2 weeks ago I ran the PF Chang’s Rock n' Roll "we're gonna make you pay big bucks to run a race even though we are heavily sponsored" half marathon in Phoenix. The weather was amazing, the course was flat and fast, and I had a fantastic cheering section. I ran just under 1:10.
I felt remarkable. I started grinning ear to ear as I passed through the water station at mile 9. The scene intrigued me: this small town band trying to make a name for itself playing popular 70’s music, these bored volunteers handing out refreshments to weary runners, brainwashed high school cheerleaders dancing to pop music, and my awareness of everything that was happening. It felt artificial. I wanted to make light of the situation so I began rapidly raising my right hand up and down knowing that they would cheer louder for me and in turn get my adrenaline going to finish strong. This whole ordeal made me laugh.
I passed through mile 10 in 54:10. The quick math made me realize that I would have to run a fast 5k, sub 15:50, to finish under 1:10:00. I picked up the pace a bit and came through mile 11 at 5:11 gaining confidence as I blew by a few guys. Hmmm. I finished the last two miles in less than 10 minutes and the rest is history. I felt great and finished a happy man even though the 36 year-old American record holder Deena Kastor, a girl, beat me haha.
I had one of those days where you feel like you can run forever and wonder how much faster you could go. I don't know how or why or when they come, but it happens if you run enough races. I can speculate that a combination of the following led to a good day:
I did very little speed work which resulted in fresh legs
- I was extremely consistent in my running
- I ran a barrage of mountain races at altitude over the fall.
- The race day atmosphere was incredible
- My mom and brother were on hand as well as family friends so I felt obligated to run fast
- I was relaxed and had fun