I did something bad

So, I had this great race schedule all lined up. And then I had to go and add to it.

When I posted what was up next, there already was a half marathon in the line up. The VIA half marathon is in September and I was already registered for it.  But as the summer wore on, I raced a bunch of random races in July. Three consecutive weekends – a 15K, open water swim, and a pretty serious 15K trail race. It was great. Most were the types of races that took me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to race with no pressure. I loved it. The first one even ended up being a surprise trail race (they changed the course!), and was an awesome fitness test. Nowhere near the intensity of the last trail race I did, but it was a good tune up for it for sure.

So August is right around the corner and all I have is an Olympic triathlon on my schedule.  I started to get antsy. Until I heard about this half marathon that I think of doing every single year, but I never do it. The Perk Up Half Marathon. So what do I do? I went and signed up. It’s one week after my triathlon (dumb, dumb, dumb).

There’s just one other thing:

perk up halfIt’s kind of a nasty course. I thought it might be a good training run for my September half, which is much kinder.

My goal going into this one isn’t going to be a time goal. I haven’t raced a half marathon since 2010. My PR for that distance is a 1:35 (from 2010) and someday (soonish? maybe?), I’d like a sub-1:30. I’m pretty sure this isn’t the race for that but I’m excited to race a tough course and a distance that I haven’t had a chance to have fun with in a long time.

My goals for this particular half are not about PRing, but more along the line pacing:

  • Starting conservative since I can’t seem to pace myself to save my life anymore
  • Running more by effort, and to trying to run negative splits

I’m not tapering for this race, either. As long as things keep going the way they are currently going, I have a 17 mile run and some track work planned for earlier that week. It’s also exactly a week following my triathlon. But like I said – I don’t expect a PR, and in my past I always ran better marathons when I was racing more often.

I’m sure the last thing my schedule needed was an additional half marathon, but whatever. Half marathons take me out of my comfort zone because I don’t do them often. It sounds so stupid to say this out loud, but the marathon is my comfort zone. While it’s always completely unpredictable and I’m constantly getting my ego busted up on it, I know what to expect. I know that I’m going to hurt to the point where I don’t think I can go on, and still have a significant way to go. I struggle with shorter distances – including half marathons – because I feel like I need to sprint the whole thing. It’s arrogant, and it needs to stop.  Running a half marathon is going to be really good practice for pacing. So I’m less than halfway through my summer/fall race schedule, with the following races now remaining:

  • Race Street Run 15K, July 4th
  • Steelman Open Water Swim, July 12th
  • Quadzilla 15K Trail Race, July 19th
  • Steelman Olympic Triathlon, August 9th
  • Perk Up Half Marathon, August 16th
  • VIA Half Marathon (Lehigh Valley Marathon), September 13th
  • Celtic Classic 10K, September 26th
  • Hartford Marathon, October 10th
  • Indianapolis Monumental Marathon, November 7th

What races take you out of your comfort zone? Ever add a race to your schedule with no plans to taper? Ever do a race where a PR was not your ultimate goal?




38 Replies to “I did something bad”

  1. I almost signed up for the Perk Up Half but it’s too soon to my goal race. I hear it’s so hilly and an intense course but a lot of fun. I race a lot so ultimately I only have a few races I deam are my goal races of the year.

    1. Yeah, this definitely isn’t my goal half. I used to sign up for lots of races and use them as training runs. The guy that coached me for awhile wasn’t into that approach so I got away from it while working with him! The girl that won it the past few years is from my area and ran it in the 1:31 range. We have similar times in running events but I don’t think I have that time in me on that course and with no taper. But it will be fun to run it anyway! Sign up 😜

  2. Oh man… that elevation profile looks a lot like the one for the race I’m doing this weekend. I would love to PR, but I doubt I will… my ultimate goal is just to run a good race and gain confidence for Chicago. Adding races is fun! Good luck with this next one!

  3. Phew, I’m tired just reading about all of your races!! That course looks like a monster, but I’m sure you’ll rock it! I find when I race WITH a goal of a PR in mind, I do terrible. It’s the races I just go out and have fun doing that I usually get my PR, weird!

  4. That elevation profile looks brutal. Definitely outside of my comfort zone 🙂 I think it is smart to plan this as a non-PR race. With those hills starting conservatively and pacing by effort will necessary. Even after the huge hill in the middle you still have two substantial climbs before the finish. Yikes!

