Yesterday was the 2008 Fiesta Bowl Half Marathon up in Scottsdale. It's a much smaller race than what I'm used to (yes, I purposely drown myself in larger races where no one notices if you come in last) and it had never really been on my "to do list". My focus lately has been solely on the RNR Half Marathon coming up in January.
Yet two of my fellow TRC runners - Pat and Christina - were running this race and we had chatted about it on several of our long runs. For Christina, this was her very first race EVER.....and she was faced with having to run it alone :( After a lot of mental struggles, last week before I left town, I committed to running this race with her (strictly as a training run for me as funny enough I had 13 miles on the schedule for this weekend) and got myself all registered and ready to go. The goal was completion....and to give Christina some company as she crossed the finish line for the very first time.
The recipe for this half marathon wasn't exactly ideal:
one week of traveling and little sleep
one week of eating like crap (anything that wasn't nailed down)
one week of absolutely no running
a half marathon???
Well, not in the best of circumstances....but that was my receipe for Fiesta Bowl. Try hard not to be overly impressed ;)
Mentally, I knew I wasn't really ready for this ~ but for once I jumped out of my comfort zone and decided to give it the good ol' college try. My past half marathons have left me with a lot of mental baggage and trepidation....but it was time to face the pavement once again.
The goals are always the same. And yesterday, after a good solid run, I met each and every one of them!
The weather was perfect (although quite chilly at the start), the company was great, and very methodically Christina and I covered the distance. We ran ~ did not walk~ together for 11 1/2 miles ~ solid and strong. At that point, I felt my legs tighten and my mental paranoia started to take over a bit. I knew it was time to walk some, and slow the pace even more and take it on in. So after 11 1/2 miles I sent Christina packin' :) as she was well on her way to a fabulous race of her own, and we each needed to do what we each needed to do for our own success.
I crossed the finish line at 2:46:13, with Pat who came out to greet me (taking pictures of my behind, much to my dismay) and Christina waiting up ahead just outside the chute. I was smiling and happy, not dead, and not cramping. All 3 goals met in one fell swoop :)
It's hard not for me to "what if" this race to death, like I have with all the others. Of course, we were on track for a much better finish time (after 10 miles, my mental math showed that we could have made it in around 2:40.....which would have been amazing!) and I start to wonder if I let all the mental stuff really bog me down. In the past, my issues have been physical; yesterday, I think it was more mental.
I changed a lot of things ~ particularly in the areas of nutrition and hydration. I didn't overhydrate like I think I've done during pre-race in the past; and I kept my intake of calories steady throughout the run, instead of waiting until I felt like I needed it. I did discover that it's much hard to get Sports Beans IN your mouth while you're running, and that it really isn't necessary to leave a trail on a course that isn't an out and back ;)
I also discovered that I can RUN a long distance. It's slow, of course ~ our pace averaged anywhere between 12 mpm and 12:30ish ~ but we didn't stop. This is one area that running with Christina has really helped me in reducing my reliance on walk breaks. I'm still not sure what works better, time wise ~ running a bit faster and incorporating walk breaks, or just running slow and steady all the way through. Yesterday it was slow and steady, and it worked for us. Yet another new accomplishment for me!
And here are the dirty details:
Mile 1: 12:08
Mile 2: 12:24
Mile 2: 12:24
Mile 3: 12:27
Mile 4: 12:31
Mile 5: 12:40
Mile 6: 12:42
Mile 7: 12:29
Mile 8: 12:18
Mile 9: 12:07
Mile 10: 12:36
Mile 11: 12:22
Mile 12: 13:04
Mile 13: 13:33
Total time: 2:46:13 ~ Average pace : 12:34
Garmie has my total mileage at 13.27, so I guess that makes me an over-achiever :) I hate it when I have to run more than required!!!! And since Garmie time and chip time agree, I think I should get credit for a marginally faster pace :) When you're this slow, every second counts ya know!!!!
But for the first time in my running career, I'm happy with my performance. Yes, it was a PR by about 5 minutes off of my Valley of the Sun HM from March. Yes, that makes me super happy. However, I also know that I can do better. I know that a 2:40ish finish was well within my reach...I just somehow chose not to grab it. Now I just have to get my mental game on and really start pushing myself toward what I know I can do.
But in the meantime, I will relish in the accomplishment as I try to walk up and down the stairs without my quads hurting :)
And congrats to my buddy Christina who finished her first Half Mary yesterday (in about 2:43ish, I think....freaking awesome!) and thanks to my buddy Pat who is always a fountain of moral support. We couldn't have asked for a better day to run!
Happy Fiesta Bowl Half Marathon Finishers
(Christina, Karen & Pat)