Universal rules are universal?

Universal rules apply to me.

I struggle with this lesson.  

For the first hour or so of labor, I wondered what women complained about so much.  4 more hours and an epidural later, I completely got it.  Turns out labor hurts.  For everyone.  Even me.

When my Iron-Man-completing-friend told me to watch my pace during my first half-marathon, to keep it steady because mile 8 would be the physical halfway mark, I truly did heed his wise counsel.  Until race day.  Then, as I began to run, I thought I would run at my 15k speed.  Surely, I could manage that speed the whole way.  Surely, I wouldn’t bonk.  Because I am different from other runners.

Universal rules apply to me. (See how I am repeating this mantra?)

The half-marathon truly was a phenomenal experience.  I covered the distance 3 minutes faster than I did during my training runs.  I pushed myself as hard as I could go.  And, let’s be honest, running 13.1 miles isn’t a small feat.  I am pleased with my performance.  And I feel accomplished.

But I did learn some things (see mantra above): 

1.  I should have run a bit slower at the outset; I could have maintained a slightly slower pace consistently throughout the race.  As it was, I had to walk in short intervals after mile 10.5.  I dislike walking during a race.  It feels like a letdown.

2.  I need to stay where my Brooks are.  I lost heart when I looked up and saw how much distance I had to cover to make it past the next landmark.  Every second counts, and every second can feel like a battle during a 13.1 mile run, so I need to stay in the present.

3.  The battle comment above denotes a problem in perspective.  Battling the pain is counterproductive.  I need to find a way to welcome it and push through it.

4.  I will train harder for my next race.  I felt confident until mile 10 because I had run that distance so often, and I knew exactly how hard I could push up to that point.  I overestimated how hard I could push for 13.1, because I wanted to be faster.  Oops.  Can’t decide I want to be faster on race day. The time for that kind of decision passed about 16 weeks before race day.

5.  I can’t sprint 1.1 miles.  Not after already running 12.  It doesn’t matter how bad I want it.  My only regret about this race is having to walk for a short stretch during the last 1.1 because I tried to sprint the whole way, and there was just not enough reserve energy to pull from.  

But the biggest lesson I learned is that I just love to run.  I know I will improve.  And I am really proud of my 2:16:37 for my first half.  And now I can try that barefoot running bit…

 

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