Mon. Jun 24th, 2024

Finally broke the 1:30 mark in the half yesterday!

Things I am thankful for:

  1. The amazing support from friends and family. It was a blessing to have people check-in leading up to race day, and post-race I was congratulated friends from all different running communities. It solidifies my belief that I have the best friends.
  2. My health. Obviously, it wouldn’t have been possible without my level of fitness and freedom from injury leading up to the race.
  3. The coaching, recommendations, and advice I’ve received from a specific few. (If you’re reading this, that’s likely you) I’ve had this goal on my radar for years, and it’s no coincidence that I am finally able to reach it now. Sticking to a training plan, participating in mobility and core strengthening sessions, and just being able to ask questions has been instrumental in getting me to this point.
  4. And, having people who believe in me.

Things that went well:

  1. I ate well the night before, and was able to sleep fairly well (for a night before a big race, at least.) It was pasta night with my family Friday night, and then I managed to squeeze in 5 hours and 23 minutes, including 1 hour of Deep and 1 hour 34 minutes of REM sleep. Generally speaking, those are what I get on norming nights.
  2. The morning logistics went very smooth. I was up on-time, had my bags packed, and grabbed my overnight oats from the fridge before hitting the road. I stopped for a coffee at the local Starbucks, and then made it to the downtown parking lot an hour and 45 before the start. After catching up with friends for a bit, I made it out for a 1-mile WU, swapped my shoes, took my gels, and went to the start line. There was a small part of me that could have used the restroom (#1) but the lines were absolutely unmanageable and I wasn’t looking for that added stress. Arrived at the start line probably 10 minutes before the gun, and feeling fairly confident.
  3. I think I generally did a good job at keeping a strong posture throughout the race. I have started to subscribe to the idea that once the posture goes, it’s like tossing in the towel. Willingly or not, once you fall out of good form, you are forfeiting your race. ( Or this was a thought that I kept in the back of my mind during the race, at least.) When the calf flared up or the ankle started to feel sore, I would try to calmly manage it with adjustments to my gait, cadence, stride length or breathing. Is this normal? Do elite runners make these adjustments too, or are they simply so strong that they don’t need to make the adjustments?

Things that did not:

  1. I did not run it smart. With one day before the race, I agreed to run it with a friend who was just looking for company. Originally, I was going to shoot for negative splits throughout the course, but I should have considered how he tends to race, too. Alas, it was not negative split. I was hanging on through the 15K, but then I hit a wall and my pace never full recovered for the rest of the race. I knew I had banked some time, but there was a part of me that was starting to panic. I tried to remain calm, and unzip my pocket for the second GU. The zipper was stuck. Insert more stress. Thankfully, I was able to get the zipper opened when I tried again, another miles or so down the road. Ate the GU, and pushed forward. It probably helped, but that was one of the last cards I had to play, so I’m not sure what would have happened if I couldn’t get that out (of my pocket) and in (to my stomach.)
  2. Mid-race hydration. I don’t know if I should be hydrating during the race but I certainly didn’t have a plan for it. I think I had a sip of water on two occasions and otherwise bypassed the water stations entirely. In hindsight, I’m thinking it could have been helpful, but I didn’t want to change anything on race day.
  3. I probably should have had more to eat before the race. It’s tough because I rarely have any appetite, but I do think I need to have more calories. There are times, like yesterday, where I do finish the race and within 10-15 minutes, am ready to eat a full meal. Maybe that’s normal, but I think it suggests I should eat more in advance, too. Afterthought: maybe I should try getting more calories through the Spring gel packs pre- and mid-race.

Thank you to my friends and family for the support and warm wishes, and congrats to my fellow 2023 Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon runners!

Results can be found here!

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