Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Richmond Half 2017

LogoThe Richmond race is a fun one! The course always has lots of support and activity along the way...DJ’s, bands, people with fun signs, families cheering, school cheer squads, neighborhood tailgating lol no shortage of reasons to smile, so I am very glad I was able to take part in the day. I wasn’t even close to running goal pace, but that has been a theme this year for sure. Every half marathon of 2017 has been pretty lackluster for me.

The Richmond Half was 2 weeks out from the marathon I ran and I guess I was not recovered enough to really kick it up.

Race morning I woke up and ate a small thing of yogurt and grapes and got stomach was rumbly which was a bit concerning. Without too much TMI...I went to the bathroom twice and started to feel alot better, I had high hopes. Hubby drove me downtown, which takes about 30 minutes and dropped me off a few blocks from the start line. My tummy started to fall out a few minutes before I got out of the car. Oh so rumbly 💩...luckily he dropped me right by a hotel, I slipped in the door and used the restroom once more. Geesh… really??! I did feel tons better though, and I darted up the street to check my bag full of warm clothes so I could hang out after the race. I took out my fleece head band right before I checked the bag.

It was nippy! My ears were the only thing really hurting, so I shoved it under my visor to keep my ears warm. It wasn't as cold as the forecast predicted, but I think about 28 degrees, anyway it felt much better once my ears were warm. Coach Holly told me to cut my sweatshirt up the middle and that tip makes it so much easier to take off later. There always seems to be a breeze that cuts through buildings downtown and the sweatshirt kept me nice and toasty :)

At the start area 

I apologize now for lifting the race photos, but they are pricey and I am not sure I need a memento from this race, but they do help tell the story.
I used the P.O.P. one more time before the race started and went with my wave...E. The race is huge, they are waves to K.

My legs were feeling pretty good, nothing was achy, just a little puffiness in the arch of foot from rolling, but I really thought my legs were ready to roll.

Off went the waves, there is always lots of  loud music and cheers, and the race start is always fun!

I wasn't running 5 minutes when I felt like I had to go potty again! Dang it 😲 🙈 I went 15 minutes before we started...I was hoping it would pass, but by mile 2 I had a hard pain right behind my belly button area and I knew I needed to stop and just go…

The pain was getting pretty intense and I wondered if I was going to make all 13 miles. I wasn't sure one potty stop could fix this odd pain in my belly, but I had to try. I hopped in the first P.O.P. that wasn’t busy. At that point I stopped my watch. When I came out I scrolled through my workouts, found my intervals,  and restarted my watch, which means my race is captured in two pieces.

I wasn't sure if the pain was going to subside and mentally I was feeling defeated...having to stop, having the stomach pain, and knowing my foot was not in great shape, it just didn’t seem like the day to try to push it and run all 13 miles without intervals.  My interval workout has a mile warm up, so I had to run another mile. 😌  When I got rolling again I took it very easy and luckily I started to feel really good. 
Check out my easy paced "first mile "

I finally relaxed and just ran along taking in the all the sights.

I think I shed my sweatshirt about mile 4. I drank Powerade at several stops, enjoyed the leaves in Bryan Park, enjoyed running, reading people's signs, and just clicked off the miles. 

Towards the end I tried to rally a little so I could come in under 2:20 but it wasn't quite enough…
I tried to pick up the pace! 

2:20:51 was my official time

After the race I went and picked up my checked bag and put on two dry shirts and a jacket. I was still cold and checked my app and it was 35 degrees out...brrrr, I headed up to find a good spot so I could watch Laura, Ariana, and Robyn come in.

I ended up standing next to a sweet little lady in a handsewn dress with the white apron on who had driven all the way up from Georgia (which is like 8 hours away by car) to cheer for a nephew. She was chatty and extremely sweet and she teared up with me as we watched some folks cross the finish line. She was telling me she thought she would be bored, but she was loving every minute.

There was a guy dragging his leg, clearly hurting but finished, a man pushing his full grown daughter in stroller, a few folks cried as they crossed the line, the guy that jumped across the line, her nephew who crushed his was all pretty exciting. Those sub 3 folks are some kind of superhuman life forms I can’t imagine what it feels like to be that anything!

I anxiously waited to see Laura appear and watched in awe as she glided down the hill to crush her goal. She was looking pretty super human too! Her running looks so was the theme for all three ladies...coming in looking strong and beautiful as they all broke through a new personal time barrier.  Heartwarming  💕


After Robyn finished I was so cold! I headed over and grabbed a piece of pizza and a banana and walked around Brown’s Island hoping to spot one of the ladies but I never saw anyone. My feet were soooo achy, and I was still cold even though I was moving, so I walked a few blocks away from the crowd so Kenny could pick me up.

