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Toronto Goodlife Marathon Training: Weeks 2 and 3

2 Mar

Life has been fairly hectic lately (lots of work.  lots and lots of work.) and I never got around to posting a training update last week.  Combining weeks 2 and 3 presents an opportunity for some swell juxtaposition so let’s consider it an intentional literary device rather than pure laziness.

Without further ado, weeks 2 and 3:

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 8 miles on the treadmill, 9 minute pace

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: Unscheduled rest.  Legs still feeling like poo from the previous week’s long run disaster so I decided to move Thursday’s run to Friday.

Friday: 8 miles very easy on the treadmill, 10 minute pace

Saturday: 6 miles very easy on the treadmill, 10 minute pace

Sunday: #FAIL

This was supposed to be the Lake Effect Half Marathon with Britt and Laura.  I had planned on running about 2 miles as a warmup and then the race.  The race is a double out and back in a park in Syracuse, and is always a bit of a crapshoot given that it’s February.  In Syracuse.

However, no fresh snow had fallen the morning of the race and I expected the parkway to be fairly clear.

onondaga-lake-parkway-lake-effect-half-marathon

Yeah, about that.

If I had my Yaktrax with me, I would’ve run (slowly – this wouldn’t have been a day for racing).  If I hadn’t had such a disastrous run the previous week reminding me how hard it is to run on snow, ice and slush – I would’ve run.  But neither of those things were going to work in my favor (I live about 40 minutes away from the park so driving home to grab my ‘trax quickly would not have been a viable option).

I decided to not run the race.  It didn’t feel good but I knew it was the right call.  I knew that I was only risking injury by running, even slowly.

If I was a little bit more committed, I would’ve abstained from booze brunch after and hit up the gym to get my miles done on the treadmill.  But I am me, and I am not that committed.

better-than-running

Hanging with these ladies > running 13 on a treadmill.

Total: 22 miles (yikes.)


 

I thought about running on Monday and trying to make up the missed miles, but decided to just get back on track with the plan.  A lot of this had to do with the fact that my calf and hip were still tight and bothering me a bit.

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 6 miles on the treadmill, 9:20 pace.

Wednesday: 8 miles on the treadmill, 9:25 pace.

Thursday: 6 miles on the treadmill, 10 minute pace.

Quick lower body strength training circuit (single leg squats, donkey kicks, wall sits, clamshells).

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 16.5 miles, 8:25 pace.

BALLER long run.  It was cold as hell (-2 real temp at the start) but for some reason, my legs were just clicking.  I had some stomach issues so it wasn’t all perfect; I couldn’t choke down any fuel on the run because of it.  That aside, everything else felt great and it was very nice to run on clear pavement and get into a good rhythm.  Very thankful for fun and fast friends to chase around for 2+ hours in the cold!

Sunday: 6 miles on the treadmill, 10 minute pace.

Strength training: bench press, biceps, triceps, fire hydrants, plank variants, single leg squats, bridges

Total: 42.5 miles


This winter has caused me to do a ton more treadmill running than I have ever done in the past, but it’s honestly working well for pace control reasons.  I have no problem setting that thing on 6.0mph while I zone out watching Netflix for 60-90 minutes.  It’s nice and comfortable, and it’s kind of fun.  If I was running outside, I would have a very tough time keeping my pace that easy.  I know I am being somewhat aggressive with my mileage increases so I feel it’s important to really keep my non-workout runs at a very easy pace to allow my body to adjust to the miles without the added load of a more aggressive pace.  So far I think it’s been helping; we’ll see how it goes as the weeks go on.

Walt Disney World Half Marathon Recap – 1:39:39

23 Jan

Initially I had intended for this to be a goal race but as is typically the case for me, life had other plans.  After two months of nursing a knee injury, only to then be walloped with a cold-turned-bronchitis, I was left with total uncertainty as to how this race would go.

The one confidence booster I had was a workout Megan and I did the week prior – 1 mile warmup, 3 @ MP, 2 @ HMP, 2 @ MP.   I hit 8:07, 7:59, 8:01/7:24, 7:23/8:10, 8:06 and felt pretty decent.  The 7:2x paces felt a little aggressive, but I was pleasantly surprised at how easy the 8ish paced miles felt.  Worst case scenario: squeak in under 1:45 and not completely embarrass myself.

