Sunday, March 14, 2010

the half

A couple of weeks ago I inadvertently ran a half marathon. After White Rock, I thought I wanted to really challenge myself and run the Cowtown Marathon 10 weeks later. My thought process behind that was that I really thought I could have potentially done better (even though I was happy with my time) if I wouldn't have gotten sick so I thought Cowtown could be sort of a redemption run. I took a couple of weeks off to rest up mentally and physically and then basically went back to week 1 of my White Rock training plan. A little ways in I realized I just wasn't mentally there yet. Though I wanted to do better, the mental motivation necessary to complete another full training cycle just wasn't there yet. I've always likened marathoning to child birth (theoretically, as I don't have any kids yet) and there just wasn't enough distance from the grueling dedication and pain to make it seem like a good idea again.
So I compromised and told myself I would run the half instead. I continued to slack off on my running but also started the Body for Life training program which is rigorous and doesn't jive well with long distance running. I decided I was happy with the recent running goals I had achieved and would sit out the half and focus on BFL and gaining some strength instead and re-evaluate in May when I finished the program.
I was happily trucking along in this new mind frame when my dad called me, five days before the Cowtown half, to tell me that he and his wife had planned a surprise trip to come up here and see me run. Oops! I felt like I couldn't disappoint my dad (even though he wouldn't have cared if I didn't do it) but I felt like a quitter so I went ahead and signed up for the half. Those five days went by crazy fast (with no running. The last time I had run my foot hurt a bit so my crazy reasoning was well, better not chance it until the big day! I'm an idiot).
The morning of the half I decided to just go with it and have fun. My pie in the sky was to finish in under 2 hours (my half PR from Austin 2009 was 2:08) but considering my absolute lack of training I didn't realistically think it would happen. I had taken a certification exam for work the day before and passed it after studying for several weeks so I was riding high off that success and hoping to carry it through the race.
I knew I would see my family and John and my best friend also came out to cheer me on (she rocks and has been to two of my races) so I hung out with the two hour pace group and kept my eyes out for them. The beginning of the race was really cold and my feet were numb for about the first mile or so. After that I got pretty comfortable and saw Em around mile 4. I was still hanging with the 2 hour pacer and was feeling pretty optimistic. What I didn't realize before entering this race is that Fort Worth is crazy hilly. I mean, it hangs with Austin as far as making me want to curse for all the ups and downs. Around mile 8 I slowed down from the pacer and just focused on finishing. I saw my family around this time and apparently all I said to John was holy s^&*, it's hilly here! I spent four years in Fort Worth for college and loved every minute of it but I fondly remember it being much flatter. I saw Em again around mile 11 and then just kept pushing myself to the finish.
I didn't break my 2 hour goal but I did finish in 2:03 which is a 5 minute PR for me. Considering it was a last minute decision and there was no training involved, I consider it a huge success over all. Next time, though, I will definitely rely on training beforehand. It makes a huge difference in how much I enjoy the race which really is he best part.
As for now, I just finished week 4/12 of BFL and want to continue to focus on that. It's been immensely challenging yet rewarding to focus on weight training since I have never done that before. I also hope that the interval focused cardio will help make me a faster runner. I am still a long distance girl at heart, though, so instead of three HIIT cardio session like the program recommends, I do 2 and a long run on the weekends. It is absolutely beautiful here today so I just got back from 7 miles at the lake. It was gorgeous and keeps me happy.
So that's where I am in the running front. I'm entertaining the idea of DC or Chicago for a marathon this year but with John graduating and us not knowing exactly where we will be yet it is a little difficult to plan now. I'm also just enjoying doing something a little different for the time being. Not to worry, though, I think of the marathon as my Mr. Big and you know how that story will always end :o)

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