Saturday, October 26, 2013

The unexpected PR...

Nothing like a PR to make you want to dust off the blog and tell the world.  :)

PRs are a funny thing.  Sometimes when you really, REALLY want one they are nowhere to be found.  Other times, there you are minding your own business and BOOM, there it is - an effortless PR.  I mean, I am sure there are things that helped out the situation but today wasn't one of those days where I had thoughts of a PR in my head.  ...and isn't that the best way to PR?  No expectations or pressure, you just get it done.

Here is how it went down:

This weekend I have a couple of races on the schedule.  Technically, the events are "races" but I penciled them in more as a way to get in training runs with other people and at locations other than my usual spot, Stone Mountain.  The mileage for both basically lined up with my training plan so there you have it - a supported run with a little SWAG and running buddies.

In the last 24 hours, the weather in Atlanta has gotten a little chilly.  Like 33 degrees at race time chilly.  Luckily the race was small so I could hang out in the car and stay warm until a few minutes before the start.  Even with that, by the time the race started I was sufficiently chilled to the bone.  My hands were ice (it didn't even occur to me to bring gloves) and my legs didn't feel like they were moving at all.  Within the first mile I remember thinking that my legs felt like they were going nowhere and I was convinced I was going slower than my normal pace (which is typically anywhere from 9:15 to 10:00 most days).  I glanced at my pace and it read 8:15.  Weird.  I didn't feel like I was going fast, it just felt comfortable.   A little later, I glanced down again and the lap pace kept going down.  At that point it was surreal but I was going with it.  


In my head I was thinking that I really needed to slow down because this was supposed to be an easy run according to the training plan.  I mentioned the race was small, right?  The thing is as I was going along, I was passing people and no one was passing me (crazy, right?).  Fit people.  Runner types.  This never happens.  I finally passed the last guy in my little cluster and I could see one other guy off in the distance.  From the beginning, I never really saw anyone ahead of him so I was thinking I must be near the front of this thing.  (A place I have NEVER been before and probably never will be again, trust me on this one).  I really couldn't convince myself to slow down to the "easy" run pace on the schedule.  This was too good of a chance for a PR!  (...and that my friends is why using races for training runs can be a bad idea - it is too hard to reel it in if you happen to be having a stellar day...)

At that point, my lap pace was around 8:03 and we were at mile 4.  I really couldn't believe I was hanging onto the pace - it was a decently hilly course too.  Around mile 5, we merged in with the people doing the 5k and I just thought I would try to hang on for 2 more miles.  I kept thinking this train was bound to shut down any minute.

The pace kept going down and I eventually got somewhere around 7:52 min miles which is crazy for me!  We rounded the corner into the last 1/2 mile and I was closing in on the guy in front of me.  We had a couple of hills to go up leading to the finish and that was the first time I really felt like I was ready to stop running.  My Garmin had 50:04 for 6.35 miles - I kept looking at the pace but never glanced at the overall time.  Had I realized I was that close to sub-50 I would have tried to kick it in gear a little more at the end.  Oh well, I am pretty happy with the result today!  My last PR was from 2009 and 52:10 so today was a solid improvement.

After it was over, one of the men I had passed came over and thanked me for pacing him, he said he was just using my pace to help pull him along.  Love that.  I ended up 3rd Overall Female which NEVER happens.  Even in the small races, I do good to grab a 3rd place age group after they pull out the 3 women who won the masters.  Needless to say that was pretty exciting!  The winner received free Chick-fil-a for a year so I clearly need to work on my skills for next year - ha ha!  


Seriously though, today was one of those days where it just felt good from beginning to end and makes me think maybe I haven't been pushing myself enough to get out of that comfort zone and just go for it.  The cold weather definitely helped the pace but am sure a lot of it was me just giving a little more than usual.  Hmmm.   Things to ponder for next time!


   


16 comments:

Kate Geisen said...

Wow, awesome!! What a great surprise for you! I love it when I get some surprising speed. Definitely just have to roll with it!

Michael said...

Wow that's totally awesome!! If I was having that kind of day, no way I could have held to the "easy" day plan either. Congrats on the new PR and AG finish! That's so cool! And an amazing pace too!!

KC (my 140 point 6 mile journey) said...

Boston, Boston, Boston! Awesome pace! Really awesome.

Matthew Smith said...

That's so awesome! You freaking rock! Way to be, speedy!!! Free food for a year is sweet!!!!

Jim ... 50after40 said...

Awesome Karen! You're right, these types of runs are special and rarely happen - but when they do, they stay in your memory bank as one of the best days of running. It's like everything just falls into place and you think "Yeah, THAT is what I'm capable of!" Great job, that's a great time!

Lifeonephoto said...

Wow! Loved this post. We all live for races like that. Sounds like cold running is your thing! Congrats to you!!
Lisa

Christine Caruso said...

congrats!!

A new PR & a win !

meghan said...

Congratulations on your PR and placing Karen! That's so exciting! And yeah, you've got to find a way to get that free year of chickfila next time. That prize is better than a check.

ajh said...

What a fun post to read. Very happy for you and a huge congratulations!!!

Kevin said...

That is awesome. Congratulations on the PR and the podium finish

B.o.B. said...

YAAAAY!!! congrats KDUB!!

Carolina John said...

Nice PR! Sometimes they come when you least expect it.

Colleen said...

Way to go Karen... now next year, win you some Chick-fil-a! :)

Jill said...

I LOVE it when things come together like the when you least expect it. Makes the that much sweeter, I think. Well done, girl - congrats on a great race PR and let's work on that 4 seconds for next year ;).

lindsay said...

woo hoo! way to go karen! congrats on the overall and new PR. gotta take advantage of those feel-good days.

Meggan Johnson said...

LOVE those unexpected PR's! Congrats!!!!