My amazing friend, fellow blogger and runner Ari talks about a day in her life when the stars aligned and she had the race of her life. I always wondered what that would feel like….until yesterday.
My finish times of my first two half marathons (1st and 2nd), were nothing to write home about. Going into yesterday’s race, my PR for 13.1 miles was 2:27:48. During those two races, I had “F-it” moments right in the middle of both of them. I still finished, because I’m not one to DNF unless I’m truly injured-but I gave up on my goal time during both races. I have come SO far since then! I knew I had more potential than my official race times have shown.
Yesterday, I woke up, had come coffee, a Clif Bar and a banana, then shaved my legs (can’t sleep with prickly pear legs, and didn’t want to run with them either!) Then, I headed over to my running partner-in-crime Devin’s to ride up to Scottsdale for the Fiesta Bowl Half Marathon.
Parking was a mess, but we managed to park. The porta potty lines were ridiculous, because there were like 5 of them for the entire marathon, but we went. We met Megan in line, then headed over to the starting line. Then, we started 5 minutes after the official start because we thought they were calling last call to line up! Oopsie!! They were calling last call to start running!! So we jogged up to the starting line, made it over the blue mat, and were off!
Coach Susan sent all of the BTB team members an email helping us to prepare for the race. The most noteworthy aspect of the email to me was when she talked about strategies for the race. She suggested segmenting the race up into a “5-5-5.” First 5 miles, second 5 miles, then a 5K. The first 5 miles were to be taken a little bit slower than goal race pace. The second 5 were to be around goal race pace. The last 5K could be run at goal pace, or could be pushed faster if possible. I also got a race pace bracelet with splits for a goal finish time of 2:15 to help along the way.
Devin, Megan and I started together, and I purposely held back to align myself with coach Loken’s strategy. The first 5 miles were at or around 10 minute miles. I felt really good from the beginning. Throughout the race, my physical feelings were up and down just like my mental ones were. I went into the race with the attitude of “this is going to happen,” as in my goal finish time. Susan always says that anything can happen if you just believe. I truly believe that now. More on the mental aspect later. During the times when I got a little bit tired. I would just tell myself that it will be up and down the whole race. I would feel better in a little bit, and just focus on the mile I am on. It totally worked out that way!
The second 5 miles gradually increased in pace as we went. Sometimes, I didn’t even feel like I was going as fast as I was! Devin continuously paced himself a little bit ahead of me. I assumed he was pushing me, and he was! I am grateful for his efforts to help me meet my goal! It worked, didn’t it!? The second half of the course was mostly on a path that allowed us to go under all of the roads. It added small uphills and downhills to the course making it interesting. When I got to mile 11.5-12, I really started pushing the pace. Devin suggested that when we get to the last quarter mile, we should crank up the pace and finish strong. I told him that we were already running in the 8’s (mind you, like 8:55!!) and that I was more of a “last tenth of a mile” kinda girl, lol! I was definitely trying to be comfortable and tactful being uncomfortable at that point! I looked at the time on my Garmin and knew that there was a chance of breaking not only 2:10, but possibly finishing within a 2:08. As we rounded the corner to the finish line and it was looking pretty close, I took off. It’s like I turned on reserve rocket boosters! The combination of the crowd cheering and the potential finish time were my motivations! I have never felt so amazing crossing a finish line in my life!! Here are the splits laid out in detail:
I have struggled with my mental game when it comes to running for a long time. Coach Loken suggested I read a book called “Running Within.” I am still in the process of reading it, but so far, I really like it. Our bodies try to signal fatigue way before we are actually at the physical point of it. We can push ourselves much further than we realize. It takes practice to find out what our bodies are actually capable of, and to get used to feeling comfortable being uncomfortable while running. Obviously, we want to be aware that we should only push ourselves so far, as to not cause injury or physical harm to ourselves. It is just a matter of getting to know our own bodies. Do what you feel comfortable with, and obviously consult a doctor before starting to train for any kind of race if you are new to the game. That is my medical professional disclaimer, lol!
Anyway, coach Susan’s firm belief that you can accomplish anything if you believe has become truth to me. Going into the race with the attitude that what I want to happen IS going to happen was one of the things that kept me going throughout the race. The book talks about visualization as a tool for success. I visualized myself crossing the finish line at 2:10 (even though I set out to get 2:15), and didn’t even entertain the option of it not happening. It worked. I am grateful!
I can’t thank Susan enough for her amazing coaching and race preparation strategies! She is amazing, and I am proud to be a member of Believe Train Become, or BTB, and have her as my coach! I am also so thankful to Devin for making sure I met my goal, even though I didn’t outright express that I was going for 2:10. He kept pace to finish at or before 2:10, and ran with me the whole time even though he could’ve smoked past me from the start! What an amazing friend!!
So I finished the half marathon in 2:08:45, with a PR of 19 minutes and 3 seconds!! BTB came in second overall as a team! Susan came in second and Carrie Weldy third of the women! How amazing!!!!
I’m definitely getting this one engraved!
Best. Race. Ever.
What is your best race ever?? What is the largest time by which you’ve PR’d? Have you ever felt like you just can’t get your shit together and run a race up to your full potential!? Leave me some love below!!!