Yesterday, I ran the Fly with the Eagles Half Marathon at the Crab Orchard wildlife refuge. I've been running this race every year for several years now.
I woke up yesterday morning after approximately 3 hours of sleep. I could not sleep Friday night and didn't bother to try. I drank my coffee and forgot to eat breakfast, so I ate a banana in the car with the girls on the way down. The temperature was 30 degrees and sunny. Knowing all of this, along with the minimal amount of training that I've been doing, I estimated my finish time at 2:32.
When you go to a race, do you know what your finish time will be?
I almost always know within a minute or two what my finish time will be for any given race.
On the way down, the girls were talking about how slow they would be, but they had NO idea what to expect. This absolutely boggles my mind.
Several miles of the race are inside the sanctuary on a trail that was "soft". My shoes were covered in mud after this race. Yuck! I hate getting dirty. I'm such a girl about mud. I hate it. Several runners reported seeing eagles while we were in there, but I never saw them. :-(
I felt good the entire run, but I was being careful not to run too hard, since I do have another half marathon next weekend. At Ft Lauderdale!
Given the muddy conditions, I wasn't as close as I thought to my prediction, but I still ran a 2:34. I was happy with this finish time, even though I finished LAST in my age group and was very close to being the very last finisher. Yup, these small-town races have their benefits and their drawbacks.
Benefit: It's very easy to win an age group award
Drawback: Run slower than a 9-10 minute mile and you risk finishing last.
So, the question, do you know how you will finish a race, or am I alone in this? Does predicting my time this way become a self-fulfilling prophecy and keep me from running faster?