Gary Bjorklund 1/2 Marathon: 1:24.34

I knew this wasn't going to be my best race. Despite how my legs felt and how inconsistent my training has been, though, it went OK. I finished 16th, which was 3 spots higher than I was seeded to finish (they post the personal bests for the elite runners). Two of those three happened to be two of my Run N Fun teammates. I passed one of them at the 5 mile mark and one at the 9 mile mark. Both looked like they were really struggling.

The heat affected a lot of people, including me. I've never been a good racer in the heat. I don't sweat very much, so I tend to overheat easily. Luckily there were ample water stops where I'd take a cup and dump it over my head, but it was still pretty miserable out there. I watched the men's marathon winners after the race, and even some of the most seasoned/elite marathoners were walking/swaying toward the end of the race. That's not a good sign :(. I'm just glad I didn't run the full marathon!

All in all, it wasn't a bad race for me. It's nice to know that even on a day that I'm not feeling great I can still place in the top 20 and only 50 seconds behind what I did last year. I've always been pretty consistent like that; my bad days are never too far back. The first 2-3 miles of the race I could tell my legs just weren't ready for the race. They were still a little tired and groggy. I'm not sure why; I tapered pretty hard for this, so I'm not sure why they didn't turn around. After 3 miles, I found a little bit of a rhythm.

I ran pretty consistently through 10 miles. I wasn't as worried about pacing for this race -- I wore my Garmin, but when I'd look down and see that I ran a 6:33 mile, I wasn't like "oops, better correct that" -- instead I just ran with it. With 5K to go, I decided that I needed to push it in. I ran a 6:18, 6:20, 6:08, and then the last .1 miles was in a 5:58 pace. I didn't collapse or need medical attention after the race, which is always nice. It also tells me that I didn't race to my potential, though :).

Now -- I need to really focus on my training. Time to get out of this rut!! I miss the days before Fargo where I felt really fit and fast (and races and workouts were easier... there's just an "easy" feel to hard workouts when you're in shape). I think I'm going to take the majority of this week off, starting to run this Friday. I don't know if I haven't felt good because I didn't fully recover from the marathon (because I've been training hard since October last year), becuase of the stress of the job switch, moving, etc. Who knows. I'm going to revisit the training plan this week and change it to include a little slower build up (start with 40 miles/week rather than 50 like I did last month). Seeing those top marathoners finishing defintiely motivated me to train hard for TCM!! I just need to get my body ready, so I can train hard!!! :)

Nichole Porath

Nichole is a blogger, elite level runner, and coach. She ran professionally for Brooks for two years after qualifying for the 2012 US Olympic Marathon Trials. During that time she founded TNC endurance, where she coaches and motivationally speaks to organizations large and small. This blog details her rise to national-level racing, and continues to follow her as she gets back into racing after starting a family. Read on, friends!

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