Rock n Roll Arizona: Race and Half Marathon PR!!!!

I previously wrote about how my pre-race jitters going in to this race were at an all-time high. I didn’t have my fuel, and I was a nervous wreck about breaking a cardinal running rule: Nothing New on Race Day. But, I figured a Huma gel was better than no gel, and I just had to deal.

Luckily, my husband and training buddies Ashley and Dallas were with me at the start. A calming presence for sure. Dallas and my husband planned to run together and Ashely and I would see how long we could last with each other. We’ve yet to finish a race together, ha!!!

My coach had given me a plan. Start miles 1-4 conservatively. And like a good student, I followed direction, holding my pace the first couple of miles. But when we turned the first corner, we were met with a head wind that all of sudden, made staying at half marathon goal pace difficult.

Seeing that 7:55 bummed me out, but I told myself to keep to the plan. Coach had said miles 5-8 needed to be slightly faster than goal pace and to move by effort up the big hill at mile 9. I slowly started to separate from Ashely as I tried to pick up the pace.

It was shortly after mile 5 that I found a buddy who is also under my coach’s direction. He was seriously a Godsend! I took the Huma gel and tried to just swallow that thing down. I could taste the tart strawberry and feel the texture of the chia seeds (way too healthy for me. Give me GU any day). But I was feeling okay.

We coasted along as best we could with the wind and slight upness when we finally reached it.

The hill.

I told myself not to freak out. Stay with Alex as close as I could. It was a short hill. I would be fine. After the hill, it’s down the rest of the way.

JUST GET TO THE TOP.

7:49!!!! Y’all have no idea how insane that looked to me. It was such a confidence booster seeing that split considering how awful I am at running uphill.

But my happiness was short lived once we turned to go down because WHAM!!!–headwind!!! I let out an expletive as I ran, so angry that I would have resistance going down hill.

But I had to deal. Nothing I could do.

According to the plan, once I reached mile 10, I was supposed to “Last 3, fast 3” as I’d been practicing during training. I wasn’t sure I could muster “fast” at the end of this long race, but I knew I had to give it a shot. I was cutting it close.

Mile 11 was a blur as I tried to concentrate on my form and moving my legs. I was expecting my coach and teammates after mile 12 but instead caught them right at the mile mark. My coach yelled out words of encouragement and I felt a rush of pride at how well I was doing–I wanted to show her I COULD DO THIS.

Her instructions had been to ignore the watch the last three miles, so I didn’t know at the time what paces I was hitting. All I knew was that I. Had. To. Move….FAST.

When I turned the corner at mile 13 and saw the time clock at 1:39 (I started about 30 or so seconds behind it) I gave whatever kick I had to the finish.

I was NOT going to let this opportunity pass. I ran knowing that it all came down to those final seconds and if I didn’t do it now, the chance would be gone and I would regret not giving it my all. Close but not succeeding wasn’t an option. I needed to get it done NOW.

I sensed two men increase their speed as I passed them and I hit turbo. NOT TODAY. NOT RIGHT NOW. This was MY time. I was going to be the fastest one to the finish these last few seconds.

I don’t know who this person is.

There was no picture of me stopping my watch. I ran that thing all the way through like a maniac. As evident by that 5:10 pace, lol!

Oh man, I was so happy. I was so happy when I finally looked down and saw 1:39. 1:39. I never, ever in my life thought I would be in the ’30s, that I would run a half marathon averaging 7:30 something. Sometimes it’s hard for me to accept reality–that I really am running the way I’m running right now.

I don’t take progress for granted. I don’t forget the long journey it’s been to this moment. I’m not sure how much longer the desire to continue to improve will last, but I’m so proud of how far I’ve come. I’m so proud of how I’ve overcome negative thoughts, feelings of insecurity to get to this point. I am fast. I’m not bragging, but I need to tell myself that so I can accept this craziness that’s happening. That it’s not a fluke. It’s not luck. It’s freaking hard ass work I’ve done.

This was a hard race. But I know the real hard is coming next.

And I’ll be ready.

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Week 10: #itsgoingdownatphx last week of 2017

Hi!! Hope your 2018 has started off on the right foot! Or left, whichever is your go-to.

I realize it’s Friday and this week is coming to a close, so I’ll just quickly recap last week as there’s more exciting stuff to share 🙂

Monday, December 25th–Rest Day

It was Christmas and I just spent it with my family. No running, just eating.

Tuesday, December 26th–5 miles

It was a mini-tempo run so a simple mile WU–9:13, then 7:42, 7:34, 7:45, mile CD 8:58.

Wednesday, December 27th–2 miles, Strength, Stretch, and Roll

Hopped on the treadmill to make sure the thing still worked. We bought last year for Christmas and while it’s nice knowing it’s available, we rarely use it.

Thursday, December 28th–5 miles

Met up with a friend for what was supposed to be “easy” miles (she was pushing her 4 year-old in the stroller) but we found ourselves going at a pretty nice clip at an 8:39 average pace. I need to slow the easy runs down.

