I’m running a half marathon this weekend, and you know me, I just cannot run a race without a pre-race thoughts post, so here goes!
For the most part I’ve just been wanting to get this race over with already. If you couldn’t already tell, I’m a success-oriented person, so I don’t really like running races when I don’t feel I’m in tip-top shape for them. But I’m reminding myself that those races are the actually the ones that teach us the most about ourselves as runners, so with that in mind, I’m trying to embrace this as a learning experience going into marathon training instead of fretting over what an “acceptable” finish time will be.
No time goals or expectations for this race. I’m just not even going to go there. Every time I say something like “I don’t have a goal time but I’m hoping on a great day I could run somewhere around X:XX, but no pressure though!“, I end up expecting that of myself anyway because once I say it it’s in my head. And then I end up disappointed if I come short of it, even if I ran a great race. This is what happened last month at the MRF Half Marathon: I didn’t have an official goal but I had it in my head that I wanted to run a 1:50 or maybe even break it, so when I came in at 1:51- my second fastest half marathon time of the 8 half marathons I’ve run – I couldn’t help feeling a little deflated, even though that was an awesome time for me given my lack of training and the challenging course.
So I’m just not going to say anything, about any sort of time, at all. We’ll just have to see what happens.
Oh, and one more thing – I’m racing without my Garmin! I’ve been going back and forth about doing this and I notice that I keep trying to talk myself out of it. But, I’m putting my foot down, and I’m just going to do it. What finally pushed me over the edge was writing my last post and remembering my rule #4 about embracing the unknown. “Do something that scares you,” as the saying goes. I’ve raced Garmin-less before but only in 10Ks, never a race this long, so it’s kind of scary. But there’s going to be a lot of “scary” coming up in my Pittsburgh Marathon training, so I need to start getting more comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Since this is my first time racing a half marathon Garmin-free, it adds a feeling of “new-ness” to this race that I think will help take my mind off finish times. It’s a new challenge and it forces me to look at this race a different way, and I think that will be a good thing for me.
Speaking of races, I signed up for a 5K in a couple weeks!
I bit the bullet and signed up for the annual Run Into the New Year 5K on New Year’s Eve. I have done this race every year that I’ve been a runner (so two years, lol). Last year I did the 10K and set a huge PR. This PR, however, still has an asterisk next to it, as the course was a tiny bit short. My Garmin only registered 6.13 miles, and since I didn’t run perfect tangents there’s no way it wasn’t at least .1 short. My official race time was 48:43, and since it’s only .07 off you might be thinking, oh just get over it and own that time already! But I don’t feel comfortable claiming that time when I know in my heart I didn’t run 10K. I came close in September at the (Garmin-free!) Brewers 10K, with a 49:20, so I basically just consider that my PR.
ANYWAY. I’m off topic. So, yeah, I’m Running Into The New Year again. I was originally not going to do this race – I don’t want to interfere with marathon training, I don’t have that much interest in racing shorter distances, I don’t want to start overdoing it on the races again, etc. But, it’s become a fun running tradition for me, and I do like the idea of a NYE race. And, I have the day off work, so hey what the hell? It sounds a lot more fun than dragging my butt to the gym on a day off to do easy hill work on the treadmill. With a proper warm up and cool down (okay, let’s be honest, it will probably only be a warm up. Who actually runs a cool down mile right after a race??), it will total about 5 miles, which is about the total mileage I’d do for my speed workout anyway.
I said earlier that I have no idea what to expect for my upcoming half marathon but when it comes to this 5K I really have no idea what to expect. I haven’t raced a 5K in over a year! It is my least favorite distance, because I am just not a fast-twitch muscle kinda gal. Unlike some of my friends who are naturally speedy, endurance is much more my thing, which is probably why I enjoy marathons the most.
So..my current 5K PR also kinda has an asterisk next to it. I ran it in a fun run that wasn’t chip-timed and used my GPS (which was, at the time, the Nike+ phone app). According to that data I ran a PR of 23:21 that day, but even though it was on a 5K course and the GPS says 3.1 miles, and I did run really hard and was feeling great that night, I’m still kind of suspicious of that time. This was 18 months ago, when I hadn’t even been running for a full year, and it just doesn’t make sense that I could run that fast at that time. 23:21 is about a 7:30 average pace, which is a stretch for me even when I was in better shape. My fastest chip-timed 5K is 24:23, which I ran just over a year ago now. I may be suspicious of that 23:21, but I think I can do a lot better than a 24:23, so I’ve really been wanting a 5K PR even though I really don’t want to run a 5K.
When I signed up for this race I was asked to put a goal finish time, and I put 23:00. Again, I have no idea if that’s realistic but I guess we’ll see. This weekend’s half marathon might give me a better idea. It’d be nice to at least finally get a for-real PR, but again, we shall see. I’ll probably run this 5K Garmin-free as well. So yeah, I have no clue how to race 5Ks and I haven’t run one in a year and part of me thinks, what am I thinking? But then there it is again, that pesky rule #4, reminding me to embrace the unknown and get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Here goes nothin’!