Friday, January 18, 2013

Naples Half Marathon Goal: Beat Paula Radcliffe's World Record?

A few people have asked me what my goal is for the Naples Half Marathon, and it's something I had put off deciding because there were so many data points to consider and I wanted to first see how my training was going.

A few of the facts I've been considering:

Favorite Fact Contemplated:
  • Paula Radcliffe's World Record for the full marathon is 2:15:25.  It would be great to beat that time just to say that for now, anyway, no woman could run TWO consecutive half marathons faster than I could complete one.

Facts in Favor of a Slower Goal Pace:
  • I slowed down quite a bit with the 2011 NYC Marathon - 11:29 / mi, and that, along with a crummy training cycle / too many late work nights, carried over to the 2012 Brooklyn Half, which I walked during and completed in 11:08 / mi.  That was my last race.
  • You like to hope you get a little help from the exhilaration of race day and having family to cheer you on!
  • After each of my 10 milers I had a terrible attempt at a long run where I wound up feeling exhausted and quitting around 6 miles [last weekend, too!]
  • Florida = the race could turn out to be hotter than the weather I've been training in
I seem to have brought cold weather with me to Florida - good for me!  Sorry sunbathers...
Facts in Favor of a Faster Goal Pace:
    • My best half marathon ever was the 2011 More Half Marathon with a time of 2:17:43 (or 10:30 / mile), but I had a major tummy issue in the middle and wound up in the porta-potty at mile 6 for quite a bit of time.  Also, the course was very hilly.
    • My 2 10 milers were a 10:12 pace and a 10:21 pace.  The 10:12 pace was probably a similar amount of flat course to the Naples Half, although it was mostly on the bridle trail in central park, which is probably a slower surface than asphalt, and the 10:21 was in the snow and probably had larger hills than the Naples Half will.
    • My dad's friend ran the Naples Half in 2:12:51 last year for a pace of 10:11 / mi [granted he's a much better runner than me with some very fast times under his belt in past years, but he's also in the 65 - 69 age group]
    All in all, if you've been following my posts on the "TT's Training Log" link, you see that it's been a disappointing training cycle.  Both 10 mi training runs I did were such a success that I was really starting to get high hopes for this race.  But somehow, despite the confidence from those runs, I seemed to crash and burn in all my other training runs.  I can't tell how much of it is mental - and definitely part of it is where I've just told myself "I don't want to keep going, I want to go home" and how much of it is physical.

    On the physical side, my legs have been feeling like they've been pushed to their upper limits after easy 3 mile jogs lately and yet after both 10 milers they felt totally fine.  I'm starting to wonder if it's related to the Low Fodmap diet I started after New Year's for my stomach troubles.  On the plus side, my stomach has been noticeably less irritable and I feel more energized, but it's extremely difficult to find enough food to really fill up while traveling all week long and as a result, I've lost nearly 8 pounds since I started in on January 3rd.  Maybe I need to seriously eat my face off the next few days to get some fuel into my muscles for the race?

    In any event, I'd say that this training has been all over the place at best. If you had asked me to set goals about 3 weeks ago I probably would have said:
    • A Goal: Beat my dad's friend's time [for bragging rights, and also to be able to say that someone nearly 3x my age didn't beat, although...who am I kidding?  Every age group in the NYC Marathon had someone who beat last year, all the way through age 79.  I think I might have beat the winner of the 80+ age group.  Ha!]
    • B Goal: Beat Paula Radcliffe's Marathon World Record time
    • C Goal: Beat previous Half Marathon best time
    Given the new struggles, though, I think my best bet and new goal is to finish the race without walking, and to not stress myself out, but rather just enjoy being in a beautiful town and with my family.  And, as my boss sweetly pointed out, "Hey, if you have to stop and walk part of it - there's no shame in that.  It's been a long time since I've walked 13 miles!"  Good point, boss.

    Wish me luck below - or suggest some good motivation to keep me running through the finish - or a good song for the playlist!


    1. man you really broke this down. stomach issues during a race is terrible and my worst fear. it can totally take me out of a race

    2. Good luck! And no matter when you finish, crossing that finish line is still an amazing feeling, which you already know. The stomach issues, stink I've dealt with those before. Good luck!