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Posts Tagged ‘Philadelphia Half Marathon’

Mental games

Pretty much every race I’ve run in Philly has produced PRs or pretty awesome experiences. While yesterday did not produce a PR as hoped, I did learn a lot and had a pretty fantastic time out there. At the end of the day, shouldn’t that be our goal?  I also learned a few other things along the way.

Anyway, rewind to Saturday. While I didn’t observe the fast completely, I was not hydrating and eating as I normally do. Somehow a glass of Gatorade and cliff bar doesn’t translate to my usual pre-race day food. Dinner consisted of bagels, cheese, tuna salad. Again, not my usual food but I figured it’d suit fine with massive amounts of liquids.   This is the second half marathon I’ve run post-fast.

Sunday. 5:15 wakeup to prepare for my first true race since Boston? I definitely felt nerves even more than before pikes. Funny. The awesome part of this race is since my dad’s friends have done every single pdr they get VIP access (and so do I). So pre-race I was within feet of Shalene Flanagan. Neat. Didn’t spot Ryan Hall.

Oh, the race. Runnin’ Around Uptown and I planned to run this one together. Our plan? See how the legs feel and go from there. Obviously a new PR was on the mind but this ultimately would be a stepping stone for November 7.

We got to corral 3, had our ears blasted with the national anthem and finally we were off! Immediately we were sucked into going way too fast. ES and her friend Kelly she was pacing caught up to us. We started chatting a bit when Amy goes “um 6:40 pace.” Immediately we dropped back into our own race. And smart that indeed was as we were at mile 2? Eek! Not sure on splits since my garmin seemed to hate Philly! However AC’s watch stated 7:02. Not good.  That’s um 40 seconds faster than goal pace.

At this point, it was hot. The sun was blazing and we were sweating like crazy.  I felt fine, as did AC, so we started to cruise.  I think in the back of our minds we knew we weren’t going to PR today but sometimes that isn’t the name of the game.  A solid race is where you want to be at this point in training.  I commented on a few items in the city as I’ve run this course five times prior (all in the reverse direction – grr rock n roll stop messing with Philly!).  We spotted our friend NM twice in our tour of the city and she joined us on the run to the Kelly Drive/West Drive section.  She pushed the pace a bit but looking back it probably was closer to a 1:40 pace.  However, it just didn’t feel “comfortable” today.  I passed my dad and he commented to just stick with it (he knew it wasn’t my day either).

As we entered the park loop, AC commented how nice it was to have a bit of peace and quiet.  I tended to agree as we could finally relax and just let the legs roll.  I felt pretty good at this point.  AC pointed out we were a good 40 seconds behind goal pace at this point.  We both knew there was no way we were going to hit the goal today.  It stinks when you know so early.  We arrived at mile 7 and I remember thinking “crap, another 10k?.  That never happens to me but today I should have taken that as a precursor of what was to follow.  When we hit a “bump” or a hill as they refer to it (haha) I would comment to AC.  We both laughed especially once I commented that 4 weeks ago I was running up one massive hill!  Anyway, we took our gu/sharkies at around mile 8.  I stupidly didn’t take very many and have to wonder what the heck I was thinking?

Mile 9 I remember thinking: “ok legs, 4 more. you can do it.”  At this point, I started to feel a bit “off.”  As we approached mile 10, I began to feel even more lousy but continued.  Finally, as we approached mile 11, I remember asking AC if we could walk the water stop so I could recollect for t he last section of the course.  She agreed (you rock for being there!) and we started running again.  At this point her words to me, “ok, I’m pulling you to the finish line.”  We started rocking out sub 7:40s (I think close to 7:30 not sure since the garmin was funky).  I was hurting and definitely felt depleted at this point – not leg pain but just an empty tank of energy.  AC continued to pull me along.  All I remember is just thinking “it’s faster to run than walk.” haha.  And thank goodness AC is here to pull me to that finish line!

With that we crossed the line at 1:43:09.  Not a PR.  But I think I learned a lot about being able to pull out mental toughness to get to a finish line.  It hurt but mission accomplished.  No leg/body soreness (ran 5.5 this morning).  I had a good time in Philly with family and friends.  I earned another sub 8 half (becoming the norm! yay!). All was not lost in this half (#25 or 26 in my career I believe).

No garmin splits.  I forgot to manually do them.  Wish I did because I’m sure they would be interesting.

As I look out with less than 7 weeks to go, I don’t think my goals are unreasonable for NYCM.  Guess we’ll see.  Last tune up before NYCM is Oct 10: Staten Island.

How do you deal with a race when you know a PR is out of sight and you know it isn’t your day?

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