I haven't been overly inspired to write nor do I have much interesting to talk about besides my running. I can't imagine anything more anti-climatic than a race report for a race that happened over a month ago. But, I wanted to do it some justice, so here it goes.
As you know, I ran the Monster Dash 1/2 on 10/26. At the beginning of 2013, I set my sights on a fall 1/2 to build back up to running as much as I did in 2011.
A perfect storm sort of happened with training. One, work was still busy, but not the insane busy I had experienced in June and July. Two, my job (when not swamped) is encouraging about fitness and using your lunch hour to workout. Three, the weather was pretty decent. Besides a few hot days in August, most long runs on weekends were in perfect weather. September was pretty awesome here weather wise, not to mention it's light out until at least 8:00 until October. And last but certainly not least, I have a more than supportive husband who took on the lions share of kid duty on Saturday mornings to allow me those long runs.
I was able to stick to the Hal Higdon 1/2 plan to a T. Nothing extra, but I think I only missed one workout in the 12 week plan. So here is what most weeks looked like:
Week 7 of 12
Sunday: 3.25 miles
Monday: 4.5 miles
Tuesday: 6x400, 3.25 total miles
Thursday: 10k race
Friday: 3 easy miles
Saturday: 10 miles long
Weekday running happened over lunch or in the evening. If it was in the evening, it was with the double jogging stroller for easy runs or after the kids' bedtime on the treadmill or outside.
A few weeks before the race, I noticed that most of my runs were getting faster. Even the easy pace runs were dropping. My last long run before the race was the biggest difference. It made me start to wonder if I had a shot at a real PR, not just a post baby new PR. I didn't want to get my hopes up, but was really encouraged to see how far my fitness had come. Looking back at my planner from December last year, I was running 3 miles at a time and I recall being thrilled to do some of those miles just under 9 minute mile pace. For contrast, my last long run, I averaged ~8:20 for 10 miles.
I still went into race day with the mentality to just have fun and enjoy the experience. I had no pressure on myself for once. It was fun having my brother and his friend to hang out with before the race and for some reason, even though they are extremely competitive, they were pretty relaxed and it helped me do the same.
I knew I had to start out slow, and thankfully I did that for once. I always start out wayyy to fast and then have nothing left at the end. My first couple miles were around 8:20 and I decided to just keep that pace to see what happened. Around mile 8, I noticed my miles were getting a little faster, one by one. I gradually picked it up towards the end. The last 4 miles were a lot more challenging on the course, so I had to work for them. At mile 10, I did the math and realized that a true PR could happen.
In the end, I missed it by 7 seconds. My A goal for this race was 1:50:00 and I came in around 1:48:50. The difference was that this time, I had fun the whole race and never felt like I wanted it to be over. Well, maybe the last mile, but still. I couldn't believe how much easier my effort felt this time compared to 2 years ago when in theory, I was in much better shape.
Here we are at the finish:
Overall, I was happy to have a great training cycle under my belt and a great race, but most importantly that I know I can do this running thing as a working mom of two.
Moving ahead, I know the next 3 months are going to be pretty laxidaisal for running mostly because well, it's winter in Minnesota. I would love to say I have a spring 1/2 in mind, but I am not sure doing more than one a year will be feasible. I can say that I will be doing a few 5k's (ahem, one on New Years Day...any joiners?), 10k's and hopefully the Monster Dash 1/2 again in the fall.
And just for funsies, here's some pictures of my 19(!) month olds: