I remember the first time I ever flirted with a half marathon it was a few weeks before I was scheduled to give the 13.1 distance a go of it. I wanted to make sure I wasn't kidding myself by trying to complete my first half marathon race. That was three years ago and many miles removed from my newer pursuits. I didn't have an exact workout schedule back then... only a slow ramping up of distance. When I finished that first half marathon I was content with a 2.14.50. Since then I've had plenty of runs of 13.1 or longer and each one seems to carry significance.
today's workout schedule called for 14 miles. After my very challenging run this week, I was eager to put that behind me and rebound. Because of trying to wrap it up prior to Pancakes with Santa with the family, I was on the trail by 6.15am. Slicing through the frigid air, I found myself enjoying the chill and darkness that surrounded me. The constant footstikes on the trail accented by the occasional "G'Morning" to other runners stealing away the early morning moments. It was one of the most beautiful morning runs ever watching the steam rise from the water. I was geared to crank out 6 miles before meeting up with my running buddy. Just as I was finishing those first half dozen, I realized I would be passing the half marathon mark at some point in the morning. It was then I realized I would be passing the mark and had a chance at a PR. Unlike many other runnner/tri geeks, I am not one to sign up and run race-after-race. I pick a few throughout the year and make them my litmus test. Because of my lack of "real" races, I make no apologies for counting PR's for training runs. I was on pace and eager to push myself.
After meeting up with Spence, the miles ticked away. We caught up on family, work, and his recent 5-mile PR (while pushing a stroller.) Impressive 8.15 minute mile pace while pushing a stroller on a hilly 5-mile course. Part of his PR came compliments of a woman who passed him while pushing a stroller. The possibility of getting "chicked" didn't bother him...it was the possibility of getting "chicked" by a chick pushing a stroller that stoked his competitive fire. For me today it wasn't about getting chicked, it wasn't about bragging rights, it was personal -- I was ready to atone for one of the most demoralizing runs I've ever endured earlier this week.
To the 11 mile mark my nutrition and pace were right on. My back started cramping shortly thereafter but we pushed on. As I hit 12, I realized I had my PR in the bag. It was a nice victory mile to 13.1. I hit the mark at 2.08.20. Not tearing it up for many of you, but certainly pride and success for me. I floated a few more minutes to hit 14 miles. Great way to start the day and help reinstill some confidence in my training.
Town Lake Trail
9.47 avg pace
The great morning run was accented by a trip to Santa for Chicklet and Mini-Me. Our annual Pancakes with Santa shindig at the kids' school is always a great laid back chance to make memories and catch a few of those moments on camera. Last years epic Santa meltdown with Chicklet gave us pause that she would be game for climbing up to get a photo with the fat man. While better equipped to handle Santa this year, Chicklet kept her distance. She didn't get too close, but she did wave and obliged mom and dad with a quick click close to Santa. I don't think there was a whole lot of communicating with Santa about whether Chicklet's been naughty or nice. I can vouch for her...
As for Mini-Me, he was wonderfully curious and very serious about his face time with St. Nick. While there was little communication between Santa and MiniMe, I can vouch that our 7 month old has been naughty since being mobile. He is quite a handful -- diving head first into a full bathtub, climbing out of his swing (three feet off the ground) despite being strapped in. He is quickly showing us his adventurous spirit.