Yesterday (10/18) I ran my sixth half marathon and my second Folsom Blues Breakout.
This training season was very difficult for me. There were some really awesome parts about it, but also some big challenges to overcome. I didn’t have my training partner, Paula, to run with for the first time since I joined Runnin’ for Rhett in January 2013. Not having her to consistently train with was a huge change for me, as I really enjoyed our mutual struggles and triumphs. I also managed to gain 10 pounds since March (my last half). I don’t know how much this affected me physically, but it was constantly on my mind, and I’m sure I psyched myself out about it A LOT. This season also brought a new coach, Jenn, a new workout day (Thursdays) and a new crop of people to the Folsom training! I love seeing it grow and getting to meet new people. We had fresh conversations and really had a great family feeling.
In terms of the actual running, I continued to consistently follow the training plan – working out six days a week and resting on Fridays. I don’t think I missed a single day this season — always nice to stay on track. We did a test at the beginning of the season called the “Magic Mile” and the time of that mile was used to decide our pace for the season. My time of 9:55 resulted in a pace of 90 seconds run and 30 seconds walk, going with the mentality that you only need 30 seconds to recover between each interval (as opposed to the 2 minute run and 2 minute walk I did for the last three seasons). I must say, I like the idea of the 90/30 pace, but on those long runs, I just never felt like I could catch my breath. I’m confident that if I continue to practice this pace, I’ll get better at it and be able to own it as MY PACE as opposed to a pace I’m TRYING to make work.
The race yesterday was hard but very rewarding. I ran with my friends Savannah, and Ragan & Cindy. I’ve trained consistently with Cindy, and we have a great running dynamic that I was happy to have yesterday. Savannah is new to distance running, and she did great during her first half — it was fun to see the half marathon experience through her eyes. Ragan normally trains at and paces a faster pace (used to be 4:1, then became 2:30 this season), but he hurt his leg last week and decided to back off it a little and run with us. I was going strong until about 8 miles, when I started suffering. Somehow, I paused my watch for 30 seconds, and that threw me off the interval, so I asked Ragan to pace the group. His inner coach came out and he took on the task. For the last five miles of the race, I felt like I could not catch my breath. It’s the hillier section of the course, which I have run many times before. Ragan just kept telling me to pump my arms on the hills, breath through my nose and drink water on the breaks, and he basically did that for the last hour of the race, repeatedly. He joked that “an angel put me here to get you your PR today.” And that’s exactly what happened. I had run a 2:53 on this course last year and a 2:47 on my half in the spring. I ended up finishing (up hill, mind you) with a chip time of 2:42:07! After getting my medal, all I wanted to do was go pee and sit down. It took about 10 minutes and some chocolate milk from Donna to get me back to my happy place.
Anyways, it’s the things we work hardest for that mean the most to us. And I would never have been able to get such a slammin’ PR without the support of my team and my group yesterday! I LOVE THE R4R FAMILY and am so lucky to be a part of it!