|my failed attempt at a smile upon seeing the Goatographer!|
Last Saturday, I ran the Phoenix Half Marathon as one of my focus races for this training cycle. While I didn't fully taper like I will for Eugene, Coach John cut my mileage in the week leading up to the race to give me a good chance at a 13.1 PR. While my previous PR (1:18:13) was set on the faster Tucson 1/2 course last year, my workouts indicated I was in shape to beat this in Phoenix. After reviewing my online and written training logs, I was feeling pretty good about my chances. Some of February's key workouts included:
-10 miles with 4x400 in 85 with 1 min rest, mile in 5:50 with 3 min, 2x800 in 2:50 with 2 min, mile in 5:37
-12 miles with 10x1k in 3:40 with 200 jog in between - did this in Casa Grande with Autumn and Natalie! Got down to 3:32 for the last one, and it was followed by our typical IHOP breakfast :)
-10 miles with 5x1 mile descending with 3 minutes rest: 5:53, 5:47, 5:44, 5:38, 5:29 (last one was a mile PR, lol).
-10 miles with 5x1200 in 4:15 with 400 jog. Did this last month too and it felt SO much easier this time!
-16 miles on the infamous "Bart's Loop," an extremely hilly route in Tucson. Ran this with Autumn, Pete, Lucas, and Kate in 7:10 average pace.
-16 miles with 3x3 miles under 18min with 1 mile jog in between each set - ran these in 17:55, 17:55 17:29 - Autumn and I nailed this workout!
|shake out run with the Desert Endurance camp pre-race!|
|CB and I debuted our new singlets...|
The Phoenix Half was my third long run of the month, as I did about 18 miles including the warm up and cool down. Since there is no place with more predictable temperatures than southern Arizona, I wasn't surprised to wake up to a perfect, 50 degree morning on race day. Autumn and Pete were nice enough to adopt me for the weekend, letting me stay in their room at the Hyatt (a 5 minute walk from the finish line!). The hotel provided an awesome breakfast spread for the runners starting at 3:30 AM (necessitated by the 6:30 race start). I was first in line, and enjoyed some oatmeal topped with granola while watching my favorite Meb videos on the iphone (my classic pre-race ritual).
After an early bus ride to the start, a beet juice shot, and a nap in the parking lot, it was finally time to warm up. Autumn and I followed the first 1.5 miles of the course and immediately noticed the headwind that would be there for a good portion of the race. My original race plan had been to go out "slowly" with the first 3 miles between 6:00 and 6:10 pace. I made a mental note that I might need to adjust this in order to find a pack could shield me from some of the wind.
As planned, I stuck with Autumn and Kate for the first mile of the race, despite it being a 5:53. I hung back for a couple miles before pulling to the front of our pack and trying to bridge us to a group of guys up the road. After a few failed attempts at drafting off random men, Kate and I ended up running with Jason from the Phoenix Free Soles for several miles. We each took turns in the lead, maintaining a fairly even 5:55-5:58 pace. I was working hard and focused on making it to mile 10, where my plan was to find another gear and crush the final 5k.
When I heard my Garmin beep for the 10 mile split, I threw in a surge to begin the last 3.1. I glanced down expecting to see sub 5:50 pace like Autumn and I had run at the end of our 3x3 mile workout. Instead, I saw that I was still in the mid 5:50s. I had to laugh - I thought I was surging, yet this pace felt worlds different than it had earlier in the race. My visions of a sub 18 final 5k were quickly replaced by trying to hang on and keep my splits below 6:00 pace. In the middle of mile 12, I saw a 6:04 pace for the first time in the race. I began to feel disheartened and very aware how much I was hurting. I also knew I was cutting it dangerously close to the 1:18 barrier....
After a moment of flashbacks to all the races in which I've come close to a goal time, but just missed it (a 3:00:03 marathon, a 1:20:00 half marathon, an 18:01 5k), I suddenly began shouting at myself - "NOT TODAY...NOT (edited for expletive) TODAY. TODAY YOU ARE RUNNING A 1:17. PRETEND IT'S THE OLYMPIC TRIALS CUT AND RUN LIKE THIS IS YOUR LAST CHANCE...
With my newfound determination and support from my friends on the course (love you guys!), I ran a 5:41 final mile and achieved my goal with a few seconds to spare - 1:17:55! I was thrilled to PR and even happier that I overcame my mid-race slump and finished strong. It was also great practice in case I need a fast final mile in order to get a 2:42 this May. Ideally, I'll have a few more seconds to spare in Eugene ;)
|earned the Rbar!|
|Love my team!|
It's officially time for marathon training. As far as racing, I'm volunteering and supporting Jesse at Mountain to Fountain next weekend, followed by running the Shamrock Shuffle 8k with my SDP teammates at the end of March! Thank you to everyone for your support!