Mostly I was excited to bust out of the frozen tundra for a while and enjoy a much needed long weekend with friends.

Megan and I hit the expo on Friday; our seed times put us in the A corral and we both geeked out a little over this.  Feeling fast is not something I’m used to.  We walked around the expo for a bit and then headed out to grab lunch and buy some throwaway clothes – we totally underestimated how cold it actually was in Florida!

walt-disney-half-marathon-expo-bibs

Cheesin’ at the expo. I really dig this quote.

Race morning came sooner than usual but thanks to my old lady ability to fall asleep unreasonably early, I was able to get around 6 hours of sleep.  For those who don’t know, Disney races start at the crack of freaking dawn and because you need enough time to get to the start corrals, it means freakishly early alarms.  Like, 2:45am style alarms.  I don’t know if I’ve ever seen 2:45am sober before.

Race morning routine, same as usual.  Gulp some coffee, eat a Picky Bar, get dressed, stretch out a little, drink water.  We got to Epcot with plenty of time and hung out in the warm car for a bit while some other friends went to get their bibs.  Then we started the trek to the corrals.

It’s actually a fairly long walk to get from the parking area to the starting area, but there are tons of open porta-potties along the way and ample room to warm up once you get there.  Nice logistics, Disney.  +1 for that.

Finally it was time to line up and we geeked out a little more over the A corral business.  Before I knew it, we were off.

disney-half-marathon-race-start

 

The release of each new corral is signified by lighting off fireworks, and it was pretty cool to listen for them as we took off into the night.  Megan and I said goodbye and set off to do our own thing.  It was windy and my plan was to just run by feel until we got to the Magic Kingdom; it should be all tailwind from there.

The first five miles are kind of a blur.  I remember looking around a lot and trying to take it all in.  Then trying not to trip over people.  I wasn’t running very smoothly – I would start picking it up, then get nervous the pace was too aggressive and try to back off.  It took me a while to find my groove but I ended up settling in (7:39, 7:36, 7:34, 7:29, 7:31)

The course then goes by the Contemporary Resort and heads for the Magic Kingdom.  I wouldn’t consider myself a Disney fanatic by any stretch of the imagination, but I do have fond memories of vacationing there as a kid. Honestly, I feel lame for saying this but I got a little emotional running down Main St. and around the castle.  I thought a lot about my family – and my dad in particular – during this mile and I got all goosebumpy and teary eyed.  What a turd.

running-in-the-kingdom

Oooh look, a squirrel

I thought exciting Magic Kingdom would be kind of a let down, but it ended up being the opposite – I felt like the hard part was over and now I could cruise with the tailwind for a little bit.  I remember picking it up a bit because Shake It Off was blasting over some loudspeakers and that song is basically guaranteed to put me in a good mood.  I remember thinking how much fun I was having and just being very grateful.  This is all so uncharacteristic of me, I usually am hating life and mankind and myself and maybe even Taylor Swift by mile 7 of a half.

I kept plugging along in good spirits until about mile 10. (7:31, 7:30, 7:33, 7:29, 7:29)

That’s when the wheels started coming off.  We were running back into the wind for a bit and I felt like I couldn’t breathe.  I told myself to not wuss out but not kill myself either.  In retrospect, I think I could’ve pushed myself harder through these miles but in the moment, my inability to take a good deep breath was freaking me out.  Maybe that was justification for being a wimp, or maybe it was smart.  I’m not going to dwell on it too much. (7:43, 7:39)

Finally in the last mile, I could see my Garmin and realized I could squeak in under 1:40.  I also told myself to stop being a little bitch and actually run – there’s only one mile left.  Unfortunately, this seemed to be where the majority of the race photographers were located and daaaaaang do I make some ugly faces while I run.  This bothers me because hey – I’m running a race wearing a skirt for fuck’s sake.  Clearly I’m only doing this for cute race photos.

pain-face

I am screaming on the inside.

Finally I saw the finish line and boom, that was that. (7:29, 7:10 for the last .1)

Megan and I celebrated and cheesed it up a bit in our mutually delirious state.

walt-disney-half-marathon-medals

Hashtag precious.

