Don’t worry, be happy!
One of my big goals at the beginning of the year was to PR at the half marathon this weekend. I signed up months in advance – right after the full marathon when I thought anything was possible. If I can run 26.2 miles then certainly I can run 13.1 faster than I have before. I still believe I can… just not this time. In fact, this time I ran the slowest pace I have ever run in a race… a pace slower than I ran in the MCM! Guess what… I am ok with that!
Last year I would have stressed about this and would have put a lot of pressure on myself that would have made today completely unenjoyable. I would have been embarrassed. Heck, I probably would not have run it. Which, I almost didn’t this year… until reason (and some good advice) got the best of me.
Training this year has not gone as planned. With work stress and sickness I didn’t do a good bit of my workouts. My longest run was 10 miles and it was not great. Most of them were half-hearted attempts. At the beginning of February the workouts became a chore… just something else to do on top of the 60+ hour work weeks I was struggling with. I didn’t want any part of any of it.
As soon as work settled down I started getting sick…
Now the race rolls around and what is my first thought” Well, “I can’t PR so why bother”. I have been sick, right? It’s ok to skip? No. Thankfully I have John and Katie challenging me on this. I have a base fitness. I can run – why would I skip it? What do I have to lose? I also came across a wonderful article about detaching yourself from the outcome. Enjoying things for the sake of doing them… not the end result. This article stuck with me. Then, as if she knew what I was thinking, I get a wonderful note from Katie telling me the exact same thing. It is not the time on the clock that matters – it is the experience. Enjoy the run. Embrace how far I have come.
I did…. I have to admit, I still wanted a PR and I had a secret plan to get it. Until I started running… The race started and I felt good. My breathing was smooth and my pace was nice (not a PR pace). A pace I could maintain and possibly pick up. I held it until about mile 5 when some hills came… had to walk a bit. Tried to get back on my pace but I couldn’t. I started to slow down and never regained that happy pace. At mile 7 I become aware that my breathing was not as easy. I should have brought the magical inhaler, but I didn’t. My heart rate stayed high (for me, at that pace) so I walked some more. Run, walk, run, walk – the rest of the way.
I briefly got frustrated with myself at mile 10…. I had been running nearly two hours (maybe 2) and really wanted to finish in 2:30. I thought I might be able to really pick it up and go for it. I started to run faster for about 100 meters. That didn’t last too long! Back to run/walk. I reminded my self it was ok. Thought of Katie’s words… thought of the article. It all helped.
It was a beautiful day and I was running on a Nascar race track! I ran where cars drive 200 MPH! I ran down a drag strip! How many people get to do that? I was running with people that had all sorts of stories to tell, and I got to hear some of them. A former Navy man running in honor of the military.. a man running who once weighed 400 pounds and is now a triathlete. He does triathlons with his wife who has a terrible brain disease and cannot remember anything from day to day. She has to start over every time she races. I listened to some girls Katheryn’s age running their first half marathon and they were talking about their upcoming weddings. It was fun to take it all in.
By this time the fastest runners were already done. They had long passed me, but when they did the people I was running with all watched in awe as they flew past. We were all so happy for them as they were reaching their goals, too.
In the end I did get a personal record… a race without beating myself up about not training hard enough. That is a victory. There are plenty of more races to come and more fun challenges in store for me!
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