2017 St. George Marathon Race Recap #likenoother

Oh man, what a race….

We drove to St. George, Utah on Thursday and hit the expo Friday morning. After, my training buddy  Ashley and I drove the course to check out what awaited us.

Me and Ash at the Expo #InBobWeTrust

There were SO many ups and downs, ups and downs that I began to worry if I’d even finish the race. I had not prepared for that undulation. And I knew me–hills are just not my strength.

This is NOT an all downhill course. Do NOT be fooled. 

Nevertheless, I knew I was there to get to the finish line and get there with a smile.

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Race morning had us getting bussed to the start. We took the earliest one as I like to have plenty of time for things to settle if you know what I mean. But I had some issues….and that threw me off the loop for a bit. Whatever, I had a race to run.

I ran alone and had absolutely no idea what my race strategy was going to be. I just ran and the first mile chimed in at 8:28. I was fine with that as even though I wasn’t sure what my goal was, I knew my PR average was around 8:30.

But as I ran, the miles kept getting faster. I only looked at my watch when the mile would beep. I was just letting myself run.

Early miles smiles

I knew Veyo Hill was coming at mile 8. I knew that there were more after that, and I knew that it was going to suck. The only goal was to NOT STOP, and I didn’t, but man it was getting hard to move.

Going into the halfway mark, I was in dour spirits. The hills had crushed me. Thoughts of bagging it started creeping in. When I couldn’t bring myself to quit, I told myself a sub 4 would be an amazing time and if I could pull that off, it would be an accomplishment.

But I knew deep down inside I wanted to PR.

So I began to fight.

The sun would throw a punch, and I would just keep going. The rolling hills would get in good ones, but I would just keep going.

I could start to feel myself wearing down and wanting to give the race the W.

But somehow I’d find the strength to keep punching back.

The 3:45 pacer caught up to me and I said YOU WILL NOT PASS ME.

The last mile I ran as hard as I possibly could. I was beaten. I was broken. But I was not defeated.

I ran and fought for it.

You bet I passed teal shirt girl.

3:44:43

I have never been so happy to match my PR in my life. I am not the least bit upset that I didn’t beat it, that I didn’t finish 18 seconds faster. I worked SO HARD for that time. So freaking hard.

I’ve come away from St. George ridiculously happy. I’ve seen how my mental strength has grown by what transpired on Saturday. I had so many outs. So many excuses to use to give up.

But. I. Didn’t.

I’ve come away motivated, pumped for the next one (Phoenix next year). I thought St. George would be a bust, a miserable race to end a difficult training cycle. Not even close. I am so, so happy.

Thank you all SO MUCH for your love and support. You all have no idea ❤

–Have you fought with a race and won?

 

 

 

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2017–And The Adventure Begins

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I love new beginnings. All of ’em. Mondays, mornings, new years, new months, new seasons…The hopefulness of the start of something new excites me and motivates me.

As far as goals and resolutions, I don’t look at them as having a deadline. If/when I create them, I do so with the intention of them being something I work on for as long as I can, as long as life will allow. So any goals I set for myself, I’m not looking to have fulfilled them by the end of they year. If they take longer, they take longer. For me, the pursuit of the goal, the lessons I learn while I’m actively trying, is always what stays with me the longest.

Because of a year like 2016, I finally feel confident enough to go for my 2017 goals, because honestly, I never thought I’d be within reach.

I want to Boston Qualify. You all knew this was coming, right? Lol! In all seriousness though, I’m still quite a bit aways, but this is the year I want to start making my attempts. I’m motivated by a good training cycle and marathon from NYC, I’m motivated by friends like Katrina and Colby and Jennifer and Ashley, and I’m motivated by the fact that I’m finally confident enough to even consider it. 

My first attempt will be at St. George in October. It’s no longer a lottery (per their website) so on April 1st, I’ll be at my computer ready to register, lol. I’ve also already signed up for California International Marathon (CIM) in December.

Right now my current marathon PR is 3:58 and my BQ time is 3:35. Realistically, I’d need around a 3:32-33 to get in.