I took the hottest shower ever and honestly, I think the best part of my day was watching everyone else run a personal best! Although, I was not thrilled with my how my day went, it is still another 13.1 and #19 is done!

While I am a bit sad Coach Holly and I didn't snag a great half marathon together, all that training was not in vain, it helped me to snag a marathon PR, and I learned lot of new ways to work on running fast! I appreciate all of Holly's guidance, knowledge, patience and friendship during this training cycle.

I am linking up with my awesome running gal pals! Join in with Holly @ hohoruns and Tricia@ MissSippiPiddlin

Have you ever run Richmond?
Ever had a race of tummy issues that seemed endless?!
Adore the tracking apps available for big races?! ....I love them! especially the estimated finish time feature.
Tell me how your running is going?!

Thanks for stopping by! 

Friday, November 10, 2017


Ideally, after a running marathon I would have given myself two weeks, but since I had the half marathon on the 11th I wanted to test my legs just a bit.

I did two strong sessions on the Arc machine and it felt great to get moving but it was funny, it kind of rearranged what felt sore on me.

Sunday was my first run after a full 7 days off.  I felt so good it was scary.  4 mi @ 10:30 avg

I rode my bike Monday and felt really good, but I was slow and could tell I was still recovering. Overall nothing ached so I felt like I was on my way.  I felt like the run on Sunday really brought the fatigue in my legs to the surface.
I also started started feeling achy with yet another cold on Monday. UGH!

Tuesday I ran four more miles. I am sure the head cold probably did not help my energy levels, but my legs just felt heavy...and I decided rest was needed, even from non impact cardio.  4 mi @10:42 avg

I broke my basic life goal which is work out four times a  week for the second week in a row. Only 3x's  for the past two weeks, but I felt it was necessary.

Thursday I picked up my bib and  enjoyed the expo and then rolled out my legs when I got home.
My beautiful friend Robyn  (in the yellow shirt) made the big poster hanging up at the expo

I also rolled my feet  to loosen up the arches and booom! My left arch puffed odd. No pain at all just puffy, I wondered if I put too much pressure on when I rolled. Stupid feet. I've iced several times on Friday and walked  and it feels fine....but seriously, just something else to make me crazy paranoid!!
I have huge fears of injury as it is, but having something react like makes all the irrational crazies run through my mind.

I sooooo want to have a good race. It is my last event with Coach Holly and I really want to break a 2:15 half marathon...something I have not been able to do all year. My speed work went well, I am feeling well (minus my puffy arch) and it is going to be cold as crud, so I should want to run fast to warm up LOL

Hopefully I will have a happy story to tell as I continue to recover next week!  I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Thanks for stopping by! 

Thursday, November 2, 2017

The Big Day! Marathon #2

I made the decision to run race this just a few weeks ago! My name was pulled off a wait list and although I had a few moments of apprehension, deep inside I felt ready to roll. I was excited to see some Fall color, run down a mountain, and become a 2 x marathoner. 

Although, I did not formally train, I had a pretty good base of several 100 mile months before I started half marathon training and I felt like my 2 hour base was pretty solid. 

I have struggled producing any speed this year with the half marathon distance but I have felt like I could keep running after many races this year...time to test that theory! LOL 

The weather had been great leading up to the race and then on the Thursday before....(Ahhhhhhhh!) the forecast changed to rain...and that kind of changed how I was viewing this day. It made my “for fun” race a little more real. 

                                                        Scene from the course

I worried about rain on a 40 degree morning, I wondered if I would make it to the end, I wondered if I should stay home, I wondered if the forecast would just be wrong, I wondered what to wear LOL 

I obsessed a bit...

I prepped for rain because it was 100% on the forecast. I got a waterproof phone case, took my sleeveless vest, took a tight long sleeve shirt, got heavier gloves that are water repellent, but I never once thought about what if it is warmer than predicted!!!

I prayed on Friday and started to feel a lot more optimistic. I wasn't sure what the unpaved road was like, but rough conditions or not, I was still going to make the most of this day.

It was a little over four hours to Lenoir, NC. I went on Friday to pick up my bib and my shoe chip, it was at the race organizers place of work.  It was my first ever shoe chip! 

I made new a friend...

