In September of 2013 I ran a 1:43:38 half marathon just 1 year and two and a half weeks after having my first child- that was my personal best. Averaging a 7:54 pace, I was not sure if I would ever be able to beat that.
Fast forward two years later and just 1 year and 10 days after having baby #2 I broke that 1:43:38 Personal Record! This weekend I ran a new half marathon personal best: 1:42:10. That is a 7:47 pace and I am proud!
I don’t write about this to brag. I write about this to let you know that you can do it! To let other moms know that getting into shape after a baby (or even multiple babies) is possible. Set a goal, make a plan and go after it! It doesn’t have to a running goal: it can be anything that makes you step out of your comfort zone and work on your health and fitness.
Friday night I had more anxiety that I ever have for a race. I had dreamt that I ran a PR but forgot to put on my bib so it didn’t count. Then I dreamt that there was a huge, slippery wall that I had to climb over and I could see the clock getting close to 1:43 and I kept falling down the wall.
I set goals for myself all the time and have no problem sharing them, but for some reason this time was different. I knew I was going to have to run fast and frankly I was not feeling it. I hadn’t run all week and the previous weekend my 6 mile run had been cut short due to the rain. I had shared this goal with so many people and what if I didn’t attain it? I ran 3 half marathons in the spring, but the expectations were not as high. Plus I didn’t really train for those other races. This time, I worked a plan (kinda) to reach my goal.
I carb loaded Friday night and had a good breakfast Saturday morning and after a cup of coffee and some foam rolling, I felt somewhat ready. I was just going to go out there, do my best and run my race. I put on my tatoo to keep my on pace and planned on tracking it with my old school target watch instead of my Garmin.
I met my friends near the start line, said hello to others and got in race mode. By the time cannon shot I was ready and relaxed. I was so happy to be running the race with Sara as I knew she would push me. The first mile was a little slow and we knew we would easily be able to make up for the time.
Miles 2-8 were fast! We were clipping anywhere from 7:25-7:40 minute miles. At that point we were on pace to PR. Sara was also trying to PR and she needed to come in about a minute faster than me. We kept trying to back off a little but it just didn’t happen. We talked along the way and enjoyed the scenery. Since I grew up in Fort Wayne I love running this race and seeing many familiar fans cheering on along the course.
Miles 8-10 are always the hardest part of a half marathon for me. I was happy to see my best friend and her kids at mile 8. Three year old munchkin, B gave me a high five and it was a great push. Sara was able to see her family right before mile 8 and that was awesome! Seeing some of our favorite people were just what we needed to power through those tough miles.
Sara is awesome at the end of a race and at about 10.5 miles she left me in the dust. With just a little over 2.5 miles to go I knew if I could just keep the pace I would be just fine. In my head I thought I had to beat 1:43:03, and it was not until after the race that I actually only had to beat 1:43:38- I had a 35 second buffer that I gave myself. I tend to work in 2-4 minute increments at an end of a race. I often say, “If I can hold this pace for 4 minutes then I can increase the pace,” or “I can give it a little more for just two more minute.” This positive self talk always helps me get to the end of the race.
Once I hit mile 12 I knew I was in good shape, I increase the pace and ran it on home. I saw several people I knew on the home stretch and the cheering crowd was awesome. The race ends on the Tin Caps baseball field and once I entered that stadium and looked down at my watch I knew I had less than a half a mile to go and unless I passed out I would have a new Personal Record!
I entered that stadium with goosebumps. I saw my self on the jumbotron and heard the crowd roaring. I heard the announcer call out names after people crossed the finish and I couldn’t wait to hear my own. I picked up the pace. I picked up the pace for those who can’t. I picked up the pace for those who endure more pain than me. I picked up the pace for those who fight harder battles each day. I ran it in on a baseball field in the city where I grew up…. and saw the numbers ONE, FOUR, TWO on the clock and with tears in my eyes I raised arms as I crossed the line.
I found Sara and we hugged. She beat her goal too- a new half marathon PR for her! And as we pounded the pavement over the last couple months and through 13.1 miles of Fort Wayne, a new friendship was built.
We did it. I did it. A new PERSONAL best half marathon time. It is not about the people I beat. It is about me verses me and moving forward in this journey. It is about setting the example for my kids because I knew my two little munchkins were in the stands cheering me all the way to the finish. It is more than an example to lead a healthy life, it is about setting goals and attaining them.
Your turn- tell me!
What is a goal you have recently set and achieved?
Tell me about a favorite event or competition.