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White River Half: Winning at recovery (part 3)




Part 1 of my White River race recap is here, and part 2 here.

A PR is a PR, and as Steph Bruce quoted, "You're not allowed to be disappointed with a PR because it's the best you've ever done".  I'm embarrassed to admit that I have been disappointed with PRs, many times - but I have recently come a long way with not letting the disappointment of not meeting a higher expectation overshadow doing something I've never done before!  It's rare (unheard of?) to have everything align perfectly for any of us at any race, so I guess I often walk away thinking, "That was awesome, but if X had gone a little better, or if Y had been different, I could have run Z".  Part of that is what keeps me chasing faster times, though, so I wouldn't change it!  I don't think I ever want to cross a finish line and think, "I'll never run faster than that."

I am thrilled that I ran a PR completely alone.  Running with a pack can help you run up to 10 seconds/mile faster, which I fully believe based on my performances alone vs. in larger races.  It is very difficult to "time trial" a PR at any distance, at least for me.  I will be aiming to average 5:5X pace for a half in a bigger race soon, but I'm pretty proud of how I paced and pushed myself running solo.  Perhaps God didn't want me to push quite as hard being 2 weeks out from CIM!  I didn't feel beat up from the race at all, which I was very thankful for.

The downside is that I really thought I had the 1:19 in the bag, so that was a letdown kind of like when I thought I was winning the Kansas City Half Marathon but actually placed 2nd.  My Strava half time was 1:19:37, so I'm using that as my "confidence" time.  Of course I'll count the official 1:20:18 as my PR, but based on the USATF certified course map, the fact that my Garmin was beeping after the mile markers on the way out then before them on the way back, that the course is famous for measuring right on, and that everyone else had the course measuring around 0.1 long too, I think the turnaround cone was placed slightly too far out (the 2016 race/13.09 distance is on Strava here).  Screwing up turnarounds on out-and-back courses is common, and happened to my friend Liz in one of her goal half marathons, at the Ugly Sweater 5K in 2017, and at the Frisco Half I paced a friend in (with specific race director permission) in 2017, to mention a few others.

In retrospect I've wondered if I could have run 19 seconds faster if I'd have known, as opposed to thinking I was going to for sure make it under 1:20.  I'm really not sure; the mind is a powerful thing, but at the same time I like to think I push myself to my maximum in any given race.  My goal is to run faster this spring and make the debate irrelevant!


A friend suggested that I Sharpie over "female" on my award

Post-race I snarfed down half of a banana, stashed my finishers medal near the finish area, and ran back out on the course to cheer for Amy in the full and to pick up my gloves that I'd dropped during the race.  I'd been comfortable racing in a crop and shorts (plus light gloves through about mile 10), but I was absolutely freezing running 8:00 pace in that attire!  I was so cold that I picked up a random shirt that someone had discarded on the side of the road around mile 12.5 and put it on (my husband thought this was absolutely disgusting, so he has obviously never been that cold!).  I then ran to cheer for Amy looking ridiculous in a random XL cotton Turkey Trot shirt.

When I spotted Amy, she tossed me the shirt and gloves she'd started the race in, since I'd told her I'd take anything she wanted to discard.  I then took off the random throw-away shirt and put on hers!  She looked strong and like she was thoroughly enjoying herself through the half.  She was using it as a training run for the Dopey Challenge so was running a training pace vs. a race pace.  After cheering for her and everyone else while running most of my cool down, I grabbed my finishers medal, ate another banana half on the run, and started the trek back to my car and the awards.

The final mile of my cool down required running back up the hill that the first mile of the race ran down, which was quite a way to end a 20.7 mile morning with a hard half marathon.  I am not embarrassed to admit that I stopped my watch and walked for a minute about halfway up!  The race provides a shuttle back to the start, but I didn't want to wait for it and no shuttles passed me on my run up so I got back to my car faster my way.  I did remember why in 2016 I said I would take the shuttle next time, though!  Note to self:  take the shuttle next time!

