Hard Work Hangs In The Balance….

I was looking for something motivational today but I guess that really wasn’t what I was seeking.  I was actually looking for something to express my fears concerns over the upcoming race which I wish were this Sunday instead of next.  As I’ve mentioned before I have been chasing a 1:50 half marathon for quite some time.  I have a knack for selecting races, or allowing races to select me, that bring horrid weather conditions on race day.  I refuse to die in order to chase the 1:50 or a decent marathon time for that fact, so I will do whatever it takes to merely cross the finish line because I’m in it for fun & fitness first and foremost and I fully understand that my finish time is not always going to be a good indication of my fitness even if it is a good indication of the amount of “fun” I had out on the course

This year my race schedule took a few unexpected turns and my half marathon schedule has been cut in half.  Since I only have a few of those races, I really feel as if the pressure is “on”.  It’s now or I wait until September, if not in September, then not until 2013 and another year of age/pounding miles on the body.  So I’m looking to run strong, really strong in Palos but, of course, I’m scared shitless that I’ll come up short again.  My feelings are below.  I’m sure the style of the writing doesn’t fit the rules of a “poem” so I hesitate to call it such but this is certainly a TTF version of a “poem”.  🙂 

Hard work hangs in the balance,                                                                               Depending on factors unknown.                                                                                        Rain, Sleet, Snow or Horrid Heat,                                                                                            Can my pace compete?

Looking toward the same goal,                                                                                           Can really take its toll.                                                                                                              Is this the race;                                                                                                                  Where I can finally hold the pace?

Hard work hangs in the balance,                                                                                Depending on factors unknown.                                                                                            Rain, Sleet, Snow or Horrid Heat,                                                                                   Please let this goal become complete.

I know I can accomplish this goal under decent conditions.  I definitely believe in it. 

I also have the ability and I am confident in the foundation that I have laid.  Now I just have to get though one more week of moderate workouts, then next week will be very low-key so that I am fresh and fast on race day.  I normally don’t taper for a half but I will hit the start line as fresh as possible.  I may even take my iPod for the final 5K push……just wish I had some wireless earbuds!  The wire issue is the biggest reason why I avoid music.  The wires are not worth any added benefit the music might bring since I have lots of tangles and time lost trying to get the earbuds in place midrace.

Note to self:  Race 10 miles, then “hang on” for the final 5K.  Break the race into 2 distinct segments in order to manage it mentally. I know I can nail 10 miles fast. Now just figure out how to race the final 5K. 

Any motivational tips on how to keep pushing toward a race goal?  Do you race with music?  I normally don’t as it distracts me and I can’t focus on the “push” but I expect I may be out of “push” by mile 10 because that’s where I normally top out on speed.  Thoughts? 

Happy Racing,                                                                                                              Amanda – TooTallFritz

25 thoughts on “Hard Work Hangs In The Balance….

  1. Amanda – you will make it, 100 percent convinced of that. I’m hoping for something in the 1:45-1:50 range as well, so if you’re up for it, let’s crush it together!


    • Brian – If that’s really your goal, then yes, let’s crush it together! I just don’t want to see any sub 8’s or it will catch up to me in the end. However, I do know that YOU can run faster than this and you should go for a faster time. Is Kevin running? He is a better partner for you and I can just follow along for as long as I am able.

      • Amanda – I’m shooting for 8’s, or just under, overall average. That’ll be almost a 15 minute improvement over my first half, so hoping I’m not overshooting. Same argument you used to get me to do the Chicago Marathon…you’ve put in the miles, you know you can do it, now it’s just time to get out there and do it. The F’NRC support club will be there cheering us on, so let’s get it done!

      • Wooooop! I’m ready. I even have a time in my head that I’m confident I can hit. This is the race…..I’m visualizing it (and the pain) now. 🙂

        Thanks, Brian!

  2. Super Smart pacing will also help. Not going out too fast, not zoning out and becoming complacent in the middle (of Route 83) and accepting the pain in the last 3. Reaching goals usually hurts a bit. But not as much as not reaching them.

    • The out & back courses, while fun, distract me. I tend to be watching the runners on the other side looking for my friends and fall off pace. But I’m aware of it and will pay attention not to let that happen this time.

  3. Having a time goal is so stressful. I hope the weather is perfect (how you want it) that day.

    I do race with music for short races (not usually marathons) because it pumps me up. Do you have a phone with blue tooth? I use my iPhone and wireless Plantronics BackBeat headphones when I run. They are really cheap on amazon right now!

    • Thanks, Kim!! Perfect weather for me is in the 50s, I’m good with 40s too.

      I have a phone with bluetooth but only use it thru my car so don’t actually have the ear piece. That’s a thought.

