NEW PR!!!! This is just what I needed. What a great way to start the fall distance season. I think I owe it to RunCoach.com. I followed the training plan for 7 weeks, running only 3 times a week (a few times I added in a fourth easy 5 miler) and I shaved 2 minutes off my previous PR (and that was on a flat course, this course had hills.) This proves that you don’t have to run every day to achieve results. You just need to make sure you incorporate a speed workout, a tempo run and a long run in order to work different muscle groups. For me especially, my body functions on less mileage. That doesn’t mean I just sat around the other 4 days, I worked out with weights, hot yoga and cycling. So I was doing activity for at least 45 minutes every day. Having the training plan gave me more purpose with each workout, instead of just going out the door and running aimlessly for an hour. The Allstate 13.1 Atlanta was a scenic course. As the gun went off at 7am, it was still dark out. Running north on Peachtree Street by Brookhaven Station was surreal with so few cars driving by. When we turned into the first few miles of rolling hills in a neighborhood, I felt like I was running in the middle of the night. The streetlights were dim but the roads were heavily wooded, I could barely see the speed bumps until I was accelerating down the other side. People told me this course was a little easier than Publix 13.1. I’m not sure, I think this course had more rolling hills scattered throughout the entire course, whereas Publix had a few big climbs.
When I picked up my packet, I signed up to run with the 1:35 pace group, however on race morning I realized that was probably a little too ambitious. If I started with the 1:40, I could drop them when I got to mile 6 to drop my time. I like to have negative splits at the end of my race. My friend Danielle from my Highland Runners group was running with me, and that made the race so much easier. We started with the 1:40 pace group, a guy and girl, who sped out of the gate and clocked a 6:45 first mile. It felt more like a chase group to me. I figured they would slow down after mile 1, since their job is to be running the pace to end in 1:40, but no, they just kept running 7 minute and 7:15 minute miles. I was struggling to keep up. Finally after mile 5, the guy just dropped out. Danielle and I were glad to see him go, but didn’t understand why he ran so fast and then dropped. The girl was not even in sight, she was probably running 7 minutes for each mile. This course is easy to start out going fast, as one of my running buddies warned me, because of the rolling hills in the beginning. By mile 6, I needed to drop my pace. I let Danielle go ahead, while I refueled with a Powerbar Performance Energy Blend . Great news on the digestion front (gotta talk about it every race haha)- I didn’t have any nausea or stomach problems. If anything, I felt a little low on fuel, which is why I took in the Powerbar and then Powerade at every water stop the rest of the race. This carried me through, except that I had to pee. Maybe that’s why I PRed, because I had to pee so bad. Around mile 10, one of my running mentors Kevin Graham ran with me for most of the mile. It gave me the extra boost and confidence I needed. He said my breathing was good, to focus on short steps up the hills and don’t think about my hip flexor pain, which was the only thing holding me back. I tried to match his pace the rest of the race, but he was gone by mile 11. I kept him in sight though for the rest of the race. By mile 12, I just wanted to go for it. I knew I could PR as long as I kept under an 8 minute pace. But I wanted to go all out. My last mile clocked 6:45. What really helped was watching all the runners going in the opposite direction, still having 5 more miles to go. I felt confident and fast as I whizzed by in the other direction. So 1:37. And this was the first time I got first in my age group! Now I’ve got new goal to beat! Well okay, I think I’ll remember Dr. Beecham’s advice and just enjoy the rest of my fall racing.