And this has not always been the case. Most of you know me as a runner. You didn't know that I would run around the block, feel miserable, give up, quit, try again a few months later, repeat. I thought I couldn't do it. It just wasn't in me. I wasn't a runner, I was never going to be a runner like my dad. I watched him run, race, I tried on his medals. I wanted to be a runner, but I couldn't do it.
Luckily, life surprises you. Luckily, I am willing to try again.
I started running with DH in March/April 2011. We would run a 1 mile loop around our neighborhood. And it was HARD. But I didn't give up and it got easier. And then I ran a 5K and discovered the energy of racing.
HM 1: 10/11 in 1:55
HM 2: 3/12 in 2:00
HM 3: 5/12 in 1:54
Add in several 10 milers, a full marathon, some triathlons and a mud run.
Yesterday was the same race as last March's 2:00. That day was horrible. It was 75 degrees which is crazy hot for March in MN. Bad race. I was super disappointed in myself. It was a mental blow as I was in the middle of marathon training. This year, number 1 goal was to beat last year's time and to have fun and feel strong at the finish.
Of course I also wanted to PR. I tried to be realistic. I have not given training 100%. But I also know what I'm capable of. 1:52 was my goal. 8:32 pace. All week I chanted to myself 8:32, 8:32, 8:32.
Then winter happened. Oh, Minnesota, how I love you. 75 last year. Freezing snow and rain and sleet and ice all mixed in on Friday. Forecast is 10 for 8 am, start time. TEN degrees and icy roads. I kinda panicked. When I calm down I realize that even in that weather, I can still beat last year's time. I'm telling myself 1:59. (Yeah right, I'm still whispering 8:32s in my sleep).
Saturday morning I wake up and it is a glorious 20 degrees. It's windy. It's cold. But it isn't 10 and snowing. Thank you weather lords! I take back all the horrible swear words I said last night!!
And it was cold. I lined up right in front of the 9:00 mm pacer. It's strange to run a race for the second time. I kept getting flashes of a year ago and how I felt. I started too fast and was spent by mile 5. This year I got my little app announcement at mile 1: "8:52." Perfect. I wanted to start with a 9mm warm up. Mile 2: "8:32" ha! That's my time. Now just run.
This was the best I've ever done with really listening to my body. Listening to my breathing. Slowing down when I needed to and keeping a steady pace. At mile 5 I felt great. Goal met!
It's an out and back course. Around mile 6 the leader came by and this is incredible to see. He was WAY out in front. I saw one my my running girls, which gave me a boost. Somehow I missed DH. Eventually I told myself to stop looking for people and to focus on myself.
Felt great at the turn around. Time to pick it up. Goal #2 was a negative split. Tough goal on this course since the first half is downhill, which means the second half was a fair amount of uphill.
And then it was icy. What the heck? We were on the exact same road. It was sanded and salted pretty well. But now I was definitely slipping. And I could feel that I had to work harder to keep my footing. Couldn't keep up the same cadence. And harder to pass people.
Just keep running. Keep your pace on the hills. My dad taught me this simple trick to use when you're struggling: With every step say, :"toe, toe, toe." You automatically think about your feet and engage your whole body to push off that big toe. Thank you Dad. That one worked.
The sun was shining. I felt good. I said a prayer of thanks for my health. I like to take a moment to think about all the people who can't run. How lucky I am. I am strong and healthy and this is what I do for fun. And so do 4,000 other people in my city! How cool is that?
I use mapmyrun, which is not the greatest running app, but it's free. The GPS is always a little off and the pace is fast. I always add 10-20 seconds to what it tells me. It said my average pace was 8:17 so I figured I was close to my 8:32 goal. My plan was to pick it up at mile 10 and run a fast 5K to finish it.
well... not everything can go as planned. I got to mile 10 and my legs would not move faster. 10 miles is a perfect distance for me. Unfortunately a half marathon is not 10 miles. I had to suck it up and push.
Mile 12: come on now! Go!! You have a goal to meet!!!!
Finish line: I ran across happy and as fast as I could. I wasn't in an all out sprint because I didn't have that much left. I truly left it all on the course. The clock said 1:53 and I was thrilled. I started a bit after the gun, but i wasn't sure how much. Enough to get the 1:52? I didn't worry about it because my running girls and DH had already finished and were freezing cold. We went out to breakfast and got Bloody Mary's to celebrate. Everyone had a good run!
Later that day the chip times were posted. 1:51:28. Just typing that brings me back to the second I read that time. My whole body smiled. I was proud of myself. I was so so happy. I AM still so happy. And I did run a negative split!
Now I know some of you are going to tell me I'm fast. And, yes, of course that makes me feel good. But here's the thing: if you run, you are a runner. If you race, you are racing yourself. There is always someone faster. DH got a PR too. 1:41:14! And my girls were 1:37 and 1:45. I am the slow one. Times are relative. That's why we need to race for ourselves.
i care about my times a great deal and am very motivated to beat myself. 1:49, I am coming for ya! Maybe it's time to spend $1.99 on a better app.