That’s me at the finish line at the Love Run 2015.  I got my PR in the Half Marathon that day with a 1:46:24

That was my best time.

I had the worst time with that race.

The Love Run was tough.  The inaugural Love Run was in 2014, and I ran it.  It rained that day and I lost a toenail squishing through rain puddles and wet shoes.  I learned another hard truth that day.  Corral running may be better than I thought!

I used to get frustrated with corral running.  I wanted to be in a faster corral all the time.  Some fellow runners I know love to get the last corral and then work on passing everyone to get to the front  That kind of running drives me nuts!  There are so many times I put an honest to gosh estimated finish time when I sign up for a race.  On race day, I get in my corral and try to work to the front of it. It seems no matter how hard I try, I always get stuck behind one or two people that start to walk in the first mile of the race.  And that is the time of race where there is no room to move.  I get frustrated.

So the Love Run has 10,000 runners and does not have corrals at the start.  (At least not the first 2 years.  I had to take this year off because of the spur).  You are to find your pace per mile sign and go stand near it at the start.  The first year, I said, “I will probably finish this with a PPM of 8:30” so that is where I stood.  And sure enough, within the first mile I got stuck behind walkers.

The second year, I just went right to the front.  I thought that no matter where I stood, people were not truthful about their estimated finish times and that I would be stuck behind walkers.  It was so cold that day.  My feet felt frozen while waiting for the race to start.  The feeling didn’t come back in my toes until mile 2.  Besides my feet being frozen, I just felt bad.

As I was running I was focusing on my form, my breathing, my steps.  I felt drained early.  At mile 4 I was so focused on my run – I couldn’t believe I was being passed by 3 women talking about one of their sons birthday party’s that coming weekend.  How could they talk like that?  And pass me!  That is another thing – I felt like I got passed a lot.  That mentally was beating me up!  It wasn’t until I got to the 10K clock that I saw my time at 49 minutes.  I did the math and realized -I was going way faster than I normally do!  That is why I felt so bad!

So I gave myself some leniency then.  But overall, my goal to that point was to run a half under 1:50.  I tried to calculate a pace that wouldn’t kill me as much and still bring me in at 1:49 or under.  And I did!  I couldn’t believe it when I saw 1:46 at the finish line.  But my body felt ROCKED.  At that moment I figured out I had erred at the start line.  I was carried by the pace of the people in the front.  I was able to carry it to an extent, but it didn’t feel good.  I got my PR, but….would I do it again?

The heel spur has stopped me from racing the half, so I haven’t had a chance to answer this question.  My half split in the last marathon I ran was 1:56.  It was a steady pace, but not a half marathon race pace for me.  My next half is the Rock N Roll in less than 3 months.  Hmmmm…..

So, do you push yourself?  Go for the time you are capable of, but with A LOT of discomfort?  Or do you go for your regular time, hopefully just a bit better?  I’m confused as well as I am coming off an injury, or actually, learning to run with my new spur.  So I have no idea what to expect.  But it is making my training interesting!

So tell me – what do you do?