Lack of training shows in the 2011 Arizona Distance Classic 1/2 Marathon

At least for me it did.  I obviously cannot take the entire month of February off and then with just a few training runs jump right back into the saddle.

My official time was 03:04:20 – no, I did NOT pace at 13 min miles, no, I did NOT break 3 hours, no, I did NOT accomplish a new PR… I am disappointed, not in my performance today, but in my lack of training leading up to today.  I ate crap (and the scale reflects it!), I only ran a few times, overall, I don’t think I took this serious at all.

Ok – enough about my lack of training – lets talk about the race itself! It started at 4am when Craig and I got up and hit the road – the race is over 2 hours away.  We got there right about 6am, but detoured to a local Starbucks – a decision I would later regret.

When we walked up to the start of the race, we found pacers – people that run at a designated finish time’s pace.  I could hardly hide my excitement.  I quickly found the 02:45:00 pacer – her name was Alejandra.  I introduced myself and felt confident (ego sucks) that I was going to be able to keep up with her for at least the first half of the race if not the whole way.

I figured if I couldn’t keep up, then as long as I stayed ahead of the 3 hour pacer, I would still meet my overall goal of a new PR and a sub 3-hour time.  It sounded good…

The first mile I was right there step by step with the pacer – the pace should be 12:35 per mile.  We hit mile one at 11:11.  That’s right, a full minute and twenty-four seconds fast.  During the second mile, an older male runner decided to inform the pacer that she was too fast.  He actually yelled at her.  She didn’t seem to let it phase her, but it had an affect on me.  I was huffing and puffing – we were climbing a hill much steeper than anything here in town and my 12:35 miles where 11:11 – I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep up with this.  Alejandra finished in 02:42:52 – a full two minutes faster than she was supposed to.

A lady that was running beside me noticed (or was annoyed) that I was huffing and puffing.  “You are breathing too fast!”, she kinda snapped at me.  She was right – I was panting, almost hyperventilating.  “Four count in, four count out”, she coached.  “You’re right, thank you!” I bantered back.  Then I realized there was no way I was going to be able to get me breathing under control and stay with the pacer.  I let her go and decided if I could keep her in my sight I might still have a chance at a 02:50:00 or so.

But no matter how much I wanted to finish with a good time – not training meant it was not happening.  The picture above is the 3 hour pacer passing me somewhere after mile 8 or 9.  I tried to keep her in sight but lost her before mile 10.  I was so discouraged that I began walking.  I walk/ran for most of miles 8, 9, and 10.  At mile 10 I knew I had 5k left and since I hit mile 10 with 02:15:xx on the clock, I felt like I had a chance at 3 hours – I only needed to run the last three miles in under 15 mins (actually b/c of the point one, I would have to be closer to three 14 min miles.

Sadly I was just not able to keep a pace under 14 mins.  I finished discouraged and frustrated. The question is – will this be a lesson learned that improves me for the full Marathon in July or will history repeat itself?

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