Monday, September 30, 2013

Providence Rock n Roll Half Marathon RP

In case you loath race reports and would rather not read every gory detail, I ran 1:25:55. That's about as short as it gets...

Oh you want some boring gory details? Thank you for humoring me. Thinking that someone might be interested in reading every aspect of my race saves my co-workers from having to listen to me talk about it, so they thank you too.

Pre-race week:
The week leading up to the race was fine, I guess. Everyone in the house has been sick, but not with anything serious. Just a typical start of school year virus. Still, it had made us all cranky and tired. It seemed every night just as I would fall asleep one of the kids would need me for something, and knowing that I had a race  AND that it was suppose to be a peak mileage week all this not sleeping irritated me. That's all fairly typical in my house though. Fall racing seems steeped in viruses...

Race morning:
I woke up at 4:00 am to drive myself to the race. I was really beginning to question how well I could possibly do. Usually I mentally prepare for races. I study the course. I usually taper. I think about the race and my goals. I didn't do any of that. I didn't even really know what I could expect to run with no taper. I was hoping that I could run 1:26:30, which wouldn't be a PR, but was what the race calculator predicted based on my last 5K time. I wound up at the race way too early, but managed to pass the time by sitting in a hotel lobby and visiting the bathroom every 10 minutes. Good times.

The start:
I moseyed on into my corral about 15 minutes prior to the start time, and found a fellow running buddy, Robin. The start was killing me. As 7:00 approached, the announcer states it will be a few more minutes. Then a few more minutes. They were killing me. Once I'm on the start line my race anxiety is at its peak, and doesn't start to dissipate until the race actually starts. I think it was only about 10 minutes late, but it felt like a long 10 minutes.

The Race: 
I don't know, the whole race was sort of a blur. I was the third place female for about 4-5 miles, then another lady passed me, and there was no fight in me to try to stick with her. My legs were just tired. Every time I ran up a hill my legs were burning. I managed to keep it at an average of 6:27 pace for the first 6 - 7 miles, but at some point after that I started slowing down. At the 10 mile mark I was at an average of 6:31 pace (according to the race clock), and then I knew I'd really like to break 1:26, but simply wasn't sure if I could manage not to slow down too much more. Around here another lady passed me. Again, I didn't even care. I also had a splitting headache, and mostly wanted to be finished, but there was still this tiny bit of hope that maybe just maybe I could break 1:26. The last 2.1 miles I was really making an effort. I was starting to catch up to that lady, but that wasn't my goal. At the 13 mile mark, there was a clock, and it read 1:25:10. There was also a hill. I knew if I could haul myself up that hill there was still a chance that I might break 1:26...and I did. 

Post Race:
I was super happy with my time. I PR'd. Only by four seconds, but a PR is a PR, right? There are few other reasons that I'm please with the outcome. For one, I hadn't tapered, and that does make a difference. My legs were definitely tired, and I had trouble mentally. For another, the course wasn't super fast. I don't think it was extremely challenging, but my marathon in three weeks is on a flatter course. And lastly, this is the first time I've ever run a half marathon faster than my last 5K predicted I would run. I'm generally a better at the 5K than half or full marathons...

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Sometimes I surprise myself

Marathon Training
Lately I've had a more relaxed attitude towards training. I'm still running workouts and putting in the miles, but I'm not stressing about running mega crazy or mega long workouts. I've also given myself permission to skip some of the interval stuff (which seems to stress me out for some reason), and simply focus on tempo runs (which keeps me more relaxed).

Why the relaxed attitude? Well, my mindset last year was a bit intense, and honestly I needed a change of pace. I can only be intense so long. Also, a lot is changing all at once: Kaylee just started first grade, I'm going back to work full-time in October, and Emily will be starting preschool in a few weeks. Really there's just more important stuff going on. So, when I embarked on my solo 20 miler early Sunday morning, I didn't have a firm goal in mind. I thought it would be nice to run around 7:35ish pace, but that was about it.

As you can see from the picture, I ran faster, and it was a huge shock to me. I can only guess that cooler temps played an integral role in my legs wanting to move faster. The run didn't feel harder than any of my other long runs, but those runs were done on warmer more humid days. But still, I was completely taken aback. Then I was wondering if I'd be sore on Monday. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a tiny bit stiff, but nothing was really sore, and I managed a 12 miler on Monday.

Now I'm left wondering what this means for BayState, which is in 5 weeks. My planned marathon pace was 7:03, and having just run a 20 plus miler at a faster pace, well, it seems as though my planned pace should change. Then I also have to wonder if I just peaked, and will be left at the marathon start line with no wind in my sails (and just this picture of my Garmin). But you know what, now that I'm thinking about, I don't even care. I'm sure my attitude will change as race day approaches, but for now I'm still shocked and excited that I was able to maintain a sub 7:00 minute pace for a 20 miler. That's good enough...for now.

