I recently ran the See Jane Run Half Marathon and pleasantly surprised myself with a two-minute PR! I haven’t made it a secret that the last two months have been rough, so this PR feels extra sweet.
Christina and I got to the race about 45 minutes before it started. We waited in the huge line (one negative of a predominately female race) for the porta-potties. The line was long and slow, but it was the cleanest, least stinky porta potty I’ve ever used! Well worth the wait.
Christina and I have very different running styles. I wear a Garmin, obsessively glance at my pace every 30 seconds, and constantly
think stress about pacing. Christina, on the other hand, doesn’t wear a watch and worry about pacing — she just goes. As a result of Christina’s freestyle running approach, I started the race a lot faster than I would have if I had been running alone. I spent the first half of the race thinking about what a foolish race I was running and how unpleasant the final miles would be.
Mile 1: 8:58
Mile 2: 8:27
Mile 3: 8:23
Mile 4: 8:39
Mile 5: 8:43
Mile 6: 8:36
Christina had to stop at the bathroom around mile 6, so I continued on alone. I took a GU and realized I actually felt pretty good. Maybe I wouldn’t bonk. Christina ended up taking another bathroom stop, so I ran the second half solo and at my own pace. But Christina’s pacing in the first half was critical to my PR. Thanks, Christina!
Mile 7: 9:13
Mile 8: 8:52
Mile 9: 8:35
I realized a PR was pretty much in the bag at mile 10 as long as I maintained 9 minute miles. For a brief moment I considered slowing down and taking it easy the final three miles since I had already exceeded my goals and expectations for this race. But then I remembered my goal of one day racing an entire marathon — from start to finish — and staying strong in that final 10k. I decided that staying strong in the final 5k of this race would undoubtedly help me one day reach that goal.
And then I did a quick assessment of how I felt. Sure I was tired, but I wasn’t that tired. I thought about how tired I was in Vancouver and this didn’t even come close. I was uncomfortable, but not nearly as uncomfortable as Vancouver. I thought about Marshall Ulrich and how he ran across the United States, averaging 60 miles a day. The pain I felt didn’t even come close to the pain he endured on a daily basis.
So I kept pushing on and reminding myself that compared to other races, I actually felt pretty good.
Mile 10: 8:42
Mile 11: 8:40
As the finish line came into sight, cheering spectators lined the side of the path. The perfect part of a perfect song was playing on my iPod. I felt strong, capable, and finally like a real runner. As cheesy and inadequate as it sounds, it was a perfect running moment. There are races and brief moments that make all of your hard work and sacrifices worth it, and this was one of those moments.
Mile 13: 8:37
Last .1: 7:47