All of this running and marathon training has gotten me super excited for my next race. So excited, in fact, that I marched myself over to Run For Your Life yesterday and signed myself up for my 5th half-marathon, Corporate Cup! The YMCA of Greater Charlotte puts on a number of races each year, and the Corporate Cup half-marathon is one of ‘em. In fact, I helped put on this race last year, and worked behind the scenes and worked to recruit and organize all of the volunteers! It really is amazing to see how much work goes into organizing a race… it’s serious stuff!
So…when exactly is this half-marathon? Ohhh, you know… March 12th. Yep. As in next weekend.
I had been toying with the idea of including a race in my marathon-training plan for the past couple of weeks, and finally decided to just go for it. (BTW, a big thank you goes out to Ryan, Meg and Heather who helped weigh in on the decision!) They made me realize that there’s no better time than the present to run a race, especially if I’m already in shape for it!
My reasoning? Well, many of the marathon training plans I’ve read incorporate actual races to help you get used to the race mentality and amped-up atmosphere. I also figure that because I’m pretty much running the distance of a half-marathon every weekend, why not actually race one and get a medal for it? (I sure do love getting medals…)
The only thing I’m nervous about is going out too fast. You see, the two half-marathons I ran most recently (back in November and December of 2010) went amazingly well — I PRed in both and dropped a total of 16 minutes off my time from my 1st and 2nd half-marathon times from over a year ago. However, I didn’t plan to run them any faster than I run a normal, leisurely run… it just, sort of… happened. My fear is that I’ll start out “too-fast” and run it hard. Trust me, this may sound like crazy-talk, but it has happened with every single race I have done… I look down at my watch and think “daaaaang I had no idea I was running that fast!” You might be wondering why I don’t want to run it hard… and I guess my only answer is that I think running slow helps prevent overuse and over-training, which can both lead to injury. For me, slow and steady = slim chance of injury.
So with that said, I think my goal for this upcoming half-marathon is to NOT set a personal record. I want to be a slowpoke in this race, and simply enjoy the course and the race atmosphere.
Oh, and did I mention that according to my training plan, I am supposed to be running 18 miles on March 12th? Yes, you heard me right… 18 miles! So what does that mean if a half-marathon is only 13.1 miles? Welp, that means that I’m going to run an additional 5 miles either immediately before or after the race!
My thinking is that I’ll run the 5 miles beforehand and just wake up extra-early to fit ‘em in. This should help set me up for a good pace in the beginning of the half since I’ll already be warmed up, and will hopefully decrease the chances of me starting out too fast or too hard. Another advantage to running the 5 miles beforehand? I’ll be able to utilize the fuel and drinks offered at the water-stop stations on the actual half-marathon course (which will technically be *my* miles 6-18, right when I’ll be needing that fuel!)
Let’s just say… I am SUPER excited for this half-marathon, because when I cross that finish line, it will be the furthest distance I have EVER run at one time. I might even put a piece of tape on the back of my medal and write “18 miler” on it. Caaaan’t wait!
Have you ever incorporated a race into your training plan? Have you ever purposefully gone slow during a race? What is the longest distance you have ever run?