Learning to Race Well + Post-Boston Racing Plans + RnR Coupon Code!

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I don’t post here every day, but you can find my daily running, thoughts and tips on Instagram!

It’s no secret that the more you do something, the better at it you become. Want to swim better? Get in the pool and start swimming. Want to perfect a dish? Keep cooking it and making small improvements.

And so, in order to race well, the best thing to do is to jump in and race.

The reality is, no matter how hard and well you train, if you are a poor racer, you may never see the results of your work. Things like fueling improperly, going out too fast, overdressing, not being comfortable with the taper and letting the negative thoughts come into your mind can all be honed by racing.

I don’t know if I would call myself a great racer, but I’ve made a lot of progress the last couple of years and can confidently say that I am a light years ahead of where I was two or three years ago.

The more you race, the more you can take away from each experience. Find what works well. What things you need to improve upon. A bad race, while unfortunate in the short-term, will provide you a lot of insight into things you probably don’t want to do again. And can be a great tool to use in the long-term. Use it as a learning experience – write those nuggets of wisdom you learned down – and then move on.

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    Running By Effort – and Why It’s Working For Me


    I don’t post every day, but you can find me sharing my daily running and thoughts on Instagram!

    I shared in my race recap that I ran Sunday mostly by feel – and not by pace. But how do I do this and what does it really mean?

    So, I still race with my Garmin and GPS on – mostly because I want the data post-race but also because it does keep me honest about going out too fast. My Garmin will provide me my mile splits – if I want to see them, I just need to glance down when I feel the vibration. As I’m racing, I can only see the total time I’ve run. (On Sunday, I forgot to do this before the race, but was able to change the view so I only saw the current time.)

    I did this for the first time two years ago for the NJ Marathon. After a series of sub-par marathons, I did some serious self evaluation and came to the conclusion that I was letting the pace dictate the race. Race goals and paces were controlling me during the race. I would spend almost the entire race staring at my watch, obsessing over the pace. I was forcing the pace rather than letting it come naturally. And if/when I started to see the paces slow down, it would psych me out.

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      Why Your 1st Mile is the Most Important


      This post was originally featured on Women’s Running (can be found here).


      For years, I thought that the most important mile of each run and race was the last one. That’s the true sign of how the run went, right? If you finish fast and strong – and most importantly, feeling good – it’s likely you will put that effort into the “good run” category, regardless of how much of the run went well up until that point. But if you are hurting, slowing down or are counting the seconds until the run is over, it’s likely going to be a run you soon hope to forget.

      It’s easy to judge an entire run by that last mile. But I’d argue that it’s not the most important mile.

      These days, I put a whole lot more focus and effort into the first mile. Run that first mile too fast (which is SO easy to do, especially in a race environment) and the rest of the run could end up being pure torture.

      For everyday training runs, that first mile is my warmup. I aim for it to be my slowest mile of the day. It’s a mile where I let my joints shake out any lingering aches or stiffness, where my heart gets alerted that it’s about to do some work and where I give my body the time it needs to get adequately warmed up.

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        Running Links and Highlights


        If you are in the path of Juno, hoping you and your loved ones are staying safe and warm! We woke up this morning to 7+ inches of snow and howling winds outside – but not nearly as bad as they were predicting!

        I read so many great running-related stories and posts throughout the week – and wanted to do a roundup of some of the highlights I found!

        If there is one that I missed or one that really stood out to you, let me know in the comments or with an email (nycrunningmama@gmail.com) and I’ll include it in next week’s roundup!

        Fallen Runner Saved Near Finish Line: Amazing story of a runner who collapsed (and was clinically dead) at the finish line of the Naples Half Marathon before onlookers and medical personnel saved his life!

        You Know You Are Screwed At The Start Line When...: I can relate to many of these! Definitely worth a read if you need a good chuckle!

        Study: Women Are Better At Marathon Pacing Than MenAccording to a recent study, women are better than men at pacing themselves during marathons…no definitive reason why but the article has a couple of possibilities.

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          Falmouth Race Recap


          This about sums up how I felt for most of the race

          Sunday was such an amazing day and I am extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in such a historic and celebrated event. (If you are unfamiliar with the history of the race, you can read about it here.)

          Unfortunately, it was not a good day of racing for me. It was a start too fast, crash on the hills, crash a little harder from the heat/humidity and suffer for about 50% of the race. Before I get into the racing specifics, I wanted to share an overview of the day.

