Saturday, March 14, 2015

It's just about race time...

In t-minus 8 days, I'll embark on a first-ever for me... I'm leaving the grand state of Ohio for a race!  I'm definitely not a traveler.  I didn't even see the ocean for the first time until I was 17 (the same year I flew on a plane for the first time). I haven't been to more than a dozen states (and most of those were ones that we drove through on our way to North Carolina in 2013).  We weren't big vacationers when I was growing up, and right now money is a big factor in keeping us at home as well.  But I'm fine with that; I love Ohio and have no problems continuing to race here.

However, when I decided that I just had to run a half before my next full marathon, I had very little luck finding a race here in Ohio that worked out with my training schedule.  I wanted to race 5-6 weeks before my marathon, and nothing was happening around here.  I mentioned to my friend Andrea that I was thinking of finding a spring half to race out-of-state, and she immediately jumped on board. Andrea, you see, LOVES to travel.  It's kind of her thing.  She loves racing in different locations, and I knew she would be excited to join me for a spring half.  We spent some time researching a few nearby races before settling on "the one"... the Shamrock Half Marathon in Virginia Beach.  This race won out because of several reasons: the course (very flat, very fast), the proximity (about 9 hours by car), and the timing (5 weeks before my goal race; 4 weeks before Andrea's--she headed to Boston again).

Andrea and me after a particularly cold and icy/snowy long run in February.

Once we'd settled on a race, I needed to ask break it to my hubby that I'd be leaving for a weekend in March.  Fortunately, it was around that time that he mentioned he wanted a boat.  I figured the trade was pretty even--he got his boat, and I will soon be driving off to the ocean for 72 hours!  I registered for the race back in November, and it's slowly crept up on me over the past few months.  I can hardly believe that it's actually happening, to be honest!

I've been training pretty darn hard for my upcoming races, and (knocking on wood super hard right now) things are going as well as I could hope.  I'm hitting my paces with relative ease on speed work and tempo, my long runs are nice and easy, and the other miles are falling into place.  I've had to hit the treadmill a bit more than I would like due to the weather that we've had, but fortunately spring is finally coming here.  I've been going to BodyPump weekly as well as either core class at Fleet Feet or CXWORX class at DK Fitness.  I haven't actually figured out how to fit in swimming since the start of the year, unfortunately, but I do hop on the bike once a week at the gym as well.  This past week was a huge one for me: 20 mile long run on Sunday with the final 4 miles at marathon pace, 3 recovery miles on Monday, 6x800 (plus warm-up, recovery & cool-down) for my speed work on Tuesday, 8 easy miles on Wednesday and 7 on Friday.  All in all, I am super happy with how it is all going.

Which brings me to the race next weekend.  I'll admit it, I'm going into it with pretty high expectations.  I typically put a lot of pressure on myself to succeed and to reach my goals.  This race is no different.  With a great course, fantastic training miles under my belt, and hopefully nice weather, there is no reason why I cannot smash this race.  So...the goals.  

Goal C: to finish strong and un-injured.  I need to keep in mind that this race is merely a stepping stone to the Glass City marathon.  So finishing healthy and strong is important to me.

Goal B: to PR.  My PR is from last August at Emerald City (1:49:23).  It was a humid, yucky race, and I do feel like I can beat my PR next weekend, barring unforeseen circumstances.

Goal A: to run sub-1:45.  A 1:45 half marathon is an 8:00/mile average.  To go sub-1:45, I basically have to average in the 7's.  Seven is a crazy number to me... my 5K pace is in the 7's... speed work is in the 7's... so to average 7-anything for a half is a bit daunting.  But I have a race plan and I'm going to give it my all.  

I've been weather-stalking already, and right now it looks like it will be low 40's at the race start with a possibility for some wind and showers.  I'm going to stay positive, though, and pray for partly cloudy skies and a calm breeze.  Regardless of what happens, I know this weekend will be truly one to remember.  

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