Last week I ran my first real PW - personal worst race ever. It wasn't a "worst" by a few seconds or even a few minutes. I ran a half marathon a full 16+ minutes slower than my best half marathon just two months ago. Of course, I'm not buying the photos from my PW event, but I had to laugh at my finish line pictures.

Check out the finish line photo at my best event - 13.1 NYC on April 3 (1:40:12) - and the finish line photo at my worst event - Johnny Kelley Half Marathon in Hyannis on May 30 (1:57:48).

Can you guess which is which? :)
Picture
 
 
Picture
RRCA
Which should come first...

Ok, here's the good news: I'm officially an RRCA certified running coach! Woohoo! I spent Saturday in CPR and First Aid certification, aced both tests and walked out of there with the last pieces of preparation I needed to become a coach. I promptly sent copies of my cards to my coaching mentor Janet Hamilton and received this note back:

"I’m pleased to say 'congratulations coach'. You have successfully completed the certification requirements and are now an RRCA certified coach."

I am so excited to call myself a coach. Any day now I'll be listed on the RRCA website. YAY! Now to create my first training plan. :)

On to the bad news: I PWed in the half marathon! I ran my worst half marathon ever yesterday at the Johnny Kelley Half Marathon in Hyannis. A race that was my PR in February is my flop in May. I'm quickly discovering that I seem to stink at running in temperatures over 70 degrees. I didn't learn this too well last year because I avoided all races between April and October thanks to my wedding and honeymoon. Prior to that I never raced longer than a 5 miler in the summer, so I just didn't know. Now I know. I need to step up the heat training to do well in these warm weather races.

I'm not dwelling on yesterday's race... Just hoping it all pays off for that October marathon.
Until then, I'll only be racing 5Ks and 10Ks and everything in between. I don't think I even want to run faster than a 9:00 pace for 10+ miles in the heat. Uggh.

Happy and safe running!


 
 

I'm feeling impatient right now. I have a terrible habit of starting my stopwatch after I've crossed the starting line or stopping it after I've crossed the finish line. My inability to hit that one little button at just the right moment often leaves me sitting at the computer refreshing CoolRunning for hours on end until I finally see my net race results. With that said, I know I PRed at today's Hyannis Half Marathon, the first race in the Cape Cod Half Marathon Trilogy.

It hasn't been the greatest week to end with a hard half marathon. I had a last minute business trip cut into my usual running schedule, which would have been fine if I hadn't tried to make up for the lost miles by running faster in the little time I did have to run. But no excuses. I was ready to PR at this half marathon. I was shooting for 1:40, which is 3:12 faster than my old PR.

On the drive down, my husband was asking how I ever found a race in Hyannis in February. I answered how not! Hyannis is probably the biggest race we've got going in New England until Boston Marathon. He still didn't quite believe me... until we got there.

Hyannis is not just the half marathon, but also a full marathon, marathon relay and 10K. It's also not just a race, but an expo and massive party. The event is hosted by the Hyannis Sheraton Conference Center. We arrived about an hour before the start to get my bib number and shirt, use the lavatory facilities in the Sheraton and stroll around the expo to some tunes. My husband was also thrilled to see Dunkin Donuts supplying fresh free donuts. I challenged him to eat a donut for every mile I'd run, but he didn't accept. Probably a good thing, even though I may have considered it myself at one point. Just not fair watching everyone eat donuts right before I had to run!

About 15 minutes before the start, I tore myself away from my husband and the Dunkin Donuts, and headed over to the crowded starting line. I lined up around the 8 minute mark to ensure I didn't start too fast, but we were asked to push back 10 feet about 10 times to fit all the late comers (and slower starters) in to the starting area. At least I didn't have to worry about being cold. I couldn't move an inch in any direction.

Just a few minutes passed 10 am (half hour after the marathon start), we were off and running! I crossed the start line about 20 seconds later to be greeted by a huge crowd of onlookers on either side of the street. It was exciting to see so many faces out on this nice crisp winter morning. We made our way through the streets of Hyannis and headed out toward the sea.

It was a crowded first few miles. I didn't bother to dart around too many people to save energy, but I tried to keep the pace steady, even and strong. Some people blew by me at mile 2-3 and I made a mental note to catch them later.

Around mile 3 I realized that I hadn't seen a mile marker. They're not the most noticeable markers, which was actually fine with me. I can't overthink my running when I don't know what mile I'm on. I did spot my a marker at mile 4 and was right around 30 minutes. I was happy with my pace so I kept it and started running along the water.

Many of the sights are beautiful in Hyannis. Not every mile has you seaside but you'll have your fair share of ocean views and spend most of the other miles running along quiet streets. That said we had to run with traffic at almost all times and we did have to run along a couple of very busy streets. It wasn't bad but not ideal.

Around mile 6 my legs started feeling stiff. I knew I should have rested more this week but it is what it is.

I welcomed the slight uphill and downhill stretches later. There are no big hills, but a few good slopes. It's just enough to keep you on your toes and engage some of the other muscles that were along for the ride. On these hills I was able to catch a few dozen people, including some of those who passed me at mile 2. :)

By mile 9 I just wanted to be in the double digits already. I was tired and my legs were ready to rest. I zoned out as best I could until I saw that happy # 10!

