May 18, 2013
Time: 2:04:55 Pace: 9:32
Age Group: F25-29, 55/154
5M: 45:04 10M: 49:18 Last 5K:30:32
My Mini Marathon high quickly turned into a Mini Marathon hangover. I knew that I should have continued my training for the two weeks between the two half marathons, but life got in the way. I still had shin splints in my left shin and wanted to take it fairly easy to rest up for the Geist Half. However, I did participate in my first duathlon, but I didn’t go all out. I just used it as a training run and ride. After the duathlon, my sister moved home for the summer, it was Mother’s Day Weekend, and my father-in-law’s 60th birthday. Not to mention things really picked up at work and I had a full patient load the week leading up to the Geist Half. To say the least, my mind just wasn’t into it.
When I originally registered for the Geist Half, my goal was sub 1:55. Considering that I ran 1:58:39 for the Mini, shaving off a few minutes should have been easy for me. Well, if I had kept up with my training for those two weeks. The Friday before, I picked up my packet from HSE high school. It was raining and dreary. The packet pick-up was nothing like the Mini pick-up. No fun music. No crowds of people. No getting pumped up. I was in and out within a few minutes.
Instead of having my usual carb loading dinner of gluten-free pasta, I opted for Jockamo’s pizza, my absolute favorite. Yes, it was still carb loading, but it was also loaded up with grease, cheese, and dipping sauces. At dinner Bryan and my sister Cassie knew I wasn’t into my race. They could see it on my face. I just wasn’t excited for some reason. A few days prior I was supposed to do a tempo run, but when I ran I had a limp from my left shin and foot. That’s not good. My tempo run quickly turned into a 4.5 mile run at easy pace.
Saturday morning my alarm went off at 4:00 a.m. I hit snooze until 5:00am. Got up, put on my running gear, ate oatmeal, and hydrated. I wanted to leave at 5:30 a.m. to be sure I made it to the shuttle bus in time at HSE. The last shuttle to take runners to the start line was at 6:35. Bryan and Cassie made fun of me for wanting to leave so early, so Cassie and I left at 6:00. Bryan had an 80 mile bike ride planned so he would be riding his bike to Geist to cheer me on .
I used my iPhone GPS to get us there. My sister was sleeping in the passenger seat. We were doing great on time until I hit Olio Road, traffic was at a dead stop. I was trying go get shifty and weave in and out of the other vehicles, but it wasn’t happening. Still on Olio Road, it was 6:35. I had missed the shuttle. Cassie said she would drive me to the start and then park the car, however, the street was backed up and who knows if we would make it to the start in time. In stopped traffic in the middle of an intersection (and in front of a police car), we did a Chinese fire drill. I hopped out of the car and started running to the start and my sister got in the driver’s seat to park the car.
The start was a mile away. I was so nervous to make it to the start in time that I did a mini tempo run. At least I would be warmed up. When I made it to the start, I needed to find a restroom. I always get prerace jitters and with that comes….well you know. So I desperately needed to go and per usual the lines were long. So I waited in line. Finally! Afterwards, I found Sam, Kizzy, Tiffany, Josh, and surprisingly my sister had just arrived. We all walked up to our starting corral (1:50) and within a few minutes the race was starting.
Sam and Josh took off fast ahead of me. Stay at your pace Melissa. Don’t start out fast to stay with them and burn out at the end. It was hot and humid, but I didn’t mind it. It was a nice change from all the chilly weather Indy has had for months. I was feeling okay and surprisingly my shin wasn’t bothering me – maybe it was all the adrenaline. My first five miles flew by and I was averaging a 9 minute/mile pace. I needed to run an 8:46 pace to run sub 1:55.
I tried to not put too much pressure on myself because with my current pace I would still be sub 2 hours and be around my Mini time. While running I recalled reading an article in Runner’s World about race goals. It stated that runners should have three goals for a race. #1 Their ultimate goal in best circumstances. #2 A goal that pushes them but is achievable. #3 An easily achievable goal. So that way you can at least achieve one of your goals and feel good about your race even if it wasn’t a good race. For the Geist Half my goals were: #1 run sub 1:55, #2 run sub 2:00 and finish equal to or better than my Mini PR, #3 finish faster than my Geist Half last year. This helped to put my mind at ease a little. But at the same time it could cause me to not push myself to my potential. I guess I would find out the hard way.
I was doing good until mile 7.5. That’s when the hills started. I had completely forgot about them from last year. Going up those hills, I lost it. It sucked the energy right out of me and for the first time, I had to start walking. Of course that’s exactly the same time Bryan found me on the course. I looked like a failure. I immediately started running again. He was riding along next to me, asking about my pace and how I felt. I was honest “It’s not happening for me today. My legs and my mind just aren’t into it.” He tried to be encouraging and told me to just keep going and that I could do it.
I picked the pace back up until I reached the next hill. The rest of the race went like this, walk up the hill, run down the hill. I had given up on myself. I threw up my white flag. Goal #1 flushed down the drain. Goal #2 squashed. Goal #3 maybe. After mile 11, I picked up my pace again. I was determined to finish faster than my Geist time from last year. The last mile was over the Geist bridge and I sprinted across the bridge and to the finish. 2:04:55, I beat my time from last year by three and a half minutes.
Although I accomplished my third goal, I was angry. Angry at myself for giving up. Angry at myself for setting myself back. So then I thought to myself, maybe having three goals doesn’t work for me. It quickly allowed me to push #1 and #2 aside and let me give up quicker and settle for a subpar finish. I wanted to take my medal and throw it, I didn’t deserve it. After running sub 2 hours at the Mini, I vowed to never see another 2 at the front of my half marathon time again. I would only be happy with a time that was sub 2 hours from here on out. Apparently, I need to have one goal and run my little heart out to reach that one goal! Not three to settle for something less. Maybe I’m too hard on myself, but how else will I get faster? Or maybe my three goals should have been better. #1 sub 1:55, #2 run faster than Mini PR, #3 run sub 2 hours. Something to think about when planning my goal(s) for my next 13.1.
Regardless of my lackluster performance, I was still happy that I ran the Geist Half. It proved to me that I still have a long ways to go and pointed out my weaknesses. First and foremost my mind. My mind gives up sooner than my legs. Secondly, hills. I need to incorporate hill work into my next training program along with speed work. At the end of the day, I need to learn that I may not PR at every race, but to at least go for the PR even if it does seem unreachable at times because I’ll never know what I’m capable of unless I go for it. I probably won’t run the Geist Half next year since I’ve ran it the past two years. But I will run it again eventually, I will run it sub 2 hours, and I will PR. Until then, it was time to have a beer and cheer on the Pacers at the playoff game. Courtside! Whoop Whoop!