Reflecting on A1A Half Marathon Weekend

Back in February 2013 I finished my first 5K and in February 2016 I finished my NINTH half marathon in the city that I love.

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Growing up I disliked running so much that it’s sometimes hard to believe this is really my life!

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The A1A Half Marathon didn’t turn out to be my PR race of the season. I won’t have a PR race anytime soon and it was actually in the middle of this race that I truly came to terms with it. Although I’ve blogged before about being okay with not PRing this season I think those words were more about trying to convince myself that it was true rather than being actually true.

Each half marathon I’ve run in the last few months has turned into a disaster during the last few miles. I think part of the reason behind that is somewhere along the way I always drop a few miles in the 13-minute per mile range even though that’s not my long run pace right now. (I just want it to be because last season 13 minutes per mile felt great.)

During mile one of yesterday’s race I told myself that I wouldn’t be dragging myself across the finish this time. I wouldn’t finish with a positive split. Instead I made it my mission to run/walk consistent splits and finish A1A feeling strong. No more kidding myself about being able to run the paces I ran last year.

It’s been hard to accept I’m behind in my training because so many other run bloggers come back from injury really fast and seem to pick up right where they left off. We’re all different people though and I don’t have many years of running behind me to fall back on. I’ll get back on track, maybe it’ll take a few more months, but I’ll get there and it will be really rewarding when I do.

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Although finishing A1A with a slow run/walk pace was extremely humbling, mentally I just really needed to cross the finish line feeling like I can do this distance and still feel good about it. So that’s what I did. Avg. pace 15:11/min and every split was basically within 15 seconds of each other.

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I have one more race this season and then I’ll close the chapter on 2015-2016. I’m looking forward to having a much stronger 2016-2017, getting back into racing form, going after PR’s and finishing with times I am proud of. But all of that is still one month away because I have to run the Miami Beach Half first.

 

While I haven’t had a PR worthy season, I have pushed my boundaries in other ways. I have run six races over the last five months, and the last four have all been half marathons. I’m going to complete the Florida Storm Series which is something I’ve wanted to do for the last two years. I’ve also traveled to new places for races and made new friends. Those are all things I can look back on and be happy about. I feel like I’ve blogged about all of this before, but I really need to keep reminding myself of it all so I apologize for being redundant!

Speaking of friends, over the weekend I got to meet Kerry for the first time! We had lunch with Ali on Saturday and debated the pros and cons of Ali upgrading her race entry from the half marathon to the full marathon.

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You’ll have to read Ali’s blog for the full story, but let’s just say she had an AMAZING day at A1A!

My friend Claire also had an amazing day! She shaved 20 minutes off of her marathon PR and broke 5 hours for the first time! She is amazing. This season Claire ran the NYC Marathon, Miami Marathon and the A1A Marathon. How anyone can mentally prepare themselves to run three marathons so close together is mind boggling to me! She said during a race she just reminds herself that after giving birth naturally she can withstand anything! haha

Ah, the finish line of the marathon is the most emotional place in the world. I cried for strangers, I cried seeing my friends PR, I cried because they played Alanis Morrisette songs!

I love everything about the running community.

As I said on Instagram yesterday, this racing season hasn’t gone according to plan. I haven’t even come close to PRing but it has occurred to me that I run just because I love it.

PRing is important to show progress but not PRing isn’t terrible. Just being out there with other runners, feeling the breeze and remembering a time when I thought one mile was relaly freaking long makes it all worth it. PRing is just the icing on the cake when it happens.

 

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What a life!

Did you race this weekend? How did it go?!
How was your Valentine’s Day??

23 comments

  1. Megan @ Meg Go Run

    I am glad you had a great weekend and finished strong! All your thoughts about PRing/Not PRing and bouncing back after injury are important things for us all to read. I have to be very careful about not comparing myself to other people as far as things like what kind of training I can handle, etc. I wish I could have been there at the finish line with you!
    Megan @ Meg Go Run recently posted…Weekend Wrap Up!My Profile

    1. Kristina

      Thank you! I wish you were there too. I think you would really enjoy this course, just for future reference 😉 Claire ran it for the first time yesterday and said that the race organizers need to do more to promote it because it’s such a beautiful course! That made me feel like a proud mama haha.

