For runners, setting a new PR is a big deal. We spend countless hours designing plans with extra speedwork and just the right amount of mileage in hopes of hitting a new personal best.
I ran my seventh marathon in the Twin Cities this past weekend and finally cracked the 4-hour mark by a good chunk of time! This race was actually part of my training along the way to the Marine Corps Marathon at the end of October and served as the second of my three 20+ milers I have planned. I have a habit of signing up for these races and for one reason (read: excuse) or the other, not actually following through with the necessary training. Also, I did a few destination races that were more about the trip than the race, so I’d never been able to beat the 4-hour mark I’d hoped to surpass.
This race was different. Aside from an eight-day running hiatus around Labor Day weekend (yikes!), I’d done a pretty good job of sticking to my training plan. I felt great at the start and pushed a little harder than I planned finishing in 3:48:03. The course was beautiful. They’re not lying when they call their race the most beautiful urban marathon in the country. The weather was perfect – sunny with temps ranging from the mid-40s at the start to about 60 at the finish. The best part about it though might have been the start line. Staged at the Metrodome, we could wait inside in the warmth and use indoor bathrooms before making our way to the starting line! this probably made me way happier than it should have as I’m a bit of a cold weather wimp.
My boyfriend, who lives in Minneapolis, informed me that there were no hills there so I figured that would make things easier. This was not true however, I found out in the second half of the race as the course rolled up and down for about 10 miles – nothing too tough though or any uphills that left you exhausted. Any anger over this misinformation quickly went away when I spotted him and some of his family at mile 22 to cheer me on. I had slowed up a bit between miles 18 and 22, and that was just the boost I needed to get me moving to the finish line!
I don’t know why, but I started laughing for the last 50 yards to the finish line. I guess I did voluntarily sign up to run 26.2 miles, so clearly you know I am a little crazy, but it was also the overwhelming excitement of realizing I was crushing my pervious personal best by 25 minutes. The problem with PRs in running though is that once you get one, you just want another…and, well I’m only 13 minutes away from qualifying for Boston, so I guess it’s time to draw up another training plan.