Apologies for being a terrible blogger, to the two of you who might still be reading this (Leigh? Lauren?).
Anway, there is lots to report. After my last unofficial 10K, I got utterly mired in final exams/projects, and an apparent case of the plague (I kid), that racked my respiratory system and left me pretty useless, fitness wise, for the second half of December. I did not meet my 100 mile goal for the month.
Likely, I will not meet my 100 mile goal for this month, either.
However, this past Sunday was the Manhattan Half-Marathon. My first race of the new year and the new decade (WEIRD!). I got up at 5:30, and went through my morning race morning ritual. Made sure my timing tag was properly affixed to my shoe, my race bib properly affixed to my pants, layers properly layered, scarf down half a bagel and a banana and tiptoed back into the bedroom to kiss Jeremy goodbye. As he looked at me, sleepily, he whispered, "There's one thing I want you to do for me." "What's that?" I asked. "Win," he said, grinning. Oh, Rocky movies. My endless source of inspiration.
As I made the 20 minute walk from our apartment to the subway, I realized that I had forgotten my Garmin. My fancy new running toy! I had been all excited about running with it for the first time in a race, and now it was too late to turn back and get it. I hmphed my way around the subway platform and waited for the train.
When I approached the start, I was a bit chilled, as it was only 37 degrees but some other runners and I started comparing war stories from last year's Manhattan half, which was, I believe, 12 degrees. I'll take 37 any day, thank you.
Once the race started, I decided that since I was Garmin-less, I was just going to run whatever felt comfortable. My previous PR of 2:08 seemed like a bit of a long-shot, since that was back in May and I hadn't had that stellar a winter in terms of my training. I was expecting to come in around 2:12 and would have been utterly happy with that. I ran and ran, and didn't really pay attention to the clocks at each mile... until I got to mile 4, that is. I knew it had taken me 4 minutes to get to the start, once the clock started, and here I was now, crossing mile 4 at 36 minutes. Take away those 4 minutes from the start and I was running 8 minute miles. Really? REALLY? I'd felt so slow and sluggish lately, and my expectations were so low. I checked in with my body and was delighted to realize that nothing hurt, my breathing felt fine and while I realized that I was working hard, nothing seemed out of control. I started doing intense mathematical calculations, such as adding and subtracting, and realized that if I was able to keep this pace going, not only would I beat my PR, but I had a chance of coming in under 2 hours!
I tried to tell myself that I would just keep it comfortable, though. No need getting all excited now. But I couldn't help it. I ran hard. I ran and ran. And while my brain kept tripping over itself, trying to do more mathematical calculations, my feet just kept running.
At mile 8, I started to feel a blister forming on top of my second toe. I kept running. At mile 9, Night on Bald Mountain came on my iPod, and I started pretending that I was one of those giant monsters from Disney's Fantasia, flying around a mountain (this was both incredibly silly and incredibly helpful when it was time to run up those hills). At mile 10, I could feel that I was slowing down, but everything still felt good. So, I kept running hard.
Finally, the finish line was in sight. I knew I'd slowed down quite a bit. I didn't feel like I had much left in the tank, but I gave it a good ole 400 meter sprint towards the finish. Final time -- 1:56:37.
A 12 minute PR.
Oh... Speedy McDoubterson? Turns out she ran the same race. Now, I don't enjoy running for the competition of it. I'm only competing against myself. But, I must say, it does feel pretty good to be able to say that I finished a full minute ahead of her.
After the race, I called Jeremy and breathlessly told him about my new PR and that I couldn't believe it. He told me what he always tells me when I doubt myself, "Baby, you're tougher than you think."