I had some weird feelings going into this race on Sunday.
After my 18 weeks of training to PR and BQ for the full marathon earlier this year, I decided to give myself a break during the summer and pretty much only run for fun (easy pace), and only when I felt like it.
I didn’t do the huge amount of trail running that I have done in the past summers, and I definitely didn’t do any speedwork. I knew I had slowed down quite considerably, and though the San Jose Rock n Roll Half is my “signature PR race” (it was my first half marathon which catapulted me into my love for running), I knew I couldn’t do it this year. That was me being realistic.
With that in mind, I was preparing all weekend to just have fun on the course, bring my camera, and take it easy. Then my friend, Amy, told me the night before to do my best.
OH, MAN… one of my fears is to do my best and for it not to be “good enough”. I shared on FB that I didn’t want my best effort to result in no PR. This (in my eyes) meant failure… though in reality, the failure to do my best would actually be a fail? I DUNNO. I didn’t want to give it my all and find that I have regressed from last year.
Well even up until the start of the race, everyone was asking, “You going to PR today?” “You ready to go for it?” I just answered honestly… “NOPE! Haha, no PR, today.” Again, I was being realistic. Still didn’t know if I was going to give my best effort or not. Also, it was going to be quite warm in the second half of the race.
Here are some pre-race photos that Linh took:
Here is Jennifer, my SoCal runner friend:
As we lined up, I was trying to think about how I would feel after the race. Do I want to cross the finish line feeling SUPER relieved to be done with the race because I gave it everything? Or do I want to cross having completed an easy run?
If Amy did not simply tell me to do my best the night before, I think I would have just taken it easy. Hahaha, but because Coach Amy said it, I had to do it (I call her Coach Amy on occasion because she has pushed me to complete the tempo miles where I wanted to just quit because I was tired. I must be super mentally weak these days!).
So we were off! I decided to run by effort and not worry about every mile split. I ran at an uncomfortable but sustainable pace the whole race. The only time I wanted to look at my watch was when I hit mile 8. In the last several times running this course, I knew by how I felt at mile 8 whether I would have a good or bad race day (usually, I still felt strong and confident). This time, I got to mile 8 around 62 minutes? Sure it was less than 8:00/mile but I felt like crap, haha. And that was the only time I looked at my watch.
As the temperature climbed, so did my mile splits… not that I was looking, but I could just tell my pace was slowing. OH, WELL. No point in completely letting go now. I kept at the same uncomfortable effort.
Long story short, I crossed with the official time of 1:43:38. That’s about five minutes slower than last year… BUT I felt so happy about the fact that I did my best anyways. Even if it’s not my best time overall, it was the best that I was able to do that day. I would never tell my friends to settle for anything less/not try their best, so why do I let myself do that?
Crossed the finish line and was happy to see my running group friends (who each came in several minutes before me, hehe).
Thanks, Linh, for the nice photos. Thanks, Amy, for saying the right things at the right time 🙂
I was prepared for this year’s race to be my last SJ RnR… but now I think I need to go back one more time and crush the course and set a new course PR before I retire from it. 7th time’s the charm, yes?
There’s still time to enter in the Athleta gift card giveaway! It will close tonight and the winner will be announced tomorrow!
What was your first half marathon (or race of any distance)? [SJ RnR was my first half, but my first race ever was the Pat Tillman 4.2-miler]
Do you have a “signature race” that you must return to every year?
Do you like big races or small local races?