I stayed about 30 minutes from the race shuttles. When I woke up race morning in Lenoir it was warm! 48 degrees. I was kicking myself, I did not have anything for warmer weather with me. I had capris and a few long sleeve tech shirts. Both my shirts were pretty lightweight and had sleeves I could roll up, so it wasn't a total disaster, but I should have carried shorts and short sleeves.  It was supposed to be 40 on the mountain top though so I felt like it would be okay.

I ate a banana with a little peanut butter and a Luna protein bar race morning. 

I drove to the shuttles and was pleasantly surprised to see big comfy tour buses. I sat next to half fanatic member who has also run a ton of marathons. She is doing 50 states and has already checked off 40 something...Alaska the most gorgeous according to her, and she was headed to Hawaii in January. I laughed because she was going to run a half on Sunday after a marathon on Saturday LOL OMG! I kept looking at her thinking what kind of crazy person can run the day after a marathon???!!! She entertained me with her stories as we road up the mountain. I promise you, I could not even entertain the thought of running the day after

At the top it was very windy, misty, and the clouds were rolling by fast. It felt like it would rain any minute. I felt better about my outfit choice...I put on my thin sleeveless vest that is water repellent. I did not want to get soaked early on.

I waited in a store with tons of other runners. I used the restroom 3 x's before we started running.

I had my hydration pack with 2 tablets of Nuun, a banana, a pack of honey stinger chews, a cliff shot, run gum, my phone in a waterproof case, wore my vest, and emergency blanket in my pack...LOL 
I was ready for anything!

Off we went at 8 a.m., it was moist and misty, but not actually raining.  Willie Lowe took most of the photos and gave us permission to share. My phone was in the waterproof case in my pack the entire race. 

Hanging at the start line 

2.5 miles was the first aid station and I left my gloves and vest. It had rained momentarily, but it was so warm as soon as I was away from the top of the mountain I couldn't wear the vest...way too warm. If it rained, I decided I was just going to get soaked. 

Most sections of the first 10K were paved, however the bulk of the course was on unpaved road, the texture of which changed throughout the course. Some sections had tons of small rocks and that was hard on the tootsies. Oddly, the unpaved at the top felt easier to navigate than some sections in the later miles...some areas had little gravel cover, but lots of flat stones. I watched those flat stones carefully because they are slick when wet.

The first 6 miles I was being conservative with my pace because there was uphill and slopes. I am not sure my garmin elevation map really captures how big some of the slopes felt. Conserve energy! I was enjoying the sea of gold trees, which looked amazing even with the gray skies. I ran the first 10K in 1:06:13 (11:10 avg)

I had to take another quick potty break about mile 6. My bladder sucks. The thought occurred to me maybe I am over hydrating now that it is not quite as hot.

I used 3 minutes running with a 40 second walk break. I had programmed several hours of 3 x 40 into my Garmin.

I started fuel early, I ate a honey stinger chew during each walk break - I think I finished the bag around mile 5.
Mile 7 some downhill kicked in, which felt great after the slopes at the top.
Mile 9 I took my cliff shot. I was running at a really good clip and I was tempted to skip the walk breaks, but I did not. I knew the rocks were going to take a toll on my feet.
Downhill running is very dreamy :) It will make you feel superhero like. 

I did not make any of the pics!! These are just to give you an idea of what the course was like. 

I had decided to run off feel and only look at my watch at key points. I seriously had no time mission since my training was minimal, but I wanted to know what I was on track to do...just in case I was having a great day.

I clicked off the miles feeling pretty great. My half marathon was 2:18:47. The colors were really pretty and I was kind of awed when I passed by a  huge Christmas tree farm.  All the lush green 
🎄🎄💚 😍

The course was pretty quiet for a long time, just me and the trees, no crowds, cowbells...notta.
I ran by several small waterfalls as I was coming down the mountain, and some sections you could see really pretty green rolling hills, but the majority of time it was all about the trees. The last section was by the water and that was very soothing.

A view of the course profile
About 10 minutes before I hit the 3 hour mark the course levels out dramatically. Going from downhill to flat was tough. I experienced this in Montana as well, my legs were in a completely different rhythm and going flat makes me feel way too heavy. I ate my banana during mile 19 :) I figured it would give me a boost. The rain started about mile 17 and continued until mile 24ish.

and the typical app capture

I stopped at the hydration station at the 3 hour mark, which was right around mile 17 and ate a few orange pieces, then popped run gum in my mouth. I felt so good at that point, I was pleasantly surprised. I was just a tad warm, so the rain cooled me off and that felt wonderful. The biggest issue with the rain was the flat smooth stones that popped up out of the road, they are slick when wet. 

