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March 5, 2012 / fionarwbl

An Unplanned SpeedyHalf Marathon

Running a PR in a training run doesn’t really count, but it does give you a boost of confidence about your capabilities prior to a race. It also makes your heart rate go excessively high and your legs hurt for not really any good reason the next day. There’s a reason why the saying goes “train to race, not race to train”. Or something like that.

Still, on Sunday, I ran my fastest half marathon, even if there was no official d-tag time confirming it for me. I went out running with my husband, and quite frankly, I was nervous about running with him. He has made me cry during runs because I stopped for water too many times. He had never run a half marathon, so I said I would run along with him. My idea is that if I convert him to the joys of long runs, he’ll think that going to Big Sur or Eugene to run a marathon will be a great idea. This plan is not working out the way I would like.

My plan for the run was to try and stick to a comfortable 9:00 min/mile pace for the first 9-10 miles, and then pick it up at the end. This was not accounting for the fact that I haven’t run 13.1 since the Manhattan “SnowFest” half, and that every long run since then I’ve been terrible about starting fast and flaking out. But it sounds like a good plan, right? Ori was very determined to try and stay slow, as he had no idea how he would feel after 10 miles. Still, his idea of slow and mine are very different.

We ran our first 5 miles in at an 8:43 pace, which was obviously faster than I was planning. But it felt good, and we had some water and some fuel – Gu Chomps in Watermelon for him (kinda gross), and Clif Shot Bloks in Triberry for me (yum!), and everything was peachy. The sun was shining, the weather was good. We were even chatting every so often. I felt really calm and in control.

The next 5 miles were at an 8:35 pace. Was I feeling cocky or what? If I ran a 10k at an 8:35 pace I’m sure I’d be pleased. What on earth was going on with my legs? I’m pretty sure it was my competitive nature trying to show Ori that all that time spent this summer on marathon training had done something, or that long running wasn’t as easy as it looked, or something equally childish. Anyway, I was in serious danger of wiping out during the last 3 miles in an embarrassing way.

I had promised to pick up the pace for the last 3 miles. We had the last hills on the south-western side of the park to run, and then a final loop of the reservoir. I felt pretty good still in the park, but then I looked at my watch and it said 8:10 at one point. I backed the hell away from that. I told Ori to run ahead of me around the reservoir, but he only ever got a couple of yards ahead of me. We finished the last 3 miles with a pace of 8:22, which made for an overall half-marathon time of 1:52:53 and average pace of 8:33. That was so not in my Sunday morning plan. But I liked it. We might even do it again.

That green smiley face tells the truth. I did feel great!

After a celebratory chocolate milk and rushed shower, we were on our way to Brooklyn for our friend Katie’s birthday. They have a great apartment with a cute yard and don’t mind when we bring our dog along. This time, we pushed out luck and brought two. It was fun, but I’m not used to running fast (for me) and long, so was completely exhausted the entire time. What I would have given for a nap. I do love a Sunday afternoon birthday party though – it’s such a super relaxing time and it’s completely ok to eat biscotti with your beer. It’s not a classic combination, but I’m glad I tried it.

This morning I did not have to rush to work, so instead took the mutt out for a couple of slow recovery miles. I haven’t run with Moose for about a month, and he’s out of practice. The first lap of the bridlepath included several detours for urgent squirrel chasing, and the second lap was stops every 3 minutes for him to take a break. Still, it was a beautiful morning, if a little chilly, and running at 9am felt incredibly luxurious. Although of course I was perturbed by everyone else who was out – did they not have jobs to go to? I bought some bananas and strawberries on the way home and had them with my oatmeal this morning. Super delicious. And healthier than my Saturday night dinner – here’s a gratuitous shot of me eating pizza during the Duke-Carolina game. Apparently nothing has changed in the last ten years.

I only had 2 slices. And 8347 pieces of breadsticks.

How was your weekend? Do you count PRs if you run them in training? Do you let people take pictures of you eating pizza?



Leave a Comment
  1. Shaya / Mar 5 2012 9:47 pm

    If I looked as cute as you, I would allow people to take pictures of me eating pizza 🙂
    I think training PRs “count”…not officially of course, but still, you DID run that time! And it really helps that you know what you can do. I’ve found that my training runs are fairly fast compared to race times because I’m not darting around tons of people and slowing down around every water station.

    • fionarwbl / Mar 5 2012 11:07 pm

      Thanks!! Don’t let Ori hear you say that – that’s exactly why he does not want to run races!

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