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.