Reflections on Running With the Jets

Official Stats
Time: 1:26:34
Pace: 6:36
Overall: 10th place of 406.
Women: 2nd place of 234.

A few loose thoughts regarding the past weekend's half marathon, and regarding the comments on my recap.

First, I really appreciate every time I receive a comment supporting my race result.  Some of you are over the top nice, but I learned long ago that the best way to react to a compliment is to accept it, so thank you.

Now, I don't really know if anyone actually believes I am as rad of a runner as might be suggested from the number of exclamation points in a congratulatory comment.  In fact, a quick study of every running-blogger race recap will reveal that everyone thinks everyone elses race was incredible/awesome/ amazing/Herculean.  And I can get behind that -- a personal record for time or distance is a Big Freakin Deal no matter who you are.

Where am I going with this....I think I'm trying to walk a fine line between coming across as phonily humble, or rudely ungrateful.  Because what I want to say is that despite the gorgeous time on my Garmin reading 1:26:29, my reflections on this race still have me feeling....unsatisfied.

Hear me out.

I interpreted a couple reactions to my last post to suggest that the fact that my Garmin recorded a "short course" to be a problem.  I don't know whose problem this is.  I did go under one overpass, and my Garmin read 5 seconds shorter than my chip time (1:26:29 v. 1:26:34), making it possible the watch did drop out at some point.  But it still makes this feel like less of an accomplishment, when my 1:30:00 in Oakland was on a course that read 13.35 miles on my Garmin.  If I factor in all these discrepancies in distance, my pace improvement is.....meager.

Maybe my times aren't improving....maybe the races are just getting shorter.

Enough of you agreed that this photo is rad, so I am going to post it on my next 50 posts.  Deal?

Chillin before the race

Next, I am disappointingly not sore.  I say disappointing because for miles 8-through-12 of that race, my legs refused to give me more.  My legs were puttering out.  I thought for sure I had shredded through my muscles giving it all I could.  I thought my hip was dying.  And then I woke up the next morning to learn that as far as my legs were concerned, I had just gone out on a normal Sunday gentle jaunt.

My hip does feel tender.  I am hopeful it will recover on its own by being nice to it.  Sounds like an amateur plan, but I don't visit doctors because I have a 100% record of doctors telling me that as a birth-bearer, I shouldn't run -- stick to gentle activities, like the elliptical. 

But my bigger concern while reflecting on the race at this point is: why do I fade so hard when I feel so good during the first 7 miles?

I want to be stoked about the weekend's race, of course I do.  But I can't help feeling stagnant.  Same old thing: I can easily hang onto a 6:30 pace for 5 miles, maybe a couple more, and then jhdfljaheur.

Well, I randomly flipped to the back of my Runners World desk calendar to find this Racing Tip for the Half Marathon: "Every week should include three types of workouts: speed drills, tempo runs, and your long run.  Speed drills make you faster.  Tempo runs raise your lactate threshold, which will help you maintain a racing pace in the second half of the event..."

I have not had the pleasure of participating in any "tempo runs."  I cannot maintain a racing pace in the second half of a half marathon.

Thanks for the tip, desk calendar!  Now I need to ask you: what distance is appropriate for a tempo run while training for a half?  what about while training for a full?  And does tempo pace mean "Race Pace"?  I can't promise I will adopt the "tempo" into my unscheduled running life, but I may throw it in the mix at some point.

Finally, this post is meant to be reflective.  I'm just pondering.  It's not like I sat around all day wallowing in my post-race thoughts -- I had a busy and invigorating day at work, followed by a spontaneous and fun evening with the Gentleman. 

Now I leave you with a montage of the Famous Stick.  Vote for your favorite if you wish.