When I began my training season for the Pittsburgh Half 2015, I had lofty goals and ambitions. “I’m going to run the 15 mile race for Spring Thaw.” “I’m going to run the Pittsburgh half under two hours.” Boy, I thought highly of myself and greatly underestimated how much free time I actually had. Neither of my goals happened and yet, I’m okay with it.
Given the sub-zero weather in February and its affect on my training, I only felt prepared to run the 10-mile race for the Spring Thaw. If I had attempted to run 15 when my weekly mileage was as low as it was, then I would have injured myself. When I crossed the finish line for the Spring Thaw and receive my 10-miler finisher’s medal, I vowed, “Next year, I’ll run the 15 mile race.”
For the half marathon for Just a Short Run in March, I treated it like a training run and not something I should attempt to PR (i.e., achieving a personal record). The weather that morning was 15 degrees, and like everyone else, I was shivering and shaking.
If it wasn’t for the fact I was running with a friend, I probably would have bowed out after the 8.1 mile mark. My total time for Just a Short Run was 2:28, a minute longer than my first half marathon time, aka my worst time. Even though I know the freezing weather played a huge part, I still felt disappointed at my time.
In the days leading up to the Pittsburgh Half, I was convinced that I was going to be lucky if I even beat my 2:27 time from last year. I never made it to any speed workouts, and if you want to get faster, then a runner has to make it to the track. I didn’t. Life kept getting in the way. I was beating myself up – figuratively, of course.
I ended up heading to the half marathon by my lonesome self since I hadn’t been in contact with my fellow West View Fleet Feet’er. By the time I got downtown and my bag checked, I had missed my charity team’s group picture (boo). I also didn’t make it to the Steel City Road Runners’ hospitality tent prior to the race. Nothing really went as planned.
Before the race began, I only ran into one other person I know in my assigned corral. Thanks to her, I had a before picture of me. I was there! (I have looked through many photographers’ marathon pictures and alas, I didn’t find me anywhere.)
It was around mile 9 when I realized, “Holy shit, I’m going to beat my time.” I couldn’t believe it! I was maintaining a pace of around 10:10 comfortably. I made sure I took water at every fluid station and even took two water cups at a later station. I took my Guu (aka Gewwww) every four miles. The hotter temperature wore me down around mile 11, and I had to walk for about 15 seconds to get my hear rate back down.
I crossed the finish line at 2:14:02, beating my previous time by 13 minutes!
Now I’ll definitely be making it to track workouts in the near future. I’m signed up for three more half marathons, and come hell or high water, I will run a half marathon under two hours. Just you wait.