I had a “butter my bread” moment over the weekend.
Allow me to explain. Often used by Seth James DeMoor, a YouTuber who makes daily running vlogs, “butter my bread” is a phrase of endearment for runners and can be interpreted in two ways. First, after a hard run or race, you think to yourself, ‘Wow, my bread was buttered out there on the course’, meaning you worked hard. This quip also applies to running personal bests, as in, ‘I really just buttered my bread’.
In my case, they both apply.
I competed in the T-Town Half Marathon on Saturday in Tulsa, clocking a time of 1 hour, 55 minutes and 7 seconds, which equates to an average pace of 8:46 per mile. I placed 68th of 341 runners.
For me, this finish was great for several reasons.
It was about a 23-minute improvement from four months ago when I ran my first half marathon in 2:18:05. Furthermore, my performance Saturday trimmed 12 minutes off my previous personal best of 2:07:26 that I ran on Feb. 20.
Those times aren’t elite by any means, but they are significant when looking at my progression over the past year.
On March 24, 2020, I began running again after seven years away from the sport. My first run back was 1.45 miles at a 12:05/mile pace. Two weeks later, I nearly passed out after running a mile time trial in 9:26.
Long gone were my high school days when I could run 19-minute 5Ks and sub-five-minute miles, but I knew if I ever wanted to get back to that speed, I'd have to develop a vision and an insatiable hunger for consistency and hard work.
I've set and achieved many goals since beginning my journey, and my time in the T-Town Half was yet another milestone reached on my way back to my former glory.
Entering the race, my main goal was to break two hours. I was certain I could accomplish that given how my training had been going, but I wasn’t certain by how much. I had a goal pace of 8:55 per mile, which would land me at 1:56:54.
My strategy was simple. Start at a slow, manageable pace and get progressively faster throughout the race.
My approximate splits for the first half of the race went as follows:
By the time Mile 8 came along, we had already reached the turnaround point, and I was feeling great. It was at that point I decided to ditch my pace strategy and go by feel the rest of the way, and it paid off.
I finished the race with these approximate splits:
At about Mile 10, I caught and passed my Fleet Feet long-run coach, which gave me even more confidence to finish strong so he wouldn’t pass me back. He was looking fresh when he passed me around the 3-mile mark early in the race, and though I was tempted to run alongside him, I decided to stick to my pacing strategy.
I’m glad I did.
The 12th mile was a bit slower because of a steep incline near the BOK Center, but I made up for it in the final stretch.
I put everything I had left into the final 0.11 miles – just under 200 meters – and even overtook someone just before crossing the finish line. Sweet success.
I ran a nearly perfect race for my current ability and talent level, and I learned my limits were more than I thought they were in the process. It goes to show you should never limit yourself when chasing your goals.
The moral of the story is if you care about your success more than anyone else, you will be successful at some point in time. If you believe in yourself, your body will find a way to make it happen.
I am not done improving, though. For me and my fellow Fleet Feet Halfers In Training (HIT), the T-Town Half was simply a tune-up for the goal race – the Golden Driller Half Marathon on Saturday, April 17.
After reaching my goal of breaking two hours in the half, I now have a new goal. I am in the process of finding out exactly what that is, and the thought of pushing myself even further past my limits is daunting.
The last thing I want is to go into the Golden Driller overconfident, resulting in a subpar run. However, I know if my goal isn’t going to scare me a little bit, it isn’t going to be strong enough to make me better.
So before you set out on your next adventure, remember that it is possible to achieve your goals if you believe in yourself.
Now go out there and butter your bread!