- Not have an asthma attack.
- Treat it as something I get to do, not have to do, because for crying out loud that is what it is.
- Run a smart race; specifically, not get caught up in the energy at the start line and go out too fast, fuel appropriately throughout, do frequent checks on my form to keep myself light and upright.
- Do my best in whatever circumstances I find myself in Saturday morning.
- Beat my previous half marathon time.
- Finish somewhere around the two hour mark.
- *Secret stretch goal* Finish under two hours.
Let's break it down.
The list, I mean. Although if it's hammer time and you want to break it down, I say do it.
1. Remember two years ago when I had an awful asthma attack around miles 4 through 7 of my first half mary and it slowed me waaaaay down and I wanted to die and the whole running+asthma thing wore me out so badly I got home, went straight to bed, and slept like the dead for two hours?
I do. I remember that.
Asthma isn't something that's easily controllable in the moment; I mean, that's kind of the nature of the beast. There are things I can do to set myself up for asthma success (or... something), however, like doing my best to remain calm, taking my allergy meds, and keeping my inhaler with me. Allergy pill an hour pre-race: check; inhaler in my fuel pouch thingy: check; remaining calm: well, that one's more or less on Mindy, my amazing friend who informed me a week ago she would be accompanying me to my race, even though it meant getting up before 5 AM and dedicating the bulk of her Saturday to an event she wasn't even participating in. Having her to talk to in the car for the hour and a half drive there kept me calmer than anything, as it prevented me from dwelling in a pit of race anxiety and despair.
2. Between various small injuries and an autumn jam-packed with change (all three kids in school, going from staying at home for ten years to two part-time jobs, etc, etc) and just being plain tired, I was feeling pretty burnt out on running. I still loved it, but I was feeling more resentment than excitement over this stupid meany race I'd signed up for many moons ago. This is ridiculous because NO ONE WAS MAKING ME DO THIS. This one basically involved remembering gratitude and keeping the following in mind:
3. I was in the middle of the pack at the starting line, and as soon as the gun went off (aka the app blared on the race director's phone, as this was a pretty small race), I was passed by a large number of the people running for the first half mile or so. The following three miles, I stayed in the same position relative to all the other runners, then spent the remaining ten miles slowly passing most of those people who went out way too fast at the start. This was exactly what I wanted to do, so hallelujah and pass the peaches.
My fueling was perfect thanks in large part to the race fuel fairy/ my friend Anne, who surprised me by dropping off a baggie of goodies at my front door last week. Included was a packet of Huma gel, and as I discovered at mile 6 Saturday morning, this is my new favorite running gel. I've tried GU, and it's fine, I've tried Clif gel, and the caffeine in it makes my stomach cramp, I've tried gummy bears, and while those work for me on my training runs, I've discovered I am unable to chew and run with any speed at the same time [insert walking and chewing gum joke here]. SO if you are a runner or endurance athlete-type person with a gut that is such a diva you've considered naming it after one of the Kardashians, I (and Anne the Wonder Triathlete!) recommend Huma. Also of note is that the consistency of Huma is considerably less nasty than that of GU, at least to my palate.
4. Stomach, weather, whatever, I wanted to make the best of whatever circumstances happened to occur Saturday morning, all toward that same goal of not being a miserable cow. It's a good goal.
5 & 6. My previous half marathon PR (personal record, rubes) wasn't great, due to the asthma and it being my first race, thus having no earthly idea what I was doing. My primary goal in that race was to finish. Fine, mission accomplished. Anytime someone asked what time I was aiming for (as people are wont to do, I have found), my answer was around two hours. I felt these were reasonable goals and well within my abilities.
7. The goal I felt I could only accomplish if circumstances lined up and I had a great day was to finish in less than two hours. Still within reach, but not if my stomach was acting up or it was raining or windy or the course was unexpectedly hilly or treacherous or strewn with hinkypunks. I averaged a pace a bit under nine minutes per mile and finished comfortably under two hours, beating my previous time by 26 minutes. This is a slow pace to many runners, but not this one. All this meant the first several miles felt great, the middle few miles still felt pretty good, and the final few felt hard up to the end, where believe me, I was toast. But mentally, I was doing this:
Matter of fact, I still can't do that because HOLY HAMSTRINGS. SO SORE. Also I am not M.C. Hammer. M.C. Hammerstrings?
Big fat juicy thanks to Derek for never ever ever complaining when I want/need to go for a run- even the multiple-hour ones that take up so much of our Saturday mornings;
to my mom for watching over our chitlins race morning and going above and beyond the call of duty by taking them to IHOP for breakfast, then shoe shopping, then walking on a nature trail, then introducing them to the wonders of Miracle on 34th Street when I made it perfectly clear she was welcome to just park them in front of the tv whilst I was running and Derek and Mark were golfing,
to Mindy for getting up hours before sunrise to distract me from my own horrible brain and being on the course at mile 3 to take my various layers I was suddenly too hot for and throwing at her feet, then at mile 12-point-something to take my phone because it was suddenly too heavy to carry anymore, then cheering and yelling me across the finish line, along with innumerable pep talks and being a darn good friend,
to Anne for the race treats and encouraging texts mid-race and always being willing to accept with good humor the unflattering selfies I take mid-run, along with innumerable pep talks and being a darn good friend,
to Derek's mom Becky for giving up her Saturday morning to drive up to the race and cheer me on, even though it wasn't the kind of course that easily allows for spectators and it took quite a bit of effort on her part for just a few seconds of "Hi, Kristy!" that nonetheless were encouraging to me,
to all the other people I'm forgetting because I'm a terrible person, and to you, because how on earth are you still reading this?,
to chocolate chunk brownies, forever and ever, amen.
|All right, so these clearly aren't chocolate chunk brownies, but this *is* a gif that apparently has a subliminal image of historically-inaccurate white-skinned, blue-eyed Jesus. HOW WAS I SUPPOSED TO RESIST?|