Last weekend I set a new PR for distance for myself doing my first 30K. It was a certified coarse and set for 18.64 miles. Though in the end my watch read 18.71, yes, I am totally giving myself credit for the extra! Truth be told in the middle of the summer I was not sure that I was going to be ready for this race. I was running four to five days a week yet my long runs were not as long as I would have liked for training. April, May and June I did a Half Marathon each month. I was feeling rather good about the fact that I made the goal of a 30K in September. With no other Half Marathons on schedule, the heat, and limited time for long runs I was starting to think that maybe I wasn't ready to tackle this goal. Then I heard a voice in me saying to suck it up, get my ass out there and train harder and that I would crush this goal. That my friends is what I did!
|Beautiful coarse on country roads|
Here is a recap of my 30K:
I knew that in order to complete this race I would need to take my pace down from where I typically run at for a Half Marathon pace. I wanted to finish this race, not come in first place. It takes a lot of mental discussion with myself, and discipline, during a run not to go into it too fast. Sometimes my endorphins get the best of me and my feet carry me away.
Here is what my splits looked like:
The first two miles I eased in. I chatted with another runner and distracted myself by the conversation around me. Mile three I got into a groove and settled into what I call a "Happy Pace". Then mile four I caught up to another runner and we chatted for most of that mile. Once I continued on past her and saw that I finished that mile at 8:45 I knew it was time to get back to my happy pace. Clearly I cannot talk and run at the same time. I always run alone and that is my preference. I did really enjoy my conversations with these other runners though. Sharing stories of running, our children and my discussion with the runner at mile four, we also chatted about how both our fathers were runners. Hers was 78 and still ran and he even did the Vermont City Marathon this past year! By mile six I had fallen into a groove.
|Each runner got a jar of Bove's sauce ~ YUM!|
For some reason seven seems to be my sweet spot in any longer run. It's where I start to let my entire body just fall into the run. This is where it starts to feel easier, my feet just seem to dance on the pavement and carry me forward and my pace becomes what it is going to be right around here. These next six miles were some of the best of the whole race.
Mile ten, as I was heading into the Common, there was my father. I can't even put into words how incredible it was to have him there. How he is always there at each one of my races. Sometimes he runs with me, other times he is there to cheer me on. I truly am grateful for his support. My heart felt happy and I was feeling great. He asked me how I felt and I believe my exact words were: " Great! But ask me in another five miles."
Miles 13-18 (18.71!)
Somewhere in mile twelve came a couple of nasty hills. I remembered from driving the coarse a month and a half prior that there was some challenging hills. Towards the end of mile twelve I conquered one of them and thought to myself "No more hills"! Then I looked ahead and there it was, the hill that tried to kick my ass. I knew it was going to be hard but thirteen miles in it felt awful. It was steep enough that as I ran I ran on my toes. I contemplated stopping...maybe I just needed to take a break and walk this one. After nine Half Marathons and never stopping during a race, I knew I could not let this hill get me. I was going to get to the top of it and I would kick it's ass! And so I did. It was hard, it hurt, and it slowed me down. Into mile fourteen, and at the top of the hill, there was my father again. How could I stop now?! Seeing my father was the push and support I needed to try to get myself back to that "Happy Pace" and finish the race string.
|I am still standing!|
I did fall back into a rhythm and by mile fifteen I was feeling strong again. I finished that race and felt good! My finish time was 2:33:27. Out of 55 runners (it was a small race!) I was 14th overall. I placed third in women and third in my age group. I had finally met my biggest running challenge and crushed it!
Running challenges me. It pushes me to new limits. I strive to be better, faster and stronger. Running makes me dig deeper. It has shown me that I can do it, that I am capable of whatever I set my mind to. The only limits are the ones I allow there to be. I am fierce, I am strong and I am a better person because of running. My mantra over the past five years has been : "Always Believe You Can." I believed, I did, and I am not going to stop there!
"A goal is a dream with a deadline." - Napoleon Hill