You don't know how excited I am! Yesterday, I ran the Grete's Great Gallop 13.1 in Central Park and I broke my 3 year old half marathon record. Not broke; shattered! I came in 8:17 faster than my previous time! Didn't even know that was possible!
Yesterday, woke up at about 6am and had a piece of toast with peanut butter. Since the race wasn't until 9am, I knew I had time to digest. Left the house about 7am and got to the park at about 8am to pick up my number. Got there in time to hear the 1.7 run start, and just stayed at the tents to hang out until about 8:40. Dropped off my jacket at baggage and headed to the corrals. The air was nice and crisp, and at the start I started up my Nike+GPS to measure against the official time. I knew by my last LR that the times and distances were off, so I wanted to see how off it was.
Sure enough, the Nike+ pegged me doing 1 mile before I came upon the official mile marker. Figured I'd keep it on so it can sort of "announce" to me when the official miles were coming up. I knew the app also pegged me running a lot faster than I do, possibly by about 30 seconds per mile, but I used that as a gauge for my own speed and tried to keep it steady throughout.
I think it was a combination of things that made me do well this time out. First of all, I've done a lot more strength training than previous training schedules. Second, I was completely conscious of my speed and effort. For the first 10k, I basically kept myself at an RPE of 4, easy enough to hold the pace and not need to stop. I did though, for a cup of gatorade at Mile 4, not because I felt like I needed to, but I just wanted to give myself a few seconds to make sure. I knew my legs were going faster, but I wanted to make sure it wasn't going to burn out early, so I took about 30 seconds to down the gatorade and take a few steps. Sure enough, my legs told me they were fine. I was having conversations with myself the entire race. "How do you feel?" "I feel fine." "Seems to be going faster today, right?" "I think so. Maybe I should slow down." "Maybe try holding it at this pace and see what happens." "Okay, sounds good." I kid you not, I was talking to myself in my head.
Because I knew the course well, I knew which parts to let go and fly and which parts to hold back. I was able to work the hills without stopping much, and the several times I took a few seconds to walk, I felt like my legs didn't want to. So I just kept at it. The entire time I was just starting to become amazed. Am I really running faster? Maybe I'm just thinking I'm running faster.
The second major thing I realized was that I switched my Gu for Gatorade. Since my stomach could handle both without issues, I knew the either or wouldn't negatively affect me, although, the only adjustment I'd need to keep in mind is that because I've been using Gu and water, my bladder had to adjust to the Gatorade. Upon completing the first loop, I made a pit stop, something I almost never do at races. As soon as I relieved myself, I was back at it. I took in another Gu and headed out for the final loop.
When I reached the second Harlem Hill pass, I decided to let myself fly downhill. Normally, I'd be really tired afterwards, but my legs felt really light. And even when I reached the end where the road curved for an uphill, I was able to push through the entire way without stopping. At some point between my iphone died, so I switched my focus to the tops of the trees and the fresh air. At the 9th mile marker, I saw the time, and that's when I realized that, I may be able to reach a new record. After doing a quick calculation, I realized it was within reach, so I just pushed myself more and ran an RPE of 5-6, 5 for uphills and 6 for flat stretches. My lungs felt good. My legs felt good. And most importantly, my MIND felt good. I kept going and going and didn't think of anything else. I made one more water stop along the way, took a few more seconds and realized I didn't want to so I pushed. Mile 11-12 I didn't do anything but push. I pushed hard. I started feeling my glutes. I started feeling my hamstrings. But I didn't stop because I was amazed, and the possibility of reaching a PB gave me a big jolt. The last mile was rough and challenging. The turns coming into Columbus Circle were just challenging. Lots of people to watch out for. Horses. Bikes. Pedestrians. I tried to block all of them out and just focused on each step. Then I heard the announcer and the music. And then I caught a glimpse of the 13 mile marker. And I pushed some more. By the time I reached the finish I was full on sprinting trying to keep up with another female runner who pushed hard to the finish. I was silently grateful that she was there. And when I crossed the finish line I was in shock! The clock time was a full minute than my adjusted net time so I knew I got a new record. But it wasn't until I got to my parent's place that I realized just HOW much I beat my old time by.
So, now I'm running on amazement, and am hoping that the next few weeks of training goes well. I don't want to jinx myself but if this half marathon was any indication, I will be in for a great marathon come the end of the month!