I signed up for the Des Moines Half Marathon last Sunday, a week prior, after receiving a favorable report about the weather. I realized afterwards I’ve done so much pacing lately that I may not have been truly in shape to compete, but it was too late. I booked a hotel near the start of the race while Sonja asked her parents to watch the kids, which they agreed to. The two hour drive was no obstacle. If only all vacation planning went so smoothly.
Not having trained to compete, I tried to set a reasonable goal for myself in the race. I typically set three goals for myself, and “A” goal, a “B” goal, and a “C” goal. My “C” goal is typically to finish, and my “A” goal is typically a time . I’ve been attempting to PR for seven years now, my last one coming in 2011, so I don’t often set that goal. Yesterday, with terrific weather however, I set my “A” goal as a Personal Record and my “B” goal as 1:50:00.
When the race began, I lined up with the 1:50:00 pacer. It took me two miles of running low 8:00’s to realize he had no idea what he was doing or how to do it, but he’d given me way too fast of a start so I decided to take advantage of it and I took off running. My next several miles were all sub-8:00, in the 7:40 range, which is a very fast mile for me. After miles three, four, five, six, and seven, I kept thinking to myself: if only I could run an entire race at this speed I’d PR today. Then at mile eight, with merely five to go, I thought to myself: maybe I can.
The last two miles were excruciating, my quads and hamstrings beginning to lock down, but I fought through it. When I crossed the finish line, I was pretty sure I’d done it, but wanted to check and be sure. I got my official PR from the scorers table, a 1:43:18, and was sure that had to be my new record — I though my old one was a 1:44:48, but couldn’t recall for certain. I knew my PR time was on my phone back at the hotel, and I didn’t want to celebrate prematurely. I headed back to the hotel, shuffling slowly, to find out.
I got to the hotel, chatted with Sonja for a short minute, and grabbed my phone to look. I was gobsmacked. I had thought my PR was a 1:44:48 from the 2011 Omaha Marathon. Turns out, it was from the 2011 Omaha Marathon, but it was a 1:48:44. I knew that if I had realized this while I ran today, I’d never have run the time I did. Thinking I had to beat 1:44:48 made me force myself to move faster than I ever could have otherwise. Sometimes, it’s sort of nice to be tricked. It helped me shatter my PR by more than five minutes, and turn my “A” goal into an “A+” goal.
Back at home, Sonja and I shared Champagne to celebrate while we watched the first half of the Chiefs game. Champagne Lacourte Godbillon is a Premier Cru that I think drinks well above its price point. A rich darkness attributable to being 85% Pinot Noir, the other 15% Chardonnay, of course, it has relaxed bubbles and a definitive tartness to it, green apple being undeniable with some subtle notes of bead or brie below. 12% ABV, it drinks nicely, and paired well with celebrating my PR, the Husker win, and soon after, the Chiefs victory. Now, let’s hope all this winning carries over to my fantasy team after Monday Night Football!
Cheers to reaching goals you didn’t even realize you had,