Zero Expectations can work out to your benefit sometimes!

Before each race, many of us probably go through some of the same questions to prepare ourselves mentally for the event…

Goal time to finish? Average Pace? Whatever it may be, we usually have something that we are shooting for.

Last weekend, I threw all of that behind me.

I went into the Oshkosh Half Marathon with ZERO expectation.  Why would I do this?  Why sign up for a race and not have a goal in mind to measure my success?  It was simple.  I was running this one completely for fun.

Last winter, I was at a benefit for myTeam Triumph and ended up with the winning bid of one of the silent auction baskets.  Part of that basket was 2 entries into any DuTriRun events in the area.  As part of my training for the Titletown Ultra Marathon, I decided to add the Oshkosh Half marathon to my training calendar.  After running the Dark Side Challenge at Disney World the weekend before,  I was coming off  22.6 miles of running through the parks.  This race was just about getting out and enjoying some time with the racing community, exploring some new areas (I’ve NEVER run in Oshkosh before!) and just enjoying the spring weather!

Kris and I headed to Oshkosh early so we could pick up get a parking spot near the finish line, pick up packets and relax a bit before we had to run.  He had run this race before and knew all the minute details!  He got us a parking spot literally 25 yards from the finish line!  We walked the short distance to the hotel where packet pickup was and had no wait to pick up our bibs.  Granted most people probably picked up there stuff the day before, but there was literally no wait for us in the morning!  No sooner than we got our bibs, Tracie found us (the joys of smaller local races – it’s easy to find your running friends in the crowd!)

When it was time to head to the start line, everyone was talking goals, psyching themselves up to run at their peak, making plans on how the rain would (or wouldn’t) affect their plans, and everything else to get themselves ready for the race.  I simply headed to the corrals, did some stretching, took a few photos and just enjoyed the morning.

Once the race started, I headed out, found a happy pace and just stated running.  I ran into a few friends from the Saturday morning Prevea training runs and chatted with them for a bit as we ran.  Just before Mile 2, I heard a voice being me “hey Fanatic, where ya from?”  Wearing my Half Fanatics Tank usually gets a few questions or hello’s during any race). I replied back, “Green Bay” and turned to see the 2:30 pacer fall into pace with me.   (so I guess now I knew about what my pace currently was!).  We chatted or a bit and were joined by one of the other gals that I always see at the Prevea training runs.  We all ran together until just before mile 4 when I caught up with Tracie and we ended up running together.  I think at this point, I finally set ONE goal for myself today.  Since I was feeling good, I wanted to keep moving and finish in front of the 2:30 pacer. 

Tracie and I and I ended up playing leap frogfor then next 4 miles or so. She was dealingwith a Klee that was not playing nice, so she was doing some walk/run intervals to make sure she didn’t push too hard (we head to Indyin a few weeksso she wants to make sure she will be ready to run there. I evenually lost her around mile 10.  I couldn’t keep up with her cheetah legs anymore!

Running the trail and across the bridges in Oshkosh was awesome!  It may have been an overcast cloudy day, but that didn’t seem to dampen anyone’s spirits.  One of the biggest things that I noticed tho?  The crowd support throughout the course!  Every few blocks it seemed like there were crews ready and willing to keep runners going!  One lady, I saw several times and each time I saw her, she had a different sign… I’m still waiting for those tacos she said were at the finish line!

This was also the 1st half marathon I ever ran WITHOUT my hydration belt!  I knew that I had enough pockets in my Skirt Sports running skirt to carry all of the race fuel that I needed, bit I didn’t have my water bottles (still need to break down and buy myself that hydration best for the ultra).  Since I didn’t water with me, I was forcing myself to hit all of the water stations and actually drink something!  There was no shortage of water stations of the course either – always love that!  Looking back, I actually think I consumed more water during this half marathon than I usually do, when I am carrying my own with me!  Many times, even though I have water (or Hydrate) with me, it’s almost like it’s too convenient and I forget to drink!  Note to self… drink your water!!

Overall, I get strong until about mile 11. My feet had enough (thinking back now, I probably should have replaced my running shoes already so that was probably part of the problem).  I wasn’t giving up tho. I keep pushing on, and really started to dig deep. I started digging even deeper when I saw the 2:30 pacer had caught up to me!  I pushed on. I wanted to walk. I wanted to be done. Easiest way for that to happen? Keep running. 

Once I turned the corned off that last bridge and entered the park, it was time to leave it all on the trail.  I forged on ahead, finished strong and a good minute ahead of the pacer that I was determined to beat!
Official time:  2:27:33
Missed my PR by 0:2:30!

Best thing about this race?  Being done and having friends at the finish line to celebrate with!  Fellow Skirt Sport Ambassador Hannah was there waiting for me!  We big ran strong races. It was a good day!  After catching up with a few other friends, cheating on a few more myTEAM Triumph teams and walking off some tight calves it was time to head home for a shower… And food!

My go to post race or long run refueling? Healthy Bellyz!  Today it was the zucchini burrito!  Gluten free, dairy free and beyond amazing!  
In the end, I went in with no expectations, Ran a strong run, had fun and came up extremely pleased with the results!
Remember, it’s not always about that finish time or pace!  It’s about getting out there and just enjoying the fact that you have 2 legs that can carry you through these adventures!  Some people aren’t that lucky!  Cherish these days, embrace the journey!

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