In less than two weeks, I'm running the Parkersburg Half-Marathon for the third time (2014 recap and 2012 recap). I wasn't planning on running it because of the Rubber City Race Series, but after I found out that my friend was going to do her FIRST half-marathon there, it was an easy decision. (Plus Parkersburg is a way better deal than the Goodyear HM.)
Initially, I wasn't going to "race" it. I thought about running with my friend or treating it as a training run or doing a workout, but after the Thirsty Dog 8k where I didn't really try, I started to feel like I needed to find out where I am. I have been doing speedwork (and mostly hitting them), but I don't feel very confident that I can maintain speed that long. It's about time to find out.
My coach says to go for sub-2, and we'll figure out more of a plan soon. I'm thinking goals as such:
A goal: Sub-2
B goal: PR (under 2:03:14)
C goal: Course PR (under 2:08)
D goal: Finish
There's not much wiggle room there, so maybe I should reevaluate. (Weather will also matter quite a bit. It can be very hot and humid there...) I can't tell if I'm in better or worse shape than last year. I'm running more (160 miles in July 2014 vs. 170 miles in July 2015), and I'm running harder. But I was maybe 5 pounds lighter?
In any case, I think I should have run at least a 2:05 there last year, but I had an emotional breakdown during the race. (God, reading last year's recap is embarrassing. It's just a race, and I'm not even remotely competitive.) Physically, I'm strong enough to run well; it's my mental game that needs a boost.
I'm both eager and anxious about this race. I am so curious to see if this speedwork is working, and I am fearful that I'll repeat last year's race. I just need to remember to have a good attitude, even if I get behind pace. Last year I was so focused on sub-2 that when it became out of reach, I really fell apart. This year I know it's very likely that I won't be able to do sub-2, but I can have a good race even so (like I did at River Run actually -- where I should have PRed).
Sidenote: I never recapped the River Run last year! Short story: I had an 18-miler on the schedule. My friend and I ran 5 miles beforehand and then ran the race. There was a little snafu with getting our stuff on the Fleet Feet truck, but we fixed it. That caused me to be a little stressed out right before. The plan was to sub-2 (or at least PR), but I didn't really believe it was possible. I just tried to run conservatively and not go out too fast. (I probably went out too slowly.) Then I got a little lazy around mile 10 or 11. I ended up running 1 second slower than my half-marathon PR. A SINGLE SECOND. So yes, I should have PRed.
ANYHOW, I just need to keep working, trust my training and believe in myself. Train the brain, not just the body.