Stick To The Plan… A Cautionary Tale

Well, I ran my first race of 2015 on Saturday.

Ready to race! Though, I ditched the headband for a hat when it started raining right before the start
Ready to race! Though, I ditched the headband for a hat when it started raining right before the start




A 2-minute PR. I’m happy with that, but I really had my sights set on 1:44 or better. I think I was prepared for it and I was trained for it.

Yes, it was humid. Yes, I had an unwelcome visitor with me (Aunt Flo). Yes, the roads were very slick.

You can kind of see the start line - my photography skills are on point!
You can kind of see the start line – my photography skills are on point!

Did any of those factors keep me from hitting the time I wanted? NO. I’ve raced under all those conditions before. The outside factors had nothing to do it. It was ME. I can’t blame the weather or anything else.

So what happened? In a nutshell: I went out too fast.

Way too fast. Like WTF was I thinking fast?

You would think someone who has run 7 half marathons and 7 full marathons would have this stuff figured out. And in my head, I did have it figured out. I had a solid plan.

I just didn’t follow it 🙂 Oops…

The plan to hit 1:44 (7:47 pace) was to run the first half or so in the upper 7’s and then let ‘er rip in the last half.

If you’re ready for a good laugh, here’s what I actually did:


Not sure what this missing data business is, but here are the missing splits from my Garmin. *Note: I started my watch late, which is why the time is behind my official time*


Miles 10, 11 and 12 were ROUGH!


If anyone is looking for lessons on how to positive split like a boss, hit me up. I have plenty of valuable tips, such as:

  • Go out at your 5K pace in the first mile
  • Know you can’t hang on, but get so caught up in the crowds and the fasties around you that you keep trying
  • Realize you’re CRAZY and you need to get back on track around mile 3ish and think maybe it’s not too late to get it together
  • Start to lose your wheels around mile 7
  • Keep it together until mile 10ish, when you essentially give-up
  • Walk some – Hey, why not?
  • Finish strong, when it’s too little too late

Now, seriously, I am happy with my PR. For real. But, I am also just a little disappointed about not hitting 1:44 like I wanted.


And, crazily enough, I’m also a little bit glad. I needed to have a shitty race. I haven’t had a bad race since before I had Max. Racing since my comeback after Max in 2013 has been going well. I’ve PR’d both the half and the full, and I’ve ran some fun races. I’ve been smart, but conservative.

I didn’t run conservative today. I ran the exact OPPOSITE. And it sucked, and I slogged through it those last few miles.

But, I finished. I toughed it out. I seriously wanted to peel off the course and call my husband to come pick me up.

And I learned a valuable lesson: DON’T GO OUT TOO FAST.

Plus, this gem: STICK TO THE PLAN.

I could give you a blow-by-blow of the miles, but I think the splits above speak for themselves 🙂

So, now I’m in this position where I know I could have done so much better if I had followed my initial plan—I think. So, do I run another half in the next few weeks to redeem myself? There are a number of them in my area in the next few weeks. Namely, one in a nearby city on a Sunday—husband doesn’t work until 4 Sundays—so it’s kind of perfect. Or do I just enjoy the PR and chill until marathon training starts mid-June and run a half during training (probably in September)?

I’m not really sure what I want to do. Racing too soon could result in injury, just for the sake of redeeming myself to myself. That’s kind of silly.

I’ll figure it out. In the meantime, I’ll be recovering from the race with plenty of sweets and wine. And hopefully I’ll have some hilariously awful official race photos soon to share that we can all laugh at.

Any advice on whether I should squeeze in a redemption race soon? Anyone else ever done it? 

Tell me about your weekend! Did you race? I hope it went better than mine 🙂


33 thoughts on “Stick To The Plan… A Cautionary Tale

  1. So funny! I loved your “valuable tips.” Hey, sometimes you have those race flukes! I find it impossible to run my plan if everyone around me is sprinting off in the beginning. But you still PR’d by 2 minutes! If that’s your bad race then you must have amazing good races! I think you could easily jump into another race in 2 weeks. Sometimes it’s really great to have a quick race turnover because all your strategy plans are fresh in your mind.

  2. I know exactly what it feels like to go out too fast! You’re feeling great and then your legs are like nope! I still think you had a pretty awesome race though 🙂

    I personally think you should just get ready for your marathon so you don’t risk any unnecessary injuries. If you do another half for fun (without worrying about your pace), that would be fine. But I don’t think you should go out so soon and try to run a faster race. Be proud of your PR! 🙂

  3. I’m glad I’m not the only one who has made stupid mistakes in races more than once! I have only run two half marathons, but I’m the queen of stupid 5k’s. LOL Your time is super fast and congrats on the PR!! I think you did a GREAT job of holding it together after going out too fast.

  4. My bad half marathon today was eerily similar to yours although I’d kill to have come away with your time instead of mine. I know how you feel!

  5. Great post! Sorry the race didn’t go as planned. As for the wine and sweets – I just had some white wine, along with a carton of Ben & Jerry’s. And, no run for me today. Ah well! I have all week to diet! LOL 🙂

  6. We all do that same thing!! And just like you, all know we shouldn’t!! I’ve done that more times than I can count. Haha! Finally figured it out, but it took awhile. If I were you, I’d wait until you start marathon training and use a half as a tune up race. Incorporate it as part of a long tempo or speed work. You have big Fall plans and goals, stick to your plan! 🙂

  7. Awesome job! So much to be proud of! Mmmm I’ve never personally done a redemption race although I’ve been veryyy tempted. Mainly I don’t want to push too hard and be injured… but I’m just a nervous nelly. Haha. I did not race this weekend 😦 no races planned until June! Hope you have a great week!

  8. You did so good Molly!!! Congrats on the PR, I knew you would get that easy 🙂

    I had to really focus on not going out too fast in my race.. it’s pretty much all I thought about for the first 2 miles. If you aren’t feeling any soreness or pain I say why not go for a redemption race, sounds like you are wanting to do it!

  9. Yup your race sounds like mine. Except I probably had an even worse positive split lol. I also made the mistake of going out too fast and throwing caution to the wind in the first miles. It’s funny how no matter how much we know we shouldn’t go out too fast…we still do!!!
    I think you did amazing anyway and congrats on your PR!!! It’s still an amazing time and I know you will do better next time. I think you’re in good enough shape to do a redemption race in a few weeks before marathon training!

  10. Good job on the PR.!! a PR is a PR. even when it’s not pretty. I had pretty positive splits also. but it happens. I wouldn’t say you had a “shitty” race though. Don’t be so hard on yourself.! You learned from it. Way to go 🙂

  11. Woot Woot on your PR girl! Although, I TOTALLY understand where you’re coming from in terms of not meeting your goal. It’s bittersweet and you feel like an ass complaining about a PR but know in your heart you could have done better. I’ve done a redemption race and I fell short by a few minutes- but that was a marathon. I think in 4 weeks you’d have time to recover from this race and ramp back up again. Play it by ear on how you’re feeling. Happy Hump Day!

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