yes she hit her goal. She inspired the crap out of me that day because I tried keeping her and her pacer in eyesight once they passed me. I’m hoping when Chicago comes I can just keep the time of 3:35 in my head and work at hitting that goal with a smile on my face like Maria.
Minus the pukey feeling from the humidity, i felt really good about this race. This is probably the first time I finished a race smiling in ages, almost cried and wasn’t in pain all day. My legs felt normal. Which means I didn’t demolish myself on the course. I ran a smart race and did what I needed to do to prepare for Chicago.
Tuesday: 5m easy recovery 9:25/pace
Wednesday: 20min back, 10 abs
Thursday: 7m tempo 7:49/pace, 20min legs, 30min core
Friday: 5 easy 8:55/pace, 30min upper body
Sunday: 14m easy 8:16/pace
Total Miles: 31
Anyone else running Chicago?? in 10 days!??!