“Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.”
I haven’t blogged for more than a week – that’s my longest streak in awhile. As of yesterday, I also hadn’t run for four days. Four.Whole.Days. Too long for both! It feels great to be back.
Yesterday, I raced a half marathon relay in Detroit Lakes, MN. The 19th Annual Dick Beardsley Fall Classic is one of the bigger half marathons in the area and has quickly become one of my favorite races – mostly because of the swag but the course is great too. Last year, a former colleague and I placed third in the co-ed relay so we thought, why not go for it again? Maybe we’d get a better time or even place higher. But there was one big difference from last year to this…neither of us had trained much.
I only had a few speed work runs under my belt, with most of my summer focused on an Olympic Triathlon (coincidentally, also in Detroit Lakes) and not many runs period with Labor Day weekend and stating a new job. Luckily, Cameron assured me he had only run a few times all summer so no pressure to run fast. Well, we managed to crush our time from the previous year and place again. How? A few factors came into play.
How The Race Went Down
The weather was perfect. Cool, not humid and very little wind. I took the first 6.6-mile-leg, hoping to maintain an 8-min/mile pace most of the way. I mean, I hadn’t been training so why would I expect to be fast? After a sub-7:30 mile 1, I thought, hey, this feels pretty good. As I passed miles 2, 3 and 4, my pace stayed under the 7:30 mark. I felt great. Mile 5 only dropped to 7:31 and mile 6 – which was the hilliest of all, most of the last half mile a steady incline – only dropped to 7:41. For the last .6 miles, I pushed as hard as I could. I was feeling great and ready to hand off the baton (so to speak) to my teammate. I crossed the mat and fist-bumped Cam in a time of 49:29 (according to my Garmin) and off he went. I ran my leg nearly a minute faster than last year (50:19) so I was on cloud nine.
I relaxed, stretched and chatted with several friends who were waiting for their partners to make it to the exchange, then we hopped a shuttle bus back to the finish line to wait for our teammates. Last year, our time was 1:38:50 so I was expecting Cam to cross around that mark. He must of had a great day too because he completely surprised me and came flying down the finisher’s chute in 1:35 and change – meaning we shaved more than three minutes off our time from last year!
After comparing notes of who Cam saw finish ahead of me, who he passed and who I saw finish ahead of him, we determined we placed second. The team we thought won it was the second-place team from last year; both very strong runners, fast and competitive. As time passed, the 5k and half marathon results were posted, yet no results were posted for the relay. Nothing online either. We waited around until the awards ceremony, hoping to find out our time by then, even if we didn’t place. We were announced as third place (sweet!), and the team we thought won was announced as second. Apparently they thought they won too and were furious, demanding to see results, repeating over and over to the race director that they won, no one finished ahead of either of them. Yikes!
No times were announced and none posted after the awards either. As of this morning, the results were posted and our hunch was confirmed – we actually took second! Our time of 1:35:15 was good enough for our team PR, second in the co-ed division and second in the entire relay team race. And for me, personally, I’m so happy to have finished my leg faster than last year and that I didn’t let down my teammate. PR, awards or not, this race reminded me why I run and why I love running. Not only is it good for my body and weight management, it just feels good. In the end, that’s all that matters.
I’m not sure how I did better than last year, I certainly didn’t do the same speed and conditioning work. But I guess, sometimes a positive attitude and simple experience trumps training. I know my body and how it can perform over 6 miles. I know when I can push myself and when I need to scale it back. And, for me, good weather can make all the difference!
Have you ever performed crazy-good when you weren’t expecting to? Comment or tweet me @runlikeagirl311.