Completing a half marathon under 1:45 this past December really boosted my confidence in thinking I could actually qualify. That was a criteria for me before I even considered trying. With Hanson’s Marathon Method, the longest tempo run is 10 miles, so if I were training to BQ, I’d need to do 10 miles in 8:00 minutes. With a half marathon at a 7:48/mile average under my belt, I feel like I can better tackle a Hanson’s BQ training cycle now.

Can you tell I’ve thought about this a lot? Ja!!!

And because I’m crazy, I really want to qualify in the age group I’m currently in: 18-34. Right now I’m 32, and your needed BQ time is for the age you’ll be on Boston Marathon race day. So let’s say it takes me two years to qualify and I’m 34—the time I would technically need would be for the next age group, 3:40, since I would be 35 on race day. Many have said I should wait and age in, but, I like the challenge of qualifying in my current age group time. If people have done it, why can’t I? So what if I’m practically a half hour away–details shmeetails. 😀

I want to sub 1:40 a 1/2 Marathon. This is equally insane to me as my BQ goal. When I ran the Scottsdale Half Marathon, I thought a sub 1:45 was a stretch (my previous PR being 1:48) and I remember saying that as long as I got that sub 1:45, I would be done with any 1/2 marathon goals. 

Well I finished with a 1:42 and now I kinda want to try for a sub 1:40, lol! And this time, I’m serious that whenever I do get it, I’ll be more than satisfied having that as my long standing PR.

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Like I said at the start of the post, I’m not looking to check these off this year. It would be great, but I know that it could take longer than 12 months. A lot longer. And I’m okay with that. I know trying for these goals, even if I don’t make them “soon”, will help me become a better runner. That’s still a win, right?

I have 3 marathons scheduled for 2017, two of which will be BQ attempts. I have 2 half marathons scheduled, one of which will be a sub 1:40 attempt.

Here’s to a fun ride trying to make these happen!! I hope you join me 😀

–What are your 2017 running/fitness goals?

–When you dream big, do you dream reeeeally BIG (like me, lol) or make goals that are more within reach? 

 

 

Scottsdale Half Marathon Race Recap (PR!!)

I gave it away in the post title–I GOT A PR!!! 1:42:45!!!

I went into this race hoping for a 1:45 (or under), my previous PR being 1:48:04. I know it’s cliche, but I really did not expect to have such a big improvement.

Leading up to this half, I had “prepared” by doing a few fast runs but I hadn’t done anything longer than 6 miles since NYC Marathon.

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My lone six miler averaging 8:00 minutes was from my 10k PR in February, lol!

On Friday, I had a few friends over for an early birthday celebration (it’s this Friday!) and I thought they were seriously trying to sabotage my PR hopes by bringing me so many yummy goodies…

Brownies are my faaaave!!

Brownies are my faaaave!!

Saturday was a busy day of breakfast with Santa in the morning and a kid’s birthday party in the afternoon.

<3

Sunday race morning, I met up with my run club around 6:15 at the tent they set up–we were registered as a team (more on that later). One of my friends was also going for 1:45 and we chatted for a bit.

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My team 🙂

Ashley and me

Ashley and me

I was there pretty early because I was taking advantage of race day packet pick-up. I love races that allow for that. Sometimes the packet-pick up places are inconvenient and picking up race day, for me, is definitely easier, especially if I can just drop off stuff in my car.

This race was a steal at $45 (early registration). Gender specific tee and beanie ftw!

This race was a steal at $45 (early registration). Gender specific tee and beanie ftw!

The Scottsdale Half Marathon & 5k is always in December and December here is absolutely beautiful, especially that day. Last year it was freezing (for us) and this year, we couldn’t have asked for more perfect weather. I’ll take a 50 degree morning any day and my shorts and short sleeve outfit was perfect.

The course is relatively flat with a few park hills near the end. It’s an easy course in that there’s not many twists and turns. You’re pretty much going north, south, east, or west for long stretches of time. It’s a race known for its PR potential, so it attracts a lot of fast runners. The winner of the half finished in 72 minutes.

