Welp, not much to say about this race….
It was perfect.
My primary goal for this race was to PR. A half marathon PR is one of my stated 2013 goals and also serves as a long-awaited redemption run. I trained long and hard for my first half marathon only to have a miserable, disappointing experience. I was stressed and unhappy throughout. Ultimately my time didn’t reflect my effort because I added a TON of distance (like a goddamned half mile!) by running the tangents poorly. I intended to learn from that and correct it. I wanted a very different experience this time around.
After having a truly joyful run earlier in the week, I had an additional goal for Summer Breeze:
I committed to only positive thoughts beginning the day before. I used a pace calculator online that allowed me to create a negative split, which I love from both a physical and psychological perspective. I feel much more in control if I know that I’m holding back energy for later. I spent some time the evening before thinking about how comfortable that pace would be in the early miles and that I’m fully equipped to execute my race strategy. My intended pace was not a challenging one so I just kept reminding myself that if I wanted that PR, it was mine. It still wouldn’t be “easy” but it was achievable without a doubt.
Woke up race morning feeling great! Had successful bathroom time. It sounds silly but once that happens, I know I’m going to be okay. It’s necessary! And yes, I congratulated myself.
Went to the race. Found perfect parking. It was like 60 degrees and overcast. The race shirt is hella cute.
Perfect, perfect, perfect.
Met up with my new buddy Jessica who was running the 10k. It was her first race since her frickin’ frackin’ Ironman debut. So awesome!
As I began to run, I stayed slooooow and allowed everyone to surge past me. No, it doesn’t feel great when that happens but it affirmed that I was running my race according to my plan. I knew I wouldn’t be last and figured that maaaaaybe I would pass a few of those folks on the way back. Not that it matters. Yeah right. 😀 It always takes a couple minutes for my Garmin pace to settle and once it did, I was right on target.
Perfect. And I told myself so. And I smiled.
As I warmed up, I kept a close eye on my watch. Rather than feeling concerned and stressed, it was a constant reminder that I was on target and making smart choices.
So, I just did that for the first 6 miles. In the moments where I felt bored, I acknowledged that as the reality of endurance running and shifted to another thought. When I felt a little tired, I didn’t panic about what that meant for the next 7 miles, I just again acknowledged it as a reality of running a half marathon and focused on something else. Occasionally, I saw paces that I wanted to save for the second half of the race. When I did, I congratulated myself for being strong and fit and dialed it back.
The turnaround is my second favorite part of any run. This course was a long out and back along the San Leandro/Hayward shoreline so the turnaround felt supersweet. I brought a handheld water bottle and drank whenever I felt thirsty and took a bolt chew every three miles. Enough to sustain me and know that I had fuel to burn but not enough to risk sloshy tummy. More perfect!
For miles 7-10, I allowed myself to run the pace I’d wanted to run for the first half. Not pushing, not pulling. It was more tiring, obviously, so it was time to amp up the positive thoughts. I had cut straight across every curve and my Garmin was buzzing with every mile marker. YES. My legs and heart felt great. YES. Each wooden bridge felt like a brief foot massage. YES, YES, YES!
I held off on music until around mile 7. Once all my pop buddies joined me, I felt like they took on some of the effort. Welcome, Britney. And thank you!
When I hit double digits, it was time to tap into all that strategically reserved energy. I focused on running lightly and turning my legs over more quickly. I didn’t want to blow that energy too quickly so I pushed a bit until mile 12 when I gave it all I had. With the finish line about a quarter mile away, I turned it on.
Official time: 2:10:07
* * * Previous PR: 2:16:45 * * *
CAN I GET A BOOOOOOOYAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Jessica was so sweet to wait for me to come in after she got second in her AG!!! Runner women are wonderful. We chatted briefly but I actually had to race home, shower, foam roll and get in the car to go to work 1.5 hours away! Not ideal but many hours later, I got my celebratory deep dish.
I didn’t feel anything like last year. When I finished, I wanted water but wasn’t nauseous. My body actually felt good! I was just HAPPY. Clearly from the kick I had at the finish and the relative ease of the race, I have a much faster half marathon in me. I look forward to working towards that. Today was about executing my race plan, my way and I did.