We headed back to the car to celebrate a bit and revel in the fact that we were done for the weekend.  A few of our friends were running the Goofy and a few were running the full but us?  Yeah, beer us.  Immediately.

race-celebration

Hashtag precious, part 2.

Overall, I was thrilled with the way this race went.  Sure, I’ve got some work to do – but leading up to this, I was running 25 miles per week and most of those miles were 10 minute pace on a treadmill.  This is also the best I’ve ever run so early in the year which leaves me feeling motivated and excited for 2015.

In summary: this was one of the most positive posts I think I have ever written and it made me realize I am feeling very positive in general right now.  So strange, kind of love it.  Hope it sticks around.

walt-disney-half-marathon

Empire State Half Marathon Recap

3 Nov sharkeys-post-race

After two weeks of taper, a disappointing marathon, two weeks of essentially no running, and then 3 weeks of around 30mpw, I was feeling … out of shape.  I’ve gained a little bit of weight, I haven’t really felt sharp or speedy or fresh, everything has been a little blah.  It’s not a great way to feel, for one, but it’s also hard to plan for a spring race schedule and set some goals when you have no idea where your fitness is.

So I decided to race the Empire State Half.  The nice thing about hometown races is that it’s real easy to make a last minute decision to enter, albeit a questionable financial call ($85 for a half that goes through a park that I frequently run in?  Yeah.  That was a bit hard to swallow.)

I had no idea what to expect from this race.  I really thought anything from a 1:35-1:45 was possible depending on how I felt that morning… and then I saw the weather forecast.  40 degrees at the start and 15mph winds gusting to 26mph?  SWEET!  Especially brutal because, as anyone who has ever run/roller bladed/biked/walked at the Onondaga Lake Parkway will tell you (there is nothing to block the wind coming off of the lake and it is fairly miserable to be heading into it for what seems like an eternity).

The one upside?  We’d have a headwind for the first half, not the second.  Therefore my strategy was to run by effort and make it to the turnaround feeling decent – then lay the proverbial hammer down.

I met up with Laura right at the start – we chatted, complained about the weather, and tried to stay warm in the car.  She eventually took off to run a short warm-up; I opted out because my stomach was feeling unstable.  The nice thing about this race is that the parking lot is right next to the start line, so I was able to hang out in my car until just a couple minutes before the gun went off.  I scooted over to the start and quickly found a friend from my running group.  Before I knew it, we were off.

I tried to settle into a comfortable groove; my feet were frozen solid but otherwise, I was feeling ok.  We had a nice little group working as we ran up 370 towards the entrance to the parkway.  I saw my friend Megan cheering around mile 3; it was great to see her and it definitely gave me a little boost.  I knew the hardest wind section was coming up, so I committed to just keeping the pace honest but in control.

empire-state-half-marathon-y-runners

Running buds! Trying to stay calm and focused during the first 5k.

My feet started to thaw out around mile 3, but the sensation was replaced by what felt like the onset of a really bad calf cramp.  I remember thinking that it was like there were icicles in my feet that had gravitated upwards into my calves, causing them to feel cold, stiff, and sore.  I tried to back off a bit and make sure I wasn’t overextending myself by forcing a certain pace into the headwind.  Splits for mile 4 and 5 were a bit slower, but whatever the issue was, it started working itself out and I felt a lot better by mile 6.  (I think if I had actually run a warmup, this wouldn’t have been an issue.  Oh well.)

Somewhere around here I saw Laura on the turnaround – she looked so great!  Super focused and running well.  I knew it was time to buckle down and see what I had left.  I hit the turnaround and just started cruising.

The miles from 6.5 to 10 just flew by.  I felt SO good – I knew I was working but it felt smooth and in control.

I saw Megan again at mile 10 and tossed her my gloves and my GU.  My stomach hadn’t bothered me at all during the race but I was definitely feeling questionable before the start, and decided not to chance it.  I didn’t take any water during the race either, for the same reason. (Typically I’ll take a gel around mile 7 if I think I can handle it – not really sure if this helps or not.)

