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 6: #itsgoingdownatphx

Here we go, one more week! So many exciting things happened, not so much to me lol, but to running friends near and far .

Monday, 11/27–8 miles

I met up with a friend I met through my coach for this tempo run. She’s faster than me but we had similar mileage. And I’m inspired by faster runners anyway 🙂

I had 5 at Active Threshold pace (7:40) with a 90sec recovery in between each one.

7:34
7:29
7:40
7:43
7:37

Started off a little excited but then settled in to the right pace. Coach says to stay close to pace even though we feel we can go faster. “The goal is to raise your blood lactate to it’s threshold , and then hold it there for the duration of the workout. Training at AT increase the speed at which acidosis occurs, enabling you to hold a faster pace in races. With training, your pace at AT will increase.”

Tuesday, 11/28–Strength, Stretch, and Roll

Did some core and strength videos for 60 min. I’ve been feeling/seeing the benefits of actually doing these things, lol!

Wednesday, 11/29–4.5 miles

Easy run around the hood. I say easy but my overall pace was 8:46. I don’t know who’s easy that is but it’s certainly not mine. But, I’ve been feeling my easy pace start to creep into the 8s. I seriously don’t know who I’ve become. Mile 1-9:20, 2-8:36 <—told myself to slow down –> 3-8:41, 4-8:29 <— I gave up.

Thursday, 11/30–6.5 miles

This was awful. Just, awful. Hills+Speed=Death.

I was not looking forward to this workout at all. But, I knew I had to do it so I somehow (seriously) got myself out the door.

Finished November with 138 miles. 

Friday, 12/1–Strength, Stretch, and Roll

I put my easy Friday run in Wednesday since I’d moved that workout to Thursday. I have a way of complicating things.

Saturday, 12/2–16 miles (10+6)

Splitting my long runs isn’t my jam, but breakfast with Santa got in the way so I had to be home earlier than usual. I got 10 in with a friend

then I got 6 in later solo.

This was such a good run and I know I would’ve felt just as good had it been done in one shot, lol!

Sunday, 12/3–TRACKING ALL THE CIM SUPERSTARS

You guys, oh em gee. I had so many friends KILL it at CIM this weekend!!!!! My coach ran a 2:55 like a boss, two BTB teammates ran a 2:50 (PRs for both), another BTB teammate ran a 3:21 (PR), a good friend got a BQ, my loyal training buddy Ashley matched her PR, countless IG friends met their sub 3 hour goals (HOW is that even possible?!), aaaaaaand Elle surprised us all by getting a PR and BQ!!!!!! It wasn’t a surprise that she ran that time, it was a surprise in that SHE DIDN’T EVEN TELL US SHE WAS RUNNING!!!

I was left so freaking inspired. It’s no secret I want to Boston Qualify, and I’ve made my goal very public. I like the pressure. I really don’t mind it.  And I like the pressure of having friends Boston qualify at CIM because it just further ignites my fire. I know I want it bad. But their success makes me want it more. I want to run Boston with them. I know for some, publicizing their goals doesn’t work, but for me, I feel like I get to show people my journey, good or “bad”.

Elle made a good point in her blog by saying how “announcing your goals on social media is detrimental to actually achieving your goal because the praise you receive for the attempt fulfills your achievement needs.”

But I honestly don’t think I let it affect me. I mean, I appreciate peoples’ encouragement throughout my training, but I don’t share my journey for the likes or comments. I don’t think I work less hard because I get praise before the actual race.

If you’ve been a reader for a while, you know that I started off this blog with a 4:44 marathon. Four years later, I’ve cut an hour off that time. I’m not a natural runner. I work freaking hard. And that’s what I like sharing. That it’s not easy. That’s there’s setbacks a long the way(hello DNF!)–that would happen if I blogged about it or not.

What I love about Elle is that she did things her way. I LOVE THAT. And I love that she shares her type of journey. I know she’s been wanting a “good” marathon and she went out and did it. Her terms. And freaking nailed it.

People get caught up into thinking they have to do things a certain way, train a certain way, to succeed at their goal. Nope. Here’s Elle sneaking in a BQ like a total badass, and here I am for the world to see me try. She did it, and now it’s my turn! 😀 (And guess what?!? Elle will be in Phoenix to cheer me on!!!! ❤ )

Week 7, I’m ready for you!!

 

Let’s Do This!! …Again!!

I took a mini break after Phoenix last February before I started St. George Marathon training, but that mini break seems like it was so long ago, lol! After two weeks of laying low, here I am, again, starting a new a training cycle #iamnotnormal

In my last post I had decided not to use a coach as with the holidays approaching, I wanted to budget and prepare. But, when Elle asked me again to write a post comparing Hanson’s training and training with a coach, I felt that I hadn’t really gotten the full coach experience. I told Elle it wouldn’t be fair for me to make a comparison given that I only really followed the plan for two months before I threw in the white flag.

This made me think about what could have been different had I been able to get a full cycle with her. The two months I ran under her guidance, I felt strong, and I was hitting paces I never thought I could. My confidence was up, I felt good.

So, after talking with my husband and with my coach, I decided to give it another go with her. I’ve seen firsthand athletes thrive under her coaching and I’m truly curious to see what I can do if I commit to her training.

Coach Susan Loken and me 😀

It’s scary, because I have the added accountability factor, but that also motivates me.

Today, I had my first timed mile. I was nervous because these always make me nervous. The plan was to go to my coach’s track workout but with my husband away for work, I was resigned to my neighborhood streets after kid drop off.

The goal was a 6:30 and with my previous timed mile being 6:52 this was a bit ambitious, but, for some reason, I felt like I could do it.

I didn’t. Not even close.

6:42

I’m happy I bettered my time by 10 seconds, and I’m super happy that I felt something in me that said I could do it.

The splits of my 5k PR are 7:03, 7:19, 6:57 <—- that last mile of my fastest 5k of my life, makes me feel like I’ve got a faster single mile than a 6:42.

I’ve never been a naturally fast runner. I’ve worked hard and have come a long way to get where I’m at now as a runner. I’m super excited that I’m finally feeling confident and LESS scared to do hard things (because there has to be a little element of fear in there, right? 😀 )

Alright, let’s do this!!

–Do you like being a little scared of your goals?