          Race Morning

          Wakeup was scheduled for 5am but ended up being around 4:30am when my oldest son decided it was a good time to start the day. And the whole room was awake by 5! The good news is that I didn’t have to fumble around in the dark trying to be quiet. The bad news is that I left my husband with a dog and two tired kids while I went and raced. I had some coffee, got dressed and made my way down to the lobby by 5:45am to meet Chris (who was also racing) for our hour+ drive to the Cape.

          We were parked and walking to the bus-pickup by 7:15am. Falmouth is a point-to-point race – and so they offer a bus shuttle from the finish area (where you park) to the start line. I was blown away by how organized and quick the pick up area was. The bus dropped us off just up the road from the start area. From there, we did a short warmup run to a friend’s hotel room to pick up our bibs (huge thanks to Tim for picking them up for us on Saturday!).

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            Anthony’s Run 5k Race Recap


            Yesterday was my first 5k. Technically, it wasn’t my first – I ran one with the double stroller last summer and one two weekends ago with my niece. But it was the first I would be racing against myself.

            I woke up at 630am on Sunday when my oldest woke up – had some coffee, stretched a bit (my legs felt tight from all the “beach” volleyball we had played the day prior at our Father’s Day party) and tried to keep my feet up until it was time to get ready. I was unsure about how to fuel for the race and decided to base it on how I felt race morning. I am never hungry first thing in the AM – and I never eat before my morning runs. But, we were starting at 10am and I would be up for over 3 hours – so I definitely needed some calories. At 9:15am, I had 1/2 banana and a few spoonfuls of peanut butter and felt good. I didn’t want to eat too much and have stomach pains or other issues during the race, so I figured lighter options were probably best.

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              National Running Day + Adding Fun into Training


              Happy National Running Day! I’m sure you’ve been inundated with information about events and deals…so here’s just a quick recap if you haven’t heard yet:

              • Westin Hotels: If you are in NYC today, come by Westin Grand Central at 10:30 for a chance to win some free gear, meet NY Yankees pitcher David Roberston and go on a 5k run!
              • Timex: Use hashtag #IMARUNNER on Twitter and Instagram to celebrate the day. For every use of #IMARUNNER on National Running Day, Timex will donate $5, up to $20,000, towards the Boomer Esiason Foundation’s Team Boomer program.  Individuals who contribute content via the hashtag #IMARUNNER will also be qualified to win Timex® IRONMAN® watches.
              • Sparkly Soul Giveaway: Enter to win one of three 5-packs of headbands
              • Rock ‘n’ Roll Races/Festival: Register today and save $20 on all US races (today only), learn about the new Running Festival at 5 locations across US
              • Rock ‘n’ Roll Fun Runs: 21 locations across US and Canada are hosting fun runs
              • I Run This Body gear: All shirts are on sale (today only!)
              • NYRR events: Fun runs, giveaways and/or water stations will be set up at various locations across NYC.
              • Women’s Running Magazine: Subscribe today for only $1 an issue!


              I’ve mentioned a few times already that I am trying to keep the stress level down this training cycle. In the past, I had the mindset that I couldn’t have fun or do things less than 100% because it would mean I wasn’t completely dedicated. And I was always so envious of other runners who could train hard but also make time for things that seemed to bring them so much joy. And so I am making a conscious effort to do things that bring me happiness – even if they don’t technically “add” to my training. Things like running with my sister 1-2 times/week and running with friends when our schedule permits. In the past, I’ve been so determined to follow a training plan that I wasn’t willing to run easier/slower than I typically do on easy days or deviate at all from a training plan.

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                1st Birthday + 8 weeks to go


                My youngest son turned one last week. Hard to believe that it’s been that long already, right? I feel like it was just yesterday that he came into this world. It’s been a fun year (sometimes crazy at times!) with a 2nd child and I could not have asked for a sweeter, happier little guy.

                My boys and I celebrated on Thursday (his actual birthday) with presents and cake.

                And continued the celebration with a fun birthday party on Saturday with family and friends from the neighborhood.

                Can we take a moment and discuss this cake? It was beautiful and SO SO yummy (white cake with cannoli cream.) One of my good friends from high school made this beauty!! She has made cakes for my boys’ special events the past few years and they could not be prettier or more delicious. (She’s VERY reasonable and is based on Staten Island. Her website is here!)