I held really strong for a long time though because at the mile 20 marker, I noted to myself I still felt really good!

Eventually my feet were really wet from the rain, and even though I wore drymax socks, my feet were sliding around and the socks were bunching a bit. I had spots on both feet that were getting sore.  I worried about my tootsies and felt bad for pushing them. Mile 22 I thought about walking the rest of the way! LOL Yep, things flipped that fast, but I knew I had run 20 fabulous miles and I hated to blow it. The flatness of the course was tearing me legs up! ...and maybe messing with my head a bit too! The downhill was kind of dream like, I sure wish it had lasted just a little longer!! 
I was rolling along very steady. 
You can see from my heart rate where I started to feel fatigued

I took many extra walks breaks for awhile and calmed down my achy feet. I tried to rally a few times, but I made very slow progress for a few miles.  During the last two miles I knew I was close to 4:45 and I started beating myself up for losing minutes. I was irritated with myself about the aid stations because I wore my pack and had supplies with me, but I wanted oranges, and a few times and I took Gatorade and walked. And then there was the extra potty break...and all the extra walking. UGH!  LOL I reminded myself  I came into this with no real time mission, but I was on track to beat my time from last year and I wanted it! I brushed off the joy sucking thoughts after a few minutes and started telling myself, "Progress!"

The last 5 miles I was around the same 3 ladies and 1 guy. I was not feeling chatty and since I was intervaling our positions were always changing, but one gal in a gray shirt really helped pull me along. She walked a few times and then got her second wind and just kept plugging away. I was impressed. I tried to feed off her good energy. Someone else was belching loudly and it was making me nuts! Also, towards the end the flow of cars became very busy.  Cars in both directions at times.  That was tough mentally!! 

Cars on the course! 

At mile 24, I tried to pick up the pace. My legs were tired LOL 😅😅 I said progress to myself over and over. It had just about stopped raining and it was just kind of spitting every now and again. Progress, progress, progress. The cars were messing with my head. The last two miles I really only took one walk break. I was not producing a ton of speed but I kept at it! 

The last mile was awful tough because they brought you in front of Mountain Beach Resort where we  had picked up the buses and looped runners all the way through the parking lot and we had to run up a little incline to cross the line. The parking lot loop felt eternal and I had to watch for cars backing out of spaces LOL But I did it! I ran so hard to the finish line I made myself feel woozy right at the end. 

I saw the clock and I knew I had come really close to hitting 4:45 but I did not even care, I was so thrilled and I could already feel the soreness setting in. The medic grabbed me because I was breathing so heavy but honestly, it only took me a minute to get myself  together, my last little burst of speed felt tougher than usual. Well duh, right!! I'd been running a long time LOL

I waddled slowly in to see what they had for food and it was pork barbeque, which people were really enjoying, but I don’t eat much meat, definitely not pork. I had some goldfish and few bites of a roll, I really didn’t want food anyway. I did drink a diet coke and then worried about the impact that would have on my recovery. I stopped and purchased a protein shake shortly after I left. 

I watched some folks go the Creek to wade their legs in the water, but I was soaked and very salt covered and I was afraid to get in the cold flow of water, even though I knew it would be great for recovery. I was very worried about messing with my body temperature in big swings especially since there was nowhere to shower. I just wanted a shower. I plugged the closest Planet Fitness into to my GPS and went to beg a shower. Thankfully, they had mercy and I drove home clean :) I had a few raw spots that really stung when I finally showered. Ouch!

Overall, it was a great day. The weather was not nearly as rough as forecast, and it got very humid with the rain, so it never felt super cold. I actually appreciated  the gray cloud cover. I was  still a light shade of pink the next day #gingerproblems 

The unpaved road was tough to navigate in a few spots because of holes or dips, and when it rained there were a few slick sections because they had mud on them,  and the stones were slick, but mostly it was like dirt trail running. The toughest part of the course was going from downhill to level and the cars during the last 5 miles. I only had one truck truly squeeze me off  to the side (because trucks were coming in both directions) and cause me to stop until he passed, but for the most part it was just staying alert around corners.  Sitting and driving home that far was a bit tough after the race, but worth it! 

Don't you love my random runner shots!?? 

Looking back, I wish I would have pushed miles 7-15 (the downhill) even harder than and skipped some walk breaks, but I was trying to think big picture... finish, don’t use up all your energy at once. I could have made up more time there. 

My whole race is broken down in interval splits, since I ran 3 x 40, so I used the segment feature on my Garmin to capture my pacing afterwards.

