yes. it happened–i broke 2 hours in the half marathon on 3/28/2015 at the total fitness connection run for children miniMarathon! official results can be found here, i think the most exciting part was getting to add it to my athlinks profile 🙂
while the goal was out there for a while, the only other time i actually attempted to run sub-2 was at the kentucky derby festival miniMarathon in 2014. i came up short by close to 7 minutes, and knew by mile 7 that i had no business even attempting it. i actually had a pretty strong first half, but bathroom issues and serious lack of training led to a nasty positive split. with my hip injury in january of that year, i only ran 93 miles from february 1st to april 18th in preparation for that race–what a joke that i thought that would cut it!
sometime in the fall i decided that i was going to make the local tfc run for children half marathon my goal race. i combed the internet for all types of sub-2 training plans, and created my own frankenstein plan in google sheets. i found appropriate training paces via all of the different calculators and mapped out 16 weeks that included different types of intervals, hill repeats, progression runs, short and long tempo work, and long runs that went past the 13.1 mark. i made sure to keep my easy runs super easy by wearing my heart rate monitor and staying in zone 2, and i incorporated a recovery week of easy, decreased mileage every 4 weeks. i hovered around an average of 25 miles per week throughout the cycle. i also did quite a bit of strength training and cross-training, but i will admit i was not quite as diligent as i could have been. when i toed the line on march 28th, i felt mentally and physically prepared to meet the goal. it was an out and back course, and unfortunately there was a headwind on the way back. the toughest miles were miles 7-11, and i remember not enjoying any of the songs that were coming on, feeling cold from the wind, and thinking maybe it just wasn’t gonna be my day. finally at mile 11 it was time to turn right on to the main road to the finish line, and i just zoned in. i ended up hitting not only a half marathon PR, but i also set new 10k and 5k PRs in that second half of the race! it was exhilarating crossing that finish line!
after the race i took a week of recovery and then jumped back in to training hoping that this year’s derby miniMarathon would yield an even faster time since the course is flatter. jenny and i talked about trying to do under 1:55, and i programmed my watch for that. unfortunately we woke up to rain, humidity, and some cross-winds. jenny was sick, and i was mentally not in the game. again, i had a really strong first half, but at some point i went under a tunnel and my watch rebooted. from then on my splits and pace were erratic and i had no idea what pace i was running. i stopped and walked to eat my second gel. then i stopped and walked again. then again. and then one last time during mile 10. i kept trying to tell myself to just listen to the music and don’t worry about pace, but i couldn’t focus. i crossed that finish line in 1:57:29 and felt totally spent. although my time was still great, i felt like a failure. i am beginning to think maybe derby is just not the course for me. i don’t know if it is the crowd or if it is too flat (too flat?!?!?!), but i always really struggle during the second half.
now that this big goal has been crossed off–what’s next? of course watching the boston marathon last week has me wanting to lose 30 pounds, quit my job, and start training 60 miles per week to qualify as soon as possible. but, this is real life, and until they invent calorie-free nachos and money starts growing on trees, i need to tone my goals down. i believe jenny and i are set on spending the summer building a really great base via maffetone/low heart rate training, and then attempting to run a sub-4 hour full marathon in january. i can tell slowing my easy runs down has helped me get fitter aerobically and stay injury free. i am also hoping it will help me lose some weight. i didn’t feel like dieting during goal-race training was a good idea, but the extra weight didn’t hurt! i swear every pound i gain is a minute off my PR 🙂
so, saturday i will do my first MAF test at a heart rate of 147 and for the following 16 weeks i will keep every run under that. it will probably get super tedious, but maybe that will help me with the mental toughness that i lacked in saturday’s half marathon. i am hoping to ramp my mileage up to 30 miles per week by july, 35 in june and 40 in august. then in september i will start incorporating speedwork back in to the mix and start 16-week goal specific marathon training plan for the louisiana marathon. i’m also committed to 2 strength workouts per week. if i slack on yoga or cross-training, i won’t beat myself up over it, but i have got to get my core and butt toned up.
i will post my first MAF test results on saturday–another commitment! 🙂