                For the first time this training cycle, I felt like I had a wonderful week of running from start to finish. I nailed both my stress workouts (3×2 and long run) and felt so strong despite racing a half marathon last Sunday. The Philly Marathon is just under 8 weeks away. First 20 miler will be this weekend (with lots of miles at MGP – agh!), one more half marathon tune-up race, a few more weeks of hard training…and then taper begins.

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                  NJ Marathon Info!

                  race pacing

                  Hey everyone!! I have SO much to share with you regarding my week in Atlanta with Mizuno.

                  We are on our way home after a fun, exciting week but my mind is focused on one thing – the NJ Marathon on Sunday.  After months and months of planning, training, and imagining this race, it is finally here!

                  First, the race details.

                  • Date: Sunday, May 5th
                  • Start time: 8am
                  • Route:  It’s a mix between out and back and a loop.  The race starts by Monmouth Race track, heads north for a bit, over to the coastline by mile 10, then south for 8 miles with the turnaround just after mile 18 and heads back north for the final 8 miles.  

                  • Elevation: Virtually pancake flat (after my last few races have been in Central Park, this makes me VERY happy!)

                  The weather forecast looks almost too good to be true.  I’m still not celebrating because I know it can still change.  But right now, race day weather looks to be cool (~45-50 at race start), calm, and sunny.  One of my biggest worries leading up to this race has been the wind.  Before moving last summer, we had lived less than a mile from the SI boardwalk, so almost all of my runs would take place right on the coastline.  Most early mornings were calm, but the wind would often pick up (>15-20 mph winds) by mid-morning.  So far, race morning looks like it will have very little wind (~ 5 mph winds).

                  For everyone that has asked…if you want to track me, here is the link to sign up to receive alerts (you can get text, email, twitter updates).  My bib is #1023 in case you need it. There’s a part of me that is excited to know that all of my friends will be able to track me on Sunday, but a large part of me is starting to freak out about it. HA. 

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                    Marathon Goal Pace Running

                    long run4

                    I’ve been doing my long runs on Fridays for most of this training cycle, but I rearranged the days last week because my husband and I had a black tie work function to attend Thursday evening.

                    It was held at the Waldorf Astoria.

                    First time I’ve actually ever been inside.  The ballroom was GORGEOUS:

                    It was SO nice to get dressed up and spend a few hours together away from the kids.  My wonderful mom babysat our two boys for the evening!

                    I knew that I would want to have a few drinks and would not be able to get up at 4am for a long run after getting home after 11pm.  And, more importantly, I knew my calves would be screaming after wearing these bad boys for 5 hours:

                    I love heels but I feel like the older I get, the more they disagree with my feet.

                    So, long run was Thursday morning. Had to be finished by 745 so that my husband could leave for work on time.  Up at 415am. On the treadmill by 515am.  It’s early but truth be told, I like doing it early so that I’m done for the day before 8.

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                      NYC Half Race Recap

                      post race

                      I am still smiling from the 2013 NYC Half.  I don’t think I have EVER run such a steady, smart, even-paced race in my life.

                      It was a frigid morning.  Temps were hovering around 30 at race start, but with the windchill, it felt like about 20 degrees.  I wasn’t concerned with anything except my hands.  My body warms up within 5 minutes of running but my hands never seem to warm up.  On long runs, I often opt for mittens but I wanted to have better use of my hands for water and fueling.

                      Like I said yesterday, I didn’t get a chance to do the warm-up I wanted and was worried that the 1/4 mile I jogged from the interview location to the start corral would not be enough of a warm-up for me.  I was also concerned with how long I (we) would have to wait in the corrals not moving (about 30 minutes).

                      This post is pretty long…I tried to cut it down but there was just too much going on in my head during those 13.32 miles.

                      *The splits below are based on my Garmin.  I ran a bit longer than the 13.1 miles so my pace is faster than my finish time suggests (more on this later!)

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                        Pre-NYC Half

                        race outfit

                        The NYC Half Race Recap will be up tomorrow but I’ll save the suspense…I PR’d by over 2 min!!! I didn’t get my sub-1:32 but I was darn close (1:32:23) and could NOT be happier with how the whole race went.  I don’t think the smile has left my face since I crossed the finish line.

