I’ve never been one to write race recaps. I just don’t think it’s fun to write and I’m not sure who enjoys reading them but this is one recap I’m excited to write and I’m excited for you to read. Why? Well, I won’t give away too much but if you follow me on Instagram, you know the end of this Go Half Marathon story. But let’s start back at the beginning.
I’ve been “training” for this race since about January. I hired a coach. I got a plan designed for me and my crazy goal and I got to work. The training cycle was filled with ups and downs (as all training cycles are).
Last week was rough. I had an old child bearing injury come back to haunt me…as if I weren’t stressed enough. I only got 3 miles in last week before the weekend’s events. YIKES!
Saturday – 5K
Saturday rolled around and I was anxious for the 5K. I was feeling pretty good and after placing 2nd in my age group last year, I was pretty determined to beat last year’s time. Saturday morning was cold (36 degrees at start time) so I tried to dress warm. I did a little warming up, just trying to get acclimated to the temps and the 7:00 AM start time (I’m SO NOT a morning person). The race started right on time and I took off. In the past I would’ve started off a little slower, trying to “save my energy” for the last part of the race but I decided to just try going out faster. Thinking I was going to have to slow down sooner or later.
First mile…8:10. I was pretty happy with that. Lots of bobbing and weaving.
Second mile included every hill in Forest Park (at least it felt like that).. 8:02. Damn. Not bad.
Third mile. I was starting to feel it. The air burned, my legs burned but I was almost done. I kept telling myself I technically only had 3 minutes of running left. 8:00. This, my friends, was enough to get me in at 25:03. That’s a PR….to the tune of 1:07 seconds. Where is this speed coming from?! I watched the results and it was enough to let me keep my second place age group status. First place was a avg 6:49 pace. I’m a ways off from that so this is just fine by me.
Sunday – Half Marathon
After that, I wasn’t sure how much I would be willing to push Sunday especially given my lack of confidence in my training. Race day came and I started by myself in corral C, I took off and quickly ran up on some friends who were trying something I had never tried before. Galloway Method. I’ll admit, I had only heard about it in passing and when they explained my first reaction was to huff and pass unsubstantiated judgement.
“There’s no way.”
Scott, the Galloway Coach I was talking to as we ran, asked me what my goal was and I told him 2:00 but I wasn’t feeling very confident. He said:
I can get you there if you run with me (and Nikki from Glitter Skirts).
I did a little more internal judgement passing and said
“What the hell”
At this point, I didn’t feel comfortable that I could reach sub 2:00 running by myself and if nothing else, the group alone would help some what. At this point, I told myself if I could cut 5 minutes off it would be a win but Scott didn’t know that. So from about mile 1.5 and beyond we stuck close together.
Scott is a former Marine whose passion for the Galloway method was obvious from the first stride. His knowledge and instruction throughout made my piece of all this effortless. He had music playing from a phone in his pocket I presume and his watch was perfectly timed with the planned intervals. As we ran, he explained the run/walk/run principle. I’ll admit there’s a part of me that thought I was giving up somehow. The idea of walking during a race like this had always only meant one thing in the past…that I didn’t have the endurance to finish. I was weak and undertrained. I hated that thought. I pushed it from my head. IF I was going to try this I was going to commit to it entirely. What I wasn’t expecting but ended up really loving was the paces we got up to when we ran. I should’ve asked for his times but my Garmin had us catching up to a 7:55 pace at times and hovering around 8:10ish on most 2 min intervals.
This race is pretty unique in St. Louis. It’s the only race that lets you say you ran in two states in one race. Last year I took it all in. This year, there was no time. I was WAY more focused. Oddly enough. By the time we hit 4 miles, we were around 35 minutes (8:45 pace) and I was feeling just fine…actually having fun. I kept telling myself we’ll see what mile 8 feels like. That’s always my Oh Crap mile. It’s just never fun. BUT to my surprise, I completely missed mile 8. By the time I looked at my Garmin again, I was at 9.25 WHAT? Between the intervals and peppering Scott with questions, the time literally flew.
Around mile 11 we started talking about the finish. I couldn’t believe how closely we were tracking to a 2:00 finish AND I was still feeling pretty good. We decided that Nikki and I would go on ahead to try to get me to my goal. Nikki is a speed demon so she tried to pull me through to the finish but after doing the intervals, it was harder for me to sustain for the last mile but when I crossed the finish in 2:00:50 I was shocked. I was happy. I was grateful and more intrigued by this method than ever before.
I’ve been thinking about this for a couple days now and I’m still intrigued. I figured out that this method MIGHT be good for me given my past. My muscles are fast twitch muscles or they were all the way through college so quick, fast and short periods of times is what I’m use to…I had NO problem starting and stopping throughout the race. It felt easier. Maybe I’m just old. It’s weird, that I keep judging myself for “walking” during a race but the end state shows that it wasn’t a bad thing.
Do I think the comrade of the people I was running with helped? Absolutely. You can form a bond with someone you never new before in 2 hours. And I’ve said before the power of the group can be strong if you let it be.
Do I think I could do this method again if I were on my own? I don’t know…honestly. I might be giving it another try though. Scott and I are going to talk later this week. In the meantime, I’m definitely giving my legs a day or two to rest which so happens to coincide with my next business trip tomorrow.
For now I’m just going to be proud of how close I got to my goal. It was a PLEASANT, unexpected and happy occurrence. Ellen, my coach, was right. It was all in my head but it took these runners to help me see it. Running can definitely be a team sport!
I’ll keep you up to date on the Galloway Method and Coach Scott and check out the rest of my kind of-sort of race calendar here.
Have you ever used the Galloway Method? How do you like to train? Did you race this weekend?