On August 12th I signed up for a half marathon, to use as a marathon goal pace (MGP) workout. I waited until the day of the race to register. I rolled out of bed when it was still pitch black out and almost went back to bed and hid under the covers. I had to give myself a huge pep talk to just get my butt up and out the door. I had a total of twenty miles to run that morning, and I always look forward to these runs, they are my favorite runs of the marathon training cycle. However, I am terrified of speed work, especially MGP workouts. I reluctantly got up, slammed a banana and peanut butter, washed it down with Nuun and changed into my running gear and drove the 6 miles to the race course.
The entire short drive I was filled with self-doubt. I was even temped to turn around and go back home a few times. I pulled into the parking lot, turned off my car and took a deep breath. Grabbed my money and headed to the registration tables.
I got into a line ten people deep of race day registrants. As the line began to dwindle, my anxiety built and I started to syke myself out. I actually got out of line when there was only one registrant remaining between me and the registration table. I really did NOT want to race this morning and I did NOT want to do a MGP workout, I wanted to run a comfortable 20 miler on my familiar route. I gave myself a pep talk and forced myself back in line, handed my cash over to the race volunteer and received my bib number. No turning back, or I might as well have lit that $50 on fire.
I pinned on my bib and did a 3 mile warm-up and just like that anxiousness of what lay ahead disappeared within minutes. I told myself it didn’t matter, I wasn’t trying to qualify for anything, this was going to be a good, fun workout, and who cares what my time was in the end? I wanted to run comfortably at a pace I felt I could maintain for an entire 26.2. I wanted to go 1:39:58 or better. That’s it, no PR, no sub 1:30, I wanted to run comfortably hard. What was I afraid of? I could do this.
Before I knew it the time had come to toe the start line. I ran into a few friendly faces and chatted about the Olympics, Mo’s amazing 5K, Morgan’s tragic fall, the strangely chilly temperature, yet high humidity we were standing in. All things that took my mind off of my impending workout.
The gun went off, and I may have went out a tad bit ambitiously, but I quickly found my comfortable stride. I wore my regular old running watch (I hate wearing a Garmin during a race), and clocked my splits at each mile marker.
Mile 1: 6:41
Mile 2: 7:20
Mile 3: 7:33
Mile 4: 7:42
Mile 5: 7:36
Mile 6: 7:25
Mile 7: 7:36
Mile 8: 7:31
Mile 9: 7:34
Mile 10: 7:26
Mile 11: 7:22
Mile 12: 7:58 (hellllllo monster of a hill)
Mile 13: 6:39
The final mile I decided to give it a little more and pick up the pace, and it ended up being my fastest mile of the day. I LOVE ending stronger than I started. The entire race I seriously felt like I was out for a comfortable long run. I didn’t feel like I was running too fast, or huffing and puffing. I shouted words of encouragement to those who passed me, and those that I passed as well. I thanked the volunteers and police officers directing traffic. It was a beautiful morning for a run, and I am so grateful that I overcame my silly fear of MGP. This race left me feeling empowered and excited to see what I can pull out on race day come October 21st. And maybe, just maybe, left me with the notion that I should turn up my training runs just a notch.