Runner’s World half–the race itself

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With Jess, Elizabeth and PR-setting Robin post-race

Alrighty–so how to you top off an incredibly fantastic, run centric weekend? You run a race, of course!

Many of the participants in the Runner’s World Half Marathon Festival went for what the magazine dubbed the hat trick: A 5k and 10k on Saturday, followed up by a half marathon on Sunday. Impressive, no? I was NOT among them, I assure you. Cool as the hat trick sounded, I wanted to concentrate on the half as a gauge of fitness for my Dec. 2 marathon.

I went into the race with hopes that I would be in the 1:38-1:39 range, and certainly no higher than a 1:40. In the end, though, I finished with a low 1:41. I was pretty disappointed, but not crushed. I feel like a ran a solid first few miles, had some pretty slow/bad middle miles, but then pulled out a good push for the final four miles or so. Unfortunately my late surge was too late to salvage the number I wanted.

I can’t point to any one, glaring factor that prevented me from being where I wanted. Were my first couple of miles a bit too fast? Perhaps. Did running with a Garmin for the first time ever in a race affect me? I think that may have played a role. I am a solid, steady pacer at my strongest. With the Garmin, I found myself constantly slowing and then surging based on the numbers I was seeing on my watch. For me, that tends to wear down my legs. The last few miles when I ran stronger, however, I barely looked at it, but when I did, I found I was holding a very consistent pace. So based on this experience, I’m not sure what I’ll do about using it in future races (and I think I have a full post on this topic alone!).

A pace calculator would tell me that my 1:41 result isn’t going to get me sub-3:30 at CIM, but I’ve been at this long enough to know better than to rely only on that. CIM will be a very different animal in terms of course elevation. I’ll also have six more weeks of training under my belt and a three-week taper to boot. I didn’t give myself more than about six days of taper for my half because I was still concentrating on the bigger prize of CIM. And then there’s the plain and simple fact that it just might have been an off day. Some races are just like that.

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With one of the Altra Zero Drop guys, Kristin, Robin and Harold at the finish line. Photo courtesy of Altra.

In any case, after a bit of recovery, it’s back to marathon training for me. I’ve got two 22s in the next couple of weeks and I”m looking forward to having at them. The same goes for speedwork. I’m feeling pretty fired up to make some improvements before Dec. 2.

How does an off race affect you? Do you get discouraged or motivated? 

Many thanks to Runner’s World for my comp entry at the half.

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Comments

  1. Yep! We are definitely in the same boat about the racing disappointments during marathon training ;) But, I say CONGRATS on finishing another race! And I think your speedy time is inspiring!
    It’s good to know that improvements can still be made between now and CIM.
    I’m intrigued by your Garmin-less racing. I always wear mine, but maybe I should brave a race without it?!
    GreenGirlRunning recently posted..Just the Run I NeededMy Profile

  2. Sounds like you had a fabulous weekend, even if the race wasn’t perfect.

    I’ve sort of given up on figuring out why one day I run/race really well and another I don’t. I just try to roll with it.
    MCM Mama recently posted..Cue the music…My Profile

  3. So close to your goal! I am curious to read your garmin post…if you post another about it. You know I have not been training with “pace” and thinking I am going to run NYC all on feel and just overall time on my watch. You have plenty of time before CIM! I think 3:30 is def achievable with where you are now!!
    Kristy (@KristyH5) recently posted..Weekly Log – Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones… But I’m Not Getting an X-RayMy Profile

  4. The course had a few more bumps than we anticipated, which played a part in the little slower times. Just think of it as a good training run and it gave you a better idea of how to run with the Garmin or when not to pay attention to it :-). It was so great to meet you and I look forward to hearing how you do during the marathon.
    HAROLD recently posted..AVR – Week In Review #RWHalf the Main Story 10/21/12My Profile

  5. I’ve read about how hilly the course was, so definitely don’t be discouraged. Especially when you consider your 20miler the week before!
    Abby @ Change of Pace recently posted..Running with the Kenyans – a book reviewMy Profile

  6. Ah – I guess it’s all a matter of the way we mentally frame it, I like what you just did in letting it fire you up.

    It really depends for me. My last few halfs had been stinkers, as I was having issues (cramping, losing steam, mentally feeling yuck) and it was getting tougher to get fired up.

