A cold and rainy Sunday morning in Vancouver is always refreshing and something to look forward to! But on this Sunday there was more to be excited and at the same time nervous about. I was running down Pacific on the side walk warming up for the first race of the season, the “first half”. All I could think about was crossing that finish line under 2 hours.
It has been just two years since my first running race, an 8km race. It has been a fun adventure so far and this is just the beginning!
It was a tough race mentally and I knew it before the start. I knew I had it in me physically to finish the race in less than 2 hours. Now I had convince my brain and the chatter inside my head. I started the race pretty fast instead of my plan of starting slow and speeding it up. It is really hard to try and keep a slower pace in the huge crowd of runners.
The strategy had to change. Instead of speeding up, I had to try and keep the same pace all along and I did. There were moments in the first half the race that my mind was playing games and telling me it won’t get done. Ignoring the internal chatter was much easier once I was on the seawall in the Stanley Park and could distract myself by enjoying the great view. At the half mark it was obvious that I could make my goal of 1:59, but it would be tight.
I knew there were a couple of short and steep hills right before the finish line and I will need to be quick on those to meet my goal. Running up the second hill I could feel the energy draining; the only thing kept me going was knowing just around the corner is a nice and gradual downhill towards the finish. I get to the top of the hill under the Granville street bridge and it is on. I started picking up the pace and sprinting down Pacific. I come around the corner just before the finish line and I have a quick look at my watch and I know I have it. Time for the picture perfect all out sprint through the finish line. And a 1:58:57!
It was amazing! I was greeted by Jenny and her parents which was definitely a lovely sight for my exhausted body.
In the recent months I have noticed and have been coached that mental strength is as important or more important than physical strength. Which makes me think: what if I set a goal of 1:55! My TrainingPeaks data says I had more in me, I guess I will find out soon!