Distance: 13 mi
So, if I extend this time out by about a minute and a half to add the extra “.1” into it, this is still a PR for me at this distance. This is obviously a good thing, but I think what makes it really something to be proud of is the fact that this was just a training run.
What I mean is, I think that it is much harder to break PRs in training that it is during a race. The only motivation you have is just to run faster. In a race, there is adrenaline, other runners to focus on and pace with, the crowd, the thrill of a finish line… These things have always made it easier for me to push myself. Where I lose motivation and focus is on those long, lonely training runs. Sure, I could run with someone, but that is sometimes more of a distraction than anything. Because if they aren’t in the same place as you, mentally or physically, that day, you are always making corrections for where they are, be that too slow OR too fast. At some point, you HAVE to see what you can do… alone. I think that is a part of what makes running so great for me. I beat my half marathon PR by 3 minutes today… alone. On countless occasions in the past I have missed that time and I always know why. Either I lost focus and slowed down (a REAL bad habit I have) or something wasn’t right and the stars and planets didn’t align for me that day.
So I set out today with one goal in mind. Beat my PR for this distance. It is easy to get distracted over a longer distance like a half marathon so that was one of my objectives. Stay on task… Stay focused. Now you have to understand that I have the attention span of a goldfish, so any squirrel, leaf, shadow, etc. is fascinating for me and before I know it I have forgotten to check my splits for several miles. Oh and, by the way, this doesn’t happen to me on race days. I just suck at practice!
Today I battled through an adorable little lab puppy that was loose on the trail and followed me for almost a half mile, a 40 foot branch that decided to come down darn near on top of me (what is it with me and falling trees? Is there some deeper meaning there?), a raging debate I had with myself over whether a bird I saw was a Downy or Hairy Woodpecker (it was a Downy…), and a host of other little “what were we talking about?” thoughts.
I seemed to tire out about mile 9 and had to back off a bit for a mile or two, but my last two splits were under 9 minutes, so I finished strong. My ankle is more sore than I would have hoped, but I still think it will be fine. It handled the mileage ok, it just started protesting when I stopped.
This week will be longer distances with the group and then a gloriously short run on Saturday as a part of my mini taper practice… thingy… I’ll let you know how it goes…!