It's race week, you guys, and up until yesterday's run, I was ridiculously nervous about it. Despite being better trained than ever with consistent speedwork, increased mileage, and regular strength workouts, it's been hard to shake off the mediocre races I've run over the past several months. Especially when anything resembling speed of any kind was nowhere to be found since last March.
But yesterday gave me hope. The weather was decent, fall-like even, with temps around 65 in the morning and only 85% humidity. The dewpoint must have been relatively low as well because I could actually breathe. My coach scheduled 5 easy miles with .25 mile strides at goal half marathon pace at the end of each mile. I decided to run by feel and see what happened. My easy run feel ended up being way closer to goal pace than I thought and my strides were way faster than goal pace, but felt much easier so I thought I was going much slower. Confidence booster for sure.
So with that, even though it wasn't a race, I'm feeling like the time my coach thinks I can run really isn't that farfetched. And I caught a glimpse of the runner I remember from a few years ago and it seems like she may be faster than before.
It's about freaking time.
I've been hovering right around the same paces for a few years now with quick glimpses of speed that disappear with circumstances (pregnancy, summer, etc.) -
- Newish runner phase (less than a year of running): cluster of 5Ks in the 23/24 minute range and half marathon around 1:56 (training at about 15 miles per week)
- 1 year later, pregnant runner phase: cluster of 5Ks in the 23/24 minute range - just before that, I hit my best race ever at a 10K PR of 49:25 and was just beginning to pick up some speed before pregnancy sent that packing (training at about 15-18 miles per week)
- Another year later, post-baby phase: cluster of 5Ks in the 23/24 minute range, half marathon around 1:55 (training at about 15-18 miles per week)
- 6 months later, hot, humid summer tempo run-race slogfest: cluster of 5Ks in the 23/24 minute range (training at about 12 miles per week)
Let's get this show on the road, shall we?
It's time to race healthy, in decent weather, and fully recovered from pregnancy. It's time to cash in all of those hot, humid, miserable training miles I've put in over the past several months along with the higher overall mileage of 20-30 miles per week, and run what I know I'm capable of running.
And it's looking like I'm going to get exactly that. The weather is looking nice and cool for Sunday, my asthma is behaving despite a few congestion and allergy issues I've got going on right now, and I'm finally (finally!) feeling 100% recovered from pregnancy when it comes to running and working out. That only took a little over a year (and some serious strength and core work). Some people bounce back much quicker than that, but for me, that's what it took for those last lingering side effects to fade into memories.
The only thing I'm still nervous about is going into all-out race mode in a half marathon without any other all-out races under my belt prior to it. It really has been since September 2013 since I went all-out in a race. Having the first race out of the gate be a half marathon is a little daunting.
I'll be running the Coastal 5K on Saturday morning, the day before the half, but I'm not racing that. I'm not even tempo-ing that. It's just an easy shake out run (as directed by my coach). That's going to be a mental challenge since it will be so tempting to test my racing legs. But probably not the smartest thing to do the day before a half where I'm out for a big PR.
At this point, I've put in the training. Now I have to get out of my own way and trust it. No mental freak outs, no blow ups, no asthma attacks. Leave it all on the course.
Okay, Myrtle Beach, let's do this.