On Saturday I ran a half marathon in Carmel, IN. My goal was to hit 1:45 for my finish time (about an 8 minute mile pace) and my training had indicated that was a realistic goal. I’ve worked out with a trainer since January, ran 8 miles at my goal pace and felt good at the end, ran a nice easy 10 miler at an 8:45 pace, tapered as I should, got plenty of sleep, hydrated, stretched, and warmed up with about a half mile jog before the race. In other words, I did everything right.
But the race was awful. It was about 66 degrees with 71% humidity and within the first 4 miles, I was already behind my pacing. I don’t want to attribute my struggle to weather, but it played a big part. And for some reason, things weren’t clicking for me: my legs would not go any faster, my heart rate wouldn’t slow down. When I hit mile 8 and realized I wasn’t even going to be able to beat my time from October’s half, I felt like quitting. I even started to cry a little bit. Pathetic, right?
Usually at the end of a race, I have something deep inside to up the pace for the last 5k at the most, definitely by the last mile. But on Saturday, even by the last mile, I was slowing down and had nothing left. I finished with a time of 1:56:36, an 8:54 pace.
I was talking with my trainer today about it, how I felt like I failed on Saturday. My trainer is an All-American sprinter from University of Kentucky, so of course he had some real wisdom: “Do you think I PRed every time I ran? Of course not? How many school records are there? And how many do I hold? One. So you can’t see it as failing. You didn’t hit your goal, but you go out and work harder the next time.”
So true. While a disappointing, frustrating race, at least I do know deep inside that I can run faster and will this fall at a half. Biggest lesson learned? Don’t try to PR during the humid, spring!
(Incidentally, since this was a new, small race, had I hit my goal time, I would have finished 7th in my age group! I finished 21st of 91, which is still not too bad.)