Saturday I ran the Top of Utah Half Marathon. Awesome course, well supported, perfect weather. Yet I failed.
I did this one last year and had a stellar experience. Under 2 hours and felt great. But this summer has had more down time (some injury, some pure lazy) There were a couple weeks where I only got a long run in.
Given that last spring I had hoped to hit a pretty lofty goal and had revised to "please let me beat last years time", I really bombed.
My chip time was 2:07:12.8, or 7:50 slower than last year. What happened? PRIDE.
Despite low weekly mileage, I assumed that because I did it last year, I could do it this year. Wrong. Running is not a forgiving sport. There are no gimmies. You will earn every second shaved off your time.
Since I don't get any bragging rights on the time, I'd better learn something out of this.
1. Don't sing along out loud to your ipod. Not only do people stare at you, you get out of breath and get a stitch in your side that takes a mile and a half to get rid of.
2. When you are out of breath, keep jogging even slowly. Walking a little to catch your breath lets your muscles get cold and you have a hard time getting going again. Thus resulting in more walking.
3. Having a rocking playlist tailored to the race is AWESOME! Just don't let the item number 1 happen because your playlist is so awesome. (#1 started up because Living on a Prayer came on at exactly the right time--half way through the race, think about it)
4. When items number 1 and 2 happen, don't let your brain tell you all the reasons you can't make it. Your body will go as far as your mind will. Unfortunately mine shut down all positive thinking around mile 8.
5. When you finish the race and you are in more pain than you have been in since you gave birth 10 years ago, forget the awards and drawing and go back to the hotel room for an ice bath. Thus avoiding limping down the street to the car in front of 2396 other racers and their families.
Looking back, it wasn't the worst experience of my life. (I thought that when I crossed the finish line) I know I need a bigger running base. I worry too much about speed work when I should be focused on endurance. I lost this race because I assumed once you do it you own it forever, because I didn't keep my breathing under control, and mostly because I didn't keep my mind under control.
In spite of my time, I did place 28 out of 103 in my division. So that helped me feel a little better.
I'm not letting go of my goal. Next year, I want to run this race in 1:44:48.
The training begins NOW!