Monday, April 14, 2014

Race Report: Blooms to Brews Half Marathon

Another PR in the books for me this weekend at Blooms to Brews half marathon.  While I’m happy with my 8 minute PR, I’m struggling to be really happy with this race.  I know, I know, I should give myself some credit, I had a significant PR and worked hard for it but for me, this was a poorly executed race and I’m already for a rematch.

I went into this race with a few goals---to PR, to break 2:15 and my super-secret A goal was to race 10 min miles and hit or break 2:12.   I hit goals 1 and 2 and for miles 1-8 I was totally on target for my A++ goal and hitting consistently strong even splits.  I'm disappointed in this race b/c for a few miles of this race I let my mind get the best of me.

Miles 1-8 were the most consistent splits I’ve ever had in a race!  I clocked miles 1-8 between 9:52 – 10:02’s (a 10 second spread is uber consistent for me) with mile 7 being a 9:37 (and no, it wasn’t downhill)!  Miles 9 – 13, I fell apart!  I fell apart more mentally than physically but my mental state impacted my physical performance.  I could lay out a list of reasons why this happened but I won’t because those would all just be lame excuses for a poorly executed race.  The number one reason I didn’t continue to hit even splits---because I didn’t believe I could.  I kept thinking about how I had only run one 11 miler in training at a significantly slower pace—I thought back to my less than stellar long run the weekend before…AND, fell apart.  Instead of giving myself props for feeling good and running strong with consistent HR data, I went straight to the negative self-talk. THIS.NEVER.HELPS.ANYONE!  I know that…I knew it at the time too but couldn’t shake it.  Instead of getting my competitive edge like I have in my past few races, I didn’t care about chicking the guy in front of me that I TOTALLY COULD HAVE PASSED.  While I am proud of myself for not completely positive splitting, I did rally again toward the end, I'm disappointed that for a few of those latter miles I blew it.  I stewed a lot about the poor execution yesterday afternoon as I did my 60 min recovery spin (yup, I got on my bike AFTER the race), glad I didn't write down my thoughts then, I think they would have been a mess of disgruntled words.  I'm less disgruntled today and more pensive.

This PR makes 4 for 4 this year, a feat I should be really happy about (and in some respects I totally AM), I’m disappointed that I didn’t execute a better race this weekend but as I sit here with sore legs and a little bit of a bummed attitude, I’m already thinking about how I can learn from this experience! Onward and upward toward a faster and stronger me.  I AM stronger than I think I am, I AM faster than I think I am and my biggest hindrance right now is my own brain.  During my next couple of runs I plan to do a few things differently.

1) Practice what I preach.  I wrote a whole post about mental tricks and tips.  I plan to incorporate mantras or positive thinking into my runs, both short and long.  When I write in Training Peaks I want to have at least one positive thing to say about each run. (Coach Jen, positive run recaps coming your way.)

2) Believe in me. Jen, as in good friend Jen, gave me a card before I left for Arizona from her and little Penny that said, “we believe in you.”  And, if you remember, I saw a sign on the race course around mile 20 that said “believe in you”---clearly, for that race the universe was sending me signs to believe in me.  What I failed to takeaway is, 'believing in me' didn’t stop on that day in Arizona.  I need to remember to carry that with me every time I’m racing.

3) Trust my training.  This goes back to believing but I think it is even more than that.  Coach Jen knows what she is doing.  Look at her roster.  On any given weekend of racing her athletes are standing on podiums, achieving PRs and qualifying for the most prestigious events in the country/world.  I was given an amazing opportunity to work with her this year—to learn and grow from this experience I need to trust what I’m being given.  As she wrote in response to my email telling her I PR’d but that I was disappointed, she said “Next time sub 2:10 but I will say that I am OVER THE MOON ABOUT another PR---IT IS WORKING!” {emphasis not added, that’s an exact quote}

With that, I’m going to be happy with my 2:14:42 and am going to take this experience with me for my rematch!

Side Note #1:  Super studly Mr. Pi placed top 15 and was 4th in his age group with a time of!  And that comes a few weeks after his super challenging 50k with not a ton of road miles under his feet.  Seriously, super stud.

Side Note #2: It was a gloriously sunny day for racing and I would recommend Blooms to Brews course for anyone looking for a flat, rural and scenic spring race.  Rumor has it that next year they are adding a full marathon.

tulips for miles

so many colors!


  1. Congrats - a PR is a PR. I know the feeling...the same happened on my last half.

  2. Take those PR's any way you can get them! You are adjusting what normal feels like right now, and it's easy to set some unrealistic expectations. Goal set, plan, train, race, then do it all again. Eventually you will settle into the new normal (and an 8 minute pace).

  3. I think you are being pretty hard on yourself, I think your time was GREAT and a PR is a PR, know we all want to do a little better, we always do, but you will get there! And thanks for the report on the Blooms to Brews. I did the Race for the Roses, already signed up for that when I discovered this was the same day. I think I would have preferred the Blooms to Brews, probably next year... and that medal looks nice to boot!

  4. Those tulips look amazing. Good for you! I think you did great!

  5. That is a major PR AND you kept a strong mental game for more than half the race. With the longer distances I think it is harder to stay positive sometimes because it feels like you still have significant distance to complete and it is hard to imagine you can keep it up but every race is a learning experience. All you can do is take what you learned and apply it to your next race. AND in the meantime enjoy that it got you kick ass PR!

  6. Congrats on your huge PR!! Very happy for you. I know what you man to be happy about the PR but also disappointed. The good thing is you can do it again and show you can do better. Don't feel upset, use it as fuel and motivation for your next half!!