Every once in a while you have a string of really great runs and feel on top of the world. It was like that for me when I was training for the Philadelphia Half Marathon. Every one of those training runs, except one, was really good. I felt awesome going into that half and that was where I got my PR. I haven’t had a string of runs like that until now.
I think part of that was because when I started training for my first marathon last year my only goal was to finish. When I did my long runs the only focus I had was to just get through them. The whole experience was so new that I didn’t really think about anything else. Part of me was amazed that I was able to take the pressure off myself to finish with a certain amount of time.
The one problem with this is that I have had a hard time getting out of that mentality. I think my turning point came around the time I was training for the Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon. I ended up getting a cold that wiped out my two longest runs, which made me changing my goal to just having fun. I was on PR pace until mile 10 of that race and was happy with the result but knew I would have to really focus on my training for this year’s marathon.
I’ve had those really great long runs and was feeling good at how much I had improved. Today would be the hardest challenge yet. I had 16 miles on my training plan and registered for a four mile race. Bad scheduling on my part meant I had to try and get most of these miles in prior to the race so I ran six of them beforehand but finished them too early for the start of the race. I forgot to mention that we had fall like temperatures this morning. I cooled off real quick while waiting for the race to start.
But once it started I felt good. I stopped looking at my Garmin and just ran. The next thing I knew was that I had reached the half way point and knew I would be able to finish strong. I was even able to put in a nice kick at the finish. I ended up finishing a little over a minute off my PR for this distance, so cheers to me!
My focus for so long has been on the half and full marathons that I forgot how fun it is to really bust it out (well bust it out SloHoMo style) and run hard for a smaller race. I decided not finish my remaining six miles but that is ok. I’ve got my 18 miler next week and feel I’m on target for a great marathon.