Oh, how I wish this [running your own race] was something I could list under “strengths” when it comes to my running resume (if I had such a thing.) I never run my own race because I’m always stuck on the, ”what if I could have kept that pace for entire race’ theory. It’s an awful mindset to be in and as far as running goes, that whole “what if” thing when it comes to a faster pace rarely works the way you wish it would.
If you watched the Olympic Marathon Trials, you saw as close to, if not completely, a perfect race executed by Desi Linden. The weather was far from ideal and affected nearly every athlete. Desi still did Desi. A large group of women kicked off the race and stuck together, but she wasn’t leading the rush. While the front 3-4 runners stayed together, occasionally alternating places, Desi did Desi. She continued to hold her own comfortable pace, watching the lead pack thin slightly. When the lead pack of 4-5 runners started to make a push halfway through, Desi didn’t waver. Desi kept on doin’ Desi. As the top 4-5 runners pushed even further ahead, when we all began to wonder what Desi would do, she seemed so far behind — could she make up the time? Desi Desi-ed and started to pick up her pace, casually, gracefully, seemingly effortlessly and took over each spot until she finished strong in second place.
I need to channel my inner Desi. Don’t we all?
It takes a shitload (technical words here, people) of patience to do what she did. I don’t know many people, if any, who can truly say they’d have kept their cool in a race like that. How many of us could really trust our training and not go for it — whatever your “it” is?
This Sunday, I have a half marathon on my calendar. I don’t do well with running a race without giving it my all. I think it stems a little from my middle and high school running — you have a race, you give 110%. You don’t run races as “training” runs or “supported” runs. You race to win, no if’s, and’s or but’s about it. This weekend, I’m going to do this differently. I have to do it different.
My longest run since training again has been somewhere between 8 and 9 miles. Given that my goal race is May 1st, this isn’t an issue… except I’ve developed this tradition with the girls. We run Lake Effect and we get boozy blues brunch. It’s a must. (Yes, I could drive out to Syracuse and just do boozy blues brunch but it never feels as rewarding — I know, because I DNF’d last year.) So I must run Lake Effect; plus the medal is pretty sweet this year and I want it. What’s a girl to do?
It’s going to hurt me to run Sunday as a long run, but it’s the right thing to do for my overall goal. If executed properly, this race should be closing in on a personal worst for a half marathon because my pace should be anywhere between 9 and 10 minutes. This is based on my recent January 5 miler in Rochester and while I’m sure my fitness is better than that, my legs are also running 4-5 miles more than they’re used to covering! I just have to keep in mind that for me, this is a long run. Lo-o-o-ong run. The goal is to warm-up during the race and keep it very comfortable until my last turn around (the course is a double out and back) which should be mile 9, and take inventory there. Do things feel good? Do I have more to give? Any nagging pains? If all lights are green — I’d like to gradually pick it up. If not? Well, it’s a long run anyways.
Weather is looking towards clearing up from here on out. My legs and mind are looking forward to clear sidewalks (the latest storm that blew through has put a damper on everything) and warmer weather. This race (to me) signifies the end of winter, most often. This year, it signifies the start of “digging deep” and pushing towards my lofty goal. As I keep on keepin’ on, I’m truly starting to rethink these goal races set in early Spring; my body does not adjust to winter running well.