Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Is "PRing" even a word?

1) noun. Runner's jargon for personal record, which is a person's best in a particular event
2) verb. To achieve a PR

After two successes two years in a row, meaning PRing the half marathon distance in this event two years in a row, I decided to sign up for the Platte River Half once more.  Last year's race was good.  I ran my best half marathon so far and I was proud of me.  I was a happy camper.

I'm not going to lie, while I PRed, I knew I could go harder.  During last year's race, I ran with someone that held me back just a bit, and after a year of taking my training and racing as seriously as I have been, I realized I don't want to run races with someone.  I will start with someone and wait for my crew to finish... but running a race together is a whole different beast.  This time was my time to shine.

As you (random reader) know, I am training for a 50 mile race in Mt. Hood and I'm slowly adding mileage to my weeks.  I had a short jog scheduled for Saturday according to my training plan, but I was in the mountains with nothing else to do and a nice sunny day that called my name.  I left the house planning on running easy and slow for maybe 30 minutes, maybe 40.  Off I go... and 8 miles later I'm back in the house feeling as good as new.  I went slow.  It was a mellow pace, but still 8 miles.

On Sunday morning I woke up wondering if the 8 miles would hurt me.  I didn't feel tired, I felt fine.  This time around, I'd ask the man-friend that we get there early.  So we left home early and were parked by 7:15am. We picked up our race packets and relaxed a little bit before dropping off our bags and lining up at the start.  It was a gorgeous sunny day (unlike the past 2 years).

Sun's out... now let it warm up!! 
If you read last year's race report, I mentioned that my goal was to run a sub-2hr half marathon, so the pressure was on.  If I ran a 9:09min/mile race, I'd accomplish my goal.  Off we go.  I tried to stay calm and focused, but it's easy to run fast during the first mile.  I logged an 8:38min mile. I felt surprisingly good, so I just stuck to my pace.  The second mile was an 8:40 and the third an 8:35.  Am I just faster nowadays?  Well, I slowed down, since I was afraid I wouldn't be able to keep it up.  Regardless, I was able to maintain my pace under 9:00 min/mile.

Just like last year, I'd carried 3 GUs so I could eat one every 4 miles. And knowing that the aid stations were 2 miles apart, I walked through the ones on mile 4, 8 and 12 to drink some water and eat some GU.  Those miles were slower, but roughly around 9:05s and past mile 6 or 7, my pace was staying closer to an 8:50min/mile.  This felt so much more comfortable.

At mile 10 I had no choice but to stop and use the porta-potty.  I was well aware that I was roughly 3:30 minutes "ahead of schedule" so in theory I had time, but didn't want to use it.  I stopped anyway.  By the time I completed mile 11, I realized I may have lost just over a minute, so I was still roughly 2 minutes ahead of schedule.  Mile 12 consisted of an aid station (for me to drink water and eat a GU) so slowed down enough to barely run a 9:05 and Mile 13 has THE CLIMB. I hate THE CLIMB.  I was also able to maintain a pace under goal time.  The last quarter of a mile I gave it my all and ran a 7:10min/mile average.  Whew... I'd never felt this crappy after a half marathon.

Chuck was there waiting for me and knew I had made it.  My official finish time is 1 hour, 57 minutes and 23 seconds.  This will only teach me that I can easily do what I set my mind to.  Not only did I break the 2 hour mark (which would've been accomplished with that 9:09 min/mile pace) but I broke the 9 min/mile average running an 8:57 average per mile.

The day stayed gorgeous so we sat at the finish line area to drink some beer, enjoy some live music and soak up the sun.  Life is good.

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