      1. Megan @ Meg Go Run

        I would like to go to Fort Lauderdale!
        Megan @ Meg Go Run recently posted…A post that has been hanging in my draft folder…My Profile

  2. Heather @ GirlGoesRunning

    Congratulations on your race Kristina!!! That looks like a great race and I’m still drooling over the medal. 🙂

    I had a very similar year to you in 2014: Not pr’ing but running more races than I probably should have actually. The following year was great because I focused more on training and less races. Plus it helped that I didn’t get injured!!! LOL (Unlike the start of 2016).

    I think Next year, will be your year!
    Heather @ GirlGoesRunning recently posted…Happy V-Day!My Profile

    1. Kristina

      I don’t love the big fish right in the middle of the medal but I love the sand dollar and the sea turtle locket!

      Hearing your story is just what I needed today. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Kerry

    Congrats Kristina!!! You did awesome yesterday. PRing is not everything and not PRing makes it all that much more special when you do. I’m so glad that I got to meet you. Hopefully I’ll see you again at Chicago.
    Kerry recently posted…Colfax Week 5: Racing, Fun, and Travel!!My Profile

    1. Kristina

      Thank you! And thank you for hanging around until I finished!!! Definitely looking forward to seeing you in Chicago!

  4. Heather

    Congrats Kristina! Not PRing can be so frustrating. It’s inspiring how positive you’ve remained throughout this season. I feel like I got lucky in that my worst injury came at the end of my race season, so after missing my last scheduled race I had a solid 5+ months to rebuild before my next goal race. Your injury came pretty much at the start of your race season. Even though you have had time to recover, you have still be racing through your rebuild period.
    Heather recently posted…5k Training: Week 2My Profile

    1. Kristina

      “A solid five months” … thank you for the reminder! It can be so easy to fall into the trap of thinking “everyone bounces back so fast except me.”

  5. Lisa @ Running Out Of Wine

    I love that you have been able to shift to such a positive mindset about this! It can be frustrating to feel like you are stuck in a rut and not making progress, but you are out there and running all these awesome races and having fun! I went 3 years without PRing in the half, so I know it can be frustrating. I hope you can enjoy your next half and then you get a nice little break from racing. Congrats on your race!
    Lisa @ Running Out Of Wine recently posted…Weekly Recap and Zooma Run Love 10kMy Profile

    1. Kristina

      Thanks Lisa! I have to admit I am looking forward to taking a break from racing. I am excited to put 100% focus into training and rebuilding my stamina before starting to train for Chicago!

  6. Hanna @ TheMillennialNextDoor

    Great job Kristina! I just want to say that I totally know how you feel. This is exactly what my fall racing season was like, and it was especially hard because I was the only one going through it while everyone else was running marathons and knocking out PRs and in great shape from all their summer training. But it was all worth it in the end, because I’m in a great place now, and that wouldn’t be possible without a slow season to rebound from. I’m sure you, too, will get there soon!

    I think this is part of the process of us starting to mature as runners. Eventually you realize that they can’t all be PRs, you can’t be in peak form all year long, and if you don’t learn to relax and just run for the love of it, you may jeopardize your chance of being a runner for life. The reality is that things just don’t go according to plan sometimes, and I can see that we are all starting to get better at embracing that. It takes some time to internalize it, and it can be a rocky road, but that personal growth is part of what makes being a runner so special.
    Hanna @ TheMillennialNextDoor recently posted…Pittsburgh Marathon Training: Week 8My Profile

  7. Hollie

    I run a lot of races so I completley relate to this. I worked my butt off for 8 months and couldn’t get to my PR at all. It felt like I was working and working and every moment I was close something got in the way. I’m really glad to hear you had such a great time.
    Hollie recently posted…Why I love Valentines DayMy Profile

  8. Helly

    There’s so much about this post I love. You are so right about PRing. It’s great and all, but it does not determine whether or not a race was successful.

    Coming back from injury is sometimes as hard as the injury itself. You want to come back strong, like you were before or at some point in your running life, but that’s just not how it goes. Taking almost 2 months off of running for me was SO HARD but I think that’s what I needed. I was running race after race, each one trying to run fast. I burnt out.

    Like you, I’m just having fun right now and if PR’s happen, they happen (they did unexpectedly this weekend) but I’m not going to be bummed if I don’t. I’m just SO happy to be running again. I have a good feeling your next season will surprise you! <3
    Helly recently posted…FroYo 10k Recap (PR!!)My Profile

  9. Cocomama

    I also hated running when I was a kid, but that’s because when we’re younger, running only means running fast. There’s no merit in distance. And since I wasn’t fast–I could never catch any body in tag or hide and seek–I hated all things involving running.

