I ran my first half marathon in years today. And while my performance during the actual race left a bit to be desired, I’m extremely happy with what my completion of the race signals.
I tend to over think things. And per tradition, I completely over thought my pre-race preparations. I spent a lot of time worrying about forgetting to put the right stuff in my gear bag, thinking about how I would go about establishing the right pace at different stages in the race and to be completely honest, being just plain old nervous about everything.
During the race itself, I ignored the fact that I hadn’t felt well in 5 days (mild stomach bug early last week) and decided to push for a personal best. This meant that while I kept my “easy pace” for the first 7 miles, I planned to push the pace a bit for miles 7-10 and then a bit more for 10-13.1. This is fairly standard (I think), but it ignored something I had mentioned to our team coach last week:
For me to be in the hunt for a personal best, everything will have to be perfect. The weather would have to be just right, I’d have to have slept perfectly the night before, eaten perfectly in the days leading up to the race, and I’d have to feel like a million bucks.
Well… let’s just say that the weather was the only thing to deliver as I had hoped.
And yet at mile 7, as I have done many times before in training runs, I decided to go for it. Could I push for a personal best? Nope!!!
I think that at this point it’s helpful to imagine driving your car. Knowing that you are running a little late you decide to speed up a bit and push the gas pedal and almost nothing happens. You push harder, only to find the car only speeds up a little – nowhere near in proportion to the amount of gas being used.
So there you have it. I knew at mile 7.5 or so that I had nothing!
I could have decided to step back to my original “safe” pace immediately. I could have rethought my goals and eased my way through the remainder of the race. Instead I chose to keep “pushing the gas pedal” to see what happened for another 3 miles!
The result? I burned through my “long run” energy trying to break through a pace that simply wasn’t meant to be. At mile 11 or so I had had enough. I was on empty, and I struggled to the finish line.
All of that being said, I’m extremely happy with the race!
Sure, I didn’t do as well as I had planned. Sure my pursuit of a personal best came at the cost of finishing even within my average training pace, but you know what? I finished!
This race was my first in years. It took an incredible amount of work to get to this point, and I’m proud that I got my butt up at 4 in the morning to put 13.1 miles behind me.
Even more so, I’m excited about what the next race holds for me. I have tested myself once again in a race and I’m wiser (and stronger) for the experience. This gives me plenty to work on for the next race, which hopefully will be in early 2015.
So that’s it for the San Antonio Rock and Roll Half Marathon. On to the next one!