I’ve generally been a little all over the place lately. I have been finding it hard to find any amount of balance or consistency in my life or schedule. I am definitely feeling the effects of not having a concrete goal or plan. Meaning I generally find it harder to say no or resist food temptations. It’s like, eh, who cares right? And I guess that’s okay on some level. On some level it’s not that good either. I’m giving myself this week and then the following week of recovery and then I need to be good. I’ll explain that later. But first, let me talk about something else. This last weekend in particular. Because I ran my first half marathon in a month and my first post running 2 marathons and I was kind of curious to see what I could do with it.
Meaning, my previous PR was set on August 15 basically before I had ran any distance past 13.1 miles. It was 2:03:49. This was a solid time for me. Pretty much in the couple months of marathon training I kept improving my half time every run fairly consistently. Let me put it this way. My PR for all of 2014 and withstanding until July 11 of 2015 was 2:09:39 This may not seem like a big difference but 6 minutes in the world of running 13 miles is just shy of 30 seconds a mile. That is actually quite a lot. It is for this reason that I wasn’t sure how much more I had in me. It has always been in the back of my mind that someday it would be cool to run a sub 2 hour half marathon. This is kind of like a cool runners mark. But honestly after having run so many I kind of thought it was most likely impossible for me. I’m not a “fast” runner. Just consistent. To go from a PR of 2:03:49 to sub 2 hours would require almost 20 seconds a mile faster. Seems damned near impossible honestly.
In the world of running all the conditions have to line up just perfectly to achieve PR’s. Meaning, you have to “feel” it. Your body just has to feel right and of course the weather and course conditions have to be ideal. Meaning no huge hilly sections, and the weather has to cooperate. Basically its asking a lot to line up all at once. But the weather was almost perfect for running on Saturday. A little cold and a smidge with the rain. Just sprinkles. But I also knew that would be perfect for actually running. And the course, as I recalled from running it the previous year was pretty good. A few rolling hills but nothing at all major. I simply decided to throw all racing rules and knowledge out the window and fuck it, run as fast and hard as I could for as long as I could. This is not a good race strategy by any means and one that would kill you in a full marathon. That’s all about pace.
I started running and I knew I was running faster than I could reasonably keep up for any duration of time. I knew I was pushing myself. I knew eventually I would have to slow down. My first mile was an 8:40. I never run that fast. Second mile was 8:53. Mile 3 was 9:02. Yes slowing a bit for sure. But all still beyond what I normally run. I knew that this was going to eventually bite me in the ass. I could not keep this pace. I knew this because my breath felt strained already. I felt like my heart might explode. But I said, no, keep giving it everything you have and if you peeter out in the end, oh well. Let’s just see what we got in us.
Mile 4 I slowed. 9:12. Mile 5 was 9:16. And then for some reason I got a spurt and Mile 6 was 8:59. I really wanted to hit that 6.55 mark, the halfway point at a fast speed. I remember looking down at my watch when it hit 6.55 and noting I was at 59 minutes and a few seconds. If I could keep up this pace I could be under 2 hours. But I knew that I was asking a lot of my body. I was already exhausted and wanted to quit. I honestly didn’t think anything around 2 hours was likely at that point. I knew my pace was slowing. I knew it had to be around a 9:10 pace to hit 2 hours. I stopped at every single water station and drank. It was only seconds I am sure but I knew those seconds would add up. But I needed the water with running faster than I normally do.
Mile 7 was harder, 9:27 (water break) Mile 8 was 9:13, Mile 9 another water break and 9:28, Mile 10 was 9:13 again. But I knew after mile 10 that it was getting so hard and I wanted to quit so bad. I kept having an internal conversation with myself. What does quitting mean anyway Emily? You are going to walk now? After a couple seconds you will want to run again and you will just be mad at yourself for walking so don’t do it. Just keep going. It’s all in your mind anyway. Be stronger than the pain. Mile 11 was 9:22. I knew I was in striking distance but I was also realistic. My body was so tired. Pure exhaustion and I gave myself permission to just run as best as I could knowing that as my overall pace clicked past the 9:10 mark that I was not going to hit a sub 2 hour half but that I would be dang close. Mile 12 was my worst mile both mentally and time wise, it was a 9:41. After I saw the mile 12 marker pass I was able to mentally tell myself it was now only 1.1 miles and holy hell to run with all my heart. Mile 13 was 9:16. And then I saw the finish stretch and looked at my time and the seconds were ticking by and I looked up at how far I had to run and knew I wasn’t going to hit it. I ran as fast as my body would allow but I was seconds off.
I crossed the finish line at 2:00:31 seconds. 31 seconds shy of my 2 hour mark. 32 seconds shy of a sub 2 hour. I initially was beating myself up a little bit. It sucks to be so close to a personal record and come up short. But on the plus side, I am “that” close to it. This was a great PR. I never imagined I was this close to running that fast. This means I literally ran at steps shy of a 6.55 mile per hour pace for 2 freaking hours. That’s a big deal for me. That means I know I have a sub 2 hour someone inside of me. I am this close to it. I can’t be upset about any of it. Here’ the other tidbit. My Garmin tracks moving time and elapsed time. Meaning it registers the moments where I stopped at water stations. It knows how many seconds I did not move. My elapsed time on my Garmin was 2:00:35 (couple seconds difference for stopping/starting) whereas my moving time was 1:59:41 Essentially combined at all water stations I stopped moving for 54 seconds. That sounds about right. If I could figure out a way to cut out some water station time I would have been there. Oh well, right?
All of this means I am just that close to it. That close to something I honestly didn’t actually believe was possible. Of course like I said all the factors totally lined up perfectly for this one. The next one they might not. The next one I might feel like crap. The next one is most likely going to be cold and rainy given the fact that it’s now late October in Oregon. But now I know what I am actually capable of. I just have to keep pushing myself. I really did push beyond anything I ever have before. So I just have to be proud because truthfully maybe this is going to be my PR for a while. Conditions could not line up again for a while. Until next year maybe so I need to be proud that it was pretty much a 2 hour half.
We will see where everything goes from here. I have another plan for this weekend I want to share but for now, this is where I am at.