At long last, I feel like I’ve finally reached the finish line of my marathon training, which started on May Day last year. As dedicated Marathon Moms readers know, I was sorely disappointed with my finish time at Nike Women’s Marathon (infernal hills!!) last October 21. I flirted with doing another marathon last December, but opted instead to focus on racing a half-marathon yesterday. I religiously followed a training plan from Runner’s World, and set various goals for myself. My conservative goal was to break 1:58, my moderate goal was to beat 1:55, and my balls-to-the-walls one was 1:51 or better. (Oh, and my non-time, ego-driven goal was to beat two good rowing buddies in the race! They are better rowers than I am, but I wanted to show who rules the road. At least in my overly competitive mind!)
None of us were feeling 100% thanks to varying degrees of chest colds, but our mood was light and laughing at the start. But when the starter shouted “Go!,” I was all business. My plan was to run the first 10 miles, then race the final 3.1. I felt surprisingly good during the race—I was pushing myself, but I never seriously worried about blowing out. The few times cracks of doubt or discomfort surfaced, I reminded myself, “You’re here to race.” The pancake-flat course was a blessing, and the fog-enshrouded setting allowed my mind to stay focused on the task at hand.
When a favorite upbeat song came on my “Winter Half” mix, I started my finish kick about a half-mile early. A quick glance at my Garmin Forerunner 350 told me 1:51 was a possibility. In the final mile, I turned to thoughts of my kids to help power me to the finish line, telling myself, “Sprint to that telephone pole for Daphne!” or “Pump your arms for Phoebe!” My official finish time (no chip) was 1:52:32—I was elated! I savored my personal victory for a minute, then walked to the 13-mile mark to run in my rowing teammates (they finished in 1:59:03 and 2:03:07--I’m wearing my imaginary road-ruler crown as I type!).
During my marathon training, my coach told me an accurate predictor of marathon finish time isto double your half-marathon time and add 10 minutes. By this voodoo math, my marathon time on a similar course would be about 3:55. I know the time on the Nike finish clock read 4:13, but in my mind, I now believe I could have done a 3:55 on a flatter course—which is what I suspected all along. I feel proud, vindicated, and ready for a break!