Sometimes you need a break from the things you love to get a new appreciation of them. That’s what happens to me with running.
After months of training for marathons my body burns out and it screams for a break. I usually take a couple of months off running after a big race but the past 2 years have been a little bit different.
I love taking a break from this sport because I get to do other activities that I love and that usually I don’t have much extra time to practice like yoga, pilates or weight lifting.
After having a bad race at the Lehigh Valley Marathon last year I didn’t feel like running anymore but, pacing the Rock ‘n’ Roll Savannah brought so much joy into my life that I knew I was nowhere close to quitting the sport.
In November I started a very intense training program to become a spin instructor at The HUB and the truth is that I was doing so much cardio on the bike for a couple of months that I stopped running.
In the Savannah area there’re about 4 half marathons in the spring in which I love to participate. When February 1st came around and my spin schedule was set I decided that it was time to go back to my biggest passion so I could participate in the upcoming races, the first one being 5 weeks from this date.
For the past 3 months I’ve only ran 35 miles total, which is usually what I average in a week when training for a full marathon but that Wednesday I went for a 5 mile run and felt pretty good. When I got back home I found out that the Critz Tybee Half Marathon was in just 3 days. I was planning on running 10 miles that weekend so I thought that I might as well do the race and use it to see where my running fitness level was and assess how hard I’d have to work to perform well in the next few races.
The day before the race I went to Tybee to pick up my package and the weather was great: no wind, temperatures in the 70s and some shade… Little did I know that things were going to change drastically.
I woke up around 7:00 a.m. on race day, checked the temperature and it was 38 degrees. Some people could complain about it being too cold but for me it’s the ideal racing temperature. I dressed accordingly and decided to have a smoothie combination I’ve never had before. This is one of the things I tell people to NEVER do on race day but since I was taking it easy on myself I didn’t care much.
I got to the island and when I got off the car I was shocked. The wind was soooo insane that it felt like it was 20 degrees. I thought for a second that I was underdressed but 13.1 miles is a very long way to go and build some heat.
I ran into a couple of friends, chatted for a bit and headed to the start line where I saw some of my running mates from the Savannah Striders… Race time!
I started running faster than I wanted because it was so cold that I just wanted to warm up. I was clocking about 7:45 min./mile when my goal was to stay anywhere between 8:30-9:00 min./mile. The first couple of miles I felt like I was pushing a wall, that’s how windy it was.
I’ll have to say that actually about 50% of the race I felt like I was pushing a wall, then 25% felt normal and then during the other 25% I felt I was flying because I had the wind on my back, especially around miles 6-8.
I took a couple of Huma gels at miles 4 and 9 and just sipped some water along the course. The energy of the people was great as always and at mile 10 I realized I was going to crush my goal!
I was feeling so energized and strong that I crossed the finish line in 1:42:10 and placed 2nd on my age group… This is my second fastest half marathon time!
I’m very surprised because I haven’t been running but I believe that all the spinning has been really improving my overall fitness so I’ll take it.
Now I know where my body stands at and what it’s capable of when I just give it a break and trust in it… Can’t wait for what’s next! Anyone doing the Palmetto Bluff Half?