Monday, September 30, 2013

Doing it and doing it right: A half marathon game changer

The ninth time just might be the charm. Or, it could be the sixth. Better yet, let's try the fourth.


On Saturday, I ran my ninth half marathon - my sixth since having Miles and the fourth this year. I crossed the line in a time of 1:58:56, only the second time I've broken the 2-hour barrier (the first was at the same race 3 years ago). 

I can go on an on about how I was worried about whether I could break the mark, especially with the challenges I've had this past month, but I won't do that. Actually, I have done it and I'm not going down that road again. I'm also not going to write a straight recap of the race - I did that for my work blog and you can read it here.

Rather, I'm going to do something novel. Something novel for me. I am going to tell you the things I did right to help me reach my goal - even if it wasn't my "A" goal or a PR.

1. I started out positive. While I didn't visualize a time on the clock or try to create a light, airy feeling, I told myself that I was going to have a good race. I was going to run a strong race. I was going to have a fun race. Every time the nerves would slip in, I would remind myself that it was going to be a great race because it always is. The moment I did slip up, my running guru told me that the mileage I've been running would help plus I had cute hair. Cute hair = good race.

By the way, this guru ran a PR 1:17 half and went onto have an emergency appendectomy that day. Rock. Star.

2. I came up with a strategy, really a mantra, and stuck to it. Run smart. Run strong. Run with heart. I reminded myself of it an annoying number of times throughout the race but it worked. It reined me in when the pace crept faster, pushed me when I wanted to slow and kept me going when just finishing seems like a better idea. The times it didn't work, I repeated some affirmations from a video my Hood to Coast teammate, Devon, posted on her blog.


Why, yes, I am a mermaid.

3. I didn't lose faith. I left the 2-hour pacers just after mile 2 and thought that I might stay ahead of them the whole race. It was at mile 10, where I was walking through the water stop, where they passed me. I caught up with them and said hi as I ran with a few of them last week. I pledged that no matter how far ahead I thought I was or how much I might have slowed that it wouldn't get to me and I would keep them in my sights for the rest of the race. There were times when it was difficult but I repeated my mantra and tried to zero in.

4. While I thought I had slowed - and Mark had later told me that he was worried that I had, I didn't. Not really. I crossed the mat at 5 miles with a pace of 9:04; from miles 5 to 10, it was 9:05. The last 5K, I ran a 9:02 pace. I have never ran this even, not that I can think of but I'm not surprised. I didn't focus on pace obsessively but I kept a mental note of lap paces to make sure that I wasn't slowing down or going to fast time. You bank energy, not time.

5. It probably goes without saying but I stayed focused and positive. 

Told you it was novel.

19 comments:

  1. Great job on the sub-2:00. I dream of doing that one day. I have a good 15 min to shave off, but one day!

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  2. Great job! What a great day for a sub 2:00 run. By the way , you did have cute hair. Loved the braid!

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  3. Way to go, Mermaid! I will totally yell that IF I see you at Vet's, you speedy lady. I told my coach next time he wants to yell encouragement at the end of a race, I respond much better to "Unicorns and glitter!" than I do to form reminders like "Pump your arms"!

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    1. GAH! You are awesome. I will pee my pants if you do that! Maybe I'll dress like Rainbow Brite to help you aspire to unicorns and glitter ;)

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  4. Awesome awesome awesome! Especially that you got to try this before Veterans!!!

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  5. Great job but I'm still sorry that I missed seeing you!!

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    1. You, too! I should have looked harder at the start. Another time, for sure.

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  6. YAY! So excited for you! What a great boost for you as you finish up your marathon training!

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    1. Thanks! I hope your ankle/knee(?) is feeling better.

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  7. Your arms look AMAZING in that picture. Great job on the sub 2. I am inspired!

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  8. Love!! Great job, girl! Thanks for sharing your thoughts...it's a goal of mine to break 2 hours in a half (I'm at 2:01 currently)...so close! Congratulations, I'm excited for you!

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    1. Thanks! You are running so well. I'm sure that goal will be smashed soon enough.

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  9. Congratulations on your race! Very inspiring to hear what you did right. And your guru was right -- your hair is VERY cute!

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    1. Thanks so much! I'm pretty sure I'm braiding my hair for every race (while it's long enough to braid).

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  10. awesome!! you go!! love the positive attitude and paying attn to important things like cute hair. btw, your biceps are unbelievable!! wow!

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  11. This is a great post!! I love it! I love hearing stories about being positive. They always turn out so well!! Congrats on the sub 2!

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