Thursday, December 22, 2011

Any Given Sunday

While I was on mile 2 of the Portland Holiday Half last Sunday (my second half marathon in a week), I thought about this post and how it was going to be titled: Any Given Sunday - I am Under Performing In A Race Somewhere. Then I PR'ed! So the shortened title will have to suffice. How this happened, I will never know. I did everything you're not supposed do to. I didn't train properly but decided to run the Vegas half anyway and not surprisingly that race did not go well. Then I didn't workout all week until Friday morning when I met my friend for a personal training (i.e. hellish) crossfit session. I was so sore on Sat night that I debated not doing the Holiday Half at all. However, I am a self proclaimed medal whore and last years medals were these cute christmasy cow bells (more on that later) and I figured it's a good way to motivate me for next year so I'd take it slow and get in a workout. When I crossed the finish line at 2:06:38 I was SHOCKED! Never saw that PR coming. But this tale of two Sundays started with Vegas so let's go back.

12/4 Vegas Rock N' Roll Half - 2:18:49 (10:35 pace)
Blah! I went to Vegas under trained, under prepared and with low expectations of my performance. I was originally planning on running the full and then a month before the race decided that I didn't have the time for training so I switched to the half. At that point I switched off my mental game too and just figured "I can do a half no problem."  When will I learn?  I stopped training and decided to wing it blaming my travel for my inability to fit in runs. So Vegas did not go well. Besides the race having many issues (see race review) I was doing okay until mile 9. I lost Britt around mile 4 since she was running faster then the pace I had not trained at but I held it together until 9. Then it all went to hell in a handbasket. I had stomach issues (and had all day) so I was so dehydrated, I was cold and my legs were so sore. I saw the 2:00 hour pacer fly by me and realized I wasn't going to be anywhere close to 2 hours so I started walking and pretty much jog/walked the rest of the way to the finish line.  Fast forward a week...

12/11 Portland Holiday Half - 2:06:38 PR (previous PR was 2:09:28)
I started this race slow since I was SOOO sore from the training session from hell with Lucifer (aka Stephanie and Club Sport who is actually adorable). I stopped at mile 1 to talk with my friend Leslie, who was volunteering on the course, and give her a hug. I listened to music until mile 5 where I stopped to take down a peppermint GU (new for 2012 and actually quite delicious). There are officially now 3 types of GU I can stomach....yeah me! The GU was frozen so when I say stop I mean I actually stood still for at least 30 seconds shoving GU and water down my throat. I started up again and decided to forget the music. I did the same frozen GU standing dance at mile 9. Right around mile 10 I realized that I was actually having a pretty good race and still feeling good. That's when I looked at my watch and realized a PR was possible, if I didn't slow down. I tried to stay steady and just keep going. When I crossed at 2:06 I was pumped! I think I accomplished this by having no pressure on this race, my only goal was to beat my Vegas time. I also think starting slow and running completely by myself helped. I don't know what it is but I seem to perform much worse when I run with others. Instead of worrying about what others thought I just ran my race and it worked out! Apparently two races in a week and extremely sore legs is my recipe for success.

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