This run was originally supposed to be a half-marathon, but due to extreme weather conditions the decision was made to reduce it to a a five mile race. Turns out this was probably a good decision because at 4 a.m. it was already 80 degrees with 89% humidity. We were slated to hit a heat index of 109.
This was my first half-marathon last year, in fact, it was my first organized race as I had just running in January so I was a little bummed when I heard it was only going to be five miles. At the same time I was kind of relieved. I really wanted to set a course PR, as well as a half-marathon PR this time around. My finish time from last year left a lot of room for improvement…my average pace was 13:32 min/mile. Based on the way my training had been going I knew a PR wasn’t going to happen. A month prior to the race I was already feeling defeated. I felt like I was backsliding when I should have been getting better. I got to the point where every time I came home from a run, I said I wasn’t doing the race! Then I would have to be reminded that it didn’t matter how slow I was, finishing in and of itself was the accomplishment. Hence the relief when I heard it was only going to be five miles. I have never run a five mile race, so it was an automatic PR! I also knew that now I had an entire year to get it together for that PR I was chasing. So it is definitely game on for next year!
Ironically I had just run five miles this past Saturday so I had an idea of what my time should be. However, it wasn’t nearly as hot and humid Saturday morning; and I got a few rest breaks when I had to stop for the traffic lights. My time on Saturday was 1:07:46. I would like it to be faster, but I am still run/walking. My goal for today was to finish between 1:05 and 1:10, and I knew this was rather ambitious goal because of the heat. I originally had a pace plan that I was going to stick to, but then about half a mile in I realized I was going to have to take walk breaks so the plan changed. I decided I would run .20/walk .05. This worked pretty well for me, the walk break was just enough time to take a sip of water and a couple deep breaths. I can’t wait for the day when I can run more than two miles without having to take walk breaks. I am pretty sure it is a mental game with me right now, and I am using walking as a crutch. I have a game plan for this. Stay tuned for my next post entitled, “I’m Responsible.”
I had no idea what my time was until I got close to the finish line. The only things I had displayed on my Garmin were my current pace, distance, and my heart rate (which averaged 173). I didn’t want to know. I needed to run this race based on how I felt, and not whether I needed to go faster or slower. So I was a bit bummed when the clock said 1:10 and some change…I had missed my goal…or so I thought. Then I remembered that was gun time. My OFFICIAL TIME was 1:08:03. Even though my pace (13:37) was slower than Saturday and slower than last year I AM PROUD! I ran in probably the hottest heat index I will ever run a race in, I didn’t have any rest breaks, I didn’t quit, and most importantly as far as I know I finished without injury! YAY!!!
I feel blessed because someone was definitely looking out for me today. The race was reduced to five miles, which saved me from feeling like a failure for not hitting a PR. When I picked up my packet this morning, I found out I was one of the lucky 1.000 to win a pair of socks. Then my mom and I stopped at Caribou after the race. The man ahead of us paid for our drinks (I have never had that happen to me!). We paid it forward and paid for the car behind us…I hoped they kept it going.
I still seem to have a love/hate relationship with running, but I couldn’t imagine my life without it.
One of the greatest things about running is that everyday it gives you a chance to be extraordinary, the chance to start a race unknown and finish unforgettable. Every run gives you the chance to feel like a different person, a person who inspires others. It all comes down to perseverance and resiliency, and knowing when the gun goes off all of your hours of training are for this single race. Whether you come in first or last, get a medal or not, the real victory is in learning that the person you thought you were is no match for the person you have become.
Have a safe and wonderful 4th of July my friends!