14 September 2011

How AM I going to make a sub-2?

How in the heck should I know?

I am still not entirely convinced it's in the cards for me... I'm not really sure I deserve it. Guess we'll see come October 9 :P

For my non-running readers, I am referring to running a half-marathon (13.1 miles) in under 2 hours. This works out to just about 9 minutes 9 seconds per mile for the whole thing.

Being unprepared makes me nervous. I haven't followed a training program. I had a good one that was a composite of Run Less, Run Faster and Galloway's... with some tweaks from both awesome Jill and Patrick from The Road thrown in. It was going great until all those blasted monkey-wrenches.

Then my summer became a quest to just make it to the Hood to Coast Relay (ha! there! I said it!) with Team Nuun, healthy and in a good mental place. While I accomplished that, I was not ready for the post-relay feelings of depression and listlessness that were strangely accompanied by intense euphoria and a 'can-do' motivated desire to dive back into serious training. Weird...but not entirely out of character.

As a result, my running has been haphazard since Hood to Coast. What am I saying? It was pretty haphazard in the weeks immediately prior to Hood to Coast! Anyway... moving on....

When I am in the Long Beach Half Marathon on October 9, I want to look and feel like this...

Instead of like this...

After my post the other day stating my 'stretch' goal as being a sub-2, I received this super cool, encouraging tweet from one of my new running buddies...

@xlmic I believe that w/ a good taper, hydration, and careful pacing that you'll go sub 1:59 for the half.....

I love it when people believe in me! So I looked at this carefully.
  • "good taper" – I kind of am living in a tapering place; I think this will work in my favor :)
  • "hydration" – I am so well-stocked with Nuun for before the race and there are TEN water stations on the course... one nearly every mile... and I am not opposed to carrying my Amphipod handheld (though I'd rather not... suggestions or advice?)
  • "careful pacing" – ut-oh. This is where I am concerned. I have trust issues... even trusting-myself-issues. While my new racing mentor Kim, Nuun staff runner from our Nuun Platuun team, told me she had her best times when she did it all by feel... no watch, ignoring mile markers, etc...I am not sure I have that faith in my body or racing brain... yet. Sure, I have my Garmin (which looks like a VW Beetle parked on my super-skinny wrist), but picking the numbers I want it to be showing... that's another story.

So I made a race plan.

When I made a plan and followed it for Bay to Breakers back in May, it worked for me perfectly. It was set up to be realistic but a push. I ended up a little ahead of schedule... which can't help but feel good, right? 

Presenting my Long Beach Sub-2 Plan... I hope think am fairly certain it's realistic :P

Mile                Pace                                               Elapsed Time

1                      9:15   (adrenaline boost)                     9.25 minutes
2 & 3                9:40   (settling in and warming up)    28.59 minutes
4, 5, 6 & 7       9:24   (solid base)                              66.19 minutes
8, 9 & 10         9:10   (pick it up to prep for push)       93.69 minutes
11 & 12            8:40   (the push starts...)                  111.09 minutes
13 - 13.1          8:06   (the digging down deep part)  119.89 minutes
                                                                               = 1:59:55 ... which is sub-2!

On Sunday, I participated in a Run 11 on 9/11/11 memorial run. I lengthened it out to 12... because I felt so good. It was somewhat hilly, and my average pace was 10:05. The last two miles were both sub-9 minutes. And I felt GREAT when it was over. Maybe it had something to do with running for a greater purpose? And I was not sore the next day.

I think I'm ready to take this sucker on.

Any other advice or words of encouragement? Throw them my way... please!!!!!


And on the to-do list for today...

vote for Catey... awesome mom of 8 little kids who will be running in the St. George Marathon... her blog is entered in the Top 25 Big Family blog contest! Go to her personal voting page by clicking HERE.


  1. I'm running my 1st half marathon that same day! My thoughts will be with you for sure! (Or not maybe I will be struggling to make it! :) I think having a solid plan is a good idea. If I didn't bring my garmin I would probably run the first 2-3 miles at like 7:45 and totally burn myself out. That's where I think the Garmin helps...keeps you where you need to be! Since this is my first one I am also going for sub 2. We have a few weeks left! And honestly I have trained, but probaly not as much as I should have! Who has the time! But like I said, we still have a few weeks to get our s*** together right? And lucky you that you will be running in Long Beach! You will have great weather I am sure! (I'm jealous!)

  2. You know, that seems like a very reasonable plan -- keep slow and then go for it at the end. I will be sending good thoughts for the sub 2. Because then there's the 1.50 and the 1.45 to be had. ;)

  3. Use Avg Pace/Total Miles/Current Pace/Total Time as the 4 quadrants on the Garmin. Focus on the Avg pace. You pacing strategy looks good - now go execute that plan!

