Running Report Card

It’s been 3 years since I have run the New Bedford Half Marathon. It’s odd that I would at all miss it these last few years, but I have. My introduction to this race in 2007 was a cold and WINDY day…the kind of day that now serves as the gold standard of windy races and has never been matched. I hated New Bedford after that first race.

But absence make the heart grow fonder, I guess. I was actually excited to run this year. And nervous. My last few runs have been just plain difficult. As I have described to my running partner, I just feel like I’ve been dragging something behind me. Something heavy, like those World’s Strongest Man competitions when they have to pull an airplane. Yeah, that difficult.
I thought today could go 2 ways. The week could continue and the 13.1 miles might feel like a full marathon or I could go out and have a great day. Turns out, there is a 3rd option which fell somewhere in between.
I definitely felt better today than I have been feeling the last 2 weeks…for most of my race. Miles 1-7 were good, averaging a 7:50 pace. But at mile 8, the rhythm ended. For 2 miles it felt like I had cement in my quads. I don’t know what caused the change, but it was not fun.
This whole training season has been a learning experience though and here was a chance for a new lesson. Yippee. This past week at our Run for the Memory team meeting, I had actually asked a very related question to our guest speaker, Assistant BAA coach, Terry Shea.
“How do you keep a not-great race from turning into a terrible race?”
His advice was to have a A, B, and C goal at the beginning of the race. “A” being a perfect day, “B” being what you are realistically prepared for and “C” being the day something’s just a little off. So I went into today with my goals – A: 7:45 pace; B: 7:50 pace and C: 1/2 marathon PR. Even if by 1 second, I wanted to achieve this goal.
I’ll give today a B-/C+. I ran a half marathon PR by almost 2 minutes and beat my course PR by over 5 minutes! My pace was a tad slower than I had hoped, but I cracked the 8:00 barrier for the first time (also a goal of mine)!! It was also great practice to get through the tough miles and choose not to give up. After Miles 8-10, I bounced back with 2 good miles, before the cement legs returned on the course’s final hill.
1:43:51. 7:56 pace. New 1/2 Marathon PR.
My race could have ended at Mile 8, and I didn’t let it. I didn’t give up, and it paid off. That was my lesson learned today. Bring on next week’s 23 miler!

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