I've been feeling really good lately and two weekends ago I set my personal best time for a 10km run at 57:42. Again, I know that these times are not spectacular but in a relative sense to what I was able to accomplish before it's really quite good.
This past Sunday I competed in the Edmonton half marathon. It was a last minute decision, I needed to run for about 2 hours according to my training schedule and I usually have a tough time trying to figure out where to go and how to work in water breaks, etc. Well, this race lined up perfectly and so I grabbed my credit card and signed up.
I didn't taper at all for this race. The only thing I did differently was that I was supposed to cycle on Saturday but decided to sit that workout out and just stretch instead. Other than that it was full steam ahead. When I got up on Sunday I was feeling great, well rested and hydrated. I got down to the race site WAY too early again. Ugh, what the hell is wrong with me? I stood around in the chill morning air and ran into a few people I knew and had some nice chats which was a great way to pass the time.
The time came to line up and so we corralled into the start area and made our way out. Like most runs I started out feeling a little sluggish but I'm used to that so I kept at it and after a couple of kilometers my legs loosened up and I was off. When I hit the 5km sign in 31:11 I knew I was holding a pretty good pace. Not too fast but not slow. Just a nice manageable trot. It was around this point I started looking at my watch all too often. I fall into this trap at every race where I start calculating my times and when I should finish and I forget to "just run." In the early going it appeared it helped as I picked up my pace and my second 5km were completed in 30:45. This was when I made the decision that I would not walk today no matter what.
I'm still not sure if this was the right decision to make or not because I've read that walking breaks actually can speed you up because you rest just enough to keep plugging along. Despite this I made it a personal mission to keep running non stop. The next 5km made me regret this decision. I got it done in 33:02 but was starting to suffer a little.
However, my mental conditioning was strong enough that I was able to ignore my aching legs and just keep them turning over. My mantra became, "the more you run, the sooner you're done." Now, easier said than done, but it worked and my last 5km was slightly faster at 31:52. 1km to go and feeling really good and I did the last 1.1km in 6:59. Total time was 2:13:39 and a personal best by over 15 minutes. For those that don't know, that's a huge improvement to make in a race of this distance.
Now, I know it would be easy to take all of the credit but there is one thing that I've changed recently that seems to have made the most incredible difference for me. My Hoka OneOne runners are a godsend. These are a cushioned running shoe that take the pounding of the road out of your run. I think one of the biggest mistakes I've made is underestimating just how big I am. Typically, the people that the triathlon magazines are aimed at are of a slight build and as such can focus on a minimalist shoe that will give them the best return on the run stride. However, at 260 pounds the impact that my joints take while running for over 2 hours is insane. By the end of the run it's not my lungs that are begging me to stop, it's my feet, knees and hips.
My Hoka OneOnes took this pounding out of the equation and as such in consecutive weeks I did my fastest 10km and half marathon runs. Now, keep in mind that Hokas are a RUNNING shoe. Because of their thick sole I would not recommend them for sports or other activities where a great deal of side to side agility is required because they are not built for this. BUT, if you want to run on a cloud with angels singing and carrying you to the finish line they are amazing.
Thank you Hoka!!!