    It kind of feels the same now when everyone in blogland has super fast times or bounces back from injuries in no time at all. If I take a week off of running, it takes me months to get it back. I love your perspective though, and I’m right there with you! We’ll get there, at our own pace, and it’ll be that much sweeter when we do!
    Cocomama recently posted…Setting the Bar LowMy Profile

  10. LeAnne@thisismyfaster

    Congrats on your finish! Even though it wasn’t the race you wanted it’s still a race to be proud of 🙂
    LeAnne@thisismyfaster recently posted…Something Old & New, Something Borrowed & Blue: The 2016 Publix A1A Half Marathon {Race Recap}My Profile

  11. Ali @ Hit the Ground Running

    I love this post. I haven’t had PRs in a long, long time. For awhile, as we grow as new runners, PRs are almost easy to rack up. But then it gets harder, and our form and distances change, and we have to adjust our mindsets and our expectations.

    I love that you used this race to truly come to terms with your season and your goals. You ran a smart race and you were consistent. I think beyond anything else, it shows how much you’ve grown as a runner. I am so glad that this race, on your home turf, gave you a sense of closure like this. That’s invaluable.

    It was awesome to see you again! I wore the 26.2 shirt to brunch. It’s my first piece of marathon gear, believe it or not! You’re too sweet for thinking of me 🙂 I hope we get to see each other again soon!
    Ali @ Hit the Ground Running recently posted…The Oldest I’ve Been & the Youngest I’ll Ever Be AgainMy Profile

  12. Running schlub

    Always enjoy the heart felt posts. That’s why I always swing by. I love the running community as well and the best part is the finish line. I get emotional seeing all the amazing journeys that are out on the course. Always helps me remember there is so much more than medals and pr’s to this amazing sport.
    Running schlub recently posted…Making Smart ChoicesMy Profile

  13. Karen

    Congrats on another half completed! That is great you are completing the series. Looks like you had beautiful race weather – pretty puffy clouds. I have always fallen back on run/walk intervals when I need to for race, and it is a great way to stay feeling and healthy, no need top push ourselves and feel like death when we cross the line!
    I will not be bouncing back from my current injury, it is actually a permanent injury…so I have no idea what kind of runner I will be when I can return. One day at a time 🙂

  14. Jennifer

    Congrats on wrapping another season! I’m glad you were able to meet your goal of consistent splits to the finish. I completely understood how you felt this season – 2013-2014 rocked for me, 2014-2015 meh so so. I probably set myself up for disappointment by comparing the years. This winter I’m working on getting my confidence back up and getting that mileage in (boy I got out of shape quickly haha). I’m so glad you were able to watch Claire, Ali and other marathoners finish – always a nice way to light my own fire. PS – ummm Claires marathon trifecta..amazing! PPS – that medal looks awesome.
    Jennifer recently posted…Gate River Run 15K Training Week 2 – 1/4-1/10My Profile

  15. Jade

    You still finished and enjoyed so that’s what makes it count right? I know how you feel, I have stopped running recently as I just can’t go as fast as I once could after having my kids and it is so frustrating how hard it is! I compare myself to a lot of online ladies who just seem to zip back and I have actually distanced myself from reading most of this blogs. I’d also remind that some really don’t paint an honest picture, maybe it seems like they are back, but some go right back into injury as they weren’t actually healed in the first place. You will get there!

  16. Lizzy

    That medal, wow!

    Recovering from injuries is so frustrating. You’ll get there in time. I don’t think I’ve ever written much about it, but when I was sidelined with bad ITBS it took months to recover completely. I think I went 3 months with no running at all and then started from scratch with couch to 5k (after having trained for a full marathon!). It felt awful. I felt like a phony, I felt embarrassed at how slow I was. But I eventually got through it. Most importantly, I got through it in a smart way that has meant my IT band really hasn’t bothered me since.

    You’ll get there as well! Hang in there!
    Lizzy recently posted…Training Tuesday – LA Marathon week 11 + 12My Profile

  17. Jenn @ Dashing in Style

    Kudos for running so many HMs in such a short time! Remembering that you run because you love it and not to get a PR is an accomplishment in itself. Congrats! And your hair is adorbs!
    Jenn @ Dashing in Style recently posted…JASR Half Marathon Training: Week 11My Profile

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