There was a nice group of us who started together including a buddy of mine, Dallas, who I’d done a lot of my NYC Marathon training with. He’s a super fast runner but is currently marathon training himself so he wasn’t racing this particular race. My friend Ashley and I convinced him to be our pacer and he was more than happy to.

Miles 1-6

Our pace was right on as you can see:

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I felt great and my breathing was good. My friends know I’m not a chatterbox when I run so my silence wasn’t because I was struggling, I was just in the zone.

Feeling comfortable with the pace just below 8 minutes was awesome (mile 5 did irk me though, lol) and I hoped we could continue like that the rest of the way. My plan was to go to mile 10 at that pace and then push it for the final 5k.

Mile 7

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I took my lone Gu at this mile and we took a turn that would lead us to a super long straight stretch going south. It was here that I asked myself how I was feeling and if I could go faster. I knew that my plan was to wait until mile 10, but I also knew that this race wasn’t a “I will cry if I don’t PR” race and that I had nothing to lose by pushing myself a little harder than I was used to.

My husband always tells me that I’m faster than I think, and I thought about his words then and how much I wanted to show him that I could push hard.

So I went for it.

Miles 8-12

I didn’t say a word to Ashley, and Dallas could see I was increasing my pace so he followed suit staying ahead of me a bit to guide the way.

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Dallas was amazing, grabbing water for me at the stations and having it at hand so I wouldn’t lose my step. He always stayed just a bit in front so I was always at a distance of trying to “catch him” –which is how I prefer people to pace me.

I was passing so many people and that really helped me feel strong and confident. At this point, I had plugged myself in and allowed myself to enter the pain cave. I knew that I was almost done and that anything I felt would just be temporary.

It’s also in these miles that there were little, but still awful, steep hills and I just repeated, “Short, quick steps, Helly. Short, quick steps.”

There were runners that looked fit and strong and I couldn’t believe that I was passing them. I used to psych myself out when I would see runners who looked a certain way and tell myself I couldn’t hang with them.

Not this time.

Mile 13

We turned the corner for the last mile and I whispered to Dallas, “I want to die in this mile.”

“We’re almost done. You got this!” he said.

“No, I want to die. I want to go fast until I die!”

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Dallas and me

Dallas and me

I did really want to go as fast as I could. I wanted to see how fast I could run at that point and finish leaving nothing on the pavement. I tried my hardest to pick up my pace and when we reached a corner I saw the best thing I could’ve ever seen: my husband.

He had a huge smile because he knew I was on my way to killing my PR. He yelled words of encouragement and because he and the friend he was with knew I was approaching the last turn and finish line, yelled, “Turn and burn!!”

So I dug deep and ran….fast.

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final minute

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I wanted so badly to stay in the 1:42s that I gave zero fucks and ran like my life depended on it.

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nailed it!

And I finished absolutely elated!!! Absolutely, incredibly proud that I had decided to push myself, to allow myself to see what I could do if I just went for it.

The second medal is b/c I came in third for my group and as a team, we placed second :D

The second medal is b/c I came in third for my group and as a team, we placed second 😀

My husband, in previous half marathons, had gone from 1:48 to 1:42 in his half marathon time and I had told him earlier in the week how cool it would be if I could match his progression. I NEVER thought it would could actually happen. (Of course then he went from 1:42 to 1:36 and then on Sunday’s race finished 2nd in his Age Group with a 1:32–so now there’s no way I can continue this trend, lol!!!)

Me and my winner <3

Me and my winner ❤

It was such an amazing day. Honestly, I never, never thought I could run the way I’m running. That is the honest truth. I don’t really know how to explain beyond what I wrote here, what has happened or why I’m all of a sudden running paces I’ve never seen. Clearly, something in me has changed. I’m still processing it and figuring out what it means, but I’m definitely hoping that this newfound confidence doesn’t go away. I hope that I always give myself a shot, that I believe in myself enough to try hard things and that even if I “fail,” I continue to learn from each experience.

As always, thank you all so much for your encouragement. I love having this little space to document my growth and share it with you ❤

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