Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The "But"

So, I ran a good race on Sunday. I ran, actually, THEE race that I trained for. I had used an interweb program (McMillan) that showed me training paces for those who want to run a specific time for a specific race. I had also followed a new-to-me Half Marathon training plan from Runners World. It involved track workouts, which I hadn’t ever done before. As soon as the snow FINALLY melted off the local track, I did them (almost) to the letter.

On Sunday, I set a new PR. I made my other goal of finishing under 1:45 (1:44:19). I felt good at the end. I spent the rest of the day playing with the kids and being completely human… which isn’t always easy after a big race. I even went out to dinner and movie (Thor... it wasn't horrible) with my husband that evening and I think I was fairly good company!

The “But” is that I secretly thought I was going to crush this race. I secretly thought I was going to beat the PR by leaps and bounds and not by “just” 1:20. The reasons are varied.

1) The course. My previous PR was set on a crazy, hilly course in torrential rain. My training for that course was not half-marathon specific. In fact, I was training for a full marathon and did the half as part of that training plan. I didn’t have any expectations for a finish time – I figured it would be under 2:00 but I wasn’t sure exactly. I ran a 1:45:39. The course for this race was a pancake. Seriously. There were maybe 2 places where a rise in elevation seemed obvious and it was very subtle, especially compared to the terrain I normally run on. I shoulda been faster on this easy course. But I wasn’t.

2) Race Phoebe. Race Phoebe comes out by surprise. I don’t feel like a really competitive person, but when I get to a race, She comes out. Somehow, She manages to take me to places (and paces) I wouldn’t have thought possible given my training runs. I think Race Phoebe showed up for the half marathon… but she was not nearly as Fierce as I thought she would be.

3) The training. As I said before, I trained very specifically for this race. I have been focused on it for the last 9 weeks or so. I don’t have any other races on my schedule – though I have some I know I’m going to register for. I wanted to give this race the respect it deserved by not giving my self “A Next” before it was over. I guess I thought training so specifically for this race would reap greater results.

4) The Lying Garmin. When I ran the marathon in September, my Garmin was off. It was telling me I was running a little slower and a little less-far than I actually was. This was GREAT because it was set like that for all of my training runs. So, come race day when there were mile markers on the course, it was clear to me that I was going faster and farther than I thought. What a joy! Sadly, the Garmin has been doing to the opposite lately. It appears that the Garmin has been ‘nicer’ to me this time, making me think I was running a full mile when, actually, I was running .95 or .97 miles or so. This isn’t a huge deal normally, but those few seconds/mile difference that I thought I was cranking out make a big difference over 13.1 miles.

5) Where’s my “all out”? The thing about me is, I don’t seem to have the ability to really dig deep. In the middle and (especially) the end of a race, I am pushing myself. I truly am. But when I’m done, I am fine. I don’t barf. I don’t collapse. I don’t require several days of assistance with stairs. I know this is a good thing for those around me…. But why can’t I ever take myself to that limit? What would that look like time-wise? I should be grateful that I recover well, but I think it’s a flaw in my character that I have never been to that scary place of seeing what this body can do.

Okay, bitch moan, bitch moan. I can’t complain. I set a goal. I achieved my goal. I ran faster than 8:00 pace. I am very happy to have achieved a new PR. I am very happy to be done! I am very happy to take it easy for a few days, register for another race and figure out a new goal for myself.

I just need to live with The But.

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