Men often become what they believe themselves to be. If I believe I cannot do something, it makes me incapable of doing it. But when I believe I can, then I acquire the ability to do it even if I didn't have it in the beginning.”
It's the Thursday before a race weekend. Hector and I complete a moderately easy workout on the treadmill and I am gathering my things to leave. As I am about to walk out of his office, I ask him the same thing I do before every race:
What's the plan??
Hector looked at me and said "You're gonna do something you have never done in a race before. You're gonna run 1/1's for 13.1 miles."
HUH?? Ok...Im a pretty crummy runner but even I can do better than 1 minute running and 1 minute walking. That's how I started this journey 10 years ago and how I made it through my first half marathon. I questioned this logic.
Hector's theory was this: Your cadence in your run is going to be short FAST STRIDES. Your walk will be long strides. Neither one will elevate your heart rate to the point of utter fatigue.
Hmmm..One and one's.
I left the office feeling like such a failure. Is this REALLY what my running has come to. Am I this old and this slow that THIS is my only options. This is REALLY it???
I left Saturday afternoon for Tampa hoping for the best, wishing for the utmost success but expecting much longer times than I would ever want in a Half Marathon. We got to the expo right before they closed, did a little shopping and settled in to our hotel just 3 blocks from the start line and had dinner. We hit the hay early but a party in the bar of the hotel was rocking until 330am. We didn't get the best sleep and I awoke to a terrible attitude.
This is going to suck, I thought to myself. But my friend, Sandi, is always upbeat and was excited about the race. It was contagious. My friend, Rick, made me coffee (nice guy..don't you think) and as we made our way to the start, I was positive that today would be a good day.
As I made my way across the start line, I hit my watch and my GPS and I envision a P.R. Today is your day, Missey, I kept saying. It's a Beautiful Day!!
I turned on my Ipod and...as if on cue...the song that began the run "It's a Beautiful Day" by U2 was filling my ears.
The start was crowded and the first mile included a small causeway. The runners were all reduced to a walk as we made our way up the small narrow bridge but the timing fell perfectly. The miles rolled on and I felt amazingly strong as my 1/1's seemed effortless. The air was cool and the sun rose with a gleaming shade of red and yellow.
Mile 9 came and I braced for what is usually the pain in my legs and a general fatigue. There was none. Mile 10 arrived and still no fatigue. It wasn't until 11 that I started to feel some fatigue but I chalked that up to the mental game. Its almost done, I told my body, lets keep moving.
In the first half of the race, I was shocked that I was on pace for a P.R. but the middle portion of the race seemed slower but steady. My last three miles were much quicker and I crossed the line, smiled for the camera, and looked at my GPS.
7 minutes faster than the MIami Half Marathon
3 minutes faster than the Space Coast Half Marathon
9 minutes off my P.R. of the Philadelphia Distance Run 3 years ago.
I was stunned. Could this really be??? My second fastest Half Marathon time ever....and I did it on 1/1's.
I was elated. I grabbed my phone before I even grabbed my medal and texted Hector my time. He was almost as excited as I was...
Finally...some Progress. Sometimes you just have to trust your coach.
I started walking back to the hotel and noticed my knees were a little sore but not to the point of agony. This felt NOTHING like Miami where I could hardly walk a block. This was good fatigue. This I could work with.
We grabbed a shower and returned home. My husband was waiting for me with open arms. He came home just as I had to leave for Tampa so all we got to do was give each other a hug and kiss as I headed out. It was nice to have him here to celebrate.
Im still very slow..and today my left knee is very stiff and sore but...its progress...sweet satisfying progress. I sat on my porch last night, staring at the moon and cried with relief. What a Beautiful Day indeed....