Sunday, March 13, 2011

Suzanne: Shamrock Half Marathon Race Recap

WOW! If I had to summarize my race recap in one word that is what it would be. I shocked even myself to run a new personal best of 2:08:42, besting my previous PR by 15 minutes!

I've officially surpassed one of my 2011 running goals to improve my PR by 15 minutes. Guess I should set a new one?

As we all know, 13.1 miles is never matter how many times we've run it and how long we've trained for it. To me, it's always intimidating, daunting and scary to think I have to run that far. Last night was no different. I never sleep well before a race or when I'm going to travel. Always waking up looking at the alarm clock to make sure I haven't overslept. It didn't really matter that we were "springing forward" an hour as I wasn't going to get a good night's sleep anyways.

My strategy today was to go out fast and see what happens and for how long I could go. It was hard at first as there were a lot of runners and it was crowded. I felt like I was zig zagging for the first 5-6 miles which was frustrating. The paths were narrow and I probably irritated a few runners by jumping in front of them here and there. What's funny is I used to be the runner that was annoyed by people doing what I was doing today but now I understand why - you're just trying to run fast and you're trying to get into some open space so you can breath and run.

I basically managed to keep a 9:15-9:30 mile pace for the first 6 miles. I've never gotten to that half way point and was under an hour. I was psyched when that happened. I was also pumped when I passed first the 2:20 pacer and then the 2:10 pacer. That is when I knew I could potentially have a great running day.

The first 8 miles went well and way better than I had planned. I was feeling really good, strong and had at that point shown no signs of fatigue. Miles 9-11 were a mental fight. I started drinking more gatorade at the water stations (I only carried water myself) and I took my jelly beans at mile 9. Thinking back I should have taken them earlier and I'll make that adjustment in future races.

Mentally, I just kept talking to myself and my fight was to NOT allow the 2:10 pacer group to get near me. I was going to do whatever it took to stay in front of them. I also would not allow myself to walk for fear that I'd never start up again. So yes, it was a mental fight to the finish. I kept telling myself that I was going to regret not giving it my all if I didn't capitalize on this opportunity to finish under 2:10 for the first time.

The last 2.1 miles weren't easy but I'm so proud of myself for pushing through it all. I have to credit the Fleet Feet half marathon training, speedwork and my training sessions (to strengthen core and overall strength) for putting me in the best position to succeed. It's truly made a difference.

Once the finish line was in sight, I didn't hurt anymore. I managed to sprint out the last part of the run and was so proud. I didn't expect to run this time - was hoping for 2:15 for this race - and really surprised myself.

This marks my fourth half marathon since last July. Who knew I would get the half marathon bug?

What's next? Well, I've decided to run the Oakland Running Festival half marathon in two weeks. It counts toward the Nor-Cal Half Marathon Series (you have to run 4 in 2011 to receive a special medal) which would put me at two completed so far. I felt good the second week after the Davis half marathon - when we ran 12 miles - so I'm hoping that will happen again.

This race also taught me that I can and should continue to push myself to run faster. My biggest fear has always been that I'll run out of gas towards then end but this race taught me that I can do it. So now I need to continue to train faster to build endurance and confidence. Wish me luck!

This week, I will plan on rewinding my training plan two weeks back and run the following:
Monday: Rest Day
Tuesday: 5 miles
Wednesday: 6 miles
Thursday: 5 miles
Friday: Rest (cross-train?)
Saturday: 9-10 miles
Sunday: Hot yoga

And congrats to my "sisters" Judy and Morgan on completing the Shamrock half! Judy ran a fast time as well and Morgan amazingly ran on her knee that had her out from running for the last two weeks. So proud of both of them!

Happy Running,


  1. What a great report! CONGRATULATIONS!! A huge PR - and it sounds like everything was just lined up right and feeling good. That's awesome!!

  2. Thanks so much FF! I was really psyched and felt very proud afterwards.


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