Sunday, September 11, 2011

Race completed; post-race, not the best

I ran my second half marathon on September 4.  And I'm way proud of my result.  

As background I ran my first half marathon in January.  It was not a great run but I completed it - in 3:14:05.

7 months later I went into this race feeling stronger and more confident.  For the first time I had goals that I believed I could meet - you can read them in my prior post.

I won't keep you in (non-) suspense.  I met two out of three goals.  I beat my last race - and I broke 02:30:00.  By 15 seconds.  Yes, I ran the race in 02:29:45.

Good things from the race:

* I really broke through mentally.  I think setting goals that were stretch really made me focus and push myself.  At around mile 10 I wanted to start run/walking.  At that point my frantic math calculations against my garmin were not really accurate enough to let me know if I was going to hit goal #2 or not.  I had a sub goal for this race - no walking (* exception for water stations).  That goal got me through the last three miles and got me to realize that I can push myself harder than I think I can do.

*  My mom was there to cheer me on!  She's never seen me run and we were a little worried about us splitting before the race/her finding where to go.  She loved it -  she found three different places to cheer me - including start and finish lines!  I even heard her yell my name, even though I was wearing headphones.  She plans to come visit when I run my next race (10k in October) and might even aim for a 5k herself.

* I kept a good pace through the race and felt strong in my form.   My legs were ready to give out before my breathing, and even they didn't give me more than some minor stiffness the next day.  Compare that to limping for days after my first!

Not so good:

* I'll be a bitch here.  The pace from my first race put me in the second to last corral of the race.   That put me in with a lot of people who were run/walking.  And they were walking across the middle of the course.  Sometimes they even blocked THE ENTIRE COURSE!  Did they not read the race etiquette part of the directions?  What is hilarious is that one of the race photographers caught me in mid-vicious face as I got mad at getting blocked.  Hah!  Once I took the opportunity to duck through every available gap I managed to catch up to folks that were pacing at about where I was.  Luckily this race result should get me in a higher corral at my next Disney race (whenever that is) and I won't have the same problem.

* I caught a nasty cold the day after the race and haven't run since.  I'm not on a specific training plan right now and know that I am doing a post-race taper, so it's not that bad, but I am still itching to get back to running.  Unfortunately the cold is hanging on and I didn't get to take a sick day last week.  Plan is to rest/sick day tomorrow and get back to running the next day.

All in all an awesome experience.  I do have three more races coming this year but I feel less pressured about them.  I will work hard, no doubt, but this race was a huge mental breakthrough.  I know I can rock the races and have a good time.  Next up - a year of speed improvement!