Becca – Cool Runnings at the Phoenix Half

Feel the Rhythm! Feel the Rhyme! Get on up! It’s sub 1:30 Marathon Time!

– My race morning pep talk

In honor of the Winter Olympics, Becca’s race was based on the movie Cool Runnings. Much like the Jamaican bobsled team, Becca has been a dark horse in her early triathlon career. She has shown enormous growth in a year in the sport.  Although she is a great open runner, I’ve picked up on some of her weaknesses.  I feel most runners get so caught up in pace and don’t focus on the strength and power component of running.  While you can “get by” with this on flat or downhill courses, it could bite you in the butt when you get to any course with mixed terrain.

She has been regularly strength training at the gym and her run training has consisted of quite a bit of hill work (“A” Mountain repeats) and running on varied terrain on her longer sessions (San Juan at South Mountain).  While I feel pace work is good leading up to races, this strength component is often times completely ignored by athletes.  And, at the end of the day, I feel this strength component is crucial late in an Ironman marathon (which is Becca’s “A” goal race for the year).

One of Becca’s goal was to break 1:30 at a half marathon.  Her races leading up to this have all been much hillier (including Sedona Half Marathon a few weeks ago). It was tough to gauge how fast she could run the Phoenix Half Marathon course but I knew she was more fit than ever and would easily PR on this downhill course.

My duty race morning was to pace her to break 90 minutes.  She had a look of determination on the start line as I gave her some inspiration.

Me- Ready Becca?

Becca- READY!

And we were off!

For the first 5k I told her to take it easy, and our “easy” was around a a 6:40 minute mile.  I checked in every 10 minutes to see how she was feeling.  I paid close attention to her breathing as I have pretty good sense how hard she is working based on her breathing patterns.  She was still talking and cracking jokes so I knew she wasn’t working too hard.

The miles flew by and we consistently ticked off miles between 6:35 and 6:40 with relative ease. By mile 8 I knew sub 90 minutes was a done deal and now it was time to play and test her limits.

I surged a bit and she responded, staying close on my heels. I told her she was on pace for a 1:27… and a 1:26 if she really wanted to dig deep.

Picking off female runners ahead gave Becca a lot of motivation.  I love her drive and fight late in races.

Becca ran “within herself” through 10 miles.  I told her to give it everything she had the last 5k. At mile 12, I did some quick math and knew she’d be really close to cracking 1:26. She would need to run around six minute pace for the remainder of the race, however.

I told her to “feel the rhythm and feel the rhyme!” but her game face was now on as she gave me the stink eye.

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Mile 13 showed off her true drive where she ran a 6:10 mile! As we approached the finishing stretch, I told her she needed to cross the finish line in 30 seconds to break 1:26.  At this point she was grunting and panting, giving it everything she had.

Team Jamaica running in complete unison:

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1:26:01!!!

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Becca truly gave it her all as she fell into the arms of the finish line catchers, wobbly and disoriented. I loved it– a half marathon PR by over five minutes.  While this was nothing more than a “C” race for her (I made her ride South Mountain the day before) she has the ability to run sub 90 minutes on any course.

Well done Becca!  Next up – Boston!

On a final note…

Becca’s 13.1 Mile Splits:

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Categories: Client Race Recap, Coaching

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One Comment on “Becca – Cool Runnings at the Phoenix Half”

  1. Bobby Wein
    February 25, 2018 at 8:05 pm #

    COOL RUNNING for sure!

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