I have decided to move on. From? Well, from ALL of the things... holding me back from my potential.
Recently, I had a conversation with a coach about my half marathon that is approaching. She took my times from Cherry Blossom 10-miler and National Half Marathon, and told me that I could easily aim for 1:45. This would be a HUGE PR. (Remember, the National Half Marathon was the only half I have run... and I ran it the stomach flu and walked most of it... total time: 2:24).
I immediately gave her all of the reasons I could NOT maintain an 8:00 pace for 13 miles. And she sent me this advice:
"First, to warm up, run a very easy 15 min w/u, 10 minutes of easy stretching and then 2 x 30 sec strides starting about 35-45 minutes before the race.
Focus on running a patient and conservative race over the first 3 miles, relaxing during the middle, and then attacking the course for the last 2 miles. Do NOT get sucked into a too fast pace. Instead, run 5-10 seconds SLOWER than your projected half-marathon pace until mile 3.
At 3 miles, begin to increase your pace and effort into your half marathon pace (5-10 seconds faster than miles 1-3). Be aware that you need to increase your effort to maintain the same pace or run faster as the race goes on. As you get more tired, it gets more difficult to keep running faster, so just remind yourself to try harder to stay in the right pace zone. Personally,I find it helpful to engage the runners around me. In other words, I find a group that is running my pace or a little faster and latch on. So, between miles 3 and 10, try to relax and keep your focus on staying with the group, while checking your splits. Use the group and the people around you to help you relax and take your mind of the distance ahead, and, if it's windy, use the taller people to draft.
After 5 miles the pace is going to start getting hard. Keep your mind and body relaxed. Think confident thoughts and repeat a mantra to yourself such as, “I am strong”. Every time you feel tired or feel the pace slip, repeat to yourself that you need to refocus and concentrate and get back on pace.
After 10 miles, with 2 miles to go, keep your head up and start to try and catch people in front of you. Pick one person and focus solely on reeling them in, nothing else. As you pass them, surge and put your eyes on the next person and repeat.
At mile 12, kick hard and finish fast."
So, as I prep for the Baltimore Half Marathon on October 15th, I will be keeping my eye on the prize. Not necessarily aiming for a 1:45, but I AM aiming to move on... past my immediate negative thoughts, to train, and do my best. I will be running this race for me; to examine my potential. To see how and where I can improve. It is not exactly the flattest course:
But since I train on hills regularly, I'm NOT worried.