I got up at early-thirty to meet some peeps in Birmingham to drive to Tuscaloosa, where we met my brother in law, Jay who had our bibs and then continue on to the start.. parking was a breeze and we found even more people at the start.
We were all just standing around chit chatting and then all of the sudden all of the people started moving and the race had started.. Way to be prepared! We started out and were chatting and feeling good and just taking in the sights of everything and enjoying the gorgeous weather (Holy run on sentence!). Becca pulled ahead pretty early, but I could still see her and easily catch her so I wasn’t worried. The course weaved through some historic homes and I honestly hate courses that weave. Ann had a baby bouncing on her bladder and she had to make a pit stop around 4.5, and at the mile 6 water stop, I realized that I was probably in the long haul solo since I looked ahead and couldn’t see Becca any longer.
I started fading around mile 8, and probably should have taken a GU, but it was tucked safely in the car at that point and wasn’t doing me any good there. It was warming up and I wanted so bad to be able to rally, and I tried, but hills popped up out of nowhere and I could not make it. At the mile 9 hill, which was boring, long, and never ending, I had a Resolute Running teammate pop up and be all “Hey! What’s up?” and then he took off and completely made the hill his bitch.
Going into the race, I wasn’t looking forward to the Jack Warner Parkway and the River Walk portion, but once I turned the corner onto Jack Warner, it was a downhill and a nice breeze picked up and I start picking up the pace a little bit, making good use out of the downhill. I hit mile 11, right where we get on the River Walk and saw Hannah and was so happy to see a friendly face, but I already knew the sub 2 was far gone and so was a PR.
This race was a learning experience for me… sort of. I basically learned that I am a follower (not a HUGE newsflash, but always a nice reminder!). If someone sets a pace, I can run with them and chase them, but I cannot hold an uncomfortable pace on my own. I have lost the mental battle on the past 4 half marathons in the end… the 4 half marathons that I have tried to break 2. Physically, I felt fine, but mentally, I couldn’t force my legs to pick up the pace. I just reached a point where I was okay with what I was giving in the race, instead of pushing outside of my comfort zone. Somehow, I’ve to figure out how to push past that, because it’s getting really frustrating. I’m feeling extremely discouraged and ready to toss in the towel on this distance for a while, but not without breaking 2… the goal I have been chasing for almost a year.
I’ve got to give a blog reader a shout out– Kim came up to me after the race and introduced herself and told me what an inspiration I was and that she started running because of me and she actually ran her first half marathon in Tuscaloosa– a 2:43!! It was so awesome to meet you, Kim! I really appreciate your kind words and you are a ROCK STAR!! Please let me know how you are doing!!
Such a beautiful old bridge….
My Juan Pablo “eeeet’s okay!” I didn’t PR picture… also? Not really sure what’s going on with my leg. It seems to be channeling Elvis or something.
I have one more race before I turn 30 in April, and I am bound and determined to break 2 hours… so if you have some tips on breaking the mental barrier, I am ALL ears.
1. I stepped out of my comfort zone, once again, and went to the Birmingham Track Club End of the Year Party. I met some more of my Resolute Running teammates and Tanya was nice enough to want a picture with me… She must have felt my super uncomfortable vibes rolling off of me. The place was packed and I don’t do well with large crowds… so it was quite the test, but I survived.
2. I was interviewed on a podcast a few weeks ago and forgot to post the link on the blog. Oops. Sorry y’all. It was the Lifestyle Accountability Show and if you want to hear me say “Umm” a lot with a Southern accent, then be sure to check it out!
3. I was chosen as a 2014 Nuun Ambassador. I have used only Nuun for rehydration for about the past 2 1/2 years and this is just amazing to me. I love when races have them at the water stops.. like Nike Women’s and Ragnar.
What’s going on with your Tuesday?? Anything exciting?
So. I sort of did something crazy and definitely out of the norm. I hired a running coach. I know me and how I operate (it’s a gift of having known myself for 29 years) and if left to my own devices, I would jump back into running with both feet… which is hard to do since running is typically one foot at a time. My friend Jennifer had sent me a link right around the time I got injured for Resolute Running. They were doing a training group for the Magic City half. After numerous e-mails with Alex about my injury and even discussing running goals when I actually couldn’t run, I decided to take the plunge and do it. I figured, if he would watch me like a hawk with my ankle and tell me exactly what to do, I’d be in good shape. That’s another thing with me.. I tend to follow directions well.
Coach Alex and I discussed using Magic City as my “come back” run. And the goal would be to just finish. We talked about my PR being 2:02 and how I REALLY wanted to break 2 hours and he said, “Oh. That’s pretty much done. Let’s look at 1:50.” Wait a second. I am barely running, and am not running near 2 hour paces and you want me to set my sights on a 1:50 half? Before the conversation was over, he had mentioned a 1:30 half and me still being “moldable”. Afterwards, I was very confused. I thought I was just easing back in and he’s talking about major PR’s.
Then I got my training plan. And it is a bunch of 10:30 paces and then I was SUPER confused. So, I e-mailed him and asked what was up– Was the goal really just to cross the finish line or was it break 2 hours? He explained to me that he was being very lenient with my paces and I should be able to run a 1:56 half with this. Skepticism, party of 1??
I read Tanya’s post on Coach Alex’s style and it eased my thoughts, but I’m still a little skeptical on it… but, I will trust the training and do what I am told.
For now, I am back running, with Betty the brace (she’s becoming a part of me so she needed a name). I’m not doing any speed work and I am glad to know that I haven’t lost too much of my fitness being out a month– I had a long run this weekend of 7 miles and still felt pretty dang good afterwards. Right now, I am running 3 days a week and cross training 2 days with 2 rest days. I have the Vulcan 10K coming up and I would love to break 55 for it, but I am not sure that will happen.