And just like that, I was running my first half marathon in over two years.
It's now been 48 hours since I raced. I really want to talk about what I got out of this race.
First, a few memorable moments:
My plan called for 3 miles easy at a 10:00-9:50 pace. We all know how the first 3 miles of a half marathon feel.
Needless to say, I may have over-run it.
The next 3 miles, I was to have my pacing down for the rest of the race. That pace was supposed to be 9:46. I nailed it.
That pacing gave me a 10K PR. Of course, you all didn't know that at the time you got the text message. But, I knew that when Mr. Tea got the message. I knew that he knew.
When I left the hotel room, the last thing I said to Mr. Tea was, "In Vegas, I passed the 10 mile marker at 1:42. If I pass 10 miles in anything faster than that, you know I'm having a very good day."
I passed 10 miles at 1:40.
About miles 7 through 11 are uphill.
Halfway up the hill, an extremely fit woman about 15 years older than me passed.
Do you not realize we are at mile 10 of a half marathon?
At mile 11, I realized why I stick with shorter races.
At mile 12, I heard Dave W asking me, "How's that pain taste, Tea?"
Then, I ran under the overpass and over the next. I saw Mr. Tea yelling for me.
I knew I had my PR.
The PR was awesome. It was the biggest PR I've ever had at the half marathon. I had a 10K PR within the half marathon.
I can look at this race and say, "I did this well" and "I did this not so well". One of the things I did better this time was the last 5k. In the past, the last 5k did me in. I would walk. I would stop. This time I ran. I know there is a giant gap between "not giving up" and "excelling", but I have to take my wins where I can. My pace didn't drop off as much as it did in Vegas on a much harder course. That's progress.
The reality hit me around mile 11. I had brought my ipod and never turned it on. I was running and really hurting. I was in a group of about 15 people. It was quiet as we went under the bridge. It's that lonely section before you can see or hear crowds. I could hear the echoing of our feet scraping along the ground.
That's when I heard the voice in my head.
Every person around me was hurting.
I always thought I was different. I am feeling more pain than they are. I'm not a runner. This is harder for me than it is them. That's how I could justify my lack of pushing through. But I'm not special. Those people were just pushing through, and I was never willing to go there.
The fact is that I am where I am. I want to believe I'm that sub 2 hour runner. I've had people tell me that I will run sub 2, but I'm not that runner. I might be in the future. I might not be. I have to accept where I am. I am a 2:14 half marathoner. I need to let go of what other people's expectations of me are and be who I am, now. Today.
It doesn't mean I will quit trying to be a sub 2 hour half marathoner.
I ran this race because I wanted to get an idea of what I should aim for at my 70.3. On Sunday, I ran a 2:14. I know this is crazy. I know this is aggressive. I know this is completely unrealistic......but I'm going to aim for a 2:14 off the bike at my HIM. That alone will give me a huge PR at my 70.3. That doesn't even include swimming and biking improvements. Because although I can be better at the standalone half marathon....I can make even more improvements in my running off the bike. I have an even bigger gap there.
If anything, this race was an awakening for me.
I'm a really strong swimmer. I'm really strong on the bike. My goal has always been to improve on the bike and swim where I can and close the gap on my run. Bit by bit, I'm doing exactly that.