I love race day. There is always the chance that SOMETHING amazing can happen. Everything seems possible in your mind’s eye. You are hyping yourself up and getting ready to put your plan int o action. For me, the plan was to hold 7:30 at the Giant Race on Sunday for the first 10 miles and see if I could FLY HOME to a half marathon PR. It was an ambitious goal since I don’t regularly do speedwork, but if everything went according to plan, it was possible.
Let’s get ready to RACE!
I arrived at the stadium early… arriving for plenty of time to stretch, use the potty, do a couple of strides to make sure the legs were ready to go. I talked with a couple of friends at the start and exchanged in well wishes and good vibes. It seemed like everyone was excited. The weather seemed almost perfect, overcast with a slight chill. The orange and black PRO Compression socks were fun to wear and I saw a lot of other people wearing MLB eye black… and almost everyone was in some form of Giants gear.
Mile 1: 7:13
Mile 2: 7:24
Mile 3: 7:24
Mile 4: 7:48 (hills)
Mile 5: 7:30
Look at that… I knew the first mile felt a little fast. Not by much, but I knew I went out of the gate a little quickly… but after a half mile or so, I calmed myself down to settle into a nice pace. Mile 4 had a section of 3 separate inclines with straight-aways in between. I made the conscious effort not to “storm” the hill and keep my pace, but to slow down and keep my stride short and consistent to climb steadily. It was probably the best decision I made all day.
Mile 6: 7:29
Mile 7: 7:25
Mile 8: 7:22
Mile 9: 7:21
Mile 10: 7:59 (hills)
I’m looking at these numbers and I can’t believe it. When I’m running, I don’t pay much attention to how fast EACH mile is run, I look at it more of a consistent check-in every few miles. I did the math and for a 7:30 pace, each EVEN number is 15 minutes. So mile 2 is 15 mins., mile 4 is 30 mins., etc. I kept looking at my watch surprised that I was still on pace. I was tired… I knew that I had been pushing it, but felt really consistent. I had found a nice rhythm and was running “in the moment.” Mile 10 was a pretty good climb and, again, I made the conscious effort to slow down the pace. There was also a steep decline right after the UP and running DOWN hill is not my strong suit, so again, I kept it at a comfortable pace.
Mile 11: 7:35
Mile 12: 7:22
Mile 13: 7:05
13.1 miles: 1:38:05
My half marathon PR is 1:37:54… I missed it by 9 seconds, 10 to beat it. I’ve never been that close to a missing a PR, typically missing or beating it by minutes. I always wondered what it felt like and now I know. It doesn’t actually feel as bad as I thought it would. Probably because it was just a goal and not a BQ (that might make me cry). I guess because my ultimate goal was to come in around 1:35-36 it doesn’t feel as bad. But to think, if I had run a each mile a half of a second faster, then I would have PR’d — CRAZY!
Where I Missed It
I thought that when I looked at the numbers, miles 7-9 might have been the culprits, but I’m surprised that those were strong. Actually, the whole-darn race was pretty consistent. If you take away the miles with hills, I range from 7:05-7:35 — my target pace. But I’m looking RIGHT at mile 11. That’s where it happened. I remember hitting mile 10 and thinking “okay, now is the time to drop the hammer,” but I didn’t have it. I knew that if I picked up the pace at mile 11, I would be toast after mile 12… I decided to keep the pace and pick it up for mile 12 and 13. In doing so, I must have slowed down “too much.” I lost focus for a single mile and was THINKING about it too much. Is it gonna happen? Do I have it? Lost in my mind. If mile 11 was 10 seconds faster, closer to the 7:25 pace I had been keeping, THERE is the PR. I ran mile 13 as fast as I could, I’m surprised it wasn’t a sub-7, but I know that I was “willing” that pace to happen. I knew that I had a matter of seconds if the PR was going to happen. At mile 12, I looked at my watch and it was around 1:30 — and I thought: MAYBE.
But I am so freaking happy with the time. I was nowhere near sub 1:35, which is my ultimate goal for RnR Philly, but keeping an average pace of sub 7:30 is a HUGE confidence builder. I’m now really excited for Philly in two weeks. It’s a flat course and if I run the same race, I have confidence that there will be more energy for the last couple miles. Confidence is high with REAL results to point to… something that has been lacking this year. THIS is why I LOVE to race and race OFTEN.
Do you love the magic of race day?