    I’ve been trying to add in more hills to my training. The closest 5 mile running route to my house is pancake flat so it is really easy to just run that route.

    1. I used to be better about seeking out hills for training. I live in a hilly area. But lately, I’ve been running flats. So this will kick my ass into hill shape, hopefully! At least get me thinking of running hills on my training runs leading up to it 🙂

  5. I think you did a great thing! I was just talking to a couple of ladies that my coach also works with about how racing more non-goal races this year has made a tremendous difference for me! Now, race day isn’t this huge crazy thing, but just another day to get down to business. Plus, I firmly believe that racing more without pressure lets us learn to listen to our bodies rather than focusing on that darn contraption strapped to our wrists!

    1. Last spring (2014), I raced five marathons – they were all spaced apart about three weeks with the exception of the last one – that one was two weeks after a half ironman. And then I ran my PR. MORE RACING! I think it builds confidence so when you line up at the start and feel good, you can feel confident enough to just go for it!

  6. look at you, pushing yourself and signing up for alllll the races! i think your mentality about it is great, and i hope you enjoy your line-up. you’re a rockstar.

  7. I think this is a great idea! This August half looks like an ideal one for helping to gear yourself up for your September half. Because it’s hilly you won’t put the same pressure on yourself for times so you can just concentrate on getting used to the effort etc 🙂 I reckon you’ll NAIL a sub 90 half very soon!!

  8. Lol I can tell you love racing! I think this will be a great half marathon to do running by effort though and will show you where you can push more for the VIA half in September. I haven’t been racing lately because I know I always like to go big for a PR when I race and right now my fitness is not at PR level so I’m holding back on the racing so as not to disappoint myself. Once fall comes though, I’ll assess where I’m at and try to run a good half where I start easy and gradually build speed to hopefully give me some great negative split practice. I tend to not run negative splits in racing and I need to fix that!

    1. It’s not even that I love racing – I just know it keeps me really focused! I think this half is going to be really hard and I am not expecting a PR here at all, but hopefully that hill challenge will be a good fitness test to see where I am!!

  9. I find that 5Ks more than any other distances are the most difficult for me. I like to throw in some halfs in a few weeks out before a marathon to practice race strategy and fueling. Kudos to you for signing up for that race because holy cow I would want to avoid those hills at ALL cost!!!

  10. So glad I’m not the only one to do this kind of thing! All my fall races this year are just to run it–none of them are a goal race and I don’t expect a PR at any of them (so that’s fun!) haha. I wanted to just do some races that were on my bucket list, so I registered! That half looks super intimidating! Holy inclines! Good luck lady! I’m sure you’ll kick it’s butt!

  11. Hey, I’m totally all about incorporating races into a regular scheduled week rather than tapering for them, unless they’re huge goal races, then that’s different. I think this half that you signed up for will really boost your fitness like nothing else. I don’t think it’s dumb at all! You know your body so well, too. Trust it. Trust yourself, and then go kick your own ass. 😉

    1. Yeah, it’s what I used to do – just race myself into shape, but not by necessarily “racing” – signing up for these events and using them as a training run! It will kick my ass but I think it’s going to be a good thing!!

  12. I think racing helps to keep me focused, but at the same time it can make running more of a chore. I’m thinking about signing up for another race right now. If I can PR that would be amazing, but if I don’t that’s okay too.

  13. I’ve started to like half marathons. Funny thing is I have technically never truly trained for a half. I have just signed up and done my regular mileage or even just done one on a whim. The last half I did I PRed by a few minutes. So one of my post baby goals is to actually truly train for a half with speed work designed with the race in mind. I would love to see where that training could take me. Can’t wait to read all of your race recaps and live vicariously through you (haha)!

    1. I’ve never truly trained for just a half either!! Though my first race was a half, so I guess I did train for just that – but I had nothing to compare it to. They are always part of my marathon build up. I would like to do what you said – train for that distance! Even the last one I raced in 2010 was part of a marathon build. They are such a great distance!

  14. That elevation profile looks beastly- good luck! Most of my races aren’t about a PR. Do I hope I run the better than past races, yes, but I’ve leaning more towards racing for fun. Kind of makes me wonder how I will handle my goal race in October- stress city!

  15. Last year I did a few last minute races and they all sucked! Oh man, worst courses/routes ever. Physically, I was fine with their distances but mentally I hated them. My first race *this year* in September will not be a PR based race for me. It’s more of a “I’m not injured anymore and I can still run a half” race 🙂

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