PR is “runner talk” for “personal record”, which means that you finished in your fastest time ever for that distance. And I got one! Yay, good for me, right?! Well, since this was only my second race at this distance, I didn’t really have a whole lot to compete with.
My first half marathon was in April and my time was 2:13:08 (10:09 per mile pace). I did pretty good at keeping up my long distance training going in the 6 months between that are and this one, and even built in some extra strength training to try to lose some extra fat (cuz who wants to lug around extra pounds while they run 13 miles). I stepped up the hill workouts and added “strides” (short little sprints at the end of my easy runs) and “cutdowns” (each mile is a little faster than the one before) to my program. Both of those help train your muscles to perform even when they’re tired.
I did some research about heart rates and realized how important it is to actually do your “easy” pace when the training program tells you to. Here’s my non-scientific description of what I mean: When you’re working your heart at the top of its ability, it’s just working to get the current job done and isn’t necessarily getting any better at doing its job. If you run at a slower pace and let your heart beat in that nice comfortable “training zone”, it’s actually exercising to get more efficient at pumping blood. So the next time you work it hard, it can perform better. Those long, slow runs that seem inefficient are actually specifically designed to work out the most important race-day muscle. So, run sloooooow. Listen to a podcast and focus on your form while you run, and it won’t be so bad.
I stressed a lot about what pace I should shoot for in this race. I knew that I eventually wanted to clock a half marathon in under 2 hours, and I would really love to do it sooner rather than later, since I like to space out my races so much. In the last race, I hadn’t really tried to push myself all too hard, and I wasn’t sure how my dumb old asthma lungs would react to me starting out too fast. In my training, I’d only ever done up to 4 or 5 miles at that 9:09 “race pace”, and I was always exhausted at the end. How could I do it for 13 miles?!
I read some more stuff and just repeated this list to myself whenever doubt crept in:
1. On race day your muscles are rested, not fatigued like they are when you’re doing training runs.
2. Your nutrition situation is always far better on race day.
3. You’re not as worried about injuring yourself.
4. The adrenaline kicks in and the cheering fans with motivational posters help speed you up.
Ultimately, I decided to follow this formula, using my recent magic mile time:
Here’s a link to the website: http://www.jeffgalloway.com/training/magic-mile/
And I made a pace band, to help me know when to go what speed and to quickly check my progress during the race (and save all my mental energy for things other than math!)
This website has a bunch of options for customizing your band based on the course elevation, your “strategy” and goal time: http://www.races2remember.com/PaceBandsInfo.php?sh=1
This was my timeline for nutrition:
2-3 days before: cut out soda (yikes!) and junk food (yikes again!), lots of water, swap complex carbs for simple carbs
15ish hours before race start time: carby dinner that always settles well
2 hours before: breakfast (bagel w/PB on it)
1 hour before: half of a clif bar
5 mins before: pouch of gu
During race: a swig of water every 2ish miles
45 minutes into race: 3 clif blocks (gummies)
1 hour 30 mins into race: 3 clif blocks (gummies)
After the race: whatever the eff I want!!!!!!! (But obviously IHOP)
Here’s my hand-crafted playlist for the race: (Slower songs towards the beginning, “cue” song to tell me its time to speed up, then my favorite, speed-inducing songs to finish it off.)
Training HITS <– That’s where you can scope it out.
Here’s me and Cam at the starting line:
The actual course for the race was fun! It started just outside the Bricktown Ballpark and we ran to the boathouse district, then did 6 miles along the north side of the Oklahoma river, 6 miles back along the south side of the river, with a view of downtown and the Devon tower most of the way. Then the route took us back downtown, down into the ballpark. The course finished with us running around the outfield and the announcer cheered us on by name over the PA system. Then we crossed the finish line behind home plate and got to greet our cheering fans:
And here’s how I did on my 2-hour goal:
And all my mile splits:
And the results:
Overall 66th out of 276
Females age 25-29: 5th out of 32
Here’s a link to all of the results: http://www.hitsrunning.com/oklahoma-city-ok-results
Since I beat my sub two hour half marathon goal, why not share my future running goals? I don’t really know when or how these will be accomplished, and I don’t really care, because it’s always fun to have something more to work toward:
-run a full marathon (OKC Memorial in April, anyone?)
-place in a race (tiny, poorly attended races, here I come!)
-beat my 5k time (I’m not sure by how much yet. Nike+ says my fastest so far was: 26:20, so at least faster than that!)
I’ve got quite a few triathlon goals too, but I think I’d need a bike (and a training buddy) for those, so I’m pushing those back till a little later. For now, I’ll just enjoy having three rest days in a row and spend my gym time concocting a new training plan.