Right after I ran by the mini cheer squad, I started to feel the hurt.  I just reminded myself that the last 5K of a half should hurt and told myself to keep running honestly, no purposefully back off, and see what happens.  The last stretch on 370 is pretty lonely which didn’t help either –  no spectators and the runners were really spaced out at this point, so I was just humming along by myself.

Finally I made it to the mall and so started the series of turns that would take me to the finish.

empire-state-half-marathon-finish

Oh my god, both of my feet are off the ground. It’s like I’m actually running and not just crapping my pants.

My calves were so, so sore during the last few miles and it felt like I was crawling.  I was trying to ignore my watch because I really didn’t want to know how much I had slowed down.  Once I could see the finish line, I just thew everything I had into it.  Making epic pain train faces like it’s my job.

empire-state-half-marathon-finish-line

What in the actual hell am I doing with my hand?

I won’t lie – I was a little disappointed to see the clock at 1:38:xx when I crossed.  I knew I had been running strong for the second half and I was in PR territory.  Unfortunately, I ran the tangents like a moron.  Nothing you can do about that except try to be more aware of it next time.  That disappointment quickly went away when I realized I still ran one of my fastest times on a day when I wasn’t even sure I could manage 8-minute pace.

Net Time: 1:38:24

14/714 females

2/107 age group

empire-state-half-marathon-splits

Pleasantly surprised that my last mile was the fastest, despite feeling like I was crawling.

After the race (which my incredible and amazing friend WON, by the way), we headed over to Sharkey’s to eat, drink and be merry.  The official post race party was supposed to be there – I say supposed to because it seemed like very few runners knew about it.  Which is a shame – not only is this one of my favorite bars, but they had a bunch of free food for the runners and plenty of space to hang out for a beer or two.  Hopefully the race does a better job of advertising this next year!

sharkeys-post-race

Stolen from Laura because I think it’s adorable.

All in all, it was a fabulous day and I’m happy with what I was able to do.  On to the next!

Lehigh Valley Marathon Race Recap

20 Oct

When my friend Megan and I decided to sign up for the Lehigh Valley VIA Marathon earlier this year, I was 100% committed.  That never wavered throughout the entire training cycle.  I never skipped a long run and I never cut a workout short (yes, that is the first time both of those things have been true statements for me).  Not only did I never skip a long run, but I also never once even dreaded a long run – that was a true mental breakthrough.  I trained more consistently and much harder than I ever have before.  I averaged 46mpw through the cycle (small potatoes for most marathoners, but consider I averaged 25mpw prior to Shamrock and 38mpw prior to Wineglass) and hit new paces in workouts that I never would’ve dreamed of last year (long tempos at 7:10-7:15 pace, what the what?!).

On race day?  I ran 4:00:38.

steel-stacks-race-expo

Bib pickup at the Steel Stacks! Looking happy because we haven’t run a miserable ass race yet.

——————

Laura (the most amazing friend and race supporter you could ever hope to have) dropped me off at the start line that morning and I as I hung around stretching and hydrating, I realized I was freezing.  I also made a mental note of how little I would appreciate that irony later on when I was sweating to death and about to keel over.

At the start, Megan and I agreed we were going for it – that was the whole reason, the entire purpose of choosing Lehigh.  It was BQ or bust and we wouldn’t be deterred.  I have no regrets about that.

Unfortunately, even from the start it never felt easy.  First 6 miles: 8:16, 8:12, 8:13, 8:19, 8:07, 8:07.  We saw Laura on the course around this point, and I already knew I was in trouble.  The 8:07s were a little aggressive, but make no mistake – I do not believe this was poor pacing.  Considering the past two marathons where I set out at 8:00 pace, I was really striving to keep it contained in the first few miles.  I was hoping that eventually my legs would just wake up.

They never did.

Temperature at the start was hovering around 64 degrees, the humidity was a brutal 90%.  This became readily apparent once we started running.  Oh to be freezing at the start line once again!

Somewhere around mile 11 or 12, I let Megan go ahead.  I could tell she was feeling a bit better than I was and I needed to start really pulling it back.  Around mile 14, I was struggling to get a pack of SportBeans open so I stopped to walk.  I pulled myself back together and ran all of mile 15 (8:44).  I never saw another 8:xx mile for the rest of the race.

