Today was AFC half marathon...which was an interesting endeavor on many fronts. But the quick and the dirty: 1:56...My 2nd fastest half marathon to date and only 2 mins off my PR at La Jolla. Not too bad for a girl who a week ago thought that her body was being inhabited by an very unfit alien.
Up until Tuesday of this week I was WORRIED about what might happen at AFC since I was a month out from having raced Vineman 70.3. I had spent the previous weekend sleeping, sleeping, attempting to learn to surf, and sleeping some more. Come monday I still had a bad case of malaise, but by tuesday my running didn't look too bad and by thursday I knew it wasn't going to be horrible...it just might hurt a bit.
Since I was showing signs of anxiety about the race, I equally attempted to mitigate some of my fears and tried to figure out ways to just let the race unfold and be in each moment. Since Vineman I've been reading a lot of articles on heart rate monitors and are they useful or not useful? How much information really am I getting from them? What IS it really telling me since HR can vary by as much as 10-20bpm from day to day and then...the impact of weather? And.... don't I know my body well enough to know when it's super easy(walking), easy (aerobic zone), harder (LT zone) and very hard (AT zone) and very very very hard (VO2max)? Actually from all the time trials I did this season and all the times I tracked my HR...i know precisely what these zone are without really needing to look at a watch to tell me this...so it got me thinking...
And then...i've been re-looking at my vineman data and well...what I find curious is the second half of the bike...my HR dropped and my speed went from 18.4 mph to 18.3mph. Not really much of a change in speed for my HR drop. And as it was, i was operating 10bpm lower than that infamous 'zone' that I knew I could be in. The reason why i backed off? I got nervous about the half marathon. So as it was the HR was not telling me anything except I could go faster...but my body was saying: i'm not sure if you push us harder i will support that half mary the way you want. Are you sure you want to go harder?
So I listened to my body and i backed off...and I made the right choice. And...As it was for the half marathon...i had no HR data since when my the HR strap has too much water on it, it doesn't read correctly...and since I kept putting ice down my jersey and dumping water on me...my HR kept reading 98bpm. Hahahaha. So really...off my Garmin the pace was helpful, but I didn't actually use that HR portion of the Garmin for much of anything at Vineman.
Back to AFC...i decided to do an experiment, let's strip it down further...no continual pace and distance...no Garmin/HRM, only my little watch with splits. Just breathe in, breathe out...feel the body...feel where it can push faster...feel when I need to pull back...relax, focus on the foot falls, body position, the breathing the relaxing.
And know what...it was a very relaxing and enjoyable race. It actually went by quite quickly mentally and turned into a great race by just being able to be in the moment.
Breathe in...breathe out