Saturday, September 27, 2008

Hail Petra Half Marathon

Marathon Plan - Regressive Countdown - Week Ten
09/22/08 - 09/28/08
Week Total: 26.1

Do we know the effect that we produce on other people? We may not. We may know the effect on our children, spouse, parents, close relatives and friends, and possibly, co-workers. But what about the rest?

Well. I am going to tell you the effect that a blogger friend had on me.

After reading her blog last week, I got some sort of inspiration to drastically change my long runs' strategy. My intervals and tempos have been awesome, but didn't know how to translate that to my long runs. They were just long and slow. I certainly was able to complete my mileage, including a 20-miler last week, but it was a dragging-feet type of situation, telling me that something else needed to be done. I love my 3-day running plan from Furman; it fits with my busy schedule and continuous traveling. I can say that thanks to Furman I am a total injury-free person, but again, how to speed up the long runs?

Well, my Brit friend Petra, who is training for Chicago after a season of some injuries, with no races in 2008, and some lack of motivation, ran on Sep 14th, the Mablethorpe Half Marathon on the Lincolnshire coast to "shake" herself. There she went, taking pictures along the race, inspired by our friend Shirley from Hawaii/Florida, she did 2:01. That was a big WOW...

After exchanging some messages with her, I made my drastic plan for my long run of the week. It was my turn "to shake myself." My plan called for a 13-miler, so perfect timing for a Half. There was a Marathon and Half on Sunday 28th, in Bellingham Bay, along the coast, 1 hour 15min from my home, but I already had committed that day with my son. As I didn't find any races on Saturday, I decided to organize my own Half. I designed the route in Harbour Point in Mukilteo and sponsored the race providing free water and GU for the participants (only one, me)!!! My son provided the gadget to measure the times and the splits. The name of the race? Hail Petra Half Marathon.

The day was perfect for a race, 61F/16C and 100% sunny. The strategy was to run 1 mile and walk 1 minute, based on Petra's similar strategy. I did that as my training last year, but my runs/walks were too blended that never got below 13:15... This year the best long run I've had was a 14.6-miler at a 12:28 pace. The rest had been always above 13:19. For the Hail Petra the mandate was to speed up.

The organizer (me) aligned the participant (me) at the start line. The crowd (me) cheered for me... Everything was about me!!!! "On your marks, get set, go", and I went. I did as I have never done before. My thoughts all along the way were just on the next mile. That was my goal, not a Half but the next mile. The split times gave me the needed mojo. Total time 2:24:43, including two stupid minutes lost at mile 7 in a water station (my car) where by mistake I left my asthma medicine, having to go back to get it.

I didn't have negative splits, but that will be part of a next strategy. The goal was achieved. I won the race (my age group, female category, overall, everything - of course I was the only one). I enjoyed it as if I was in the most official of the Half Marathons. Maybe the organizer had some leftover funds from the sponsor and can send me a medal....

Thanks Petra, you really inspired and motivated me to move my butt.

Here my splits:
Mile 1 - 10:19
Mile 2 - 10:11
Mile 3 - 10:42 (I did feel some slowness between 2 & 3)
Mile 4 - 10:50
Mile 5 - 11:07 (Between 4 & 5 there is a very steep hill)
Mile 6 - 11:09
Mile 7.1 - 11:08
Mile 8.1 - 13.25 (Lost 2+ minutes fooling around)
Mile 9.1 - 10:56 (I ordered myself to makeup for the time lost)
Mile 10.1 - 11:32 (I can't tell what happened here, I didn't notice so much difference with the previous split)
Mile 11.1 - 11:36 (It seems my body was feeling the mileage, I felt good, though)
Mile 12.1 - 11:52 (Between 11 & 12 the same very steep hill. It was hard)
Mile 13.1 - 09:56 (I happened to have Mrs. Robinson which is a 184 bpm song. Knowing that it was the last mile I ran as fast as I could)

Average pace: 11:03... This is an improvement of 1.25 ~ 2 min per mile!!!

Hail Petra!!!


Petraruns said...

Wowee Lizzie Lee! I am obviously enormously flattered but even more I am delighted that it is working for you! You DO need to shake things up sometimes and it sounds like that's just what worked for you at this point. I can't begin to say how inspiring the contact with everyone has been for me and it's lovely to know it works both ways. Keep it up sweetie - it's working for you!

ShirleyPerly said...

Excellent run!! Yes, I love all the motivation and ideas I get from my blogger friends, to include you. Sounds like you had all you need to have your perfect race. Yes, the key lies within YOU. GREAT JOB!!

PS - Charlie (CewTwo) will add you to the VRR running group table. Go ahead and post your weekend miles on that blog. Welcome to our group!

PSS - Thank you for your thoughtful comment on my post with the swimming videos!

Susan said...

WOW WOW WOW! Hail Petra indeed!

CewTwo said...

Great article! What a shake to do! From this article, I can see that you are an amazing lady!

I'll add you to the VRR group pn 'What's a few miles among friends' on Monday.

Petra is an amazing lady, isn't she?

MarathonChris said...

Way to go Lizzie!!!! What an inspiration! Walking breaks are an integral part of my running strategy...even if I only walk for 30 sec. They are a great way to break up the run - instead of a looooooooonnnng run, you run a little, break, run a little, break.

Congrats on your fantastic race results!