I'm not quite sure how to articulate my feelings on Sunday's Half Marathon PR in Sarasota.
Mostly ecstatic. But also shocked. And confused. Very confused.
I didn't even have this race on my radar until about a week out, when I got an email that I had won a race entry. It was really awful timing -- I was feeling weak from a lingering sickness, my training schedule was basically non existent, and I had just raced 3 out of the last 5 weekends with two other half marathons and a 15K.
Plus, I had already made plans to go out the night before to watch Eric Church and Kenny Chesney turn Tampa into a Redneck Riviera.
Let's talk about REAL priorities, OK?
After further debate I decided to go for it (I mean really, can I pass up a free race entry?!), but told myself I'd play it safe. If I wasn't feeling the love on Sunday morning, I'd treat it as a long run and just get my medal and my free beer and go home and not worry about my time.
I ended up getting four total hours of sleep on Saturday night. I prepared myself for mental breakdown and total disaster as I lined up at the starting line.
Prateek calls this "proactive pessimism". Always expect the worst. Most often it's used to describe the attitude of Philadelphia sports fans. Could also be used to describe the 2012 Auburn Tigers football season.
The Sarasota course is touted on the website as a course that was flat.
They forgot to mention the mile long BRIDGE that you had to run over TWICE.
The incline was an adrenaline killer and I was fatigued way earlier than I anticipated.
I saw Prateek at mile 6, and tried to paint on a smile for him even though I was completely exhausted.
I wasn't even halfway through the course yet and already kind of felt like hurling.
This photo is completely fraudulent. I am getting better at spotting race photogs, though.
Every once in a while I'd look down at my watch to see how I was doing, and tried my hardest to keep my splits somewhat the same.
Total focus as I entered the finish line chute
When I saw the 1:37 on the ticker as I approached the finish line, I thought at first that for sure I had missed a turn somewhere or had cheated the system somehow.
In the last month, I have now raced 3 half marathons (St Pete Rock N Roll and Tuscaloosa before this one) . With each one I've raced, I've PR'd by almost 4 minutes each time.
Is this something I've had in me all along? Was this just a fluke? Maybe I just haven't been pushing myself hard enough? Or did I cross some sort of speed threshold and am reaping the benefits? Or maybe I'm just mastering the 13.1 distance after all these recent races?
Whatever it is, I am blessed to have it and bow before the speed gods with thanks and praise. I see these numbers on paper and still can't believe they're mine.
I'm looking forward to digging into full marathon training mode and seeing what these legs can do with 26.2 miles!