I did it. I freaking did it. I don’t know if it was the fasting all day Saturday or the atoning for all my sins on Yom Kippur or the amazing pacer I ran with for 12 miles, but I finally did it. I got a new half marathon PR.
I did not feel like I had set myself up for success. I didn’t train as hard as I could have. I skipped some of my long runs. I haven’t been fueling my body with the most nutritious foods. But instead of dwelling on all of that, I headed into Sunday with the most positive attitude that I could.
Looking back, my attitude for getting through the half marathon was pretty similar to my attitude for getting through the Yom Kippur fast. I went into both thinking “I’m going to do the best that I can do.” For Yom Kippur, that meant drinking water all day because I already know that I have a fainting problem that can be triggered by dehydration. It meant knowing that if I had to eat before sundown (6:19pm), that I wouldn’t let myself eat any earlier than 5:00pm. And it meant distracting myself and not dwelling on what felt bad, but thinking about the good.
After Yom Kippur services, Eric and I headed north to New Hampshire to the race bib pick-up at Smuttynose Brewery and then stopped at the Outlets. With all the driving, fun stops, and perfect companion for the day, I rarely thought about how hungry I was and was focused more on how successfully I was getting through the fast. Or, you could say, how successfully I was getting through the fast without getting hangry (hungry+angry) and mean. (And, BTW, I managed to fast all the way until sundown. Possibly even later than sundown since we were at a restaurant.)
Same kinda goes for the half marathon. I knew that I was going to try and run with the 9:30 minute/mile pacer for as long as I could, and that if I had to tap out, I still had a few minutes of wiggle room to still beat my previous fastest time. I knew that if I didn’t beat my fastest time, that it wasn’t meant to be and I would just try again next month. And I knew that I had an awesome new playlist to keep me distracted and happily singing along with each step of the race.
The weather was perfect – beautiful blue skies and crisp cool weather. As we walked to the start line, the announcer mentioned that there would be pacers for specific goal times, including 2 hours, 5 minutes / 9:30 minute mile pace. It became my mission to find that pacer and stay with them for as long as possible, even though I haven’t run 10+ miles at that consistently fast of a pace… ever. When I found her (she was holding a big sign indicating she was a pacer for that time), I introduced myself and explained that I was going to do my very best to stick with her and beat my previous best time of just under 2:10. There were a few other runners huddled around her, and when we finally were able to start… I immediately lost her. I spent the first few miles chasing after her and trying to spot her sign in the crowd. By mile 3, the crowd had thinned out a little and I was able to run right behind her and the rest of the pace group. Together, we followed Sue as she weaved through runners, shot snot rockets, and avoided the waves crashing over the walls and onto the street.
At mile 5 or 6, we lost one of the runners. A woman who had been so positive and cheerful at the start of the race, clapping her hands and yelling excitedly as we ran past group of supporters, had to stop running. An older gentleman disappeared soon thereafter. By mile 9, another girl probably around my age who had expressed that if she slowed down, she’d never be able to get back to us… slowed down. And then it was just me and Sue.
Together, we ran totally in sync, occasionally chatting about the beautiful weather or my fast the day before but mostly in silence as I listened to music and Sue played with the assortment of gadgets on her wrists to make sure we were keeping the right pace. As we approached mile 12, Sue told me that we might even get to the finish line in under 2:05. And when we hit mile 12, I hit the wall. I started walking, telling myself I had to start running again at a specific pole. After running a little bit more, I walked again. By the time I started running that third time though, I knew I had maybe half a mile left, so I ran through it. By stopping, I was able check in with my body and realize that I was tired and sore, something that I was able to ignore while running with Sue. In that last half mile, I ran as comfortably as I could – even passing people in those last few hundred meters. And as I approached the finish line, I was greeted by Eric waiting for me on the sidelines. The clock said 2:10, but I knew that I had started at least several minutes after the clock started – I had beat my time!As we walked around the food tents gathering food and water (and ICE CREAM!), I ran into Sue and gave her a big hug, thanking her for pacing me to victory. She expressed how sad she was to lose me in that final mile, but was happy to hear that I at least beat my time by a few minutes.
For a year, I’ve been talking about beating my previous pr at this race, and I’m so happy that I actually managed to do it. I have one more half marathon to go in 2014 (at least, I haven’t yet signed up for a December race) and I’ll be running it at a more comfortable pace, I imagine. But, with Smuttynose done and my pr slashed by 5 minutes, another goal for my 28th year has been achieved!Thinking about the holidays and not sure what to get your loved ones? I’ve partnered with Yankee Candle and they are generously donating 40% of sales to my fundraising efforts for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society! Click here and make sure you enter 990071104 as the group number (it should say L and L Society Becky Solo on the Welcome Page). All Yankee Candles are made in America and they smell awesome!