Yesterday I ran the Santa Barbara Wine Country Half Marathon. We had perfect running conditions: overcast skies and temperatures in the low 60’s…a perfect morning for a run from Santa Ynez to Solvang, over rolling terrain, past vineyards, lavender farms and some interested horses and not-so-interested cows.
To my surprise, I achieved a PR I had been thinking about for a while: a sub-2 hour half marathon. When I had initially signed up for this race, I was planning on following a sub-2 hour training plan. However, I suffered a calf injury and was out of commission for 4 weeks. When I started running again, I had only 6 weeks to train and decided that speedwork would have to be benched for a while to prevent re-injuring my calf. I was getting in my miles, but my runs tended to be more casual.
The week leading up to the race, I knew that if I pushed myself, I could run a sub 2-hour race, but I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to push myself. On the day of the race, I was still unsure whether or not I’d go for that time goal.
Things weren’t looking that great in the first 4-5 miles…I was having GI issues and had to make a pit stop at a porta potty, something I never do in a race. But I continued on, and at about mile 8, I realized that if I kicked it in a bit more, I could PR. It would be close, but I could do it. And I did it in 1:58:21.
What makes this PR even that much better is that I ran the ENTIRE race with the worst GI distress I have ever experienced during a run. To make a long, gross story short, my morning pre-race routine did not go so well and some things were not eliminated. Maybe I should have woken up half an hour earlier and had a small cup of coffee to get things moving, but nothing moved and that made for some mid-race leakage, if you know what I mean.
Yup, I ran my ass off until I was all pooped out. It happens to the best of us, right? Right? God I hope so.
Anyway, the combination of running for time and dealing with GI distress took a lot out of me, and it took a few hours to recover from the race, but eventually I was able to enjoy my wine!
And I’ve been left wondering…if I didn’t have that GI problem and was able to run more comfortably, if I didn’t have to make that mid-race porta potty stop, if I actually started doing speedwork and training for a specific time goal, I could probably finish a half marathon even faster. Hmmm….