This weekend was nuts, plain and simple. I was hoping for a relaxing weekend of seeing friends and family with some running thrown in for good measure. I got something completely different, but equally as awesome. The biggest downside was due to the unforeseen circumstances, I had to change around my schedule and wasn’t able to visit my family at their annual fall camping trip.
I can share this now since everything is stable and going well, but my future-BIL had brain surgery on Thursday to remove a cancerous tumor. The surgery went extremely well and my BIL was doing awesome…until Friday afternoon when they found blood clots in his legs and had to rush him into emergency surgery. Thus, Friday night was spent in a hospital with my future family helping to hold down the fort. Post-emergency surgery, my BIL was better than ever and has a very good prognosis. He should even be released from the hospital today! *happy dance*
Thus, the gallivanting with Kim and Pam had to be delayed until Saturday…when I woke up with a monster cold. Can a girl catch a break? God bless Dayquil and cough drops! Nothing was going to keep me from my epic weekend. I met up with the girls for some lunch and a tour of the Budweiser brewery. The wait for the tour was quite a few hours though, so I convinced them to go see a “museum”. The City Museum is a museum in the same way that a tomato is a fruit. It’s pretty much just a playground for adults…and we had a blast! It’s perfectly normal for adults to crawl through airplanes and wire tunnels through the air, right?
After the City Museum, we headed back to the brewery for the free tour which was a real disappointment. The free tour used to be about 30-45 minutes and was truly awesome. They’ve cut it to maybe 15 minutes and it’s almost not worth doing. At least I got to steal a good picture? Life’s silver linings. I did bow out of dinner though so that I could go home to take care of my monsters and get to bed early. I may push my boundaries, but I still have some sense in my head.
Was this the best way to spend the day before a half marathon after waking up with a bad head cold? Maybe not (but it sure was fun!). Did I completely ignore my coach’s recommendation to rest all day? Perhaps. (Sorry, coach!) But, my reasoning was that this was not my “A” race for the year. It was my victory lap, more or less. It was much more important to make sure that I took care of my family and saw my friends. Sometimes the race takes priority and sometimes life does.
With that being said, my coach had me approach this race differently than previous workouts and races. She didn’t want me to look at my heart rate. At all. This was blasphemy to me! If you’ve been following, all of my workouts are heart rate based. Every. Single. One. My coach has yet to steer me wrong though, so I decided to give it a go! The plan was to give it everything that I had and hopefully walk away with a recent PR. My goals were:
A Goal – Sub-2:37 (11:59/mile)
B Goal – Sub-2:40 (12:13/mile)
C Goal – Don’t die.
I woke up on race morning and seriously considered just going back to bed. My head hurt, I couldn’t breathe, and my throat felt like I had swallowed razor blades. Goody! I got my butt out of bed anyways and made my way to the start line to meet up with the girls.
First 5K – 38:26 (12:22/mile)
My coach told me that she had to try not to panic when she saw my first 5K split on the runner tracking application. I don’t blame her one bit. The first 5K was just plain UGLY. I still couldn’t breathe and I was not mentally at the race yet. When I hit the 5K mark, my first thought was that it was going to be a very painful, very horrible day. I love how positive I am sometimes.
6K to 10K – 1:14:34 (12:00/mile)
Somewhere in mile 4 I decided that it was going to be a good day no matter what. It was good weather and there were happy people around and dammit, I was going to be one of those happy people! I’m pretty sure this mind set changed sometime between the adorable little boy who was handing out donuts and the hilarious frat guy at the top of a hill shouting, “You just kicked the sh*t out of that hill!”
11K to 10 mi – 2:00:12 (12:01/mile)
I really enjoyed these miles for the most part. My aim was to just keep a steady, easy pace until the last 3 miles and I’m really happy with how I executed that plan.
11 mi to 13.1 mi – 2:32:56 (11:39/mi)
As soon as I hit mile 10, I turned on the burners. I knew I had 5K to go and I wanted to finish with nothing left in the tank. This part was especially fun since I got to pass a ton of people! I guess that’s one benefit of posting a huge negative split.
Takeaways from this race:
– I kept repeating the mantra “I can do hard things”. There were times where I wanted to back off and I had good excuses to to it. But that’s not why we race. We race to see what we’re made of and I wanted to be proud of the statement my race would make.
– I used the strategy of maintaining a steady effort on the uphills (not steady pace) and using the downhills to my advantage. This worked out really well and is one of the reasons that I really love courses with rolling hills.
– I really liked running by feel instead of by a heart rate. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE training by heart rate and it has helped me improve more than I thought possible in the last few months. That being said, it was much more comfortable to run by feel and to be able to relax into my pace/stride. I think it really helped me to stay strong in the middle miles of the race.
– I need to push myself more and I can see this pretty easily from my race goals. I’m really happy and proud of my time, but my A goal should be more of a stretch. I shouldn’t be able to surpass it while sick. I am obviously stronger and faster than I think I am. Now is not the time to get complacent and comfortable. I think I could have gone sub-2:30 and I’m angry that I didn’t even put that on the table for myself. In fact, when I thought about a 2:30 on Saturday I laughed it off as an impossibility. Time to reassess my abilities and align them with reality.
And no trip to St. Louis is complete without a trip to the Arch to cap it off! Seriously, I love how awesome bloggers are in real life. It was such a pleasure to meet these ladies and I can’t wait until our paths cross again!