Happy New Year to everyone. Sorry I have been so busy I haven't had time to blog lately. That is an incredibly GOOD thing.....lots of eustress (the good stress) coarsing through my veins. I played "catch-up" for a couple of weeks after my illness. I am steadily building back my strength and stamina and I am back to the frenetic pace I've enjoyed for so many years. I have been diligent about some of my New Year's goals: Less sugar, processed foods; and More yoga, meditation. I am still working on a few. I am excited to report that I am an OFFICIAL Half Marathon Pacer for the Myrtle Beach Half Marathon in February. Here is how the story unfolds:
I competed in the American Family Fitness Half Marathon in Richmond in November. I knew I was not in my best racing shape, but I was going to give it a whirl and try to finish somewhere between 1:30:00 and 1:35:00. I had not been doing any speedwork to speak of, only miles. Miles are great, but it is the integration of miles and speedwork that has helped me be in the high 1:27's a few short years ago. I want to capture my speed back.....I will need it for my 2014 National Masters Track Meet competition in the 1500, 800 and possibly 400. Anyway, this race was really special because my Sole Sisters and I met the announcer in an elevator the night before the race and he actually gave us a shout-out before the gun went off. I was in the first wave (behind-very behind the elites) so I was able to thank him and people actually thought I was a celebrity.
The gun went off and I decided to hang with the 1:30 pace group for as long as I could and I would evaluate later in the race where I thought I could finish. Well....the pacer (shame on him) took us out on a 6:12 first mile. My Garmin strap had broken 2 days before so I decided that I would just rely on feel and my Timex since I knew I wasn't in peak form. I basically whipped my head around to him and scolded him for taking us out too fast. Many of the fellow runners were trying to hit 1:30:00 for the first time, so going out that fast is not advisable. He sheepishly claimed we were 'banking' time. Banking 43 seconds? Really? Well, I immediately slowed down so I could try and erase that whole first mile. I wished everyone good luck and hunkered down into a comfortable groove (besides the first and last mile of the race, my own body kept me within 15 seconds of each mile).
What do I think about in a race? I think of ways to trick my mind so my body can do its thing. If I can disconnect my brain from the work then I seem to perform exponentially better. I think of affirmative statements, but usually I just chat with everyone around me. 25+ years of teaching group exercise has increased my ability to talk and run. People around me usually find it endearing but sometimes I know I'm annoying. Luckily, I can read people really well and adapt :) I think.
Back to the race. I caught up to the pace group at around the 11 1/2 mile mark. I wasn't consciously trying to catch up to them, it just happened. The quick first mile was taking its toll on many in the group. I hung with them for a little while and then I noticed that I wasn't going to make the 1:30:00 if I didn't take off. I told them that if they were serious about getting 1:30:00 they needed to take off with me. I ended up with a 6:21 last mile and squeaked in at 1:30:42. The pace group was quite a bit farther back. My performance was good enough for 2nd Overall Masters Female, but they only recognized top 5 overall. I won the 45-49 age group and was pleased I was within my goal range. I can smell the 1:27's getting closer in the next 5 months. I received my award a couple of days before Christmas. It was a special gift.
After my experience at Richmond, I decided to apply to be a pacer for the Myrtle Beach Half Marathon. I looked at all the qualifications and decided that this was "right up my alley". Am I perky? Absolutely Yes. Can I talk and run? Yes times 2. Am I a motivating person? Yes times 3. Am I good at keeping a steady pace? There is a reason why many of my friends call me the Garmin Girl. I excel at keeping people at a steady pace. I like to help friends with their tempo runs during marathon training season because.......wait for it........I'm steady. I've emailed with the race organizer, Bayne, several times. I already adore her because I love her name. She has no idea of the bundle of perkiness she is about to meet.
Anyone running the Myrtle Beach race? Any interesting races on your calendars? Any unique New Year's Resolutions? Do tell me!