Monday, September 20, 2010

Philadelphia RnR Half

The week heading into Philly was a great one, related to my running. (Really, starting a week and a half before, at a Thursday tempo run.) I produced a great 5 mile tempo ( W/Liz), a strong 20 miler with the G2B pace group, and Tuesday before Philly, our group also produced at 6:45 mile, totally unexpectantly! ( Hey guys, remember when we ran a 6:45 mile?:)
So,I think it was safe to think I would kill it in Philadelphia! I felt confident ( but nervous) about this.
My original goal was to hit 1:45,but after the week I had, I was playing around with the idea that I could produce a 1:42-1:44 half time. That being said, I was nervous, very nervous, despite my premature confidence.
I was planning, thinking, and even day dreaming of the race. I slowly became OCD about it ( as I have with planning Chicago)
(mistake #1)

The weekend was great. The day before legs were rested, Liz and I had found a great market in Philly, that had some delicious Amish pretzels. Yum! Later that night, we had a great dinner among great teammates, followed by an early bedtime. ( despite needing to drown the noise of a couple in the room above or next to us). We had to turn the clock radio on, and left it on, with the white noise of an AM station, to drown out "the" noise. LOL
As I laid into bed, and after I set my 3 alarms on my iPhone, I texted Amy to ask if she was also nervous about Sunday, and if she knew where the start was located exactly. She responded she was too (relief, I wasn't alone), and no I wasn't alone in also not knowing the exact start area. We passed about 1-2 more texts that we can do this with team work; then I began to settle into bed....Earlier, at dinner, I had also asked what pace the group planned to go out with; I had heard the 8-8:15 pace start,and was panicked about it. Yes, I can do that pace easily in a 5 mile tempo, but 13.1, could I?? So as I closed my eyes I started to plot my race, yet again.
In my dreams, it was great race! :)

I awoke well rested, excited, and super nervous. The first thing I did was look out the window, (as if I was a kid looking to see what Santa had brought on Christmas morning) I saw runners already on their way to the start at 6am! I immediately ran to my information sheet for the race and checked for the one millionth time what time the race started, lol. To my relief, it still said 8am!
As I settled to eat my pre-race banana and peanut butter with nuun ( and half diet coke...sorry George) I could feel my tummy get the nervous butterflies again.
At that time, my roomie, Liz, had awaken, and was helpful in distracting my thoughts from me, to her. :) Just some pre-race chit chat was enough to help me forget my nerves then. ( Good job on your run roomie!! It was hot, and you had a couple outside circumstances you couldn't control, that interfered with your will rock MCM!!) I left the room at 7am, and Liz and I wished Good luck to each other!! I ran a 1.5 mile warm-up to the start, and around the start.
I had a game plan to meet with the girls by bag check at 7:30, but after the warm-up and nerves, I had to use the "powder room". The lines by this time we're long, so long story short, I didn't get to meet up with the group. ( figuring they have already lined up at 7:45, and probably would find them on the course)
So off to coral 5 I went. I was so nervous, I barely could eat my Cliff bar. ( I like to have a banana and PB 2 hours before a race and 1/2 of a cliff bar 1 hour before) I went to the front of the coral, and sat on the ground; I closed my eyes,began to try to calm my nerves. I began to repeat my running mantra to myself, "the body achieves what the mind believes", thinking about my uncle and taking in deep breaths. This helped a bit.
Then it was time. I stood up, and the 1st gun went off!! OK, nervous tummy back.Then the gun for coral 2 was fired, then 3, then 4....our coral was next, We were moved forward to the start line ( which btw, was way fun to be at the front of the coral.)
Then the gun went off; it was time to start! (Nerves!!) I did maintain a 8:20 pace first mile, wow, that was hard, not the pace, but the keeping it "slow", while everyone around you is taking off, and the crowds are cheering. The energy is electric!!
(Right away began to notice how warm it felt, and how strong the sun felt. It was great relief when the buildings would block the sun, and we made it to the shady part of the run.)

I was pretty OCD about checking my Gamin during this run. (mistake #2) First mile was exactly 8:20. (Yay me, I maintained a "slow" start.)...but when you can remember what your Garmin read at almost every mile, you've checked your Gamrin way too much.

