A few months ago I had lofty PR goals for the Shamrock Half, but training this winter was certainly not good enough for that. I knew headed into the weekend that around 1:50 was probably realistic.
And then as I watched the forecast unfold last week, it got worse and worse for Sunday. The reality sank is as I stood in the cold rain and wind with my friend Travis that this was definitely not a PR year. Instead it was all about having fun and pushing each other to sub 1:50.
As we kicked off a couple of slow miles in the wind and stinging rain, we were able to get settled into a comfortable pace as the weather got better. We hit mile times of 8:31, 8:39, 8:53 (with a bathroom stop), 8:08, 8:19 and 8:23 for the first half of the race.
Travis and I knew that if we wanted to hit 1:49:something, we had to have a little bit faster pace in the second half of the race.
While we waited for a tailwind to help, it never really happened. We just ran and pushed each other, pretty much unintentionally alternating who was a few steps in front of the other.
We hit mile times of 8:19, 8:31, 8:19, 8:15, 8:17 and 8:20. We hit 1.1 to go feeling like we could coast in, but we realized with a couple of tenths to go we had to really push to break 1:50.
Travis had more left than me, and when I hit stop on my watch it read 1:50:79. I knew that based on waiting to hit until after the line that I had to have broken 1:50.
My time ended up being 1:49:57. A whole 3 seconds to spare.
Comparing this race to last year, I had an amazing improvement. My 10K split was virtually the same, but my overall time was nearly 6 minutes faster.
That said, I'm still 9 minutes of my PR and 10 minutes off my big sub 1:40 goal.
I highly doubt next year will be Shamrock No. 10, so I have to rethink how to go for this goal or focus on something else right now.
I'm happy with Sunday's race and where I've come since my lowest point ever, but this process is long and never ending.
I know I have to work harder physically and continue to do what's worked mentally.