The next 5 miles are just a blur of misery in my brain.  Lots of canal path.  Lots of other people trying to be encouraging as they ran by.  Lots of hating myself and hating marathons.

When I finally saw Laura at mile 20, I just flipped a double bird.  My attitude was shit, my quads were absolutely shot, and my hip felt like it was broken.  In fact, I’m pretty sure I said “my hip is broken” about 729 times between mile 20 and the finish.  I was an absolute delight to be around, I’m sure.  If you’ve ever bonked in a major way at a marathon, you know exactly how this feels.  If you haven’t … well, I’m not nearly a good enough writer to do it justice.  I just hope you never do experience it because your brain can pull some pretty nasty tricks on you.  Some of my lowest lows have come in the last 10 miles of a marathon. (That’s entirely a white privilege/first world problems statement right there, but I hope you get what I’m saying.)

I started pushing a bit once I could see the finish, but pushing at that point was roughly equivalent to hobbling with a desperate expression on my face.  I crossed at just a smidge over 4 hours and was mildly happy to at least have come in under my CIM time.  No personal worst today, I RULE! </sarcasm>

Pretty sure I am legitimately crying here, and they were NOT tears of joy.

Pretty sure I am actually crying here, and they were NOT tears of joy.

I’ll note that Megan, while not having the race she wanted, still managed to PR and come in around 3:48.  She is pretty damn awesome.

————————–

So where does that all leave me?  Blame it on the weather?  Well, as I mentioned earlier, that’s tricky and feels a bit like a scapegoat at this point.

If it’s not weather, it’s misjudging my fitness.  That’s where I get frustrated.  Could I run more miles? Yes – and that’s the goal I’m working towards.  I find it hard to believe, though, that I can run a 3:45 on 25mpw but shooting for 3:35 on 45mpw is so aggressive that I bonk as hard I have.

At this point, the only conclusion I can come to is that the training I have been doing is not working for me.  If you want to change the results, you have to change the training, right?  So in the past few weeks, I have been talking to a few people, researching some things, and trying to figure out a path forward.  I know I will run another marathon again and I know that a BQ will happen eventually.  I just need to figure out how to get myself there.

If it was easy to run a well-executed marathon, well, it just wouldn’t be that fun, would it?

Syracuse Half Marathon Race Recap

4 Apr

I will first of all admit that I was not highly enthused for this race.  Coming off a week of being sick (strep throat, a lot of fun) and then leaving for a week of work travel (which was actually about as fun as a work trip can get), my head was not really in “let’s go run hard” mode.  Waking up to discover single-degree temps and fairly heavy snow killed whatever inkling of excitement I had left.

Thankfully, I knew Laura was coming out to race and I figured it’d look real bad if she came all the way from Rochester to run and I bailed.  I’m pretty sure that’s an unforgivable offense, actually.  So I adjusted my planned wardrobe, brewed a cup of coffee, and headed out the door.

Photo shamelessly stolen from Laura.  My wardrobe was Running Snowsuit, aka wearing-four-layers-of-shirts-and-a-jacket.

Photo shamelessly stolen from Laura. My wardrobe was Running Snowsuit, aka wearing-four-layers-of-shirts-and-a-jacket.

The snow stopped by race start, but it snowed enough to cover the streets and there wasn’t enough time for the sun or DPW trucks to do anything about it.  Spoiler alert: running on snowy, icy streets sucks.

Going into this race, I was hoping to pull off a 1:45 with a moderate effort.  I met up with some friends from my running group at the start; they planned to run 8:15s and see how it felt after a few miles so I decided to tag along.  The only real hill in this race is in mile 2, so I knew I wanted to back off that pace if necessary to avoid killing myself at you know … mile freaking 2 of a half marathon.

Miles 1-6: 8:09, 8:31, 8:02, 8:01, 7:56, 8:04

The pace felt real easy during these miles; the most frustrating part was running in the snow and slush.  Not a single step I took felt stable and I was entirely convinced I was going to bite it.  Part of the problem here was that the road conditions made it tough to follow the actual course – the lead runners were largely running in any tire tracks in the road (I presume that was their intent, at least), and so, the mid-packers followed.  It was the best shot at not slipping, but it also was setting everyone up for terrible tangents as we were all running outside of the cones.

