I thought I was going to take this race “easy.” I was just going to “have fun” with it.
But, apparently for me, if I’m not racing it, it’s not fun.
I started out the Tacoma Narrows Half Marathon with the 1:50 pacer but I never saw her after the first five seconds of the race. She was always behind me.
I immediately saw that I was running way too fast to be “taking it easy.” I was hovering just around 8-min/mile pace. Now, this would be “too fast” if I was healthy and actually trying to PR.
Going into this race I was not completely healthy. I hadn’t been training since I had an IT band injury that put me back a few weeks. Heck, two-and-a-half weeks ago I couldn’t even run more than an hour without having to stop and walk!
But, there I was running a half marathon at pace to PR.
It may have been stupid to push myself through pain. Around mile 6 the side of my right knee started to tingle. It wasn’t the extreme pain I had experienced a few weeks ago — but it was noticeable.
Here is when I had two thoughts:
1. Kristin, you can play it safe and slow down and finish the race — in pain.
2. Kristin, you can suck it up and push yourself to maintain this pace and finish the race with a PR — in pain.
Well, if both options included being in pain, of course I chose the latter.
The course wasn’t that scenic, mainly just running along the highway. I tried not to think about my knee. I kept repeating to myself that I was going to PR and that this was the race to PR …
One by one I picked off the runners in front of me, passing them. I told myself that they were in pain too (you know, just to make myself feel better). And, I was sweating a lot. Even my eyebrows were sweating.
By the last two miles pretty much everything hurt so I didn’t even notice the knee pain. I just kept running. I kept telling myself that I was going to PR.
And, I did.
As soon as I crossed the finish line, I gasped for air and had to hold back tears. (I did hear them call out my name over the speaker system though!) I was in a lot of pain.
I always thought that I would never be able to break 1 hour and 50 minutes at a half marathon. But, I did. My all-time half marathon PR was 1:53:29 and here I was with a time of 1:46:40!
I was “so fast” that my friends didn’t even have a chance to cheer for me at the end.
It was a morning of PRs. The four of us not only PR’d but we all were top 10 in our age groups!
I wasn’t intending on racing this one. Physically I didn’t think I was ready to. I hadn’t even mentally prepared to race. (I went out and had drinks twice in the days leading up to the race. Had I really intended to race, I would have cut all alcohol out the month prior!). I was actually a little “in shock” at how fast I had just raced. It didn’t make sense to me. In past races, I would actually train and prepare but would falter and not come close to a PR time.
I guess this just means I am getting faster. I haven’t reached my peak yet. And, I need to believe in myself some more. I’m never going to be that girl who tells myself that I can’t do something.
Because, I proved to myself that I can — even with a bum knee (that I will be icing like crazy).