Yesterday I ran a race and it felt different. Maybe because I ran the half marathon faster then I have ever ran that distance, maybe because I felt stronger then ever before, maybe because I ran it sans ipod and was so focused that the no tunage did not even phase me for one moment....It could be one of the above or a combination But yesterdays race was different. The start was a cluster-eff...I literally was in a portapotty when the gun went off and sprinted through the start to start! It was insanity but I forced myself to shake it off and not let it control my race.
I have been running with a coach since May and he has taught me more then I even realized, until yesterday. When running a race pre coach I needed distractions and I created them. music, pace bands, mantras...whatever I could dream up I put to use. Coach has taught me that distractions waste significant energy. so much valuable energy and time trying to be distracted instead of tuning in on the explicit and key task at hand, running the race. Coach has also taught me not to worry about what everyone else is doing but to be only concerned with what I am doing. Many Tuesday evenings at the track he would hammer this in to my brain, don't worry about so and so's mile repeats, focus on your own. Or during strength, don't worry about how long so and so can hold their plank, concentrate on your own. Yesterday when I was at 3K, everything and everyone in the race around me became peripheral. My race was for me and against the clock. My garmin was in fact my only competitor and I kept in pace and time with it my entire race. Last week a fellow runner teased me about how I kept calling the Toronto Half Marathon MY race. She kept saying we are all running it, why do you continuously call it your race? Now I think she understands. Yesterday I made it MY race. It was for me and no one else.
I thought if I did not hit my 1:32 goal I would be disappointed and need a day to wallow. But I crossed that line and knew I ran a solid 1:35. There was absolutely nothing to be despondent about. I ran hard, fast and strong. I ran a personal best--I knocked 3 mins off of my existing half time, I came 9th in my age group, 45th in my gender and 295th overall. My legs felt limber and my body agile. I wore a smile and felt a great deal of pride. At the end of said day, I know there will be lots more races, lots more runs and lots more learning and for that I am the most grateful for. I effing live for this shit. Cannot wait til my next one...