In which I make peace with being crazy (aka: the race report)

Even though the last time I checked this was supposed to be a blog about the children, it seems I've allowed myself some editorial license and made it all about me, me, me and also me. A surefire way to discourage readership, no doubt. In the meantime, the kids have been saying and doing all sorts of cute and memorable things, but I'm going to save those stories for another time because I have some life-altering riveting , (what, not even mildly interesting?)  news to report.

I confessed last week to being a sand bagger, particularly when it comes to running. It goes something like this:
1) Set easy, achievable goals.
2) Achieve them, easily.
3) Feel proud of yourself for roughly 24 hours.
4) Celebrate that night with guacamole and margaritas.
5) Repeat cycle.

For some reason (cough--Salty--cough), I decided to break this perfectly enjoyable cycle and start a new one. It goes something like this.
1) Set difficult, seemingly impossible goals.
2) Work your tail off only to miss the goal by a small enough margin that you start to believe it IS achievable.
3) Feel permanently more proud of yourself for digging deep and failing than you ever have for sailing into easy success.
4) Immediately begin scheming about the next opportunity to meet aforementioned stretch goal.
5) Celebrate that night with guacamole and margaritas. (Because clearly, there are some parts of the cycle that don't need fixing.)

Coming off my spring half marathon, I decided my next goal was to shave two minutes from my time to come in around 1:45. My stretch goal was to run a pace under 8:00 minutes per mile (roughly 1:44:30).

But then I met Salty.
And we started running together.
And she started giving me advice.
And I started listening.
And it was all uphill from there, folks...

So when I toed the line in my fall half marathon yesterday, I was shooting for a sub-1:40 and a 7:38 pace. (What the whah? Four years ago I was patting myself on the back for finishing a 5k under a 10 minute mile pace. So yeah, the question who the freak do I think I am comes to mind.)

I'll cut to the chase (which I probably should've done five paragraphs ago). I gave it everything I had in the half marathon yesterday, and missed my stretch goal by 2 minutes. Official time was 1:42:02, a 7:48 minute mile pace. But with the race in its first year and a relatively small turnout, that time turned out to be enough to win my age group and place 6th for women overall. I'll take it!

Several times over the course of those 13.1 miles, I desperately wanted to back off the aggressive pace. The course had several hills--the sort of hills that when people ask "is this the hill you want to die on?", you pipe back a resounding "YES!".  There was also the matter of the wind, the kind of wind that makes Mary Poppins curse and severely complicates forward motion.

The last mile consisted of a long, low-grade incline against 20+ mph gusts. My shoes turned into bricks and I felt fairly certain that paying money to put myself through this torture was one of the most ridiculous and insane things I'd ever done.

But you know what else is insane? Running a half marathon at a faster pace than I could run just ONE mile at HALF my age. So yeah. I think I can make peace with being crazy.

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