                        And want to know one of the best parts about the weekend?  I am not the only one who PR’d…SO many friends set massive PRs this weekend:

                        • Kristin ran the LA Marathon in 3:20
                        • Ashley ran a 1:43 at the NYC Half -> PR by over 2 min
                        • Jess took 10 min off her half and ran the Rock N Roll Half in 1:33
                        • Gia got her BQ at the LA Marathon after missing it by 10 sec in the fall – she ran a 3:32
                        • Theodora ran a 5 min PR in 1:50 at the Rock N Roll DC Half
                        • Erica got her sub-2 half at the NYC Half
                        • Lindsey crushed her previous marathon PR with a 3:13 at the Shamrock Marathon
                        • Ashley ran a 2:05 to crush her PR that she’s had for 5 years at the NYC Half

                        On the Run Interview

                        I am so happy and honored to have been featured in their coverage leading up to the NYC Half. In case you missed it on WABC or on their website, here is the video:

                        Saturday Expo + Shopping

                        I headed to the NYC Half expo Saturday morning to get my race bib (with the coolest # ever – 1234!).  It couldn’t be located so I had to be given a replacement one (#1900).  Kind of bummed because 1234 sounded fast but I forced myself to not something as trivial as a race # pysch me out.

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                          Am I Holding Myself Back?

                          16 miler

                          Erin O had a question from the previous post (Cold Weather Running).  Does anyone have an answer for her? =)


                          I have a goal pace (GP) that I try to stick to for all of my long runs.  These  GPs change week to week based on how I felt the week prior as well as what McMillan’s calculator says I should be running. I aim for my first 2-3 miles to be a bit slower than that pace, the last 1-2 to be faster…and all the others to be in that range.  

                          My first few long runs after my son was born was in the 8:20-8:30 range.  Since then, I’ve been trying to stay around 8:10-8:15.  I’m back up to distances that I haven’t hit since before I was pregnant (Jan 2012) so I’ve tried really hard to be cautious about not expecting too much and running a smart long run (for me that means not starting too fast).  

                          I ran 16 miles this past Saturday.  My goal was to average somewhere between 8:10.  First four miles were right where I wanted them to be:

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                            How to Become a Better Runner



                            It’s a known fact that you can often become a better runner by increasing your mileage and incorporating speed, tempo, and long runs into your training.

                            But, perhaps the best way to become a better runner is simply by learning.  Learning from your own experiences in races and training as well as from friends and acquaintances who run.  And I always find that I learn MORE from the mistakes I have made.  Yes, it sucks to make mistakes (especially during races). Often they result in poor times, a painful end to the race, and the sadness of not performing well.

                            After running for over 10 years, I still consider myself a student of the sport.  I’m constantly learning.  I learn from mistakes I’ve made, success I have had, published articles, and successful runners’ blogs.

                            Yesterday’s run is a great example of learning from a past mistake. My plan was to run 10 miles at Marathon Pace (MP).  (Note: My goal is to start incorporating 6-10 miles at MP during my long runs.  I wanted to practice running at this pace for an extended period of time before I include it in my long runs.)

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                              Pushing the pace on long runs?

                              When I was training for the NYC Marathon and my first ultra this summer/fall, I completed all my long runs at an easy pace.  NYC would be my first marathon after giving birth and since I hadn’t completed long runs consistently in over a year, my goal was to get the miles in without worrying about what my Garmin 610 was telling me.  I got very comfortable with doing my long runs at an 8:30 pace.  I was happy with that pace.  I didn’t feel the need to push myself any harder on my long runs – as long as I ran 20, 25, 30 miles, I was satisfied.

                              I competed in the Foot Locker 5 Borough Challenge [FL5BC] as part of the NYC Marathon in November.  After separating from the other 4 runners at the halfway point (we had to run the first 13.1 miles together), I immediately tried to speed up to hit my target pace of 7:45.  No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t get my pace any faster than 7:50-8:00.  And it wasn’t that my legs were tired – they actually felt surprisingly good.  I just couldn’t pick up the pace without getting out of breath.  I actually didn’t run one mile at my target pace [6x miles were sub-8:00 and my average pace for the final 13.1 was 8:01].  I’m not complaining or upset with my performance at the NYC Marathon – my primary goal was to win the FL5BC.  But now that I am beginning training for my next marathon, I have to look closer at my training and determine what I need to tweak in order to improve my time.

