GUYS! So I signed up for this race right after coming back from Lululemon- and mostly because I wanted to go up and support Tyler in the race. I was just planning on doing the 5k until I realized it was the day before the half- and we weren't going to be up in San Jose in time. So i signed up for the half marathon. (The amazing Savannah got me a comped bib for it.) The time from Lululemon to San Jose was tough. I felt OFF- tired, fatigued, mentally drained from so many poor races in a row, just not really excited or ready to get back in da ring. So with it getting closer to the race, I entered into a new state. COMPLETE DENIAL. I just did not actually believe I would run the race. I thought I would figure out SOME way to get out of it. Because there was just NO way I could/would run it. I was just too tired.
Ironically, week of- I strained my hamstring to the point that it felt weird walking and to the touch. NOT IDEAL. And I'm the person that is never injured. So I was like- well i'll play this by ear - but if I can't run- not worst thing in the world. Because of my lackluster attitude for the race, I also decided not to taper, really for it. I mean- this wasn't a goal race- so why cut my miles down? And I still kept my Kayla workouts at the same intensity and amount. So yah- I really wasn't expecting to run.
We left Saturday morning and drove up. The drive went by really quickly- especially because we pulled up the new Amanda Knox netflix movie and before you knew it- we were in San Jose. We got to the expo and somehow even though the guys were registered as Elite with VIP access- they didn't have them on the list. And shocker- they wouldn't give them VIP wristbands because they didn't have enough for them/it was an exclusive area (this would give them access to the start line to do their strides/warmup without having to go through the melee of people to muscle their way to the front). In the end, we didn't walk away with those wristbands- which makes it even MORE ridiculous when they came in 10th and 13th at the race. Like seriously? If they are not giving the access to the top 15- who ARE they giving that access to?
Anyways back to SLOW me. So I took a couple pics before warming up. Decided I needed to do at least a mile even though I wasn't that into the race- so I jogged around with my gear bag flopping around on my back- so the jog definitely wasn't that "athletic" looking. And then I ran to the start line, drank my Nuun Energy bottle (do this before EVERY race) and took a gu (ps I'm going to try Huma gels- I've heard really good things about them). I squeezed myself between the gates and got as close to the front as I could. That morning while we were getting ready, Tyler said to try to keep the first couple miles to a 7:15- so when the gun went off I decided to do that. Usually when I go into a race, I let my body naturally do what it wants to do (read: murder myself first mile of the race and kill any chance for a good race) and find whatever pace that it wants to and run it (sometimes it works, sometimes I crash and burn- so it's not exactly a flawless plan). Unfortunately, being so fatigued lately, I didn't have the luxury of getting to go with that great wing it/let the wind carry you plan. I knew that I REALLY WOULD crash and burn if I didn't go slower this time. So even though a 7:15 first mile felt like a slow jog, I went with it. I controlled myself first whole mile and brought my pace down when it was getting too wild. First mile I went through in a 7:12- mission accomplished. Then from there I just went on cruise control. I stayed relaxed, I just would look down to make sure I wasn't going too fast, and I focused on quick small steps/turnover. I maintained like a 7:10/avg pace for the first 7 miles and I started to think - maybe I can actually PR today- if I just let myself stay relaxed at this pace, I COULD do this. (I literally have never felt that controlled and relaxed in a race EVER.)
Mile 1- 7:12
Mile 2- 7:06
Mile 3- 7:08
Mile 4- 7:12
Mile 5- 7:11
Mile 6- 7:11
Mile 7- 7:15
Basically until mile 8- it didn't even feel like I was working, or like I was in a race. Maybe that's how it's supposed to be? All I know is that, I didn't really have the energy to go to the well earlier and suffer the whole race that day. Mile 8 it started to feel hard and like EFFORT to keep the pace. It was basically a struggle fest for 8, 9 and 10. And I just watched my average pace add a second or two on in each mile.
Mile 8- 7:24
Mile 9- 7:33
Mile 10- 7:23
At Mile 11, I started to really say DO YOU EVEN WANT THIS PR? You're about to lose this. Pull it together. The pep talk worked because I somehow managed to get myself back on pace even feeling pretty rough. Pretty much the whole race I was cheering myself aloud. I wish I was kidding. Anyone who was running by me must have thought I was nuts- but I REALLY was working hard to keep myself in the game.
Mile 11- 7:14
Mile 12- 7:18
Mile 13- 7:07
I knew when it was coming down to the last stretch that EVERY single second counted in order to make it under my PR. I saw Tyler and Nick right around the corner from the end and I was already in survival/sprint and don't lose your PR mode.
Mile 14- .2 miles- 6:16/mi
I came in at 1:35:33- exactly 20 seconds under my PR. Literally every second counted. I was so happy that I fought for it because it was worth it. Completely unexpected- but really EXACTLY what I needed to mentally get me back in the running game. It can be hard to continually weather all of the lows and not have a lot of validation, so this race was JUST what I needed.
Do I think this race was an accurate representation of my fitness from this summer? No - not really. I had been feeling so exhausted and tapped out for awhile- not itching to race. I had stopped my speed/track workouts for 2 months because of being sick and recovering from my races. So having my best race in 26 months feeling so off, gives me a TON of hope that once things start feeling back to normal, I can pick up some more gains. I'm definitely re-energized after this race, and really excited by what I consider some of my best race execution in awhile (v. flying and literally dying and being buried, mid-race).
Thankful that this race gave me JUST the injection of hope I needed- and ready to get back to it. ;-)