I am happy, nay, thrilled, to report that the doubt was sorely misplaced.
I PR'd my half marathon by 3 minutes.
In theory, if I keep training this way, and I was lucky enough to get good conditions (and to have my hotel accommodations situation sorted properly), I might qualify for Boston in Nagano.
If I am honest, I must admit that I went for a PR today because I thought I wouldn't get hotel accommodations in Nagano and I thought this might be the only race I'd have to show for my training.
But then, thanks to my buddy Derrek, the pace-group leader for (what I thought was my unrealistic) time goal for today's race, I had to face the facts.
BT. You are going to PR. By at least 2 minutes. The only question is, are you running this for the best half-marathon time, or are you training for a marathon?
So, even while I knew it was unlikely I'd actually run in Nagano due to the hotel mistakes, I reined it in. I slowed to the pace and stayed on it. Thanks to that, I finished with energy and smiles to spare, despite kicking it up on the last mile.
And then, I came home to find an email from Japan informing me that twin bed accommodations had been found. Not my favorite, but it will do. I'm holding out for a better hotel, but it looks like I will be running in Nagano.
Perhaps if I had known that I wouldn't have ran so hard today (but then again, I did rein it in).
Certainly, if I had known that I would be running in Nagano, I wouldn't have smoked 3 cigarettes today.
Yeah, that's right. I PR'd my half marathon time by 3 minutes and I smoked 3 cigarettes today. For the first time in quite a while, due to drama in friend's and family's lives, I found myself in situations where smoking seemed like something I should be doing.
And now? Well now, I fear that in 5 weeks, if I don't meet my time goal by a scant 45 seconds or some other painfully close margin, I may want to blame today's cigarettes.
Oddly, I think today's whole experience (between the success on the course and the enjoyment of bad habits) when viewed in full view, will make me train harder. I just don't want to deal with that failure mode.
And now... sleep.
Update 3/17/08 PM: So Sore. I can't even imagine how much more sore I'd be if I hadn't listened to Derrek. I've never felt so good at the end of a race and then so comparatively sore the day after. I guess when you race at the edge of your fitness level it hurts. Or something.