Second mile was 16:39. ( 8:19 pace). I felt good physically, but still shaky mentally.
By mile 3 I dropped to 8:10ish pace, and maintained that just for a bit, before dropping to 7:57-8:02 pace. ( which became my comfort zone, unconsciously, and pretty quickly.)
I began to doubt myself ( mistake #3) "Could I maintain this?" "Should I be here now?" I was told to start at this pace, so it must be ok. (why was I doubting myself, when my coach believed I could deliver this?)

I felt great physically throughout the race; legs were fresh, and I felt strong...but mentally, I was not focused, I was everywhere.

Mile 5 I was stoked, Liz flagged me down, and there was my group!! YAY!! I yelled, "ya my group", and ran to them. Well, that was the only mile I stayed on their tale. I got nervous (they were running great and strong) but faster then my comfortable 7:57-8:02 pace. (according to my Garmin) The occasional 7:45 happened in the middle part of the race, each time, me slowing myself down, in fear I was starting my "fast" part too soon.
( BTW, Amy, I watched you for a bit...You're stride was relaxed, your focus strong. I knew when I saw you, this was YOUR race. Way to go girl!!)
I have to confess, I purposefully, dropped myself back, trying to conserve, and thinking I could never keep up with my G2B girls.
( Why I thought this, no clue, because track every week has proven that I could) Where did this self doubt come from?!?

Mile 8, sigh, wasn't a nerve problem, it was a real problem. I took in my 2nd GU, and choked on it!! WTF!! Luckily I run with water, so I could try to spit the GU out from the back of my throat. Choking threw my breathing way off. I couldn't catch my breath at all. Between running a 8 min pace, GU being stuck in the back of my throat, and the coughing, I was a mess! What a site. It took me a good couple minutes to recover, and get my breathing into rhythm again.(and my legs)

I dropped my pace at the 10 mile mark to 7:50 and maintain that till mile 12. During these faster 2 miles, I began to chant my mantra to myself. In attempt to drown out my self doubt with confidence.
The 12th-13th mile, legs were definitely tiring on me, big time, and the mind wanted to see that mile 13 mark. My mind began to play with my body, again, as it had done all 12.5 miles previously. *Sigh*
"Where is that 13 mile mark?" " Why aren't I seeing it yet?"'s almost like I am scared of really pushing my body. ( Reading Amy's post, I can relate...what is the worst that can happen?)
Finally, I saw mile 13,and I picked the pace up again; and once I saw the finish I did an all out sprint to the finish.

1:46:17 time. avg pace 8:03. Garmin read: 13.26 miles. PR'd by 50 seconds. W/U=1/5 miles, the run=13.26 and C/D=1 mile, I squeezed in 15.76 miles for the day.
Yes, I PR'd, and yes I should have been happy, but I was slightly disappointed. It wasn't my dreamed 1:42-1:45.

When I reunited my group, and heard their times, I became even more disappointed in myself. ( Though very happy for them! Congrats!) We have this talked about this before, at the Silver Diner...we're so happy to see our group do so well, but then feel poopy because you wanted to experience it too. (So I know you guys can relate:)

So yes, I had a pity party yesterday. Embarrassing yes, now that I look back...but I felt like Boston was out of my reach. My mind had abused me enough the last 13.1 miles, why stop now. :P

So, I did some thinking last night, while falling asleep and in between sleep. Chicago will be a whole different approach.
1. I plan to stop over analyzing everything about it.
2. I will not look at my Garmin every second, because it holds my pace back. (I will wear my Garmin, but flipped around, so I can't see it easily.)The races I have PR'd this year, were because I had no plan, and I just went with what I was feeling.

Chicago is less than 3 weeks away, so it's time to taper, both in miles, and with my OCD. ;)
I'm not saying I wont be nervous, I will be, I mean it's 26.2 miles, and the last 6 months of my life....but I will not be OCD about it; like how I became with Philly.


  1. This is a great recap. I can totally relate to the ups and downs, and love the subsequent thought process over the last 24 hours. Was it your race? Maybe not, but you did PR and run negative splits for the most part. That's huge! We can help each other on the crazy head stuff and then get ready to rock the marathon!

  2. thanks :) Def need it! It's amazing what the mind can do, even you feel physically good. O well, next half! I'm looking at the Nations half in March, but waiting till after Chi to reg.
    I did PR, and I am taking a lesson away from it. What not to do in Chicago. :)

  3. I'm glad you are figuring it out, I really agree, the watch got into your head too much and it messed with you, don't look at it so much!! You did great! (and yes, you should have stopped looking at the watch and just stayed with them, you would have been fine!! :)

    You'll do great at Chicago, don't over analyze it.