  4. You know what helps me in the weeks leading up to a half marathon is making sure I do good speed and tempo runs since I know my endurance is okay. I really try to focus on my shorter distance runs at 10K/5K pace to challenge my legs. It gives me a boost of self confidence going into the last few miles of a longer race. Just my 2 cents.

  5. I rarely run w/out music. I have some old Shure headphones that are designed to be worn with the cable going OVER the top & down the back of my ears, and put the cable down my back inside my shirt, and also clip the cable on the top of my collar. I honestly don’t know how ANYBODY runs with iPod earbuds. Wireless would be nice, though, other than having to make sure it’s charged every time you run.

    I’ve recently been working on my cadence, bringing it up from about 160ish to 180. I have an iPod shuffle loaded with 88-92 bpm songs, and I run to the beat sometimes. I’ve found if I run at a 180ish cadence (which my footpod displays on my Garmin), I can’t help but run a bit faster, due to my height. I really recommend trying it, if you haven’t — the faster cadence/shorter stride is better for your legs/feet/knees/etc., and keeping the beat will keep you going. You might want to try that for the last 5k, maybe. When I get tired, it’s harder to keep the cadence.

    • Very good idea. It has been noted in the past that I possibly overstride, which is counter productive on all fronts but particularly when you are attempting to run fast. Good points, thanks for the input!

    • So glad that at least somebody got “my” 1:50 last year as I was laying in bed puking my guts out (flu hit me on SAT night at 8pm) the night/morning of the Palos race. 🙂

  6. TTF….don’t fret you know how to run the half…just gotta run it strategically…just like the marathon…but ya can push the gray-area or red-zone in the half (i.e. >90% HRmax), but not the full marathon. The principles are still the same…start out comparatively slow to warm-up the first mile (unless you doing warm-up run and stride-outs prior to race start), then segue into that comfortably hard pace and hold it as best ya can until the last 5k, when you may want to test the waters with some “surges” of noticeably faster pace. Depending on how that goes, you run each mile ca 5-10s faster than goal half pace, and the last 0.1 all-out. You can do that! You train for a fast finish…right?

    Second, there are no “rules” to poetry, or prose as I prefer to call it. Doesn’t have to rhyme…just gotta have a flow. Pretty neat what you wrote….just not a big fan of the word “complete” and “goal” in prose. Maybe better words or phrase to capture the essence….keep working and edit it some more and submit it to Runner’s World!

    Do I listen to music when I run? Does a turtle have a shell? LOL! I use simple mini headphones, sometimes the Your Buds, but route the wire underneath the shirt I wear so no dangling wires to interfere with running or get snagged by your hands or arms. Usually the music I put on the playlist is similar to the tempo I have to run, or have to pick up if I have the tunes timed correctly.

    I select tunes and set-up my playlist (and train special routines or workouts to it) to accomplish specific objectives. So…if objective is to keep pace easy first mile to warm-up and wait for the physiology to catch-up and conserve glycogen metabolism, then I start with Bo-Deans, “Go Slow Down.” At the point I need to segue into goal race pace, it’s AC-DC’s “Go Zone.” And…when I need to kick-it-in….like when I hit the Newton Hills mile 17 in Boston….it’s George Thorogood’s, “Gear Jammer.” Catching on?

    Not running Palos Half, but maybe I bring my bike and ride along and help pace and advise? But if you think that won’t be of great help, maybe I just ride my bike along the course and be the “First Aid St. Bernard” on bike?

    A half-marathon you should be able to kick-ass in cause it is only half-marathon distance! You ran marathons before and know how tough they are. So…you only have to run half as far and you don’t necessarily have to worry about running out of glycogen, so run like the wind…effortlessly….then add some speed!

    • If you wanna come out and bring you bike, I know that many people would appreciate that. I ran for a bit with a guy who rode his bike in 2010 and it was nice.

      As for this race being easy b/c it’s not a marathon, that isn’t the case for me. I’m good til about 15K, then it’s a struggle. The marathon distance is only something I do for “fun”, I can’t say that I ever really compete in it, just focus on the finish line, one mile at a time.

  7. My goal for Palos is about 1:50-1:55. I was happy with the Chi-Town half (1:59:32) but I think I could get a better time by running a more consistent race. I’m sure you will meet your goal, you’ve been training so hard and your body will be prepared. Maybe we can keep each other motivated during the race? I haven’t run a race with my iPod since the Marathon. I keep forgetting to bring it because it is never a priority. Although for Palos, I might. We’ll see when the time comes!! 🙂

      • Yes! Maybe in the beginning to start off consistently? I’d love it. I’m really looking forward to it and I think it is going to be a great race! 🙂

      • Sounds good. I am going to start close to 8 flat and see how that goes. It gives me a little wiggle room. It is going to be a great race! I have ran them all but 2 (preggo in 09 & got the flu the night before last year).

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