  4. You know, I'm a new enough runner that far be it from me to give advice, and it looks like you've got a plan that works for you. Sub-2:00 was my HUGE STRETCH if-everything-goes-just-right-and-miracles-really-do-happen goal for my first half. I had trained consistently, but my expected finish was something like 2:10 according to my training plan. I don't have a Garmin or anything like that, so I looked at the stopwatch on my phone at 1 mile (8:43) and then just ran my pace (well, much stronger than my pace thanks to the crowds and adrenalin) and didn't look at the time again until 10 miles (1:30)when I realized holy crap I could actually do it. For ME, I'd have completely psyched myself out if I had paces to watch the whole time.

    I'm excited to see how you do and will be right there with you in spirit wishing you the best!

  5. I have no doubt you'll sub 2. No doubts at all.

  6. Of course you can run sub-2! The key for me is to remind myself that I LIKE running, and that I'm going to enjoy the race.

    I do have one suggestion: I would give myself a little bit more wiggle room. While the ideal distance should measure 13.1 miles, a couple imperfect tangents could make it 13.2 or even 13.3 miles.

    As for hydration, I carry a throw-away bottle until it's empty and I can get rid of it. But that's what works for me because I can carry a bottle without a hand strap (though I definitely prefer the strap and especially a hands-free bottle top). If you haven't tried it, don't try it for the first time on race day.

  7. I just got 1:59:36 in my last half - and it was totally unplanned! I ran 'by feel' and suprise! my feel was way faster than I thought I could even run!

    I totally KNOW you can do this! You have a great plan and tons of support. Go out and have a great time!

  8. you better be waiting at the finish line to catch me...
    I believe you will do this!
    you train 12 miles at 10:05!

    come on now!

    before all this training numbers and plans and all you need a HOTEL ROOM.
    did you take care of that?

  9. You can do it!!! My only suggestion would be to NOT do that first mile at 9:15. Don't go faster than 9:45. When I did my 1:59:26 half, my splits were like this: 5k @ 9:37 pace overall, 10k @ 9:23 pace overall, 10 miles at 9:12 overall, and finish at 9:07 overall. It worked perfect!! I'm going to try to duplicate it in my Oct 9 half as well :)

  10. You're soooo going to do it!!

    My best advice is to make sure to *really* take care of your legs & energy in the last days before your race (ie, no 4 hour shopping trips the day before...that was bad...). Also make sure that you eat well -- a solid dinner the night before that won't bug your stomach, & a light but carb-ey breakfast to top off the tanks a couple of hours before your race. Those things can definitely make a couple of minutes' difference on race day.

    Good luck Marge!!

  11. I'm with Jeff on your Garmin quandrants, those are the ones I use. I would also say, print out a pace band and stick to it. Don't psych yourself out. You can do this. You have the foundation that says so. Start conservative for the first two miles,then find a steady pace you can hold for the duration. I also never carry hydration, I just grab it and go at the aid stations. Carrying stuff weighs me down.

  12. If a sub-2 is what you want to run, then a sub-2 is what you need to aim for. Looks like a good plan you have worked out and if you don't give it a shot, then you'll never know. Don't obsess over it any more, let that goal be your goal and don't fixate on it further, just get your runs in and run strong! :)

    One day I must remember my Twitter name and get on the Twitter bandwagon....

  13. I agree to use your average pace and give yourself a little more room. I also carry a water bottle which I think cuts the time since you will not need to stop and/or slow down. You can do it! Good luck.

  14. Good luck hitting that sub 1:59! I like the plan you have constructed seems very well thought out and realistic :) YOU CAN DO IT!

  15. Reading this while drinking a pumpkin beer and eating pita chips before dinner. Oh yeah living the taper life over here. My sub 2 is Sunday. I think it will be ok. And I think you can do it!

  16. Are you kidding me woman? I may have only seen you a few times in my life, but I've seen your paces, I've seen how you run under pressure, I've seen you push yourself during races, and I have seen you conquer the unimaginable.

    The only thing different this time is that a sub-2 is not unimaginable. You've so got this.

    Love the old school pics. I knew you've always been cool!


  17. You are going to kill it!!! That is all! :)

  18. I wish you the best of luck in your Sub 2 quest!!!! I run ultras so I don't have to be fast. A 15 minute mile is speedy in the trails :D

  19. Of course you will! Remember that 5k not too long ago when you didn't think you'd be so fast? Yeah. You've got this. Or more appropriately for this situation, "you've freaking got this". ;)

    Also, as always, you're awesome.


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