With exactly 2 weeks to my “A” race, I’ve been reflecting on the Distance Challenge series of races this winter that I’ve used as training runs, especially the RunTex 20 Miler and last weekend’s 3M Half Marathon.
For the 20-miler, it was a really, really cold day. I ran with favorite running buddies, Heidi and Joe, the first 4 miles, then the rest on my own. The plan was to take the first 4 easy, then run marathon goal pace (MGP) of 10:18s for the next 12, then slow down the last 4. I was having a great day and really pushed it in the middle miles, running way to fast (9-9:30’s), which caught up with me at the end. I held on and finished with a great time of 3:34, but learned the lesson of pushing the pace too much too soon and slowing at the end.
For 3M, my plan was to use it as a training run (not going all out), but more importantly as a pacer to help my friend, Laura, achieve her goal of a 2:15 half-marathon, after finishing the San Antonio Half in 2:30 only a few months ago.
It was a perfect day for a race. Helping her turned out to be another lesson for me. Her race plan fit exactly what I needed to do as well. I was able to control my run (the mistake I made at the 20-miler), staying at my MGP of 10:18s with <9:30’s to close it, and visually/mentally file away some of the Austin Marathon course along the way. The biggest reward was running alongside Laura and being able to celebrate her success first-hand as she not only exceeded, but shattered her goal with a 19-min. PR (a lot of time to shave off a half-marathon in 3 months.) In the end, we both set new personal bests at 3M with 2:11’s, but it didn’t really sink in that I too had had a PR until hours later. I was as proud of her achievement as if it were my own. : )
Now, as we taper our mileage for Austin, I know I’m physically ready for the end of this journey, but still working on mental preparation. Although this will be my 8th marathon, each time seems like a first. I’m hoping that my running partner, Tahsin, and I will be able to run side-by-side and exceed our goal of a new marathon PR of 4:30 or <.
While I work on my race plan, I would like to order up 3M race day weather and the mental and physical toughness from the RunTex 20 Miler to set a new PR for the Austin Marathon.
P.S. (Huge congrats to all of our friends who kicked butt at the RunTex 20-Miler and 3M with special mention of Kamran and Laura, who won the co-ed relay, Coach Mark Enstone, who qualified for New York!)