I then got my bag out of my car and hurried inside to change.  I thought I was short on time because the half awards were supposed to be at 10:00 and I got inside at 9:48, so I skipped the shower and rushed back out in order to wait for at least 45 minutes.  This gave me plenty of time to eat, stretch, and foam roll though.  This race has amazing homemade soups and an assortment of other great eats post-race - I was able to nab a 6-inch Subway sandwich along with chicken tortilla soup, and later they brought in BBQ, pizza, wings, salad, baked beans, etc. along with coffee, hot chocolate, and Gatorade to drink.


Awards ceremony

Eventually the award ceremony started and I got my award and watched several other runners I knew pick up theirs.  The female masters and grandmasters Arkansas state records were set in this race, which was awesome!  A lot of Marathon Maniacs were doing the White River Marathon on Saturday plus the Route 66 Marathon on Sunday, which blows my mind.

Not too long after the awards, Amy returned from her 26.2 and was freezing; luckily I had her long sleeve shirt that she'd discarded and I'd worn for awhile with me since I'd changed out of it, so she put it back on (as pictured below), hah!  If we would have thought things through better we'd have put a change of clothes for her in my bag, but we now have a better system for next year.  She ended up going out to the car to get more clothes, and then moved my car closer to the building and onto concrete, which was also nice because I was concerned we would be stuck in the muddy field I'd parked in (many cars had to be pushed out)!


Marathoning is this fun!!!

The marathon awards also got delayed, but we enjoyed taking pictures, socializing, eating more, and using the foam roller/stick/stretching tool station the race had set up.  Amy won her age group in the marathon (running a training run!) so we had to stay for that!  Eventually we got on the road home, stopping at TCBY for frozen yogurt - we had no idea those still existed.


I am in a Jen sandwich here


Awards + all smiles


With Tia, who set an in-state female half

marathon record for masters!



A few things I learned from this:

  • Running a half 2 weeks after a full seems to work quite well for me personally.*  
    • I did it with the Bass Pro Marathon and the Tulsa Route 66 Half 2010, running PRs in both races.  
    • I did it with the Bass Pro Marathon and the White River Half 2016 (this was even more nuts because Bass Pro was 4 weeks after the Prairie Fire Marathon), kind of running PRs in all 3 of those races...Bass Pro is complicated because my pace was faster than at Prairie Fire but I took a wrong turn and ran a good 1:20 extra, so my official time was not a PR.
    • I also did the Dallas Marathon and the Run for the Ranch Half 2015 with 6 days between, running a PR at Dallas and my second best half at that time on a course that isn't fast (just to clarify, I only did that because I won a free entry to that local half, but it ended up being super fun!).
  • Not doing everything "perfect" is a lot more enjoyable, and the passion is in the pursuit, AND I think I run best when I'm the happiest.
  • I haven't been able to run a 2:45, but I think I'm winning at recovery!

*Just because I've had success with this strategy doesn't mean it's right for everyone, or for me every time.  My biggest indicator that I'm good to race again soon after a marathon is because I'm dying to - I want to do it so badly!  After I ran Houston 2018, I had NO desire to race again for a couple of months, so I didn't.  We are all an experiment of one, after all.

"Do you not know that in a race all runners run, but only one gets the prize?  Run in such a way as to get the prize." - 1 Corinthians 9:24 

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Way to go! I love (1) a good race report, (2) a woman beating all the guys, (3) your down-to-earth perspective of how it went, and (4) your mentions of next time (pretty sure next year you'll be under 1:20!)

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During my best running years, Austin had a little custard stand (sorta like TCBY but mom and pop Austiny) and I would always stop for a cup on the way home. And now I feel all nostalgic dang it. Clothes scavenging is hilarious. Oh, yeah, and that run. You're not a real person. Your times are crazy. Mostly I want sandy's custard now.

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