Unrelated to running
Can I tell you a funny story? It's completely unrelated to running, but it's fun anyway. A few weeks ago Nick asked: "Can I borrow your crock pot?" I must have taken too long to respond because he followed up his question with: "Aren't you going to ask me why I want to use the crock pot?" To which I responded with raised eyebrows and, "well, I'm about 99% sure you don't plan to cook something..." As I'm scrunching up my face in what I imagine to be a look of suspicion, I add: "This doesn't have something to do with your RC truck does it? Because if you're planning to put chemicals in the crock pot, then the answer is definitely no." Nick suddenly looked shocked and amused and blurted out, "how did you know!" Then he laughed and started telling me how he had read that some people use crock pots to clean their RC truck engines, and while he didn't really plan to try it, he wanted to see what I'd say if he asked (as a joke). The moral of the story? First, wives are psychic. Second, crock pots are only for cooking.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

I like to take pictures of my Garmin

I'm sort of marathon training. I write "sort of" because I don't feel the same fierce panic to run a mega PR like I did last year. I am training though, and when I go through my training log I can plainly see that I am running much faster than when I was training for BayState last year. I'm just going to assume that's probably good and leave it at that.

I don't have a "training plan" per se, but I have run 70+ miles six out of the last seven weeks. In that time I've also run a 17 miler, two 18 milers, and four 20+ miles. From the picture, you can see that I enjoy taking pictures of my Garmin after the fact. What you don't know is that I've done all my long runs on the track to make it look like I'm faster than I am. I'm joking! Maybe...

Hmmm, last post I mentioned a fast mile and two mile race on the track. That turned out to be a bust. It was fun though. I had the opportunity to see my old high school coach, which is always nice, but leading up the meet I had been ill and my asthma had kicked it up a notch. I wound up deciding to go and use it as workout. I wound up running 12:04 for the two mile, which was fine for a workout. The mile took place approximately five minutes after the two mile, and so the 5:52 I ran was okay. Not really race report worthy, but okay.

My alumni meet didn't exactly leave me oozing with confidence, but that took place about eight weeks ago, and it seems at least some of my running mojo has been resurrected since. Two weeks ago I ran a 5K on the track. My high school was having a 5K track meet that was open to anyone. A 5K on the track is hard to pass up. It's so fast on the track. I get excited just thinking about it...Anyway, there were only perhaps three downsides: first it took place at 9:00 pm (when I'm generally in my PJ's thinking about sleeping...hey no judging), second my high school is about an hour away (meaning it messed up bedtime, yes that's a big deal in my house), and third I've been marathon training (you know, building a base, running long, not doing short intervals). The upside: it was on the TRACK! Obviously, I had to go. Also, it's nice to see my coach.

To make a long story longer, I wound up running 18:41. I would be lying if I wrote that I wasn't a tiny bit disappointed for like 10 seconds. For some reason, I had thought that it was (of course) reasonable to assume that I could PR with no 5K training late in the evening simply because I was running on the track. I mean, running on a track does make you super human. It seemed perfectly reasonable at the time. Once I really thought about it though, I realized my time was good for where I am right now. There was also the fact that I didn't come in last, which had been a real possibility. The meet had several heats and my heat was suppose to be for those who could run 18:30 or faster (no pressure). I'm proud to say that I was only lapped by two people, and finished somewhere in the middle.

Besides not coming in last, I'm also happy because I ran strong and didn't feel completely wiped when I finished. I did make a couple mistakes that may have slowed me down a little. The first mile was 5:45, and I felt awesome. I had tucked myself right behind a girl and guy. Like practically on their heels. I thought that was a good place to be, but after the first mile they started slowing down. I still felt great, but was hesitant to pass them too early into the race because it takes energy to pass people on the track and (I'm ashamed to admit) that I was nervous that I would pass them and die out before the finish. That's probably the one downside to running on the track. There were a lot of people watching and there was some self imposed pressure not to embarrass myself. By the time I did pass them, I had lost a lot of time. My second mile was somewhere around 6:10. By this point I still felt good, but I knew a PR wasn't going to happen, and think I probably mentally checked out of the race. My last mile was around 6:05.

In the end, it was nice confidence booster. Also, I wound up winning $100. The high school girl who ran about minute (or more) faster than me can't accept race winnings. Not great for her, but sort of cool for me. Besides the money, everyone who registered received a t-shirt, a $20 gift card to Marathon Sports, and a 20% off coupon to Marathon Sports. For a little race, that has to be the best swag I've ever received. The gift card doesn't have any fine print or minimum that you have to spend. It's just a gift card. Cool beans. The cost of registration was $20, so basically the gift card is the cost of the race.

In case you're wondering, yes my high school coach invented the terrific FRoller which can be found: Yes, I bought a FRoller for myself about a year ago (though my coach is so nice he probably would have given me one), and yes I use it everyday. I love it. It's awesome. Enough said.

Saving the best for last...who will be registering for Boston next week?