I’ve been calling my next half marathon a “redemption race” after I finished the Flying Pig on May 1st with a finishing time that was 45 seconds away from Corral C Chicago Marathon qualification time. My goal for the Pig was to finish in under 1:50 in order to qualify for Corral D, a slower corral. Apparently I didn’t know what I was made of because I pushed myself extremely hard on a course that is known for rolling hills from miles #4-9 with a total time of 1:46:45. When I finished I was extremely happy–happy that I had dedicated myself to training 4 days a week for three months and felt like I had become stronger and faster in such a short training period. I was happy that what I had set out to do was actually accomplished. I couldn’t wait to get into the office the following Tuesday morning early just to fax in my results to be officially be placed in Corral.
But then I looked at the corral qualifying times and realized something. I was 45 seconds away from placing in a corral that I hadn’t even set my sights on. Naturally, I decided to find another half marathon to train for in order to shave the remaining time. I decided I was SO close that it would be silly not to try for a sub 1:45:59. I was hesitant in the beginning. I didn’t want to overexert myself and place too much strain on my knee, which acts up from time to time. I decided to ask the experts and pose the question to my Dailymile support system:
Consensus: “suck it up and just do it, Jenny!” I figured all I had to do was sustain the level of training I’d already acclimated to and add some more speedwork to build up more muscle. It’s weird to think that I made this decision just 16 days ago and already I feel like I’m prepared mentally and physically to run closer to a 1:43 half marathon. Five months ago, I wasn’t this ambitious and never would have thought that I’d be racing as much as I am. But I’m the type of runner that needs a race to train for, the motivation to keep up with a regular schedule.
Last week, I had my first Dailymile Tweetup and realized how great the support system has been. It’s definitely been nice to know that there are always going to be words of support and encouragement from people that are going through the same type of training. Meeting people that I have been following online in real life has allowed me to realize that Corral C is the place for me–not just for the sense of accomplishment, but for the camaraderie of running with friends! A fellow #runnerd (@timragones) I’ve connected with on Twitter (through Fleet Feet’s new ambassador group, FFCheer) offered to help me reach my goal by pacing me through the race. He ran his first marathon about a month ago and ran the first half in 1:44 and suggested that he help me just out of the blue! It will be his first time pacing someone and my first time having a pacer for a race. I have a feeling we’re going to blow our goal time of 1:45 out of the water!
The next 10 days will be a good test leading up to race day on June 4th. Plenty of Yassos will be run and I’m sure I’ll go through the infamous “taper tantrums” for a mere few days before the race. Another race, another milestone, right?