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                                Goals for Knickerbocker 60k

                                Tomorrow is my first ultra.  I am competing in the Knickerbocker 60k in Central Park.  The course includes a short out and back (totaling 1.5 miles) and then 9x 4-mile loops of the park’s inner loop (thankfully, it does NOT include the arduous upper or lower portions of the park).
                                Here is a link of the course.

                                I had a long debate with myself about whether or not this course was the best for my first ultra.  There are definitely some disadvantages. First, Central park is notoriously hilly.  And although the upper section is eliminated, there are still sections that can kill your legs after repeated visits. Second, 9x loops will be a HUGE mental obstacle, especially since we will be passing the start/finish line each time. I’m fully anticipating to experience the temptation of wanting to stop each time I pass it, especially in the later miles. Third, it’s only 2 weeks after the NYC Marathon, so I was worried I would not be fully rested for the long distance.

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                                  NYC Marathon – Experience of a Lifetime (Part 3) The Race within a Race

                                  Before I go into a detailed race report for the NYC Marathon last Sunday, there are are a couple of things to say:

                                  1. I am a very competitive person when it comes to running.  But NOT with other people.  I never show up to a race and look around and say, “I want to beat her and her and him” or “I want to finish in the top 10.”  I look at myself in the mirror before a race and say “I am going to beat YOU”. I am competitive with myself.  I think it’s fair to say that any serious runner has to be – you train for a race, sometimes for weeks or months, with one primary goal in your head…you want to PR (*for those not familiar with the jargon: a PR is a personal record).  You want to beat yourself.  You want to beat the effects of age, pregnancy, childbirth, sickness, stress, or whatever challenge you have faced or are overcoming.  You are stepping up to the start line telling yourself, “I am going to run faster than I ever have before.”

                                  2. I had waivered months ago about whether or not I should even submit an application to participate in the FL5BC.  Those who know me, understand that I am a solitary runner. I wholeheartedly love running alone – especially during races. Running, for me, has always been my release and to have some alone time that I wasn’t afforded when I was in the army (communal living), at West Point (roommates and communal living), and now that I have a son (I need some time to think like an adult without the babytalk!).  When I race, I  don’t maintain an even pace – it’s all based on how I feel, the terrain, and weather conditions, When my body tells me to slow down, I slow down.  When it tells me it’s feeling good, I speed up.  I’m constantly making adjustments when I race.  And I knew that by participating, I would have to run with 4 people whom I never ran with before. The rules of the FL5BC were this: run together for the first 13.1 miles and then race to the finish.  5 runners with 5 different paces, goals, abilities, and race strategies.  It’s very hard for two people to run a marathon the same way – even if they end up with the same finish time.  Some like to push through the hills, others like to maintain the same intensity (and therefore decrease the speed).  Some like to walk through water points, others cannot slow down because their legs start to cramp.  Some shoot for negative splits, others end up running the first half fast and gradually slowing down.  So I knew that running together would be tough for all of us – and knew that my hopes of running sub 3:20 would be impossible since I would have no control over the pace of the first half.  But, my husband convinced me to submit the application because of the once in a lifetime experience the FL5BC would be – and push my plans of sub 3:20 to a spring marathon.

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                                    NYC Marathon – the Experience of a Lifetime (part 2)

                                    Once we started running on the Verrazano Bridge, the nervousness and doubt I had been struggling with the last few days quickly gave way to excitement for what we were getting ready to experience.  

                                    Running across the bridge with just 4 other people was one of the most surreal moments in my life.  As a native Staten Islander, I’ve driven across the Verrazano Bridge hundreds of times before, run up to and under her countless times on my morning runs, and even had the joy of running across her once before in the 2007 NYC Marathon.  But those occurrences could never have prepared me emotionally for what I felt on Sunday.  It was eerily quiet and peaceful.  There wasn’t the expected sound of thousands of  feet hitting the pavement.  There wasn’t heavy breathing from the first mile incline.  There wasn’t the usual jockeying to pass other runners in the early miles. IT WAS JUST US.  At one point, I turned around to look behind me – I had a clear view all the way back to the start line – it was truly amazing. 

