Here are the stats:
- 1:54:07 official finishing time
- 8:42 minutes per mile pace
- 57th out of 207 women in my age group (35-40)
This isn’t exactly what I was hoping this race would tell me.
Regarding effort, I can say I definitely raced this event, and gave it what I had to give (which doesn’t seem like that much, now that I have crossed the finish line and taken a nap). Even though I tried to hold back during the first eight miles, that earlier pace was only a few seconds slower than what I averaged overall. Thus, the Bronx Half-Marathon ended up a kind of slower-than-usual pace run (since I run my pace runs at 8:15), rather than my typical negative-split race timing.
Body checks revealed that my knees didn’t hurt me like I thought they would have (that pain really was due to my dead sneakers thank god), but my hamstrings were achy the entire race. At one point, I felt so beleaguered by the wind, I found a big guy (chubby, broad shoulders, 6′ tall) and drafted him for about a mile along the Grand Concourse. I’d never done that before in a race. The last mile, when I was trying to Go, my hips were basically like, “You’re joking, right? Good one!” When Coach Ramon spotted me with half a mile to go, his demeanor totally changed from Big Cheer Machine to Soft Encouraging One. Clearly I was crumbling, because he told me quietly “Shoulders Up, Relax, Chin Up, Come On.” He also said my name like five times–I don’ t know if he did it on purpose but it is a huge mental boost to simply be called by your name. I feel badly that he has seen me racing so poorly.
Mentally, I’ve been in a dark place for days. I’m a bit overwhelmed by work and personal obligations, am feeling unsure in a few friendships, and am caught in this rut where I am behind in everything. Skipping my 8-mile training run yesterday* just added to that mild sense of self-disgust that’s been icing my cake all week. So, I wasn’t looking forward to today’s race, and while it’s unquantifiable, I wonder just how much my morose attitude may have slowed me down.
I certainly wasn’t expecting to PR , I know my fitness isn’t at 1:48:50 yet. I thought I’d be able to finish within a 10-second window around my second-best time of 1:53:34; it frustrates me that I didn’t (it feels sloppy). I did beat my time for the course from last year (2:12:31) but really: it’s sad to cheer over that. The one encouraging detail here is this: when I ran my 1:53:34 time, I was seven weeks out from the NYC Marathon, which means I had four more weeks of training under my belt than I do now.
Nevertheless, the bottom line is that I didn’t win an encouraging result for myself . (When I got home, Husband hugged me and sweetly said, “You can’t win every race,” which made me laugh.) This makes me stop and think that I’ll need to reevaluate my goals for London, and start getting used to the idea that a Boston Qualifying Time (3:45, 8:32 pace) may not be within reach this season. Recently, a friend pointedly reminded me I need to get 30 seconds faster per mile over my marathon PR to BQ; maybe I have set an arrogant goal. The way my body hasn’t been recovering between hard workouts (thus all my discomfort during today’s race) is a little more proof towards my suspicion that I’m a 1-Marathon-a-Year kind of girl, and I’m asking a lot of my joints and muscles to train and race again so “soon” after New York. (I’ve been pushing away the thought for weeks that it may be best to defer my entry to the New York City Marathon this year, as much as it would break my heart to not share that experience with Brother.)
I still have 11 weeks left of training; 9 before I begin to taper. Last season, my two half-marathons gave me the hard data I needed to dare to dream of a sub-4 marathon time. Staten Island was 3 weeks out from NYC, which forced me into a 3-week taper but also led to another PR. Should I run a second half this season? Will two halves make a whole? Going with this new attitude of setting realistic goals, will racing 13.1 on my last step-back weekend (3/28-3/29) be the best way for me to predict of what I’ll actually be capable on race day, rather than of what I’d like to be capable?
*Why did I skip this workout? My knees were hurting, badly. I was completely enervated. I had obligations, appointments, and chores that were non-negotiable and that had to be done within specific windows of time. But, mostly, I was hung over from a long Friday evening happy hour during which myself and a hot Australian blond finished three bottles of wine. Gentlemen, trust me, if she was leaning towards you saying, “Another?” you wouldn’t have said no, either.