I just received my bib for the Peachtree Road Race 10k in the mail, and I’m in the seeded wave. This is something new to me. I’ve always been active, but I didn’t really run races until around 2013 when I finished my first marathon (3:45), and I had to work really hard (3 marathons) to finally BQ for entry into the 2016 Boston. I ran my first 50k in November of 2014, then ran a 50 miler in January of 2015. These were not fast races for me, but it was a great introduction to trails and the lovely trail community. And then I got pregnant, and running took on a whole new meaning as a little human grew in my belly.
Fast forward to postpartum running, and I was pleasantly surprised to have come back faster. This wasn’t without effort, as I painstakingly ran through pregnancy and kept up a pretty tight strength routine. I also think that pregnancy, delivery, and the whole process of keeping a baby alive gives a certain resolve that must be earned. I can do hard things. And I don’t take running for granted after what essentially feels like a year of injury as a pregnant runner.
My paces went from about an 8 minute mile to about a 7:30 minute mile. I trained for Boston, and ran a 3:24 at 6 months postpartum, which was a PR of about 5 minutes. Things were definitely more speedy, but nothing like the speed that I would develop in less than a year after I hired a coach.
I signed up for my first 100 mile race shortly after Cadence was born, and decided to hire a coach since this was totally new territory for me, and as a postpartum momma, I wanted to make sure to do things right for my body. My coach is a total badass and she has a little girl too. A big part of my training is interval workouts. I had never (never) run intervals before hiring Michele. It turns out that speed work makes you fast.
I hear so many other fast runners who talk about their high school and college experiences running cross country or track with a coach who pushed them. I missed that somewhere along the way, but I’m so thankful to have a coach now who has shown me my potential.
I ran my 100 mile race in September of 2016, and I had an amazing experience and kind of accidentally placed 2nd female. Then I set a goal for a sub 3 hour marathon in January of 2017 and surprised myself by hitting the goal in 2:58. I have runs where I feel so slow and can’t believe that I could ever sustain that marathon pace, but then sometimes I get ambitious and want to keep getting faster.
My next big race is the San Francisco Marathon on July 23rd. I get to start as an elite runner because of my 2:58 marathon time, which just blows my mind. I would never have dreamed that my mid-pack legs would line up with the elites. It’s been really fun (and a lot of work) to see how fast I can get. As long as I am still enjoying the process and have the support of my sweet husband, I’ll keep chasing goals. For anyone else who has dreams to get faster, keep pushing! You never know what your legs can do until you give it a shot.
Have you ever surprised yourself in a race with a faster finish than you expected?