Race leader coming down a slippery hill.

Race leader coming down a slippery hill.

(source)
((also a great article about the race, go check it out))

 

Miles 7-10: 7:41, 7:53, 7:41, 7:51

My tangents were bad enough by this point that I tried to start manually lapping my watch.  This makes interpreting my splits kind of goofy so stay with me here.  Just after mile 6 we made the turn on to Court St and I got really annoyed at the wind, and annoyed with the snow, and decided I wanted to be done sooner rather than later.  I didn’t want to kill it because it was still early, but I needed to feel more like I was moving.  I held pace with a couple of girls who might have been on a college team?  Or a running club, possibly.  They were wearing matching jackets with a logo and had a coach on the course who ran with them a few steps, but I can’t for the life of me remember what the logo said.  ANYWAY, they were running a fairly steady pace for a bit until they started taking selfies and then would lag and surge.  I don’t really need to inject my commentary here.  It suffices to say that I was frustrated by this.

Miles 11-13.1: 8:06, 7:46, 7:45, 7:00

Mile 11.  Good ol’ mile 11.  This section of the course covers part of the Creekwalk in downtown Syracuse.  On a nice day, it’s a gorgeous place to run.  On a day where it is ~15 degrees and has been snowing?  It’s essentially a death trap.

I made the incredibly stupid mistake of trying to pass a girl, stepped on a 3″ sheet of ice, and did a wildly elegant one-footed slide/hop type move while yelling “shit.  oh shit!  SHIT! I am sorry, I am so sorry!!”  I thought I was going down, and even worse, I thought I was going to take that poor girl with me.  Somehow, I recovered my balance but I slowwwwwwed down like crazy after that.  It didn’t get any better – the entire Creekwalk was sheer ice.  I yelled “shit!” a few more times and chatted with the runners around me about how we were all probably going to break our legs.  I’m sure they appreciated it.

This section kind of took the spring out of my step and I started to let myself get negative.  Somewhere around the mile 12 marker, I saw one of the coaches of our running group who shouted some encouraging words which was honestly the boost I needed to not limp it on in to the finish.

Catching flies?  No but really, why is my mouth hanging open?  Also it's probably time for a haircut, that is one out-of-control ponytail.

Despite photographic evidence to the contrary, I did not run this race stoned. Also it’s probably time for a haircut … that is one out-of-control ponytail.

 

I had 1:45:22 for 13.24 miles, 7:57 pace.  I’m pulling the annoying blogger move and giving you Garmin stats because I knowingly ran the tangents terribly.  (Although, to be fair, I thought I’d see more along the lines of 13.4 on my watch by the end.  But it makes me feel better, so deal with it.)

Afterwards, I met up with Laura and some of my other friends and we ate, chatted, and complained about the race.  Ha.  I think everyone was a lot slower this year than last year (I didn’t run last year, so I don’t have a personal data point) and the general consensus is that your time was probably good for at least 2-4 minutes faster, if not more, on a day with better conditions.

Now, I know that everyone out there is running the same race – I am again pulling another annoying blogger move to make myself feel better because I was S.O.R.E. the next few days.  So I’ll give myself an A for meeting my goal time-ish, and a B for the effort – it was more than a moderate effort to achieve that time, but I like to think it was equivalent to a 1:42ish on a better day. syracuse-half-marathon-medal

All that complaining aside, it was a fun day and anytime I get to see one of my good friends at a race is A+ in my book!  And I had no regrets about not rolling back over and going to bed that morning … isn’t that how it always goes?

Rock N Roll VA Beach Half Marathon Recap

5 Sep

I’ll just be upfront about this: I’d rather stab sticks in my eye than relive any part of this race.  I guess part of the whole “you have a blog where you talk about running” and “you can’t improve if you don’t honestly look at the races that went wrong” things are convincing me to address it.

I’m pretty sure everyone and their brother knows I went down to Virginia Beach last weekend to race the Rock N Roll half with Hollie and Laura.  (Side note: I felt almost sick to my stomach over the fact that as I was heading down to one of their races, Flotrack reported the Competitor group’s decision to pull all elite support and funding for their future races.  I won’t address that now, but I do have some thoughts I would like to share in the future.)

