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Working things out with my guy, third half marathon and again a PR!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

I really debated switching to the 5k this weekend because of everything going on in my life, but I did do the training for the half marathon so decided to stick it out. So far I’m not too sore, just tired, so I’m doing okay. In the past I’ve been miserable and had trouble doing simple things like getting up and down.

Well, my boyfriend has been working on changing…getting his act together and being a grown-up. He was emailing me every couple of days telling me about his progress. It’s been sweet to see how hard he’s really trying to work on things. I know it’ll take a while, but I know he’s actually trying.

On Tuesday he asked me to go out for dinner with him on Saturday (which is very close to our six month anniversary). Nothing special, but it was the first time we had dressed-up for a date, which was really nice. Unfortunately, as he brought me back to my apartment, I ended up having a bit of a meltdown. It’s hard to describe, but I really feel like I’m at rock bottom sometimes in my life as a second year PhD student. I feel like I’m a failure, a fraud…and I’m only waiting for the day that the department finds out and kicks me out of the program. I feel like I’m trying so hard for so little results.

The boy did his best to comfort me as I cried, and finally got me calmed down. I needed to go to bed early because of the half marathon today, and I didn’t want to try to sleep, so I asked him to stay with me until I fell asleep. And he did, just holding me until I was calmly asleep.

This morning the race was at 8:30, and I usually like to get there about an hour early. However, this race is in town and I knew where it started, so no big deal. The boy had agreed to help me out, and he came over at 7:15 a.m. to pick me up. I finished getting ready, and we got there in plenty of time. I went through my pre-race ritual…going to the bathroom as many times as possible, eating my oatmeal and banana, and stretching out.

I was in a bit of a dilemma because I wanted to run around 12:30 (I ran my last half in 12:36 pace), wanted to run with a pacer for the first time, but my options were either 12:00 or 13:00. I decided, after talking to a friend who is a marathon pacer, to try out the 12:00 pacer. Even if I couldn’t hold that pace, at least I tried…and I could just make sure the 13:00 pacer didn’t pass me. It was a lot of fun running with the pacer! She was super sweet and encouraging, and it was cool running alongside people with the same goals and concerns as me. In fact, I even heard one person remark about how, since there wasn’t a marathon at this race, we weren’t getting lapped by the marathoners! Which, of course, is something I myself can identify with very well.

I managed to keep with the pace group until about mile 6 or 7, but unfortunately they were pulling some fast splits (11:33 was one of them for a 12:00 group!) and I fell back. I think I overdid it at first, so I ended up running miles 9,10, and 11 slightly slow…but really slowing down for mile 12 so I could get some strength back for the finish. I blanked out on mile 4, and when my watch dinged for mile 5 I realized I had lost mile 4…which is probably a huge blessing! With my allergies crazy, I had a lot of phlegm and couldn’t really blow my nose. It was making me a bit nauseous, but I knew I was just going to have to deal with it since taking any medication would speed up my heart.

I managed to finish strong. I knew I was on track to PR, but I was getting tired. I really had to push myself that last four miles. It didn’t help that the last mile of the course ended up being longer than the rest, and the course itself was slightly long. Despite of that, I did still manage to PR from 2:45 down to 2:43. Maybe my goal for next year will be to run the race with a pacer the whole way!
It seemed like the water stops were a bit sporadic, and I was extremely thirsty. Unfortunately this chocolate milk thing was again the sponsor, and so they didn’t have water right away…chocolate milk, which I wanted no part of. Thankfully I had packed a water bottle and the boy got it for me as soon as he could. I got some more water once I found it, then went and got my free beer…which was Miller 64. I laughed about that. According to my watch, I had burned 1535 kCal. I think I could have a real beer! But oh well, even Miller 64 can taste good after 13.1 miles.

We went back to my apartment and I showered. Thankfully I’m more dealing with fatigue rather than absolute soreness like I have in the past. Then we went up to a new bar in town and had burgers and beer…splitting the tab as per keeping with our agreement for now while the boy does some growing up.

It feels weird that my long runs are only going to be 6 miles until next semester and I’m sticking with 5ks (maybe a 10k) until after Christmas, but I had a great running summer.

Here’s to my third half marathon!
Half Marathon #1—2:58 (Aug 2011)
Half Marathon #2—2:45 (May 2013)
Half Marathon #3—2:43 (September 2013)

And sadly tomorrow is Monday. And I have a horribly busy week coming up. But as my running friends have told me, think of my journey through grad school as a half marathon.
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