Wednesday, July 24, 2013

When I Tell You I'm Not Going to Win...

Tuesday workout: rest
Wednesday workout: 6 miles with 4 tempo (9:30), Pace Gloves

This run was hard. Really hard. I haven't done any faster running since my marathon, and I was extremely close to walking during the third tempo mile, something I never, ever do. Also, Anchorage broke a heat record set in 1937 today, but that's all I'll say about that.

Things started off great. I looked down at my Garmin during my warm-up and saw that I was running a 10:00 pace with minimal effort. I figured 9:30 would be a piece of cake and had grand visions of running 9:00s. Whoops.

I had forgotten the mental fortitude required of a tempo. And what running fast feels like. I think I can confidently say based solely on this run that I greatly prefer distance to speed. I'd like to be faster, but I think I'd rather train for a 12-hour 50-miler than a 1:45 half.

Despite the run's difficulty, I was still happy to be out there. My calves, however, will not be happy tomorrow.

I ran here.


At work today, my coworker mentioned that two other people in the office are running the same half marathon I'm doing at the end of August. When I told her I'm also running it (see, I'm being more open about my running!), she exclaimed, "Awesome, you're going to kick their asses!" To which I died laughing.

There is literally no chance of me beating these guys. They are a million times faster than I am. If they don't DNF, they will beat me. Of this I am absolutely certain. I explained this to my coworker and she said, "No, you're definitely going to beat them. You ran a marathon!"

Oh. The marathon.

It's relatively common for people to overestimate my running abilities based on the fact that I ran a marathon. When I calmly explain that running a 9:55/mile marathon does NOT translate into a sub-8:00/mile half/10k/whatever, they laugh and tell me to stop being modest.

I'm not being modest. I'm being realistic. That's not to say I'll never be able to run that fast. But right now, f-ck no.

Our conversation reminded me of a blog post I saw on Facebook called, "Please stop telling me I'm going to pass the Bar." Particularly this paragraph:

"When I say to you, 'I am going to fail the bar,' I don't mean it the way a nerdy college sophomore proclaims 'omg! I am totally going to fail this chem exam.' I don't mean that I might get a C, or I might not be the smartest kid in the room. I mean that, come November, I. Might. Fail. The. Bar. In fact, there's a 50% likelihood that I will. When I tell you that I think I am going to fail, I'm not saying it because I need affirmation that I won't. I'm not kidding. I'm not over-reacting. When I say that, I'm trying to warn you of what might come."

Of course, running a half marathon isn't even remotely comparable to taking the Bar. But when I say I'm not going to beat my fast (male) coworkers, I'm not fishing for compliments about how fast I am; I really mean that I am not going to beat them. I am the turtle. They are the hare, except they win. That made sense in my head.

  • Does anyone ever overestimate your ability to do x, y, or z based on the fact that you've run ____ miles before?


  1. Oh yes. See this relay I ran last weekend? Of all 12 girls, I was the only one who has run a marathon (x5 but whatevs) and so they assumed I was an awesome runner who could scale mountains (literally in 8:30 min miles). Yeah, that did NOT happen, but everyone was cool and laid back so it was all good :)
    I completely agree about distance vs. speed. But I have this stupid goal that I have to run a 4 hr marathon before I let myself do any crazy ultras or anything like that. Me and my stupid goals...
    BTW-I was in REI the other day and the women's running shorts selection SUCKED. Big time. I thought of you and all the shorts you tried on. Luckily next week I will be at a place where there are tons of running shorts....details coming soon!

  2. HAHAHA. I can't say I've had anyone overestimate my running abilities because I run (VERY SLOW) marathons. Mostly they just look at me like I'm nuts. I guess one has to be sort of nuts to run for five hours...

  3. All.the.time. overestimate. both me and everyone else. Even just yesterday, I was thinking "oh I ran 32 miles, so this 10 mile run should be a breezzeeee" I tend to forget that 1) that was almost TWO MONTHS ago and 2) it's now summer, and humid, and miserable. I can assure you it was not a breeze.

    Sometimes I run home from work...when I walk out with my backpack on, people just imagine I'm doing 15 miles or something...instead of the three home.

    Also...don't think I'm going to ignore that 50 miler > 1:45 half comment. JOIN THE ULTRA CLUB. You can run slow...and it's TOTALLY normal! Wanna walk up that hill? GO RIGHT AHEAD, everyone does it! Wanna eat donuts during your race? EAT THEM! It's way more fun, ha.

  4. Of course you'll beat them, after you put laxatives in their drinks before the race !DUH

    I really haven't had any estimate my ability. I was a slow and a bit bigger most of my life, so no idea where I could actually be. They support my time goals, but I don't think they understand the audacity of my dreams.
    With that, keep dreaming big!
    And I too hate shot, fast runs.

    (PS, I still think a random stranger should take photos for you, rather than doing a selfie)

  5. Maybe you should pull a Tanya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan and just break their legs beforehand? Then you'll definitely get the gold medal! the race...or whatever. Violence is always the answer!

    I hate when people give positive confirmation like that! Whenever I say I can't do something, I MEAN IT because otherwise I'm a very positive, confident person. But if I say I can't shave my legs more than 3 times a week, that means I CAN'T! Stop pressuring me!

  6. The fact that I've placed in some small, local races has definitely given some of my friends the wrong impression of my abilities. If I'm running some half or full with thousands of people, they'll be like, "Do you think you'll win?" "Um, no. No, I do not think I will win."

  7. OMG I think I just had a panic attack reading the excerpt about failing the bar. I am taking my PhD exams soon and... well... I could fail.

    UUUGUHHH agony.


    But, seriously, I love your pictures. They bring peace to my worst days. More please?!

  8. That looks like a nice trail to run on. I like the caption, too, haha. I think tempo runs are some of the hardest runs because it's a sustained effort over a longer period of time (versus workouts like repeats at the track).

    Your coworker is too funny! My best friend and I have been friends since senior year of high school (so ~8 years). I ran my first half marathon freshman year of college. Not only does she continue to refer to every race I run as a marathon, no matter the distance, but she also routinely asks me if I'm going to "win this one" when I have a race coming up. But I love her all the same and I probably make the same blunders when I ask her about her hunter jumper/fox hunting/horsey stuff.