I don’t expect to PR — and that’s okay!

With less than 14 days to go until the Whidbey Island half marathon* on April 14, I should have completed my last long run and be fully into “taper mode” by now. But because I still have this idea of running a full marathon later this year floating around in my head, I’ve grown accustomed to the idea of running 10+ miles and then going out two days later and doing it again. I figure if I make the next few runs a bit shorter (in the 6-8 mile range) and then give myself a few days of complete rest from running right before the race, that should be all the tapering I’ll need to do.

We’ll see.

I set out yesterday to do my last long run, which per my plan would be 12+ miles. I had done that distance at PR pace two weeks ago, so it didn’t seem like a big deal.

Every runner needs to have a humbling experience every now and then, right?

It was the first really warm day of the year… warm, that is, by Pacific Northwest standards. It was about 55 degrees when I left the house, a good ten degrees warmer than any time recently. I was wearing short sleeves and capri-length tights for the first time since last October!

It got HOT. I felt completely sapped of energy. I got hungry — and the Shot Bloks I was carrying weren’t enough to energize me. I got thirsty, but I couldn’t take more than sips of water without my stomach protesting.

I turned around early, telling myself I could always do another out and back to make up the rest of the planned mileage. But by the time I got back to the car, with only seven miles done, I knew I was done.

So my 12-mile “last long run before the race” turned into a 7-mile run that left me feeling discouraged.

I think I’ll give the “last long run” one more attempt later this week, if only to beat back the psychological bugaboo that is now sitting on my shoulder.

Objectively, I shouldn’t really care at all. I shouldn’t have any trouble giving up on my racing PR streak — eight straight half marathons with a PR every time.

Why shouldn’t I care?

Because the official length of the Whidbey Island half marathon is 13.4 miles — not 13.1. That extra 0.3 miles translates to approximately THREE FULL MINUTES for me. To make up three minutes over the course of 13 miles, I’ve got to be 15+ seconds a mile faster than I was last October in Victoria. That means I’ve got to run those 13.4 miles at a sub-10-minute pace.

I actually hit that pace on my 12+ mile run under ideal conditions two weeks ago — but can I do it again? Can I do it on a hilly course on a day when it may be raining and almost certainly will be windy?

I’ve decided that — if I can’t — it’s justifiable and I will forgive myself.

I don’t expect to PR — and that’s okay!

(But it sure would be awesome if I did…)

* If the name “Whidbey Island” sounds familiar to you, it may be because you’ve read about it in the news lately. There was a massive landslide on Whidbey Island, which has destroyed at least one house, is threatening 30+ more, and is still moving. Fortunately the slide location is nowhere near the race route, but you can bet I’ll be thinking about it as I run along the waterfront.

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Posted on April 1, 2013, in Running and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Have a good run on Whidbey Island!

    Carlene and Bob

  2. I’m so glad you addressed the landslides on Whidbey Island. When I saw where you’re running that was my first concern. I am in such awe of the dedication you apply to your running schedule, it’s difficult for me to even begin to understand what an extra three minutes represents. It’s all so well-timed and executed with such precision, and the stretch to your physical resources is amazing. I hope it all goes well for you and that you can indeed feel great satisfaction with the final run. You are pretty amazing, Lori!

    • Debra,

      Some people might say that my ability (and compulsion) to do math even while running is actually a curse for me as a runner, but it does keep me motivated. Using my watch data mile by mile I can generally keep an ongoing estimate of my finish time, which encourages me to hurry up if I need to!

      I’m one of those runners who simply needs a watch. I forgot my watch one day last week so I tried to time myself just using the stopwatch on my phone. I was too slow for the first half and too fast for the second half (after I’d peeked). It’s a lot easier on my body and mind if I can just strive to be consistent.

      Thanks for your good wishes for this race. I actually might surprise myself and do better than I think…

  3. Best of successes on Whidbey Island!

  4. We all have off days, just start slow and enjoy the race.

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