    Luckily, I was able to shake off the ‘doubt demons’ and my last half, though one of my slower ones, felt good – I had joy in the run. It helped me get my groove back and the passion has returned. (Thank God!)
    Jen recently posted..Atlantic City half race recap: Running with love on a beautiful dayMy Profile

  7. Yeah, sounds like maybe the Garmin was the culprit. The weekend sounds like a blast! I tend to get discouraged after a not so great race, but it just motivates me to try and really nail the next one! Nice job!!
    Molly recently posted..The glass is half full.My Profile

  8. Your time was still fabulous…I wish I was that fast! I’m just happy finishing..there’s good races and bad races…but just finishing is a huge feat!
    Kat recently posted..Pretty Darn Quick!My Profile

  9. You’re so going to kill it at CIM. Like you said- there are so many factors at play. You’ve put in so many months of long runs and the rock solid training that I think you’ve got the sub 3:30 in the bag!
    Sheil recently posted..What A Girl WantsMy Profile

  10. I always let races get to me after the fact. I over analyze everything! At first I will be discouraged, but then I get motivated. You have the right attitude though. You still have six solid weeks of training and trust me, CIM is a FAST course! Just leave your Garmin at home. :-)
    Tasha @ Healthy Diva recently posted..Truckin’ alongMy Profile

  11. Great run all the same, but it’s intereting your comment about the garmin. I think the surging is what causes problems for most of us for sure! Well done though, sounds like you had a great time.
    Robin recently posted..Marathon #8 is Done!My Profile

  12. I had a strange race experience on the weekend. I PR’d but missed my goal time by 1:30. I’m still processing it. One the one hand, I’m proud but on the other, there is disappointment at getting so close and then bonking at mile 11.
    Steph @fitmomtraining recently posted..Winnipeg Fire and Paramedic Half Marathon Recap-Part IMy Profile

  13. I always get discouraged. I think being a newer runner I expect every race to be better than the last and that is just not the case. I think it is interesting what you said about the impact of running with the Garmin…definitely something for me to think about.

    So I FINALLY got my Altras yesterday and they sent a mens 9 instead of womens. Argh!!
    Shut Up and Run recently posted..I Don’t Always Stretch, But When I Do I Pretend To Know What I’m DoingMy Profile

  14. Will you wear your Garmin at CIM?
    Shut Up and Run recently posted..I Don’t Always Stretch, But When I Do I Pretend To Know What I’m DoingMy Profile

  15. Nice work on the Half, though you didn’t hit the goal you wanted. Speaking of using watches in races, the last one I did (Gettysburg), at mile 5 my screen was blurring so I took it off and threw it out at the next water station. lol. 10 years of service was good. I wish you the best in training for your Dec. 2 race. 2 22s huh. Go get em.
    Kenley Jones recently posted..Gettysburg Blue-Gray Half MarathonMy Profile

  16. I’m sorry you didn’t meet your running time goal but you still ran awesome!! I am so proud of you!
    Erin @ Girl Gone Veggie recently posted..Runner’s World Blog Event and ExpoMy Profile

  17. That is still a great time, well done! MY half PR is 1:41 :) I’ve run so many races over so many years I don’t get affected at all by an off race. I just continue doing what I do.
    Johann recently posted..Golden Gate Challenge and InspirationMy Profile

  18. I am so glad to have met you this weekend, and although I know you are disappointed, you are so right–it is about moving on and forward. This is the first race that I have finished and truly felt proud of myself because also new to me, I considered quitting for a few miles early on.
    Elena recently posted..Finishing the Runners World Half Marathon with a SmileMy Profile

  19. I still think you’ll kill CIM! Off races are like extra motivation for me. Sure, they make me sad and depressed for a good 24 hours, but then I remember how much I love it all anyway :)
    Colorado Gal recently posted..The South American DiariesMy Profile

  20. Sounds like an AWESOME weekend!!! You’re still going to destroy CIM; put away the pace calculators from the half, and focus on your upcoming runs/remainder of your training. You’re only allowed to panic/be sad about a less-than-perfect race for 24 hours, and then you have to pack it away. Because I said so ;) Nice work!
    Meaghan recently posted..Cheetah-Fast, Pain like Bee Stings, and Ice Cream Sundaes.. Caitlyn’s 5K PR Race Report..My Profile

  21. It sounds like such a fun weekend.
    As for the half, you did fantastic. I don’t think that was an off race at all and if you did run slower than you anticipated, I bet it was due to the Garmin.

    I always run with that watch-partner but in a race, I won’t look at it until I’m nearing the end. Run by feel. If you’re having a great day, the pace you set may slow you down from really having a super-awesome race. If you’re having a crappy day, you might push too hard and fall completely apart at the end.
    Train hard. Forget all previous performances and look forward to a great day.

