In this week’s edition of “What Have I Gotten Myself Into…”
As of today, I’m a little over one week away from running 13.1 miles through the rolling hills of San Francisco.
UUHHHHMMM. Check out that steep elevation gain…AT MILE 10.
I’m going to be completely honest- I do not feel at all prepared for this race.
Last time around, I followed a strict training schedule, I carefully paced out my training runs to get me on track to my expected race pace, I iced and stretched, and I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome: I finished in 1:57:37, 2 and a half minutes under my goal time of 2 hours.
It was pretty much a perfect race, not only because I was well prepared, but because I had trained on the actual course and I was running with two of my friends who served as great support (and distractions) throughout all 13.1 miles. I hit a wall around mile 10, but pushed through and my last 3 miles ended up being my fastest by far.
I have come to terms with the fact that that will probably not happen this time.
I put together a “training plan” and posted it last month hoping to really nail down the last 6 weeks before race day.
I’m happy to say that I didn’t stray too much from that plan, and didn’t miss any long runs in September. I’ve been consistently going to the gym 2-3x per week, running twice per week (one 4-5 miles, one long run), and playing Ultimate Frisbee once a week.
However, my long runs have not been going great.
Last weekend, I ran 12 miles and my final time was within seconds of my half marathon time. I averaged 9:45/mi, whereas back in the first week of August I was able to run 9 miles at a 9:08/mi pace. I have realized that any run that I start later than 10am is destined to be brutally uncomfortable and slow because of the heat. It is STILL hitting 90 degrees here every day, despite the fact that we are 10 days into October!
After my 11.5 mile run tomorrow, I will only have 5 10+ mile long runs under my belt. Not bad, but not ideal.
The main reason why all of this leads me to believe I won’t be as successful next weekend as I was back in March is because the bike trail that I train on is completely flat…and San Francisco is not.
I have made an effort to incorporate some treadmill incline training to simulate the 2-3 large hills I’ll be taking on – I basically just run at a 10% incline for 10-15 minutes as fast as possible (but definitely slower than my normal pace) and try not to die. I don’t know how much this will help, but it can’t hurt!
I feel like I’m being very doom and gloom about this race, but I also want to set realistic expectations and achievable goals for my performance. So these are them:
- Finish in 2 hours or less. We’ll see how my run goes tomorrow, but this might be a stretch)
- Don’t stop running! The only exceptions to this are at water stations or on the hill at Mile 10
- Enjoy the scenery. I’ve heard that it’s a really fun race overall, and you can’t beat this view:
Despite all of my self doubts, I am glad to again be pushing myself to achieve a goal I never thought I’d even come close to. And to think, it all started just over a year ago after I ran my first 10K!
P.S. A special belated birthday shout-out to my boyfriend Russell, who celebrated surviving another year yesterday. You are amazing, and thanks in advance for the post-half marathon leg/foot massages 😉
Have you run the Nike Womens Half Marathon in SF? How was it?
What songs do you like running to? I need suggestions!