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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Saratoga Palio Half Race Recap

"Nearly all runners know the voice in their heads that tells them to back off when the going gets tough. Part of training is to help you get better with ignoring this voice  and continuing to push even though the voice gets louder and louder as you get more and more fatigued.  Don't hope the race feels easy.  Expect it to be hard and know that you're going to have to repeatedly challenge yourself to ignore the voice in your head that wants you to slow down."

This past weekend, a whole bunch of the Nark Running Strategies gang ran the Palio Half Marathon and 5k in Saratoga Springs, NY.  I want to say there were somewhere around 30 PR's.  Yup. THRITY. THREE-ZERO!  I think almost all of us were pretty nervous/anxious going into this because it was a goal race (not THE goal race) but a race where we could see our training really start to pay off.  I was extremely nervous.  With the marathon just 3 weeks away, I wanted to feel confident in my running.  
Gangs (mostly) all here!

I headed to Power House Athletics (new home to Nark Running and Strength!) Saturday morning to "workout", but mostly just zoned out and talked to our coach about our race strategies (simultaneously)

It made me more nervous thinking about the race, so talking about it didn't really help at the time, but after the fact, it really did.  My previous half marathon PR was 1:40:47 (7:42 pace) from the NYC Half this past March.  I was definitely worrying way to much about pace  and thinking how the heck I  would be able to run faster than that.  My goal time was sub 1:40 for this race, but more specifically 1:39:33-1:39:00, which is around a 7;35 pace.  I kept myself busy Saturday so I wouldn't have to think about it too much.  I laid out my race outfit the night before and I was in bed and asleep by 9:30.  #wildSaturdaynight

I woke up Sunday around 5:30, had a piece of toast with peanut butter, took a bottle of Crank Sports e-fuel with me in the car and we were on the road by 6am.  We got to the race a little before 7 and I met up the NRS gang.  We did a 2ish mile warm-up to the start and did some striders.  Colleen and I decide to stick together for as long as possible to keep each other on track and to not go out to fast.  The course had a few hills, a decent hill coming into the park right after mile 8, one big climb at mile 9 (cruel), a steep incline at mile 12.9 (seriously!?), 37 turns and lots of different running surfaces.  Coach told us all to "warm-up" until mile 8.  I kept my watch on the lap screen so I could just focus on each mile.  Colleen and I worked awesome together for those first 8 miles. (7:44, 7:30, 7:37, 7:29, 7:30, 7:20, 7:31, 7:16)

My legs started moving at good clip going up the hill at mile 8, but I tried to hold back a little since I knew there was another big hill at mile 9 (7:27).  Once I got up the hill, it took me about a mile to "recover" (mile 10, 7:33) I was feeling really awesome after that and just kind of let my legs do the running for the rest of the race. Mile 11 (7:26) had a sharp turn and change from pavement to gravel and into a narrower section of the course.   I had read a blog post from my girl Stephanie  about a half she ran back in March.  "I love photos of me racing where you can see I’m CLEARLY working for my pace. Who wants to see a smiley photo of someone trotting? I want to see BLOOD, SWEAT AND TEARS!"
I just kept repeating BLOOD SWEAT AND TEARS in my head.  Thanks girl!

The last 2 miles were a blur. (mile 12 & 13--7:06, 6:57) My go-to mantra is "relentless forward motion" and it always gets me moving faster to that finish line!!! 

Final time- 1:37:30--7:24 average pace-- a 3 minute and 37 second PR & 8 minutes faster than last years race--
4th female in my AG and 16th female overall.
Nearly 2,000 people participated in the half and 5k!
I took half a crank gel at mile 5.5 and the other at mile 10.  I alternated between water and gatorade at most water stops.
Just after crossing the finish line! Allison PR'd with a 1:32:43 and was 6th female overall and 1st in our AG! Girls a rockstar!!!
BEST FANS IN THE WORLD! My husband and my mom!!

I really have to send a big shout-out to my coach, Mat.  He is definitely the reason I (and our team) had freaking awesome performances at this race.  He puts the plan in place and we just let the magic happen.  He believes in each and every single one of us, even when doubt starts to creep in and we're not sure if our goals are attainable. He believes that they are. He followed alllll of us around on a bike during the race to keep us pushing towards our goal.  Hiring him as my coach was absolutely the best decision I could have made for my running.  Thanks Mat!

Our day wasn't over with yet and most of us still needed to add some miles to get to our prescribed 20 miles for the day.  The last 5 miles were a little painful!   I finished the morning with just over 20 miles at and 8:03 pace.   I was riding high for the rest of the day!  Mainly naps and eating occurred (I was SO exhausted and hungry). I was super super happy with my performance and it really gave me the confidence boost I needed into these last few weeks of training for Chicago.   

I really love my running group.  They are some of the absolute greatest people and there is never a moment where someone isn't encouraging you or cheering you on.  Great job team!! You all pulled out some freaking rockstar performances and I'm super proud to be part of this group! A big thanks to Mike, Jess and my mom for snapping some AWESOME pictures during the race!! 
Fast lady friends!!!

And unrelated to this-- I had some pretty awesome shoutouts last week!  
Then, I was tagged in a post that my picture is on this months Stridebox
and then my pictures were re-posted here , here annnnnd here 
So, last week was my 15 minutes of fame:)  Thanks for the shout out!!

Hope everyone is feeling good and ready to race in the next few weeks!!  I'm rooting for you!! A special shoutout to Jenny K (@jkitch314) who's running the Berlin Marathon this weekend!!! Super excited for you!! You are going to FLY! 

Happy running my friends!!!
xoxo