We’re just about a week out of the Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans half marathon, and it’s fair to say my perspective on this race has changed. A year ago, this race was my first half marathon, and my finish represented a triumph over a nagging IT band injury and the completion of something I’d wanted to do for years.
Now, RnR will be my fourth half, and while I’ve made strides (pun so intended) as a newer distance runner, my goal this year will be much the same. I’m running to finish, to enjoy the course, to enjoy my final half marathon experience of the season. It’ll be the first race I’ve ever run strictly for fun, so I’m looking forward to that. It’s the perfect way to cap the triple crown of half marathons I’ve run since October, or at least I think so.
So, you might be wondering, what happened to my time goal? In short, you know about the back injury I suffered following the Louisiana Marathon half, the chest cold I couldn’t shake, and then the fact that I’ve allowed myself more social time, including a particularly fun Mardi Gras this year that sort of got in the way of training. (At least I kept the king cake to an absolute minimum.) Once I started training with my new paces, I realized I’d lost a bit of fitness due to illness and injury, and that I simply need more than five weeks to get comfortable training almost a minute faster per mile on every run. I should have anticipated that that would be a reach.
In addition, my last half took a lot out of me mentally. Getting motivated has been difficult. The act of running itself has been a little difficult, too. My dad reminded me that as a swimmer, I always had a break after a championship meet, and that it made sense to feel tired and burned out a little after training hard for so long.
I’ll defer the 2:02 PR goal to the fall, and might reach for a sub-2:00 half marathon at the Jazz Half again in October if my training over the summer goes well.