Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Med-City Half Marathon Race Recap: A PR!

It was a PR. I will just say that first.

A huge PR for me. An unexpected PR and a lesson! As I was running into the final 100 meters I saw my Mom and yelled "I am winning by at least 12 min!!" Oh my...it's my brain on running. Let me start from the beginning! 

I was excited to pick up my packet from the expo, because Carrie Tollefson was speaking! She is an Olympic runner and native Minnesotan--a cross country kid! She told an amazing story about the day she learned about competition. 

Carrie told a story of when she, as a 7th grader made the varsity CC team. In her first race she came up behind her older sister, but then hung back just a few seconds, unsure if she should pass her. She could, but it was her older sister and here Carrie was, 12 years old in her first race. Her sister, knowing Carrie was behind her, told her in so many words to pass her or else. Carrie did and came in 3rd. She learned that competition was about her and her best, about pushing herself and not about who she was up against or even the circumstances. 

Run your race is what I heard her say over and over! 
YES. Run my race. 
I had toast with honey, banana and chia for breakfast...it's my most basic go to running/race morning meal! I feel full, fueled and I know it sets well with me. 

I also had about a half a Green Monster with Spinach and a BIG juicy orange!! 

It was cool to start out with, a few sprinkles at the start line, but that quickly just faded away to a bright, but gray early morning run. It was funny, I didn't really research the course of the race, and I often do so I know what to expect. Well. Standing at the start line I heard a woman say something about hills. She said the first 7 miles were hills. GULP. Did I train hills? Hm, not really...but I can handle hills! I eat hills like this for breakfast--no really, I had about 7 miles of hills for breakfast and it was HARD. 

This is the first hill of those 7 long miles and I am actually right in the cluster of people by the girl in green near the front! 

Deciding to PR

As I was standing at the start line, I knew I wanted to follow a Minnesota Pacer. I was standing between the 1:45:00 pacer and the 1:50:00 pacer, either was would be a PR for me, my best half time being 1:57: 03 at the Get in Gear last spring. I couldn't decide which group to go with, but settled on following the 1:45:00 knowing I could always drop back. 

Still I said to myself, "I will PR today. I will PR today." I had never done that. I had always believed for best race day conditions I could and rested in all I did to prepare, but I have never said I will PR no matter what. It was a great feeling, It was a leap for me because I wasn't going to let myself glide through this race (some races have moments or a mile or two of gliding). 

Mile 2: Wow, keeping up with this pacer is a breeze! 
Mile 4: Huh, I wonder how long I will have this side ache? (answer-till mile 9)
Mile 6: Left hip is grinding, right knee is hurting, legs can't lift to climb the hills anymore. I can still see the pacer.
Mile 7: Johnny Cash, downhill! Woot! Caught pacer again. If I stay with the pacer is it really MY race? 
Mile 9: Rounding a bend at the edge of Rochester and see Assisi Heights and the Mayo buildings, start to cry. 
Mile 9.1: crying and humidity don't mix, can't breathe, stop your crying girl and run!
Mile 11: On the heels of the pacer, I hope Mom is at the finish because I am ahead of schedule!
Mile 12.5: Pass the pacer and tell him I am about to PR by almost 12 minutes (can't do math)
See the finish, scream at my Mom that I am "Winning" and cross the line at 1:44:48, a PR by about 12:45 ( If I did the math right!) 

1:44:48! WOW! 

I grabbed all the food I could and found Mom, we were both so surprised!! What a PR! 

It was one of the fastest races I have EVER ran, at any distance and one of the hardest. I did have a side ache from about mile 2-9 and wondered in the middle if I was going to have to stop because of my hip. I pushed through and TOLD myself I would PR. Standing at the start line, I knew I wanted to PR more than anything and decided no matter what I was going to stay with that pacer and DO it.   

Could there have been circumstances where I wouldn't have met my goal, a circumstance that would have had me drop out, drop back and finish without the time I wanted? Sure, but it would have had to have been a BIG obstacle--this was MY race and I wanted to run it as best as I could, as hard as I could and not hold back. I didn't want to let some aches and pains stop me from my goal.

 It was worth it. To push through a tough, uncomfortable, hard race with hills and humidity, knowing that I was the only one who knew the PR goal in my head... As I was crossing that finish line, I couldn't believe that it happened and as soon as I crossed it, my mind went to: "Just how fast CAN I run a half marathon? Or even a marathon?" 

What race did you surprise yourself in and kick butt? Did you decide early on or in the middle that you were not backing down at any cost?  

 Congrats to Ann, Jay and Jen who apparently PR'd this weekend too! 

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