Oh by the way, I ran a half marathon last weekend without actually doing a real training plan for the race. On Thursday of last week I thought, “it would be cool if I could run the Carmel race this weekend with all of my friends.” There is just something about the feeling around a race that makes me always want to be a part of it. I made a request on my facebook status and Carolyn messaged me saying she had an extra bib.
This is not something I would recommend to just anyone. I ran 9 miles the weekend before and felt pretty good, I thought to myself, “what is four more.” Plus, I didn’t have to run it fast, I could make it a nice, leisurely run. Although I was planning on running a different half marathon in May, I haven’t been following a strict training plan. I usually do 20 minutes of speed work one day a week and get in a long-ish run another day. I had even skipped several long runs.
Although I knew I could just run the race leisurely, going into the race without a goal is not really my style. When I picked up my bib Friday I thought breaking 2 hours was doable. Then Friday night I looked up all of my half marathon times and my mind changed again: I could beat the 1:56:36 I ran when I was 7 months & 17 days postpartum after having C. This time, I was 7 months and 1 day postpartum and I hadn’t followed a specific training plan. I have been training alright; training for more strength, more speed and better overall fitness… and it showed!
How have I been training? It has been different than the way I have prepared for any other race: it is not specific to just running. I do a lot of HIIT, weight lifting circuits and teaching classes. Here is what my week usually looks like:
Monday: Speedwork (HIIT) on the tradmill + teach Strength & Endurance
Tuesday: Teach Progressive Fitness (I more coach this class, so I don’t count this as a workout) + 30 minutes of Heavy Upper Body Lifting
Wednesday: Strength + Cardio Circuit. Here I will usually do a few different supersets and integrate rowing, sprinting or biking in between.
Thursday: Teach Cardio Sculpt
Friday: same as Wednesday or I rest.
Saturday/ Sunday: one day I rest and one day I do a long-ish run. Usually my run is only about 6 miles.
I woke up Saturday morning and enjoyed my ritual pre-race breakfast: oatmeal, dark chocolate chips and strawberries along with 32 ounces of water and a cup of coffee. I nursed M and gave myself plenty of time to go to the restroom and use the foam roller. I have a tight IT band and hamstring which leads to some pretty bad hip pain- I was hoping this would help.
At about 6:35, I heard my friend in my driveway and we were on our way. Everything leading up to the race was smooth: driving, parking, finding the restroom (again), and getting my gear for after the race checked. I saw several people I knew before starting the race and that is always exciting. Before I knew it, it was race time and I was on my way to run 13.1 miles I didn’t really plan on running.
The race started and I felt good. I always feel great at the beginning of a race. At the turn around I saw so many people I knew and it was excited to see others wave at you and cheer you on! I even saw the husband of one of my gym friends on his bike with a cowbell- he was so encouraging. That was enough for me to keep my strong pace. I don’t wear a Garmin while I race, but wear my Heart Rate Monitor that has a stop watch. At every mile marker I look at my watch and quickly do some math and calculate my pace. As I hit mile 4, I realized I was running about an 8:10 pace. In my head I thought, “I only have 9 more miles to go, and I did that last weekend.”
At that moment, I set a goal in my head that I could break 1:50! I could make this half marathon my second fastest EVER!!! I was determined.
Then, I hit mile 7 and my hip was starting to bother me a bit, so I tried to slow down just a little. I also called my husband at mile 7 to let him know where I was as he was planning to be there with my munchkins at the finish line. Never before have I run with my phone so this was pretty cool. Talking to him and thinking about seeing my little family at the finish line helped me keep going.
I also kept seeing that friend of mine’s husband who was so encouraging. He bikes the races with her to cheer her on and would ride up to cheer me on throughout the race. At about mile 8.5, she (Sara) caught up to me. It was so great to see her. We chatted for about a mile and a half before she told me she was going to take off. She was a blessing because that mile and a half was the hardest part of my race and she made it so much easier. I also realized that I need to start slower so I can have more kick the last 4-5 miles (goal for my next race…. in a week and a half!). Sara finished so strong!
I hit mile 11 and knew I could do it- I had it in me! I picked up the pace a little and set small goals. When I am running I always think to myself, “I can keep this pace for another five minutes and then pick it up a little,” or, “the time I have left is shorter than a class I teach, I can do this.”
Seeing mile marker 12 sign, I picked up the pace even more. I couldn’t wait to see my family at the finish line. It would have been the first race I have had all three of my loves waiting cheering me on. I turned the corner, saw the finish line and saw my handsome hubby wearing M in the baby carrier and C yelling, “Hi Mommy, I run with you!” At that moment, my time didn’t even matter. I didn’t train for this race, I train each day to be a healthy, happy mom and wife… for them!
But man it felt good seeing an official time of 1:49:26… my second fastest half marathon yet… and just 7 months and 1 day postpartum. I. Am. Proud.