“You are always responsible for how you act, no matter how you feel” - quote unknown
Respect is the word of the week for me. My week 12 training ended with the Sandy Point Half Marathon in Brighton, Melbourne. A running event for the Winter Warrior, Sole Motive call it. It’s the first time I had done this event but I knew the course well. A straight course from Brighton, 10.5km out one way and then back in again to the finish line. A straight and relatively flat course. The sort of course you can go out and run a solid PB. I had this event earmarked in my training for the last two months, I knew it was coming but the one thing I didn’t do was give it enough respect as a stand alone goal in my training.
NYC marathon has been my goal, my focus and where my energy has been throughout my training, Sandy Point was merely seen as a training run. Preparation for the big one. And of course it was that but I failed to see this as another goal, a stepping stone goal and with that I didn’t give it the respect it needed. I hear a lot of stories of people where they have gone and run a marathon off the simple thought they run consistently, they’re fit, they ride all the time, they can do it no problem. And inevitably what always happens is that the event swallows them up, they burn out or get injured. I’ve even heard of people who have found themselves in hospital post a run fail. They’re biggest issue was they didn’t respect the run.
I was facing this prospect 2km into the Sandy Point Half. I was hating every single minute of it. It wasn’t the event itself, it was simply the situation I found myself in. I was running against an extreme headwind which made me feel like I was running on the spot at times, the feeling of rocks hitting me as it rained, paralysed hands and fingers due to the cold and a negative mindset of “what the f**k are you doing here??” There were times I wanted to stop, I thought only a few km in, it will take no time to walk back to my car. I was at the lip of the events mouth, ready to spit me out! I thought nope there is no way you are doing that to me. I will not become a statistic of past runners. I will not let this mindset dictate my run or the outcome.
Luckily for me the 1:50 pacer was running nearby that I decided I would join her and my fellow runners. Stay with her Nat, as long as you stay to the brief of 5:00 - 5:15 you can make up some time when you have a tailwind. This woman was my saviour. I stuck with her for a couple kms and found my rhythm that by the 5km mark I was back to my fighting self. I had found my momentum finally. I needed to make some adjustments to my mindset and break the run down, all I was thinking about in those early kms was the finish line, wishing it to end. Now I needed to break the run up into sections. First step was to get to the turnaround point. That was my focus. Get to that point and then reassess your plan.
I got to the 10.5km turnaround, oh it was sweet and I was energised! Here I was about to turn and have that nasty wind behind me. What a relief it was. It wasn’t constant, the wind was swirley at times, but I will take the back 11km any day over the first half for sure. Despite all of this I was still running within my coaches recommended time and managed to keep my pace at an average of 5:03 per km. And most of all I felt really good physically. My mindset bruised a little from the angst of the first part of the run but I was finishing this half marathon now no matter what. I continued to push on through the last few kms. I had a strong finish and made sure I used up what was left in the tank, that my last two kms were 4:43 minutes.
I was totally stoked to cross that finish line and come out the other side of a tough start. Once finished I felt strong, challenged and elated with my effort to run a 1:47 hour half marathon. Again I was reminded why I love this great sport, because it makes you rise to the challenge and if you have the determination, commitment and can-do attitude you can do it and reap the personal rewards.
So most importantly, what did this run teach me?
- You must respect the event! No matter what distance or what event!
- Use your strengths - I applied my goal setting skills to help me break down the run.
- Where there is a headwind, there is a tailwind.
- Where there is adversity, there is opportunity.
- Where there are tough times, there are good times.
- Running is a mental game.
- I need to work out my marathon race day outfit.
- I need to prepare my “excess” clothing for the day - I need to layer up!
- I need gloves!!
- I need to work on my nutrition
- I need to run without listening to music and podcasts - this is a critical mental challenge for the NYC marathon.
- I need to just enjoy it! The love and fun is what will help get to that finish line.
- Having a coach is invaluable.
- And celebrating each achievement is imperative.
Have you got any hot tips in preparing for a major running event? Feel free to share them with me on Facebook or Instagram.
See you next week for my Week 13 recap.