Me and my nephew right after crossing the finish line
This past Saturday I ran my second half marathon. It was cold and pouring rain pretty much the entire time, but I enjoyed myself, and I'm a lot more proud of myself this time around than I am with my first one. Even though I didn't PR I still feel pretty good about how I finished and I'm definitely not giving up on the running this time 'round!
My times for both were 2 hours 49 minutes and 36 seconds, yeah, down to the second. Not great times, I'd really like to try for 2 hours next year (yup, I'm gonna do it again). However, despite the same times there were some definite differences between the two races. For my first race, in 2010, I had trained a bit differently. I used the same training plan from The Running Company's website for both races, however for the first one I didn't really do any cross training at all (besides walking home from the U every other day, which is over 1 mile, but I don't know that I'd consider that adequate cross training), and I really didn't push myself at all during my runs or during the race. And although I only started major cross training a few weeks before the race the second time around I can say that it has made a huge difference.
I've never ran any other races, not even a 5k, so I'm not sure how to compare, but in my opinion running a race is at least 50% mental if not more. And, I think for my first half I just wasn't in it. I dunno, but when I compare the two it seems like I should have ran my first race much quicker because I was about 18 pounds lighter and had done more running, especially outdoor running. Honestly, this time around I wasn't great about keeping my running schedule. I had a hard time motivating myself to get out of bed early on Monday mornings. And, I didn't do very many long runs outside this winter (and treadmill running is very different than running outside, even if you're running on flat sidewalk).
During my first race I walked, a lot and I didn't push myself very hard. I really didn't. When I got tired I stopped to walk, and I walked at every water station. I probably walked just under half of that race. Whereas this time around I walked maybe 1/5 of the time. I still walked at every water station (I just can't drink and run at the same time) and I walked up the two small hills at Sugar House Park and 2 more time for about 2 minutes. I'm really disappointed that I didn't push myself harder the first time around. This time, the longest run I had done was on a treadmill and was only 10.5 miles, and I hadn't done as many runs either. But, I was able to push myself to run almost that whole time, and while I may have been running really slowly I was still running and in cold temps and in the pouring rain. I was seriously soaked to the bone and it took me about 5 hours to warm up after I stopped running (including a 40 minute boiling hot shower). This second race has really taught me a lesson. I mean it. I have never pushed myself so hard before, so close the absolute limit, and I liked it. I couldn't believe what I was capable of doing. At one moment during the race I stopped to walk and after about 10 seconds I thought to myself, why am I walking? Yeah, I'm tired but I wasn't about to fall on the ground and die, so I started running again and it was a great feeling.
So, all in all, I'm really happy that I was able to push myself so much more this time and even though it sounds like a horrible thing (and some moments were not fun, like the first half of the last mile when I thought I wasn't sure it would ever end), it was a really fun experience and the spectators are really awesome. Not that there are very many, but they are hilarious and can really lift your spirits. This year my older sister ran it as well, and while we didn't run together the whole time I am so impressed and inspired by her. I can't say that I ever thought she'd run a half marathon, but she did! She is also participating in the Wasatch Ragnar which totally freaks me out, but I couldn't be more excited for her.