5K to go! That's just two laps around my house! I picked it up and lost the small pack of runners who I'd been drafting for a couple of miles. We made our way along the residential streets back toward the hotel and ran along some welcomed downhill stretches. I needed all I could get because I couldn't forget that this race ends on an incline.

More spectators started coming into view. I was at the last mile. Some guys caught up to me and I did my best to stay with them even though I was ready to puke. I just kept chugging along, focusing on my stride and maintaining my pace. I wanted to save a little bit in the tank for the last 1/4 mile.

After coming around one final turn, the finish area was ahead. Lots of spectators waiting. Lots of runners also ready to run the next leg of the marathon relay. I was glad not to be running the marathon today, but the race organizers and volunteers did a great job starting the half marathon, marathon relay and 10K all together. I was never once confused about which way to run, and appreciated the crowds at the relay handoffs - just enough to give me a boost.

Now it was time to run. The final stretch. I made a sharp turn into the hotel parking lot, trailing one woman I desperately wanted to catch (but didn't) and powered my way up the hill. My husband got it on video, which was kind of cool. I spotted the clock at the finish line at 1:42 even. No 1:40 today but I still broke my old PR of 1:43:12! My net time would be faster, which I will hopefully know very soon, but it's a PR anyway.

And when it was all over, I finally got that donut. :)

Thanks for the great race, Hyannis! See you at the Johnny Kelley Half in May!

Update: I finished in 1:41:23 - almost two minutes better than my old PR. YAY!
 
 
Rest Day - Marathon training officially starts tomorrow!

Running Resolution #3: Race Once Per Month

This one is pretty simple. Racing helps me gauge my progress, something I can't get from running on my own. No matter how hard I run during training, I'm still not as fast or effortless as I am when racing, so I use it as a way to tune up.

My goal this year is already under way. I'm signed up for a race every month through May, except for March. Still need to fill that gap and work on the rest of the year. I may not run every one of these races all out, especially those closer to the Providence Marathon (need to save my energy for the big one). Here's what's on the agenda so far:

Here's what's on the agenda so far:

January: The Boston Prep 16 Miler

February: Super Sunday 10K and Hyannis Half Marathon

April: 13.1 New York

May: Providence Marathon

Looking forward to every one!
 
 
Today's Run: ~ 12 miles on Heartbreak Hill - tough run but kept up ~ 8:30 pace
Notes: Misty rain and fairly warm for late December. Nice running weather.

Running Resolution #4: Run faster farther (no wimping out on long runs)

I started marathon training in October 2008 as a challenge to myself. I had just run my second BAA Half Marathon and my time was considerably worse than it had been the first time I ran the same race. I wasn't running regularly. I was only half committed to my running regimen. I was disappointed in my performance and knew it wouldn't change without a lot of hard work. So I signed up for my first marathon - Big Sur International Marathon - taking place 6 months later.

Nothing like a kick in the ass to get in gear. All I knew about Big Sur was that the views are incredible and it is supposed to be one of the hardest marathons in the world thanks to a steep 2-mile climb in the middle and numerous, mountainous hills throughout the race. All the better for me. I was too scared to miss a training run for fear of losing it on any one of those hills.

So I stuck to my training plan and ran 25-35 miles most weeks. However, I didn't try to run fast. I only cared about going the distance and being able to finish that marathon. Most of my long runs fell into the 9:30-10:30 range. I was hardly even winded when I got home.

Then the day of the race came. I spotted pace groups and decided at the starting line to join the 4:30 bunch. I figured I could run about this pace and thought the group would help me get over those hills. It did. The one thing I wasn't expecting was my surge at the end. I hadn't run any part of the race that hard so I had a ton of energy. I left the group at mile 24 and beat the 4:30 pace by more than 5 minutes . It shocked me (I loved it) and that's when I knew I had it in me to run faster.

A few short months later I ran the NYC Marathon, another toughie, and took about 35 minutes off my marathon time. Now I'm just 11 minutes shy of a Boston qualifier and I'm not slowing down.

This resolution, which I've already started working on, is to tackle my training runs stronger and faster than I did last year. I'll still account for recovery days and planned easy runs, but I want to be sure I'm making the most of everything I do. No more wimping out on long runs!

Oh, and I did run the BAA Half Marathon again this past October. This time I finished 10 minutes faster than last year. The extra effort and dedication is paying off.

How about you: Do you run for speed, distance or both?
 

Welcome!

11/27/2009

6 Comments

 
Thanks for stopping by! I'm a Boston-based runner, writing to keep my mind as occupied as my body! I run road races from 5K up to full marathon. I love discovering running routes, runner's techniques, energy-boosting recipes and ways to push through a hard workout. If you have a suggestion, please leave a comment  or email me!

I've been running for over 20 years, though I've only become more dedicated to the sport recently. I run because I find it relaxing and rewarding - and I selfishly love how I feel after going for a good long run. I'm not as fast as I was in high school, when I was a 6 minute miler, but I'm working on it!

Personal Records:
* 3:51:25 marathon (NYC 2009)
* 1:43:12 half marathon (B.A.A. 2009)
* 30:18 4.2 miler (2005)
* 28:29 4 miler (2009)
* 23:11 5K (2009)

I'm also studying to become a personal trainer with American College of Sports Medicine, and I'll be a certified running coach this spring. I hope some of the information in my blog inspires adults and kids of all ages to get outside, have a lot of fun and run!

Robyn
Boston Road Runner