On the road again! Headed to the New Orleans Rock n Roll Half Marathon and I am excited for a variety of reasons! First and foremost, I have never been to New Orleans and actually will be staying in Louisiana for a couple days after the race because one of my former assistant soccer coaches from PSU lives there. It will be great to hang with her and her family and not have to hop on a plane immediately after. In addition, a few Team Alchemy/Newton ambassadors, including the accomplished runner and doctor,Mark Cucuzzella will be there. They will be speaking, puttting on clinics, and having a "Hello Better" weekend selling some of our latest 2013 shoes! I LOVE going to races where there are people from Newton because it gives me an extra sense of support and encouragement, not to mention a solution in case I happen to forget my racing shoes at home (Yes, this has happened before :/).
But I guess what makes the whole thought of racing in New Orleans more exciting than some other races is that I'll be toeing the line with not only America's Top Half and Full Marathoners in Shalane Flannigan and Kara Goucher, but also many of the fastest women in the WORLD, including Meseret Defar, a multiple world record-holder and gold medalist distance runner!! (http://www.iaaf.org/news/news/defar-flanagan-and-goucher-join-farah-in-new) That is just an honor in itself!!
So of course, this all begs the question, how does a "1:13 girl" like myself get ready to compete with women from all over the world who consistently run under 1:10, 1:09 and even 1:08 for a Half marathon??? I think the answer is actually pretty simple. For now...she doesn't :)!! Sure, it would be easy to go out the first few miles with some of these women at a pace that I am only prepared to go for a few miles. And I may be super competitive, but I'm not SUPER STUPID!!!! I think sometimes the hardest job of any runner is to know where you are at and what you are capable of, while not limiting the possibility of something special happening. I'm sure many runners would like to be in a different place, a faster place, a higher ranked place. But you can't rush your goals, and so my goal for this weekend is pretty simple. I would like to run the fastest time I've ever run in a half-marathon. I've had some decent weeks of training prescribed by Coach Mark Hadley that have included some top quality workouts and long runs. But I can't neglect the fact that I've also had some tougher days where I did not perform as fast as I would have liked. Overall though, I'm ready to tackle the half-marathon distance once again and running in a race with the best could be a great opportunity to achieve my goal of getting a personal record. I'm hoping to run my own race and stick to the plan that Mark has suggested, and I'm sure it will involve hard work and an attempt to push past pain, as it always does. But if the conditions permit, competing against the clock and myself will be a tough enough task, so i'm not too worried about the rest!! And as I've said it before, I'll say it again, I know that for me, all I can give is my best effort. God has the job of making it good enough:)
Have a great weekend of training and racing runners! Enjoy the journey!!
Following the Rock n Roll Half, I'll thankfully be racing in some more spectacular opportinuties with fast courses and fast people. The Gate River Run 15k National Championships (http://www.gate-riverrun.com) and the Shamrock Anthem Half- Marathon (http://www.shamrockmarathon.com/anthem-half-marathon.htm) are scheduled for March while the Cherry Blossom 10 mile is on the schedule for April. Woo Hoo!!