I seem to do this to myself every year…sign up for a race of some sort in order to motivate my butt to move it! move it! I signed up and missed the Richmond Half in Nov so when my co-worker floated Rock and Roll DC in March I was hesitant to commit. But a little peer pressure by the others that signed up was enough to push me over the line.
I promised myself that I’d train for this one which is silly because it was winter and of course this winter had to be one of the worst on record for the DC area. However, I did actually manage to put in some miles before the weekend, even if it was mostly on a treadmill.
I didn’t follow any specific training plan but did figure that I needed to get to at least 10 mile the weekend before the race (if not better) and only wanted to increase my long runs by a mile each week. So working back I put a loose schedule together. Running 2 times during the week for 2 and 3 miles initially and then 4 and 5 miles in the latter parts set me up well for my long runs on the weekends.
Two weekends prior to the race I hit my longest distance of 11 miles. Then the weather and horrible leg cramps hit which meant I pretty much took the entire week before the race off. I tried a long run the weekend prior but only made it 4 miles. Mid week I tried another 5k and only managed to squeak out 2 miles. I was terrified that I wasn’t going to make the 13 miles. So I sent my husband out for Epsom salts and bathed in them every night for the week and did a bunch of extra stretching (which I’m terrible at remembering normally). Thankfully it seemed to work.
This was the first race that I would be running without DH which is different for me. I’m used to him being there to not only carry the fuel but to keep me company and push when I’m feeling terrible. He’s a great motivator and he’s perfectly happy running my slack pace. However, it turns out one of my co-workers was in the same start corral as I was. We’d agreed to run together as much as we could but wouldn’t let the other one hold them back if they felt like they needed to go. It worked our really well. She pushed me through the first 4 miles at a much faster pace than I would have pushed myself and I carried her through the tough parts and the hills. Ultimately we separated at 10 miles because her knee was done but I attribute much of my time to her pushing at the start.
That left me by myself for 3 miles which was good because my pace announcement told me I was still sub 2 hours and a quick calculation in my head told me that I could still run this sub 2:30 which was my ultimate goal but I’d have to run fast – like negative split fast. I figure, it was 3 miles, I could hurt for 3 miles so I kicked it into gear and despite a quick stop in the finish corral to say hi to my family (who surprised me and came to watch) I made it in under 2:30. 2:19 to be exact!
Now, I’ve been sitting here thinking I beat my PR by a long shot only to find out (by looking back at my Garmin data) that I beat my last half time by a long shot (the one I didn’t train for) but did not beat my PR:( Boo, guess I have something to work towards for the next one.
3/22/2009 VA Beach Shamrock Half (pre kids – trained to 8) – 2:15
5/15/2011 Pittsburgh Half (A year after Noah’s birth – trained to 8) – 2:20
5/5/2013 Pittsburgh Half (9 months after Lia’s birth – no training) – 2:40
3/15/2014 Rock and Roll USA (first half by myself – trained to 11mi) – 2:19
The biggest difference with this one was that my recovery was much less and I felt strong through the finish vs all the others where I barely made it across the line.