Long-time running coach Bill Bowerman once said, “If someone says, ‘Hey, I ran 100 miles this week; how far did you run?’ Ignore him! What the hell difference does it make? The magic is in the man, not the 100 miles.” And, that’s the philosophy I counted on as I ran the Pensacola Half Marathon this past weekend.
After the Talladega Half on 22 September, I took a cushy 2 weeks off for recovery (or was it 3??…). I found myself pulled in every direction opposite of having the time/energy for training runs in October—from much needed time with friends, Halloween, prepping for my twins’ first birthday and photo shoot, my husband’s first ultra, and everything in between—somehow all of my weekends disappeared. I ran (maybe) a handful of 5k easy peasy training runs spread out over mid-October on my treadmill at home, with one hilly 5k race on the 26th (pushing a stroller, wearing a cape, jeans, and my Bates lights boots). And, then I ran/hiked 15 miles of mountainous trail on 2 November as a pacer for my husband’s Pinhoti 100 endurance run. I didn’t run again until race day.
I had two goals for the race: 1) Run the entire half marathon without any walk breaks, 2) Beat my previous PR of 2:18:45.
OK, STOP. I know. I’m a very slow runner. You may be able to run faster than me, but can your body take the shape of a small planet while growing two human beings and then have your abdomen sliced in two (forever making it impossible to wear a sexy, low-cut bikini), and still have the urge to get up in the morning, let alone keep running less than a year later? Yeah, but what about the no-low-cut-bikini thing? I didn’t think so.
Even feeling as though I had vastly underprepared leading up to race day, I still clocked a new half marathon PR of 2:13:39. I am also happy to report that I didn’t walk but a few steps to grab water through the aid stations. Are you kidding me?! I was super proud.
I owe all of my success to the handful of gummy bears I grabbed (without stopping… sorry tray lady if I surprised you with my gummy bear fervor) at the mile 6 and mile 8 aid stations. And, I can’t forget to thank the high school marching band that played my personal theme song (whatever it was) for attacking that whopper of a hill around mile 9-10. I also snagged the best high five from a little boy holding a sign that read, “Your perspiration is my inspiration” along the course on mile 12.
Lessons applied successfully from previous races: I ate a small pre-race breakfast, I skipped the beer station, and I ran “by feel” with my watch covered, starting way behind the 5 hour pace group for the full marathon and working my way forward. For these reasons, I even had something left in the reserve tank for a blazing fast (ha ha) kick across the finish line. And, I did it all with a smile (and without having to sit on the toilet for the rest of the day).
I love how I’m flashing the crowd with my racing liner.
My husband asked me how I liked running in my new Altras. I really, really liked them, but regrettably I did feel a “hot spot” on my left foot. It wasn’t enough to affect my run overall, but we did get a pretty good laugh after I took my sock off and actually looked at my foot. Here it is and let me just say… you’re welcome.
Before: Still hungry?
After: Successful treatment!
On the drive home, as I napped under a blanket curled up in the front passenger seat—my husband blaring Christmas music on the radio to keep the twins entertained—I thought about a time in my life when I was literally shedding tears over not being able to finish a 5k. I am proud to say that I feel like I have finally FINISHED a half marathon. With only four weeks to recover, train, and taper for the Dallas Metro PCS Half Marathon in December, I better start thinking about what personal running goal I want to smash next.
Breakfast of Champions…
If you can’t tell from the photo, that’s the ocean to my right. It was a beautiful course.
Such a good sport even after a 4am wake-up, hour long car ride, and long wait for mom to finish.