Monday I convinced Sarah to join me for class at Bar Method. I can barely remember my very first barre class which was at Pure Barre in Brentwood, but she definitely hung in there better than I did!
Tuesday I took a rest day but Wednesday I joined Sarah for a 3 mile run. She lives a mile from the beach so we ran down and along the boardwalk for a little. It was right at sunset which made for a gorgeous run filled with lots of girl talk! I also signed up for my first race of 2014 on Wednesday: New Year's Race! It was so much fun this year that I knew I wanted to do it again and with my legacy discount I got a really good deal.
Thursday was Valentine's Day so I took another rest day to celebrate with my loved one. Friday I went to Bar Method again and briefly considered going for a run, however the weather was so nice I spent the day reading on the beach instead.
Saturday I was back at Bar Method (three times this week!), then a little more beach time before heading to Pasadena for the expo. While there I signed up for next year's Rock 'n' Roll Pasadena Half Marathon. I also checked out their international locations... maybe one day!
Sunday was the race. I did this one last year which was the inaugural year and it was a lot of fun. Last year I ran 7 miles the day before since I was scheduled to run 20 miles that weekend. It was my second half marathon but it was nearly a year after my first so I had a goal to finish under 2:15. I missed that goal by about 2 minutes and haven't been able to come close since then. But today I was running alone and purposely ran my 20 miles last weekend so I wouldn't have any mileage the day before the race so I thought I had a pretty good shot at cracking that 2:15 goal. It meant maintaining a pace under 10:18/mile which is on the faster side for me but I was motivated by last week's speed on the 20-miler.
Since it worked so well last week, I decided to try my tactic again of ignoring my watch and just listening to my body. I paid close attention to my breath which did not feel labored so I continued on at a pace I was sure was too fast to start a race, given all conventional wisdom of starting slow. I started in a corral with the 2:45 pacer and as I passed him I thought maybe I could catch up to the 2:15 pacer and then I'd know I would hit my goal. I soon passed the 2:30 pacer so I knew 2:15 was next. I was feeling good and around mile 6 I allowed myself to glance at my watch (just to be sure I wasn't going too slow) and it showed a 9:45 average pace! I was excited to see that my pace was way under the target and I still felt good. I ate my Pure Fit bar shortly after that which was difficult to do while running but I was determined to run the entire race. The bar was so delicious I couldn't even believe it! If you see them in stores, get the almond flavor.... might as well be eating cookies or cake or something. So good!!
I wore my Camelbak which I never thought I'd do in a race since there are water stations, but I really wanted to shave any time I possibly could and drinking from a cup meant walking. Plus I was able to put the Hammer Fizz tab in my water and forego the Gatorade that was offered on the course. I ran along and finally saw the 2:15 pacer! I ran by with ease and was determined to keep them behind me. I briefly considered that I might finish under 2 hours but thought that was ridiculous so I pushed it out of my mind. What I did keep in mind was God as I said many prayers, for myself and for any runner I saw that seemed to be struggling.
Around mile 11 I glanced down at my watch to be sure my pace wasn't slipping and instead of my pace I saw the time staring back at me!! I kinda screamed but no one around me seemed to notice. I couldn't believe my watch had stopped tracking me! This had never happened before. I started it back up again just so I would at least know my pace but I no longer had any way to approximate my chip time until after crossing the finish line. I struggled through the last few miles refusing to walk and finally saw the clock as I crossed the finish line which read 2:12:xx! I knew I had beat my goal of 2:15 but now the question was by how much. Since I started later than the elite runners up in the first corral my chip time (which starts when I cross the mat as opposed to when the race starts) would be faster. I ran into a coworker as I collected my medal and Jamba Juice sample and we talked for a while. Then I made my way over to the engraving tent where my hopes had been crushed last year. I made them double check three times before finally agreeing to pay the $20 to have my time engraved on my medal. I could not believe my time was....
My pace was a FULL minute faster than I needed! I don't normally even try to run sub-10:00/mile when I'm monitoring my pace because I'm afraid I won't be able to maintain it but this has really opened my eyes that I have been short changing myself. As I waited for my medal to be engraved I got to see Deena Kastor announced as the female winner of the race! Her time was an unbelievable 1:12:56!! I didn't feel too bad about my own time though considering she holds American record in the half-marathon and she won the bronze medal in the women's marathon at the 2004 Olympics.
I had a fairly successful week fundraising thanks to my parents. My dad was kind enough to make yet another donation and my mom submitted the paperwork to have her donation matched. We have less than a month til the marathon and I would really like to at least pass my $3,000 total from last year, so if you haven't been able to donate yet now is your chance. Please click the Donate Now button at the top right of the page.