                                    When we exited the bridge in Brooklyn, I was happily greeted by my King family – my aunt and uncle, cousins, and friends!  They were waiting for me at the foot of the bridge – screaming and cheering as loud as they could!  
                                    Once we turned onto 4th Avenue in Brooklyn, the excitement only grew. For those not familiar with the NYC Marathon route, we remained on 4th Ave until mile 8 – at which point, the 3 lanes (the marathon has 3 different start lanes) converge into one during the turn onto Lafeyette Avenue.  4th Ave was already becoming packed with spectators – some were taken by surprise that there were already people on the course, but a good number were aware of the challenge and were rooting for their borough (Drew was getting a lot of acknowledgement and cheering from his home borough!!).  

                                    While we were running alone 4th Ave, my family remained on the double decker bus for a while where they watched the elite female start at 910.  They were then led off the buses to watch the elite males and wave 1 start. It was at this point when they were literally arms distance away from the elite males – and at one point – the top 3 finishers at the same time.  How amazing is that? 

                                    After Wave 1’s start, my family boarded a bus and were taken across the Verrazano Bridge – WHILE runners were running!  They were on the lower level with the green start corral runners (separate side of the road) and got to see thousands of runners start their 26.2 mile journey!  The buses took them from the Verrazano Bridge and start line through Brooklyn and the Battery Tunnel to Central Park and the finish line. 

                                    Love this picture b/c one runner is carrying the American Flag!

                                    While the other 4 runners and I were still in Brooklyn somewhere near mile 5 or 6, we watched the elite females run by (and then the elite males – just before mile 13 and the Pulaski Bridge).  If you ever want to feel like you are running extremely slow, have a group of elites run by you.  It was amazing and mind-boggling to see these athletes sprint by us so effortlessly.  But, despite the momentary discouragement (because it seemed like we were barely moving as they passed), we got to run elbow-to-elbow with these extraordinary runners – even if it was just for a fraction of a second!

                                    The remainder of the 13.1 miles passed quickly – I ran next to Rob Vassilarakis, the amazing runner from the Bronx, for most of it.  We both were running with our IPODs, but would occasionally say a few words to each other or share a smile at what we were experiencing. 

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                                      Pacing lessons

                                      As I’ve stated in earlier posts, I’ve always had a problem with not pacing myself correctly on long runs or races.  I start too fast and then pay for it heavily at the end.  I had always believed that I could start fast and gain some “extra time” so that when I slow down towards the end, I’ll finish at the pace I want.  I am thankful to say that I have finally realized my theory is completely wrong.  After the SI Half a couple of weeks ago, it clicked that I REALLY need to slow down and pace myself (discussed in Rookie Mistake).  =&0=& to complete (not including 5x that I had to stop – once to fix my socks which had slipped beneath the back of my heel (I need to find socks that do not do this!), twice to pull out power gels that were in my camelbak, once to call Paul to tell him I needed more water, and once to drink the water/powerade that Paul had for me – the total time of “stopped time” was about 7 min) – Overall pace was 8:34 – I ran negative splits – the first 15 miwere covered in 129:13 (8:36 pace); second 15 mi were covered in 128:04 (8:32 pace) – My fastest miles were 8:19 (mile 19), 8:21 (mile 14), 8:23 (mile 23), and 8:24 (mile 30!)

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                                        Rookie Mistake!

                                        The SI Half Marathon couldn’t have been on a more beautiful day…temps in the low 60s, sunny skies, and a light wind.  Combine that with the 2 days off I decided to take before the race as well as this being my first race in about 18 months.
                                        What do you get?
                                        Me starting entirely WAY too fast.
                                        Being patient in a race has never been my strong point.  I usually get frustrated with the huge crowds at the startline and consequently spend the first mile or so weaving in and out of the smallest gaps  between other runners I could find.  My fear during a race is that I start too slow the first few miles and then have to play catch up the rest of the race to get my pace down to what I want it to be.  So the result is that I usually overcompensate and go out faster than I should.
                                        Yesterday was no exception.  I ran the first 3 miles in 7:07, 6:57, and 7:08, and the average for the first 6 miles was 7:13 – about 15-20 seconds faster per mile than my goal.  Also take into account that while the course is fairly flat, there are a few steep inclines over the final half of the race (it’s an out and back course).  So by the time I hit the first hill at mile 7.5, my legs were shot.  My 8th mile was an 8:04 pace!  Thankfully that was the worst of the hills, but I had a hard time finding a comfortable rhythm after that first hill.  I spent the rest of the race praying the miles would pass and that I could finally rest.

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