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My fueling regimen for any race, from Marathon distance to 5K distance, is a bowl of oatmeal (with peanut butter and banana) and copious amounts of coffee and water precisely 3 hours before gun time. I stop all drinking 2 hours before gun time except for approximately 4oz of water 15 minutes beforehand to help aid digestion of the Gu I eat. The level of OCD of this routine has been fine tuned over the past couple of years and helps me get mentally prepared for any race.

So imagine my panic when I bolted out of bed at 5:30am for a 7:35am gun time. My original plan was to get up at 430am, immediately eat and caffeine up and then hydrate, get dressed and relax for an hour. Leaving the house at 530am would have given me ppplllleeennntttyyyy of time to meet up with Dave at chip pick-up at our planned time of 650am. Well, sometimes you just gotta roll with the punches my friends.  I quickly jumped out of bed, got dressed and hit the road with some whole wheat cinnamon raison toast (peanut buttered), a banana, coffee and water. I knew the toast would settle faster than oatmeal and I prayed the coffee would do it’s *ahem* job in a timely fashion.

I still managed to get up to Madeira Beach, park, pick up our chips, use the port-o-potty (thank you coffee!!!) and meet up with Dave with time to spare. Then as it turned out we had even more time to kill, and another chance to use the potty, because of a snafu with the coast guard and the bridge that was on the race course (which turned out just fine, as it was down when we went to cross).

For my first half marathon my goal was  to break 2 hours (achieved with a time of 1:58:11) and with my second I just wanted a sub-9 min/mile pace (achieved with a pace of 8:59 min/mile). So for this race the goal was to break 1:55. I knew this was a good chance to achieve that since the course was relatively flat (with the exception of two short overpasses and the bridge) and I had a pacer. Dave (my fellow co-worker and Tough Mudder) is training for his 3rd marathon and he had 15 miles on his schedule for Sunday, so he ran 2 miles before the race then paced me for 13.1 miles. We talked strategy beforehand and I told him I wanted to hold 8:45 for the first 10 miles then bring it down to 8:30 or lower for the last 3 miles.

Well take a look at these splits ya’ll:

Chip time: 1:53:39. 8:42 min/mile pace.

Dave has a fancy plug in on his Sport Tracks software (what he uses to upload his Garmin data) and told me that our very last mile from 12.1-13.1 was a 7:58 pace. The last mile of this race I held a sub-8 pace!!! That is just pure crazy!

The other deets:

I definitely worked for every second of this time, I never was comfortable even though my heart rate was low and I think a lot of that was mental. I told Dave afterwards as we munched on post-race cookies that I had already written off this race as a fail before we even started. Yet with his support and general Dave awesomeness I not only reached my goal, I blew it away and PR’ed by 4 minutes.

I know you want a close-up of that sweet medal (it’s sparkly and that makes me happy):

Plus I had a new race shirt to help boost my confidence (I promise my arms aren’t that fat, I was too fatigued to properly flex :-D):

Representing my CrossFit crew! 😉

So the next planned half marathon is the Clearwater Half Marathon, which Jena and I logically decided we should do even though the course is horrendous. You see, the Clearwater half is part of a series of 4 half marathons, Halloween, Holiday, Clearwater and Florida Beach. Since we have already done Halloween and Holiday and are planning on doing Florida Beach, we might as well do Clearwater right? Right! Plus, this series thus far has been incredibly well run with awesome swag, t-shirts and medals (which let’s be honest- that’s what we really run for!). So we plan to run together and just have fun with it since it certainly isn’t PR material!

As far as goals for my remaining 3 half marathons of the season… I’ve altered my goals again to include a sub-1:50 half. My trainers think I can do it and I think that with some dedicated training it might be possible! I won’t be terribly disappointed if it doesn’t happen though since I’ve already exceeded my personal expectations for this season.