It’s impossible to know your capabilities without first finding your limits. Inspired by the recent attempt by some of the world’s finest distance runners to break the two-hour marathon mark, Project 1:59 is about discovering your potential while pushing to run sub-2:00 in the half marathon. If you’re among the 64% of Strava athletes who has set a sub-2:00 half marathon goal, Kelly Roberts wants to help get you there.
Standing at the starting line of my second half marathon, I was blissfully ignorant about what I wanted to do. Despite the fact that I’d barely survived my first half marathon, I had set my sights on breaking two hours.
I didn’t know what it would require to hit that milestone and break two hours in the half marathon. I didn’t have a watch. Just a desire to keep going and chase that sense of accomplishment I felt after I ran my first half. Because until the moment I saw the finish line in front of me, I was convinced that running a half marathon was impossible. That day, I realized the power of making impossible, possible.
So two months after my first half marathon, I ignorantly toed the line convinced that I was going to break 2:00. I didn’t know what a negative split meant or what a pacing strategy looked like. All I knew was that I was going to run as fast as I could from the moment they said go so that I could cross that finish line in 1 hour 59 minutes and 59 seconds.
Surprisingly enough, I came really close. I bonked and bonked hard, but I crossed the finish line in 2 hours and 37 seconds. Ignorance was bliss and I was convinced that the next time I ran a half, that sub-2:00 would be mine. HELL, maybe even a sub-1:50! That’s how running works, right? You just peel the time away the more you run?
«It would be two years before I finally broke two hours in the half. Turns out, running is one giant mind game, and the more I bonked, the harder it got to believe that I could do it.»
So many runners, myself included, aspire to break 2:00. It’s an accomplishment that, based on Strava data, only 31% of women and 67% of men achieve. And despite the hours of hard work and f-bombs we drop during training, it’s often the mental block that stands in our way.
You toe the line and with each passing mile, that whisper of doubt grows louder and louder. The more your legs burn, the harder it is to ignore. Then, when everything hurts and you feel like dying, you pump the brakes in an attempt to find some sort of comfort. You come close but the accomplishment is lost in your disappointment.
Here’s the thing about running down an impossible goal — the only way you’ll fail is if you fail to try. But that doesn’t mean that falling short doesn’t totally and completely suck.
Do you ever wonder what would happen if you had a team to encourage you when the doubts became unavoidable? Or what would happen if you had so much fun that you hardly noticed that your legs felt like they were going to fall off?
Here’s what would happen: you’d break 2:00.
Welcome to Project 1:59.
Can you break that 2:00 barrier solo? ABSOLUTELY! I did! But if I’d have had a badass team to support me when I wanted to quit on myself or give in to the doubts, I would have made my impossible, possible a hell of a lot sooner.
Here’s how it works. There’s strength in numbers. And we know that thousands of half marathoners are getting ready to toe the line, hoping to break 2:00 and we’re here to help. Join the Project 1:59 Club on Strava and share your sub-2:00 story with #project159.Post your tips, tricks, fears, tears, and hilarious pre-race jokes (Because nothing calms those pre-race nerves like a good running joke).
Myself along with four other strong ladies are headed to the largest half marathon in the US to pace you. That’s right, if you are signed up for the Airbnb Brooklyn Half Marathon on Saturday, May 20th come join us in Wave 2 outside of Corral E at 7:20am for a 7:45am start. We are going to remind you that you are strong when you want to pull back. And we’re prepared to do what it takes to get you across that finish line in 1 hour 59 minutes and 59 seconds.
We’re stronger together.