Last week was a fantastic running week. I sound like a different person when I talk about running now compared to before I started training for the half-marathon. Truth be told though, it was a great week because not only because it marked the official half-way point of my 12-week training plan (and 6 weeks more running seems so much achievable than 12 whole weeks), but the main reason for it being so great is because I won a medal in a race!
Can you believe that?
My training program had a step-back week, where instead of doing a long run at the weekend it encourages you to take part in a 5k race so that you can try out your race pace and have the experience of running in a race. As luck would have it there was a race on less than 2 miles from my house on the day I was meant to run the 5k – to would have been rude not to take part!
So I wrapped myself in about 4 layers of clothes and braved the very cold early morning temperatures. I was really hoping that I would be able to finish the race in under 30 mins, a 29.59 would have been perfect. Unfortunately I made a very common rookie error and started out running way too fast. Instead of the 10-min/mile pace I’d been planning for I was doing a 8.40-min/mile, and why? Because I got caught up in the excitement of the start and was unintentionally trying to match the pace of the other runners around me.
I was concentrating so hard on my breathing in the cold air though that I didn’t actually realize that I was going that fast until after the 1 mile mark at which point I faced a decision – I could either drop my pace back and try to run more comfortably to guarantee that I’d finish in a reasonable time or I could continue as I was and hope that I didn’t fade horrifically before the end.
I guess I have a little bit of a competitive streak in me because I held on to a pretty fast pace throughout the remaining 2 miles and crossed the finish line at 27.56 a whopping 2 minutes faster than I’d hoped for. I was already delighted with myself but I became elated when I realized that I’d managed to place 3rd fastest in my age group and I was given a medal!
My first ever medal for running - and actually it's my first ever medal for any sporting achievement other than warming the bench in girls soccer as a 8 year old!
But celebrations asides, as fun as it was to run the shorter race, this week it’s back to business with the half-marathon training. My mid-week mileage increases with a 3 mile, 5 mile, and 3 mile runs on tues, wed and thurs and the long runs for the next 3 weeks are 9 miles this week, 10 miles next week and then another step-back week to 6 mile run. I’m not exactly looking forward to all that running, and I’m still very nervous about the actual half-marathon itself (ahhh only 6 weeks away now) but I’m really proud of what I’ve achieved so far and I confident that I can keep on pushing myself.
Oh and I almost fogot to mention that Kathy was so proud of me for pushing myself at the race (and running in the freezing temperatures) that she bought me this fantastic pair of running gloves that lets you use your smart phone without having to take your glove off.....because yes even though it was freezing I ran the whole race with only 1 glove so I could check my pace on my phone!!
So thank you Kathy!! (and she won 2nd place in her age catergory for a 10k (2 laps of the 5 k route!) so smiles all round on saturday)