E had a great race at the Reykjavik half marathon last weekend, running a PB of 1:52:51 – 18 minutes faster than his first half of two years ago on the same course – so I asked him to share his experience. Enjoy!

When you’re younger, you make mistakes. Scratch that. When I was young, I made a LOT of mistakes. To look back on events, I’m struck with a few key thoughts:

  1. Wow, the old me was really an idiot!
  2. I’m still getting older, so I guess the me of right now is an idiot too!
  3. Awesome!
The 2nd running of the Reykjavik Half Marathon was a poignant reminder that the “now” E – let’s call him “NE” (pronounced “knee”) – and “old E” from the 1st race – let’s call him “OE” (pronounced “oye” as in “oye vey”) really are different people. These misfits need some alone time:

OE: So, let me get this straight. You crushed my half marathon time by 18 minutes in two years? Seriously?

NE: Yeah, that’s right. I really don’t understand what the hell you were doing on that course in the first place.

OE: Well, I had never run 13 miles before; I wasn’t sure if my legs would even take me that far.

NE: That explains it. I’ve got a lot more miles on my legs now. Countless halfs, a marathon, tons of trail races – experience seems to count for a lot. Also, this time I knew the route – helps to have that covered ahead of time I think.

OE: How’d you do on mile 10? I still have nightmares about that one.

NE: I don’t follow.

OE: There was a gut wrenching hill at mile 10 – I’ve got the RunKeeper logs to prove it!

NE: There was a big hill? All I remember is getting ready to speed up every mile from 10-13. Must have been all of those training runs on the Amalfi Coast – not only did all of those hill sessions help me on the way up, but it really taught me how to throw myself downhill to make up for time on the way down; you never did that before I bet.

OE: I hate you. Well, you obviously did better with more gear right? I only had my iPod, iPhone, and high tech compression shirt on…bet you’ve gotten a lot of amazing gear since then.

NE: The weather was better, but I wore less gear not more. Definitely no iPods – that’s a huge distraction and while you’re messing up your song selection your mind isn’t focusing on all of the good things it needs to be focusing on – like form, function, and pain displacement.

OE: GU? Vanilla with Caffeine still the way to go?

NE: Not so much. The key is to be seriously hydrated before you start. I’ve been using Science in Sport (SIS) now which don’t have any caffeine – it makes you poop dude; wake up. I ran with water the first few miles and then ditched it – I bet you didn’t even know how to do the pinch and sip technique the first time did you?

OE: Nope. I remember eating something the night before – could have been anything.

NE: Pre-race meal and pre-morning meal now are pretty standard. The whale sushi and twix bars weren’t part of the plan – but they sure seemed to work; going to have to remember that for next time.

OE: How’d you feel afterwards? I still remember that my ass hurt from seam chafing and my left knee blew up like a cantaloupe. I was happy to finish but man I felt like crap – I bet you must have been completely destroyed after running so much faster than me.

NE: Actually, I felt awesome. Nip Guards. Body Glide. The Old Vaseline on your feet technique. You also did a lot of junk miles before this race and zero strength training or stabilization training – these days that’s a staple which really gets you out of landing in a bad way on your legs and messing up your knees. You never did tempo runs either, which was a mistake. I had a great race and managed my pace and pain perfectly.

Aside from losing a few pounds, all of the strategy and techniques I’ve learned in the last few years has transformed my running into a sport that challenges both my body and my mind – I’m really not sure how it happened but the before/after splits really tell the whole story.

OE: I’m in awe. This is definitely what I had in mind.

NE: Like Kanye says: Work it harder, make it better, do it faster, makes us stronger, more than ever, never over, our work is never over!!!!