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HM #4: I am racing myself

Sunday, March 17, 2013

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.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I am so happy for you.
    A few weeks have passed since this race but I hope you can still feel the joy I can read in your words.
    So good and of course you'll catch 1:49!
    Happy happy day:)
    1816 days ago
  • SUGIRL06
    Congratulations!! I'll be happy with a 2:52 at my upcoming half marathon! Lol :-)
    1823 days ago
    emoticon emoticon
    You are so inspiring emoticon
    1824 days ago
    Congratulations... great report and I love the images and photos!
    1824 days ago
    Great race, great report. Nice job!!

    1825 days ago
    emoticon I need to be brave and just sign up for one. Congratulations on your PR!!!
    1828 days ago
    I remember your race blog last year because you had a saying in it: Do your best, forget the rest. I had a HM right after that blog & I kept repeating that to myself during my race. Can you believe I still remember that? You give great race reports.

    SO, I'm doing that HM again this weekend. Realistic goal is 2:20. Don't get my hopes up too high goal is 2:15. Do you know how excited I'll be if I get 2:15? Um, yeah, I think you do.

    1829 days ago
    CONGRATS!!!! That is such an AWESOME time! And the weather was drastically different from last year. You should be so proud! emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1829 days ago
    Congratulations, runner! Yourself keeps on challenging you and you just keep on getting better!
    emoticon emoticon
    1830 days ago
    Amazing! I always enjoy reading you race blogs and they always motivate me to start running again! I just have to keep trying! Thanks for the inspiration! You truly are amazing! emoticon
    1830 days ago
    This was so fun to read. So excited for you!! I smiled big to see your final time. Congrats and keep on racing yourself! This was a fun race!
    1830 days ago
    I ran that same race on Saturday and to be honest, I felt how you did last year. I was not mentally in it at all and my legs/body started to feel it. The ice was terrible on the way back - I was thinking the same thing ''what the heck!'' After walking a little and then picking it back up - I was able to finish, with tears and all - Completely mentally drained.

    On that note - Your blog made my day!! I have been down on myself all weekend about my race and my time: 2:07. My sister (who I got into running a year ago) ended up having a better race day than me and it made me even harder on myself, not because I was upset with her accomplishments but because I felt that I was ''less'' of a runner because I never want to be ''the slow one''..... But when I read your blog, I was reminded of the reason I run.

    I run because it makes me feel free. I run to get away from the world. I run for me, myself, and because it is MY passion and MY goals. I run because I love it.... there is really no other way to describe the feelings and adrenaline I get from running and completing races... I just love it.

    So thank you. I really appreciate your blog and I am happy to say that I will run my next race and every race after that for me and my goals.
    ''Times are relative. That's why we need to race for ourselves. ''

    emoticon Cheers to future running!!!
    1830 days ago
    emoticon race report! Congrats on getting under the time you were aiming for. Saturday was cold and the ice was NOT fun. I didn't run a race on Saturday but I did have my 9 mile training run. The ice made my body very sore because I didn't have the correct footing.

    Way to go for doing so good even with the MN conditions!
    1830 days ago
    I'm SO happy for you! Thanks for sharing this and putting a big smile on my face this morning - strong women rock!
    1830 days ago
    Girl you just made me cry! I'm so happy for you! I love the toe, toe, toe and racing against yourself and no one else - I must remember that! Congrats on the super awesome PR!
    1830 days ago
  • CHERRY666
    Wonderful! Thank you for sharing & congratulations. =)
    1830 days ago
    Great race...great report...great PR! Congratulations!
    1830 days ago
    Wow! So happy for you!! I knew you had it in you!!
    I love your detailed recap. I could feel my legs turning to jello just reading along.
    You have every right to be proud of yourself. And you are correct, it's the race against ourselves that mean the most!
    1830 days ago
    Great job, girl!!!!
    1830 days ago
  • OPTIMIST1948
    Gosh. What a warm fuzzy feeling this gives me this morning. My goal this year is to run my first half marathon (because I'm only half crazy). I'll be thinking toe-toe-toe!
    1830 days ago
    What a great race! And congratulations on your new PR! I use the Runkeeper app.
    It is free also, and does a great job for me. My brother, mom and friend use it too. We are on the same team - can monitor and push eachother even though we don't live near eachother.
    1831 days ago
    Way to go! Getting a PR feels great, getting one in adverse conditions is even better! You did well, even considering that you are the family slow poke! (I know what you mean, I feel that way when I run with my BIL and SIL)

    Thanks for sharing about your race, that was a fun report!
    1831 days ago
    Wow, great race report and a terrific result! Running a PR on a do-over race...that's AWESOME!! And yeah, you ARE fast, but I do hear ya that we are all running our own races. I"m high-fiving you right now, smack!! :)
    1831 days ago
    AWESOME JOB!!! That's a great time and you should be very proud of yourself. Congrats!
    1831 days ago
    WAY TO GO!! It's such an amazing feeling every single time we PR! You deserve more than a $1.99 app "Miss 1:51:28" .... treat yourself to a Garmin!! Mine does swim, bike and run ... just what you need!

    So very very proud of you!!
    1831 days ago
    CONGRATULATIONS on your HM PR!!! Definitely give yourself credit where credit is due - your PR is no doubt as a result of improvement as a runner! You are right about challenging yourself and feeling accomplished when you achieve those race goals, what an AMAZING feeling and I know YOU feel like a million bucks after this victory - as you should ;)!

    Here's to another spectacular finish! I have a feeling that there will be MANY more successes to come!
    1831 days ago
    Awesome job!!!!!:-)
    1831 days ago
    Whoop whoop! Nothing like busting through that goal time. Awesome blog!!
    1831 days ago
    emoticon You ROCK! Congrats on such an awesome PR!
    1831 days ago
    I'm so happy and excited for you!! What an amazing feeling you must have knowing you beat the time you had wanted. Way to give it everything you've got. emoticon emoticon
    1831 days ago
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