Why *I* PR'd

Setting a personal record (PR) is very, well, personal.  And no matter how much you plan and prepare, there is still a great portion that relies on the Dealer putting the right cards in your hand that day.  After Sunday's PR, there were things racing through my mind that I think got me there.  This list does not mean *you* should do these things or that they will make *you* reach your goals.  Take from it what you may, but keep in mind that everyone is different...

- Reason 1:  Perfect conditions.  It was cloudy and 55 degrees with minor wind.  Considering it's been 80 and sunny, this was a big relief, and a huge help.  Ideal running weather.

- Reason 2:  It was the right course.  I saw the profile and studied the inclines.  It was a pretty flat course.  An average 0.5% incline for the first 7.5 miles and then flat or downhill for the rest.

- Reason 3:  I was focused.  I wanted the PR.  I had made a conscious decision that I was going to get it, and I didn't give myself an "out".  I had already accepted that at some point I was probably going to hurt, and that I'd push through that... and it'd be all over in a couple hours.  (FYI, I encountered a lot less pain than I anticipated.)

- Reason 4:  Nutrition.  I was hydrated.  I up'd my carbs a little starting 3 days before but did not overdo it.  In fact, I didn't really up my overall calories at all, I just made more conscious choices.  And despite having experimented with a few other breakfast choices, I went back to the ol' Clif Bar which is what I ate pre-race when I set my PR in October 2010.  Sure a bagel and peanut butter sounds better, but I haven't had a great half since switching breakfasts... so I went back.

- Reason 5:  The body was functioning properly.  I got up with plenty of time to clear the intestines.  And everything was working well.  No nervous stomach, and I took my mandatory two potty breaks prior to the race so I wouldn't have to pee mid-race.  (For those newer runners, you may think this is TMI, but I promise, bodily functions become standard conversation to runners... you gotta do what you gotta do.)

- Reason 6:  I'm 8-10 lbs lighter.  Try running with a 10 lb handweight.  I bet it slows you down.  Same concept.  I've lost the weight, so I expected that it would gain me a little (even a few seconds per mile adds up over 13.1 miles).  (Side benefit is that, inherently, in order to lose a little, I cleaned up my nutrition so I was better fueled.)

- Reason 7:  Course motivation.  Lots of cheering along the course.  Particularly Jenn and then Jason.  I saw them each at least twice along the course.  Also the bands were uber-motivating.  Really enjoyed them.  They were all playing as we passed, and they all had motivating words as well.  Not to mention I was just motivated by being in a slightly faster crowd of runners.  They were all continuing to truck along, so I was going to stay with them.

- Reason 8:  I brought my own water.  I only stopped at one station (the second one) and got a Cytomax.  It didn't make my stomach feel good, though the feeling passed quickly.  So I decided not to stop at any more water stops (and I will say that most the water stops were pretty congested due to the sheer number of runners).  Other than the 5 seconds I walked for that one stop, I never walked again.  I figured the more I kept moving, the less catching up I had to do.  Every water stop, we headed to the middle of the road and plowed through.  I bet it saved us as much as 2 minutes overall.

- Reason 9:  The miles.  I'm in marathon training mode.  As I said in Coach's Corner, nothing speeds you up like endurance.  My last 3 long run Saturdays were 14, 16, and 18 miles with two longer mid-week runs of at least 8 miles.  I have a lot more miles on my legs than a typical half-marathon training plan.  Yes, my body can handle not tapering before a half, but I did take the two days right before the race off.  Even though I knew I'd be pushing my pace, I have to say that I was actually looking forward to only having to run 13.1 this weekend.  Never thought that I'd hear myself say that.  Yes, I realize 13.1 is still a long ways and a lot on the legs, but it seemed like a break from 18!

- Reason 10:  Robin.  She believes in my capability more than I do.  She is an excellent pacer.  She is a motivator.  And best of all, she loves to talk while we run (duh, you all know I'm a running blabber mouth, well, until the last 1.5 miles).  She knows how to keep a steady pace and how to put me just ahead of my goals, but listens when I have legitimate concerns.

I'm looking forward to pacing my awesome friend, Emily, to her PR on April 10th at Big D half marathon.  From here on out, the only focus for me (despite having two more halves scheduled) is the June 5th Rock n Roll San Diego Marathon.