    CIM is going to be terrific. EVERYTHING about California is terrific.
    Joanne recently posted..What’s New This Week and TabouliMy Profile

  22. Still a very nice race to top off a great weekend.

    With the Garmin, you may want to do a different display setting so you don’t get as focused on it. At least you didn’t stop it a mile in like I did on Sunday! :)
    David H. recently posted..Dress rehearsal successMy Profile

  23. I think you did amazing although I know you wanted faster–the weekend was a whirlwind-not typical pre-race activities I’m sure! :) I know this will simply motivate even more for your CIM goal!! LOVED LOVED finally meeting you Amanda!
    Jess @ Blonde Ponytail recently posted..Runner’s World: Meet & Greet with EditorsMy Profile

  24. STILL A GREAT TIME! You are such a rockstar!

    You got this! Trust your training! xoxo
    Krysten Siba Bishop (@darwinianfail) recently posted..Crossfit MusingsMy Profile

  25. I’ve heard CIM is a really fast course, so I would put money on it that you’ll be sub 3:30 there.
    Beth @ Miles and Trials recently posted..SPIbelt GiveawayMy Profile

  26. I know it was a hilly course and you still had a great effort, especially at the end of such a busy and exciting weekend. Plus, your focus is on marathon training right now anyway, not half training. CIM is going to be awesome. :) Hugs!
    Erin Henderson recently posted..ChoicesMy Profile

  27. Considering this was more of a mid-training race than a goal race, without a standard taper and the busy weekend, I think you’ve done really well to get so close to your target!
    Best of luck for your marathon training!
    Sherry recently posted..ITU World Triathlon Grand Final – Elite WomenMy Profile

  28. Great job!!! I know it wasn’t what you were hoping for , but you still did awesome. I find the Garmin can be a good tool but I tend to push myself too hard when I use it sometimes resulting in more wear and tear on my body than necessary.
    Toni Church recently posted..Monday MotivationMy Profile

  29. Awesome job!!! I love the pictures! I am super jealous, looks like everyone had so much fun!
    Dawn @ Dawnieslife recently posted..Enjoying the Fall Season and Beginning a Journey of Self-ReflectionMy Profile

  30. This race looks so cool, and I really really hope to run it next year. The start/finish area looks SO NEAT. I’ve driven through that area my share of times driving between maryland and Buffalo, NY.

    It may not exactly have been the time you were hoping for. But you had a (totally exciting) LONG, EXHAUSTING weekend. Had the race been on Friday I bet you would have crushed that course!
    Charlotte recently posted..10 Running Questions Everyone Wants to Know!My Profile

  31. Your time to me is still so amazing!!! Wow!
    Kierston recently posted..Competition Day: Team FFA Rocks!My Profile

  32. Put me in the “easily discouraged” camp! But I’m trying to get better about that. It sounds from your report like there are a host of logical reasons you didn’t run as fast as you meant to (being in the middle of training is probably the biggest one!). You will be in a different place at CIM, a much better more rested place. I’m looking forward to meeting you there!
    Terzah recently posted..Race Report: Detroit International Half-MarathonMy Profile

  33. that was a tough course-and you still did really well-on crappy food and little rest. as you know, i was disappointed with mine too-but i think it just fueled the fire to push myself with my training even more.
    elizabeth recently posted..Behind the Scenes at Runner’s WorldMy Profile

  34. I hate having races where I do good in other’s eyes yet I am disappointed because I know I am capable of so much more. You have that sub-3:30 in you, I know it. A 1:41 in the middle of your tough marathon training cycle is awesome. I blame the Garmin and I blame the hills. Garmins play mind games and those hills were SO hard. I had multiple points out there where I couldn’t believe I was still climbing. I can’t wait to continue watching your training as I have learned so much from you and look forward to learning more.
    Robin recently posted..Runner’s World Half Marathon Weekend–Day 1My Profile

  35. I think you still did well, even if you didn’t quite make your goal! I try to use an off race as a learning tool and not a disappointment. It’s easy to get down on yourself though! I didn’t know you were racing CIM! What are your weekend plans?
    Travel Spot recently posted..Last Week (5)My Profile

  36. Congrats on your race! A minute or two off is not all that far… especially for a really exhausting weekend. And isn’t it a hilly course? It’s interesting you run better without the Garmin… I really wanted to drop it for my ten miler and didn’t, but I do the same thing with the surges and dropping back, and I’m really tempted to leave it at home one of these days!
    Laura recently posted..16 Fun Halloween Food IdeasMy Profile

  37. Sounds like an amazing weekend! I’m sorry the race didn’t go that well, but I think that time is basically flying so I think you’re awesome!
    Kristen recently posted..Injury updateMy Profile

  38. I still think you did AMAZING! And I always run with a Garmin but really dont pay as much attention to it as I know some people do. I find I can get into a good groove pretty easily. I actually mainly use mine for mileage bec I never pre chart my runs. I didn’t even really look at min in the race Saturday until mile 8 and then realized I *could* go for a PR but it was still too much time to make up. Either way I say we both did great and it was such a stellar weekend regardless. :)
    Tina @ Best Body Fitness recently posted..#RWHalf: Inspiration AboundsMy Profile

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