What a great Sunday I had running the Palm Desert Half Marathon! The plan for the day as I have started getting back into my routine was to go to this race and just practice having a steady cadence and pace. See what felt comfortable. See where I started to fatigue so I can go back and evaluate that and work on it. Little did I know I would show up and run my best half marathon in 15 months.
I showed up to the Palm Desert Civic Center and picked up my bib. Have I mentioned how much I LOVE RACE DAY PICK UP?! Especially when the start line is about an hour away. So great. Pick up was easy and painless. I grabbed my bib and shirt and went back to my truck to relax.
I got to the start line and noticed this race didn’t have pacers, this wasn’t shocking as the race is pretty small. This was great as it would let me spread my wings and see where I would land. Off we went through the streets of Palm Desert. This course was interesting. It basically is a big circle up and around some major roads. A few tough climbs and some generous downhill moments.
For the most part I felt comfortable the entire race. I settled in between an 8:20 and 8:40 average pace throughout the race which surprised me…and excited me. I kept trying to keep that average pace in that lucky zone. My legs and quads all felt amazing during the race. So I just kept moving forward. I didn’t get too excited as to speed up, I just wanted to be even.
I came to around mile 10 and that is when the nerves started to kick in. I got into my head and got nervous and anxious. Thoughts like “Dude you’re about to PR” and “Don’t screw this up” came flooding in…which caused me to lose focus which caused me to slow down a little bit. I have to work on that. I have to work on staying present.
My last mile was the toughest. I did the math and knew based on the pace and average I would cross at 1:54 and there was no way to make up two minutes. I rebounded from that and said “You haven’t seen a race like this since Holiday Half, GO RUN!” so I snapped myself out of it and pushed to the finish line. I was pretty tired but had enough gas in the tank to get me to the finish line.
I can’t remember the last time I was so happy to see a finish line. I have been training and working on my goals mostly in silence. I am keeping myself accountable and on task. I share a few workouts here and there but there is so much more going on behind the scenes. Lots of miles. Lots of cross training. Lots of meditation. So when I hit the timing mat with an official time of 1:54:26 (which I instantly checked at the results table because I couldn’t believe it) I was blown away. I didn’t plan on hitting a goal so early in the year! I planned on this for April/May! I was only 1 minute and some change off of my PR!
This was a great race overall and the results were truly special. They were energizing. People sometimes forget that running is just as (if not more) mental than physical and sometimes your brain will try to slow you down. I have some more work to do, I am no where near finished. This was a great race! But it was the first good race I have had in months. If I want this to become the norm consistently, consistency and focused training will continue. I have other goals and races I want to nail so onward toward greatness.