Pic stolen from Hollie.

OK I know, I know, photo reuse violation … I just think it’s a cute picture

I knew it was going to be hot and humid, and that a PR was probably out of the question.  I did, however, intend on racing.  I decided I wanted to try and keep the pace between 7:30-7:40 and see if I could squeak in under 1:40.  I would have been happy with anything <1:45.

I went out and settled into my race pace, pulling the classic idiot move of trying to run splits instead of listening to my body.  I remember seeing the turn and the finish chute for the 5k and thinking man, I wish I was done right now.

Yeah.  Here’s a prime piece of advice for you: if MILE FREAKIN’ 2.5 of a half marathon has you feeling like you already want to quit, you probably went out too hard.

I hit my splits perfectly for the first 5k, then started to fade almost immediately.  I couldn’t cool down and I felt unbelievably thirsty.  By mile 5, I decided to walk the water stops and try to keep running around 8:05-8:12 pace.  I figured if I could finish it out at goal marathon pace, I could still call it a good workout.

I forced down my Gu at mile 7.  That was probably my second biggest mistake of the race.  Between the excess water I was drinking (two cups at each stop, the stops seemed really far apart and I was worried about dehydration) and the fact that even on a great day, my stomach doesn’t necessarily handle fuel well, I was just an overheating mess of indigestion.

My stomach was sloshing, I was dizzy and slighty incoherent, but I just kept moving forward.  We turned into the base at some point and I just remember it getting unbearably hot.  I slowed to a walk just after mile 8.  A girl ran a few steps by me and shouted “aww hope you’re ok – I’ve been pacing off of you.”  She started to slow down and I warned her, “it’s gonna get real ugly from here.”

Then I threw up.

Then I suddenly had a volunteer next to me with a water bottle.  Apparently, there was a medical tent nearby, I think he came from there?  I honestly don’t remember. He made me stop and finish the water bottle before going on.  I didn’t stop my watch, but I was also incapable of doing math at that point – I could have sworn I was there for almost 10 minutes, but reviewing the splits on my watch, it was definitely only about 4 minutes.

At that point, my mind had given up.  I stopped to walk whenever I felt like it.  I still felt dizzy and my legs felt like lead and jello at the same time.  I would alternate between telling myself I didn’t give a fuck about this race or running or anything, and telling myself that I completely fucking sucked at running.  My brain was throwing itself quite the pity party.

I am absolutely shocked that both of my feet are in the air here.  Thank you race photographer for capturing the rare moment where I was actually running toward the finish.

I am absolutely shocked that both of my feet are in the air here. Thank you race photographer for capturing the rare moment where I was actually running toward the finish.

I turned onto the boardwalk, looked at my watch, and basically knew a personal worst time was a guarantee.  I had no fight left in me.  I think I started walking before I even officially crossed the line.

Pretty sure I'm glaring at everyone and muttering all the curse words at this point.

Pretty sure I’m glaring at everyone and muttering all the curse words at this point.

1:51:22 was my finishing time.  A shiny new Personal Worst.

——————————

So here I sit, days later, entirely unsure of what to think.  At first I thought I just went out way too fast.  But this wasn’t a case of me picking numbers that I wanted to run.  The Boilermaker in early July was 73 degrees at the start with 89% humidity, and I ran an average 7:33 pace.  The temperature at the start of this race was 75 degrees with 94% humidity.  Yes, it was worse, but not by much.  And I’ve had almost two months of training on my legs.  Was it that unrealistic to expect to run a similar pace?

I don’t know what this means for Wineglass.  I can’t imagine backing off of my BQ goal.  I am considering running another half this weekend as a confidence booster … but it has the potential to do even more damage if I bonk again.  I’m also not sure I’ll be fully recovered by then.

What would you do?  Race the half or sit it out?

How do you get your brain to shut up when it’s making you doubt everything?

Pink Ribbon Run 5k Recap

14 May

A week or two ago, Hollie mentioned a 5k out in Rochester and suggested I come out for it.  Given that Hollie doesn’t have much time left in NY before her move, and it would be a chance to meet Laura for the first time, and what’s better than racing and chatting with new friends, it took me about 18 hours to decide this was a fantastic idea – which was probably about 17 hours and 59 minutes too long.

