February 16, 2009

Pensacola Half Marathon

K and I decided to sandwich this race in the middle of a much-needed romantic getaway. We traveled only an hour from home to the loved Pensacola Beach. We got there on V-day and spent a wonderful evening doing the beach thing, including dinner at Hemingway's Island Grill. Going into this race, I was already stressed. I was stressed about two things-

1. I really, really need a PR. (I'm cutting to the chase and telling you that I DID NOT PR yesterday.)

2. The weather was not going to be ideal. 60% chance of thunderstorms- Yikes!

So, race morning was rainy, but not storming (thank goodness). I was a bit jittery, but not too bad. I pretty much knew this was not going to be a PR. I met up with speedy Anna at the start and chatted with her about her upcoming first marathon. When the gun sounded, it was barely light (6:30 a.m.). I take the female lead from the start. Here's the mile-by-mile:

1- 6:33 feeling okay, but the road is dark, wet, and slippery

2- 6:34 going up, down, then up again- I can finally see what I'm doing

3- 6:44 miles 3-6 are pretty hilly (Scenic Blvd.) Nothing too steep, but enough for you to feel it.

4- 6:45

5- 6:47

6- 6:40 It has been raining the whole race, but coming down harder now.

7- 6:33 finally flat and a bit downhill

8- 6:53 this is the steepest hill of the race

9- 6:46

10- 6:46

11- 6:40

12- 6:32

13- 6:48

0.1- 1:19

Final time: 1:28:19 First female, 9th overall

Quickly after finishing, we drove back out on the course to find Anna. Wowzers- words can not describe how awesome she is! The girl was doing so well at mile 21- smiling and asking me how I did. She finished her FIRST marathon is sub 3. Yes, you read that correctly- sub 3!!!!!!! Watching her finish was one of the most amazing things I've ever seen. She is truly an accomplished athlete and I am blessed to have her as a friend. (Maybe if I stand close enough her speed will rub off on me. Haha, just kidding, Anna.)
In summary, I am not surprised by the outcome at all. I know my running is not where it should be. Obviously, something is going on that is preventing me from improving. I don't blame Coach or my training. I think it's just a physical plateau that I am going to have to cross. My brain tells me to push through and hang in there. I know I can get better. My heart is discouraged, though. Like all of you runners reading, we train hard- very hard. Day after day of 3 a.m. running alone in the dark- lap after lap around this tiny town is wearing me down. PRs used to motivate me and push me out of bed. Those PR memories are fading. My half & 15K are over a year old.
Some of you are probably reading thinking that I am insane. I mean, I won a race, what more can I ask for, right? Keep in mind, it's a heck of a lot easier to win when a race has <500.

BTW, whoever said you can't run away from your problems is wrong. I like to imagine myself running quickly and throwing down my problems like used racing cups. I expect to be feeling better in the upcoming weeks. In general, I am feeling more peaceful and hopefully my training will respond to this renewed feeling!

Ps. About the picture... I'm really not as fat as I appear in the photo above. GGRRR- Uggghhh.


  1. Hey R,

    Too funny, I just finished up my update as well and I too ran a half yesterday...

    Listen, no need to fret about not getting a PR, you are way too hard on yourself! You have to think, your main goal is the full marathon and you can't expect to PR during peak training, the fact you did the best you could given the conditions AND placed first in age group says a lot. Also the fact, you had a great time with your hubby, you should cherish those moments as well. Hang tough girl!

  2. You are super fast. I think I saw you at the maring core 5k awhile back. Even though you didnt PR, nice effort.

  3. You were rock solid, R! Nice splits, and you WON! You did better than anyone else with the conditions you were handed that day. That's great. Well done.

  4. i was wondering if you were going to run the bham race. the weather was probably a bit more runner friendly. you won...and ran in conditions that weren't pr conditions. can't control that. be happy and pr when the conditions are in your favor. congrats!

  5. You look amazing and tiny in your photo. ;)

    Thanks for updating. You'll get that PR soon. Keep kicking butt and pushing through. :)

  6. You are way too tough on yourself. I think being hard on yourself can be good to a point, but you need to cut yourself some slack every once in a while. You ran a great race in the midst of marathon training. So you didn't PR, big deal. You're a rock star. Keep up the good work.

  7. Congrats on your win Rebecca. I'm sorry to hear that you aren't getting the results and satisfaction out of your running that you really deserve.

    If I would win $1,000,000 by you running a sub 3 in 2009, here is what I would hope you would do.

    After St. Louis I would want you take between 3-5 days off completely based on how you feel. For the rest of the week, run no more then 15 miles total. Run 20 then 25 for weeks 2 & 3 and if you felt up to it, go 30/35/40 for the next 3 weeks. If you were feeling taxed mentally or physically at anytime then don't increase the mileage.

    June-August I would want you to avg 45-50 mpw and focus on your 10K to 10 mile speed. In mid-August, I would want you to get back on a program with your coach and build for a sub 3 attempt sometime between mid November & December.

    I have a hunch that if you let yourself totally recover after St. Louis and get to feeling fresh, that you will see a quick and sizable improvement. I just think you are too tired to reap your benefits right now. I think it is tough to improve much when you run 3 marathons in 6 months.

    Best wishes,
    Trainingforsub 3

  8. Congrats on your win! I know you wanted a PR, but hell, you were the first female! I am in awe of your speed.

    RW Forumites were all over that race. :-)

  9. I understand about getting a PR. I think you did really well. Was the course harder then the one you PRed on? Also if the streets were wet you probably ran a little slower not knowing it. I know I do that when it is dark or wet (or in your case both). About the only thing big in your picture is that watch on your hand! Is that a Garmin? I just ordered one yesterday and eager for it to arrive. Keep on doing good training, you are going to smash it in STL.

  10. I'm betting that under better conditions and on a course as flat as Mobile, you would have set a PR. I'm confident that you will bust out soon. Hope to get a chance to meet you at Azalea.

  11. Rebecca, with all the posts we have made in similar threads @RW, I don't think I have ever shared with you how much of a motivation you have been for me. I owe you a big thank you for that. I could not count how many times this winter that thinking of you has got my tired and warm ass out of bed. When I think of focus, determination, and mental toughness you are one of the first people to come to mind. And I've never even met you!

    I bet you are an amazing teacher as well. I'm sure the parents of your students are honored to have you as their child's teacher.

    I think the one thing we will have in common in two months is that St. Louis is our PR city. I hope you beat my time of 3:03:57.

  12. The progress you are making just is not showing on the clock yet. That must be hard for you to take. Be patient and keep working.

    You do inspire a lot of people with your drive and commitment. I'm one of many who are rooting for you.

  13. What a great race, add me to the uber-impressed list with your achievements, always. I'm sorry that it didn't bring you a PR too, but like Pace Runner said, you haven't been training for the Half, but for the Full. I bet if you devoted a small training cycle to a Half, you'll smash the current PR to bits. Looking forward to the next report, you are one speedy woman!

  14. R, you know how to race, OBVIOUSLY! I don't know anyone who wins as many races as you. PR or not, you're doing fine and you need to just embrace this time in your training. Remember, it's all cyclical. Someday soon those amazing PRs will be back and you won't even know what hit you. I'm proud of you!!!

  15. Being hard on yourself is not all bad... its called being a competitor. I would jump up and down for a 1:19:xx anyday!! I feel the frustration you have, but dont let it get you down. I have learned to not compare yourself to your past. You are considerably faster than most women in your age group, so that says volumes. You NEVER know who u may be inpiring with your training and running... just sayin...