Part of me likes and craves the consistency of running. Sure, it can sometimes feel repetitive and long, but it also makes me feel like me. I like being a runner.
After training through the winter I always look forward to testing out my race legs again, and this spring is no different.
Instead of the 50K I’d thought about and hinted at, I once again ran the Earth Day half marathon. I simply didn’t run enough quality miles to feel comfortable attempting the 50K this spring. I maybe/probably could have finished, but in what condition I can’t say. I also decided I most wanted to complete Lake Wobegon Trail Marathon in three weeks. I knew it might very well be one or the other race, so I made the choice I thought was best.
I also would have been sad to break my streak at the Earth Day run, which became six years strong on Saturday.
After some trial and error in marathon training I’ve decided it works best for me to do my longest run three weeks out from race day. I’ve already done one run each of nineteen and twenty miles this spring, so I wanted one more run of about twenty this weekend. Instead of racing a fast half marathon I decided to make it a twenty mile day and see what happened.
I arrived at the start a few hours early because I knew I wouldn’t feel like doing the extra miles after the race. Unfortunately I also had to work in the afternoon, so I wouldn’t have too much time later.
I ran just over seven miles in the quiet early morning, and I kept my pace really easy and relaxed. I felt great, and I hoped my race pace wouldn’t be effected too much. I ate my second gel of the morning with water just before the race start, and the 50 degree sunshine felt perfect with my shorts and t-shirt.
I started slightly slower than normal, and I’m definitely glad I did. I never fell apart, but I just couldn’t hack the half marathon pace I normally run.
For the past three years I’ve run in the lower 1:50’s, so I was disappointed when the 1:55 pacer passed me near mile ten. I tried to keep up, but I was sweating bullets in the warming sun and my legs didn’t wish to move any faster. Mentally I suppose I was also holding back for the marathon in three weeks. I wanted to run a hard effort, but this race wasn’t my true main goal.
I did find enough energy to surge at the finish and come in at 1 hour, 56 minutes. That is about six minutes slower than last year, which definitely stings. Lots of reasons (bright sun, a long work week, and the obvious extra miles) likely effected my time, but I always want to go into a race thinking I should improve.
Not every race can be a new personal best, and JR helped me realize it was crazy to expect that when I ran so many extra miles as a warm up.
In hindsight I can see that pretty clearly too!
I’m glad I finished my first race of the year, and I’m happy to keep representing Team Dairy and Team Chocolate Milk. Hopefully this workout pays off, and I will be ready to run stronger in a few weeks.
Speaking of racing, Happy Boston Marathon Monday! If you ran, cheered, or just cheered from afar like me I hope you enjoyed this amazing day. I’m sure the cows wondered what I was listening to this morning whenever I checked in with the live race coverage. Maybe I can make them into running fans yet!