Saturday I ran the Zooma Half Marathon in Annapolis. I signed up for this race last minute, since it’s right around the corner from where I live and I wanted to get a Spring half marathon under my belt for this year. I’ve been focused on my marathon for the last year, but the half has always been my favorite distance to race. I don’t have to at “puke inducing turbo” speeds like a 5K/10K and I’m finished before hitting the dreaded leg crushing wall.
I loved the race; it was well organized and had such a positive atmosphere. A majority of the runners were women and I love how female athletes encourage and support each other. They also had an option to have your race packet mailed to you, which I took advantage of since making it to a packet pick-up during the work week (I’m a commuter with lots of after school activities to take my daughter to) can be a stressful experience for me. I think all races should have either a mail or same day packet pick-up option so you don’t have to make an additional trip. The swag was awesome! In addition to an awesome race shirt, tech tee in an adorable baby blue color, I got a new running hat (Hats are a necessity for this fair skinned gal!) and new feeture running socks (one of my favorite brands of running socks!)
It was a beautiful day (perfect racing weather) and the race location was fantastic, starting and finishing near the Naval Academy Stadium. There were plenty of porta potties so the lines weren’t bad before the race. There were just over 900 half marathon runners and the 10K and half started together (then merged again a few miles before the finish line). I had a good start to the race; running just under 7 minutes for my first two miles before settling in at my goal pace of 7:20. For the first 5 miles, I was running with the “lead pack” of females and was enjoying the fast/flat route through down town Annapolis. The crowd support was good, and there were water stations every 2 miles.
Just after mile 5, we started to climb a steep bridge. This is where the other girls started to pull away from me. Unfortunately, the bridge took a lot out of me and I struggled on the rolling hills that followed for the next 4 miles. I let myself get discouraged, and mentally almost gave up during this portion of the race. I’m embarrassed to admit I let myself get in my head during this part of the race, and my attitude was terrible! I finally told myself (I talk to myself a lot when I run! Lol), “Snap out of it Woman!!! So you had a few bad miles out of 13.1 miles! Don’t give up on all of them!” Then I kicked my butt back into gear. The 1:40 pacer caught up with me with about 2 miles left to go, and I pushed myself to keep up with him (and the two runners pacing with him). They were amazingly encouraging and helped me get through the final 2 miles. I did my best to stay with them for the final stretch, but they pulled away a bit the last half mile. I kept them in my sites and was watching my Garmin. At 13 miles I was just under 1:38 so I thought I was going to run my first sub-1:40 half. At 13.1, my watch was at 1:39:30 and I still didn’t see the finish line. “Shoot!” I ran as hard as I could for the final stretch of the race. I ended up finishing in 1:40:26 (A new PR by just over a minute) and I found out later I was 4th in my division.
I was happy that I was able to get it together and finish my race strong with a new PR. But also disappointed that I was SO close to my goal of breaking 1:40 and SO close to getting a division award. I normally would have been ecstatic with my time (and a new PR) but I knew that I could have ran the race better than I did if I hadn’t mentally thrown in the towel for 4 miles of the race. However, I am NOT feeling sorry for myself and am focusing on all of the positives of this race. I am treating this as a learning experience. The #1 thing I need to focus on for the next race is to maintain mental strength and a positive attitude when I am racing, regardless of what curve balls are thrown at me (http://running.competitor.com/2014/02/training/7-traits-of-mentally-tough-runners_68365). In my training I also need to focus on more hill training (hills have been slowing my pace down over a minute per mile in my last few races) and my nutrition (I need to cut out some sweets and sodas and try to eat and hydrate like an athlete!).
Bottom line; I LOVE the Zooma Race series, if there is a race in your area it is totally worth checking out!!
The rest of my training for the week went well.
Weekly Run Down:
- Monday- TRX work-out, Ab ripper X, Bryan Kest Power Yoga
- Tuesday– 5 Mile Trail Run (@10:30 pace)
- Wednesday-6 miles (@8:10 AP)
- Friday- Run 2 miles (8:30 pace on treadmill)
- Saturday-Zooma Half Marathon, 13.25 (1:40:36, 7:36 AP)
- Sunday– 7.1 miles Davidsonville Park (8:59 AP)
Total Weekly Miles: 33.35
Total 2014 Miles: 668.15
What is your favorite distance to race? What advice do you have for staying mentally strong when competing?