Friday, December 29th–5 miles

Took this run to the hills and slowed things down, 9:18 avg.

Saturday, December 30th–18 miles

Took this run to the hills again and met up with my coach and some of her athletes. This stretch of road is up and down and up and down and probably not the most ideal route for a long run. But I need the hill work (for the lone hill in Phoenix Marathon, lol).

I stayed slow and steady knowing there were hills spread throughout. I even had a 9:55 mile in there somewhere. I also knew that the last three miles were to be at half marathon pace (7:40) and I had no idea if I would be able to do it. Luckily, there was a nice gentle decline at the end and I was able to nail it at 7:38, 7:18, 7:12.

Sunday, December 31st–Rest, Roll, Stretch

Nada. My husband and I vegged binged on pizza and wings on the couch and watched movies all day. Okay, I did a little rolling and stretching before bed, so there’s that.

It was a good week and the 18 miler while hard with the hills, was a confidence booster as I’ve always been intimidated by the longer distance and honestly, I’m not so much any more. So crazy to think that!!

–Do you long runs scare you?

–How did you spend your New Year’s? 

–Do you have a treadmill in your house you rarely use?

 

 

Week 9: #itsgoingdownatphx

I had such a good training week last week that it almost makes me nervous. You know that feeling you get when everything is going right and you become paranoid because there’s NO WAY things can be this perfect so something is bound to go wrong?? Yeah, that’s my current mental state.

Monday, December 18th–Stretch, Roll

Took a rest day after the previous day’s race. I was also beat from 4 days straight of craziness between hard workouts/races and holiday preparations. Plus, my kids got sick 😥 Like, sick sick. They both missed their entire last week of school and I was crazy mama worried about them early in the week. I also was frantic about last minute Christmas stuff I planned to do that I could no longer do…

I did get an exciting e-mail however. I was chosen as a Pro Compression ambassador!! I’ve worn their compression socks for a looooong time and love, love, love them so this was great news! I only represent brands/businesses I actually use.

#keepittight

Tuesday, December 19th–7 miles

One mile warm up, 5 active threshold temp (7:40) w/90sec RI, one mile cool down.

7:34
7:33
7:29
7:33
7:27

A little faster than needed but with the active recovery in between, I felt energized to tackle the next one (plus it was so freaking cold, I wanted to be done).

Cold, dark, and early when I started–cold, dark, and early when I finished.

Wednesdsay, December 20th–Strength train, stretch, and roll

Did some upper body exercises, core, and the usual stretch and roll. Kids still sick. Mama getting tired. I had to call for back-up (aka: grandma) because I was starting to feel the fatigue of caring for two sick littles and marathon training.

Thursday, December 21st–7 miles (w/timed mile)

I was suuuuper nervous about this run. My last timed mile hadn’t gone so well (6:42) and I really wanted to better that time. Because my mom was in town, I asked my husband to pace me (along with another buddy) in the hopes they could push me to a mile in the 6:30s.

SIX TWENTY SEVEN

I blew my goal away!!!! After a two mile warm up, we were off!!! I didn’t think, I just ran. The mile route was one I knew very well, so it helped knowing where I was distance wise and how much I had left to go. When my buddy yelled, “400 left!!” I picked it up and then when my husband said, “Kick now!” I gave whatever I had left to finish in 6:27. I was on cloud nine!! I couldn’t believe it!!

!!!!

My coach had a workout for after the timed mile but I was completely done and ran the next four miles at a recovery/easy pace to reach the total mileage for the day. I was pooped!

Friday, December 22nd–6 miles

I met up with a friend for some seriously FREEZING miles. No joke, I couldn’t feel my face.

32 degrees is NOT okay.

Saturday, December 23rd–17 miles

This was another run I was worried about. I met up with my coach and her athletes for this run that would be on a hilly route. The hills concerned me as I’m not very good with them (which was why I was there, lol) but I was also concerned with the last 3 miles having to be at half marathon pace (7:40) #eek

My BQ training buddy Ashley joined me for this long run and it was sooo nice to have her company. We hung out around the 8:40-45 range for the majority of the way and when I got to the end of mile 14, I knew I had to go at it alone and at least try to speed up.

7:31 (43 elevation gain)
7:55 (69 elevation gain)
7:17 (72 elevation loss)

I have NO IDEA where/how I mustered up the energy to pull that off. NO IDEA. But you better believer that when I was done, I rode that high allllll day 😀

😀

Sunday, December 24th–4 miles

I met up with my Moms Run This Town chapter for some easy recovery miles (9:48/mile). We had a good group and it was fun and festive ❤

 

By Sunday, my kids were feeling so much better–just in time for Christmas! After a tough week of training and parenting, it was so nice to end on a good note. Total Miles: 41

If you celebrated, and if you didn’t, I hope you had a great holiday weekend!!!

xoxo,

helly

–When is the last time you ran a timed mile?

–Is 32 degrees okay for you?

–Do you freak out when your training is going well?