Mastering a Slow Start (Race Recap)

Going to today’s race, the Rock and Roll San Diego half marathon, I had two specific goals: To finish in 1:50 and accomplish it with a negative split. ¬† Hooray, I finished just several seconds under 1:50!!!…..but Ouch as I struggled through the final miles and failed to reach my other goal ūüė¶

My unofficial race results:

My 5k time was not captured but according to my Garmin, it was approximately 8:15.

Prior to the race and at the start line, I repeated to myself to “Start slow at an easy pace and no dodging around other runners”. Much easier said than done! ¬†During the first mile, I allowed my body to dictate the pace which felt like an easy conservative pace until I checked my Garmin¬†showing an avg 8:24/mi. ¬†Definitely not in accordance with my planned pace (approx 8:45/mi). ¬†I continuously told myself to “Slow down; Take it easy; Stay with this person, she’s at a a good pace”, yet each time I checked my watch, my pace was faster than my goal.

And as expected, even though I accomplished my goal time, the final couple of¬†miles were not as enjoyable. ¬†My legs started to feel heavy and sluggish. ¬†I consciously moved my arms more quickly to force my legs to follow. ¬† However, knowing the last few miles of the course was mostly downhill helped me mentally and I allowed for the force of gravity to push me as fast as my body can handle. My slowest mile was the last mile in at 8:54/mi. ¬†I felt completely drained but could not quite give up yet as I knew I can still make it under my goal time. ¬†The¬†energy of the spectators’ cheers and the surrounding runners¬†sprinting to the end¬†provided me with enough boost to propel to the finish line with a few seconds to spare.

I have ran plenty of races but still need to work on finishing with a negative split.  Guess I have to work harder to train my body to do it right the next time!

This was my first long distance race of the year, 8 months after giving birth to my second daughter.  My training began 20 weeks ago in January with the San Diego Track Club marathon/half marathon training program.  I was fortunate enough to have my husband home to watch the kids while I ran track intervals/tempo on Tuesdays and long run on Saturdays.  The rest of the week, I ran on the treadmill or pushed the stroller with a 15lb baby.  My weekly mileage was considerably low (average 20-25mi) with a max mileage of 30mi prior to taper.  Longest run was around 14mi.  My time goal of 1:50 felt achievable to me although I became doubtful since I logged very few miles during the taper.  However, the stars aligned for me on race day РI got enough sleep the night before by going to bed extra early with my 3 year old and baby only waking up once;  Baby woke up at the right time to breastfeed (engorgement is never fun while on a run) before I had to wake and get ready;  Found a parking spot close to the start line (worried about it the night before); and even though it was already a little warm at 0645 when the race started, the clouds hung around until after I finished the race.

Next up, NYC Marathon!  (and a few tune-up races in between)