I didn’t entirely know what I was getting myself into at first, until Hollie mentioned it was a women’s only race, and turnout was usually around 1000 runners.  Um, holy crap.

I set my alarm for 5:30, haphazardly got dressed, threw together a bag, and hopped in the car.  I stopped at a rest station about an hour into my drive, and I realized it was freezing outside.  And windy.  Apparently the wind just like to follow me to races this year.

I got to the park in plenty of time and went to go pick up my bib.  I hightailed it right back to my car and proceeded to have a 20 minute debate over whether I should go with short or long sleeves (this entailed pinning and re-pinning my bib five – five! – different times).  In the end, I decided I’d run in the Oiselle stripey long sleeve I had thrown in my post-race bag and thanked my earlier half-asleep self for having the foresight to pack a long sleeve tee.

I left the comfort of my car to start warming up and along the way ran into Hollie and Laura.  We chatted for a bit and finally proceeded to the start.  They convinced me to line up near the start with them, which was definitely a new and intimidating experience for me.  Girls were doing striders off the line and everyone looked super fast.  I mostly just wanted to pee my pants, but tried to keep my “I’m tough, I’m fast, I can hang with you” poker face on.

The gun sounded and we were off!  Being close to the front definitely pulled me out a little faster then I would’ve liked, but after about a quarter mile, I settled into a pace that felt ok and found a small pack of girls to hang with.  As I mentioned, it was very windy so I put all time goals out of my head – my only goal for this race was to run hard and stay tough – no giving up, pulling back, mentally quitting.  The first mile flew by and I passed the mile marker in around 6:55ish.

Almost immediately after the first mile marker came the first hairpin turn.  This was really tough for me because seeing 6-anything as a mile split tends to give me a bit of a heart attack, and the break in momentum made me kind of check in and realize that I was working, not just cruising.  Mile 2 is always the hardest for me in a 5k anyway, so combining all those things gave me a momentary panic.  I did my best to push those negative thoughts out of my head and focused on the two girls ahead of me.

I eventually picked off the two girls, but was then kind of alone on the course.  I could tell I put some distance between myself and them, but the next girl ahead of me was too far away for me to seriously focus on at that point.  As I approached the second mile marker, I could see the clock reading 13:53.  I tried to start picking it up a bit but the seconds clicked by and the race official said as I approached “…13:56, 13:57, still sub-7 pace here … untiiiiiiil …. NOW.”  I crossed the mile marker at exactly 14:00 on the clock and I wanted to reach out and slap the guy.

BUT I knew I only had one mile-ish to go and that I was on PR pace?!  I just wanted to hang on as best  I could.  The third mile featured another couple of hairpin turns, during one of which I tripped over a curb.  Awesome!  Then a long stretch down a parking lot into the wind.  Awesome!  I tried to stay positive and keep pushing.

After looping around some more, I finally started to see the finish line.  I was literally unable to do math anymore and had no idea if I had totally blown up and ruined my shot at breaking 22 minutes.  The second I saw the clock reading 21:30-something, I kicked it into a ridiculous gear with a huge grin on my face.

Official time: 21:45
A 22-second PR.
18/1049 Overall
4/83 AG

Laura, me, and Hollie.  Rocking the giddy PR grin, all day long.

Laura, me, and Hollie. Rocking the giddy PR grin, all day long.

Hollie and Laura did amazing, placing 5th and 6th respectively in the race and winning Wegman’s gift cards (umm, so awesome).  I missed out on 3rd in my age group and accordingly, my own gift card, by 9 seconds but I really could care less – I was so thrilled with this finishing time on a tough course with not quite ideal weather.  I’ll be back next year to take another shot at that gift card 😀

The first text I sent after the race.  Thrilled probably isn't a strong enough adjective to describe my true feelings.

The first text I sent after the race. Thrilled probably isn’t a strong enough adjective to describe my true feelings.

After the awards, we headed to Starbuck to warm up and chat for a bit.  I had such a great time; Hollie and Laura are absolutely amazing and I was so glad I decided to go out for this race.  Hopefully there will be more running/racing shenanigans in the future!