My Garmin was only 6 seconds off my official time, so it tracked really well. Cell service was non existent in the area.

My segments:
First 10K - 1:06:13 11:10 avg

Half marathon - 2:18:47 10:35 avg

Miles 7-15 - 1:31:37 10:13 avg is easy to see how much I lost it the second half

2:18:47 for the first half
2:27:63 for the second half
4:46:10 was my official finish time :) 

I am hopeful recovery will go well.  My quads were making me yelp just a little going up and down the stairs, but 4 days out I am able to kneel and stoop, it is only my toes that are really tender. 

After the race I saw many people walking very slow, struggling to get up after they sat down, and I chatted with a few wincing people and it made me realize only a few people were skipping away pretty normal. Last year when I ran Richmond I felt like I was only one who was moving really slow after the race. It hit me that there are so many half marathon runners and families hanging out in the finish area at Richmond that I just didn't see it. I really got to see the special marathon walk because all of us had run the distance.

Thanks for stopping by and reading about my adventure!! Have a great week ❤

Have you experienced the post marathon walk? 
Every run unpaved road like this? 
Have any questions about details I forgot to include? 
Relate to my...I'm a superhero and 2 miles later I'm walking...flip?! 
Do you think you would enjoy this kind of course? 
What is the longest run you've done and ran the next day!? 

Monday, October 30, 2017

Gearing up for Marathon #2

I am going to share an article that I have read many times to frame my mindset about running marathon #2. 

I am linking up with my awesome running gal pals for the Weekly Wrap!
Join in with Holly @ hohoruns and Tricia@ MissSippiPiddlin

I want to be clear I am not advocating running a race undertrained, or passing judgment on the way anyone trains, I am simply sharing my heart and decision making process that led to running a marathon on October 28th. 

Below is a clip from the article 

Written by Coach Jeff

The marathon long run is overrated.
In my experience, too many beginner runners (those training to run slower than 3:45) focus on trying to get in multiple 20 or 22 milers in their training segment at the expense of improving more critical physiological systems. More importantly, scientific research has shown that runs of over 3 hours offer little aerobic benefit compared to runs of 2 hours while significantly increasing injury risk.
As such, rather than cramming your marathon training schedule with multiple 20-22 milers that increase your injury risk and recovery time without decisive aerobic advantages, you should focus on improving your aerobic threshold, teaching your body to use fat as a fuel source, and building your overall tolerance for running on tired legs through accumulated fatigue.
Since the long run is such an ingrained element of marathon training, and suggesting they are overrated sounds blasphemous to many veterans, I am going to provide you with scientific research, relevant examples, and suggestions on how to better structure your training to help you run your next marathon faster.
The science of the long run
Most beginner runners training for the marathon are averaging anywhere from 9 minutes to 12 minutes per mile on their long runs (3:45 to 5-hour finishing time). At a pace of 10 minutes per mile, a runner will take roughly 3-hours and 40-minutes to finish a 21-mile run. While there is no doubt that a 21-mile run (or longer) can be a great confidence booster, from a training and physiological standpoint, they don’t make too much sense. Here’s why:
Research has shown that your body doesn’t see a significant increase in aerobic development, specifically mitochondrial development, when running over 90 minutes. The majority of physiological stimulus of long runs occurs between the 60 and 90 minute mark. This means that after running for 3 hours, aerobic benefits (capillary building, mitochondrial development) aren’t markedly better than when you run for only 2 hours. Therefore, a long run of over 3 hours builds about as much aerobic fitness as one lasting 2 hours.
Furthermore, running for longer than 3 hours significantly increases your chance of injury. Your form begins to break down, your major muscles become weak and susceptible to injury, and overuse injuries begin to take their toll. This risk is more prevalent for beginner runners whose aerobic capabilities (because of cross training and other activities), exceed their musculoskeletal readiness. Basically, their bodies aren’t ready to handle what their lungs can.
Not only are aerobic benefits diminished while injury risk rises, recovery time is significantly lengthened. The total amount of time on your feet during a 3-hour plus run adds considerable fatigue to the legs, which leads to a significant delay in recovery time. Credit 

I've read the words in red over and over as I have thought about running another marathon and I take them to heart. 💕 Am I trained to run 2 hours…Absolutely.  Is that enough training? I don’t know…Did I believe I could do it?  I felt confident I could meet the challenge mentally and physically in every other way than my feet are my thorn, but I was ready to test them. 

I put my name on the waitlist for this race during the summer kind of willy nilly and said, if it is meant to be I’ll get in. The course is advertised as a fast downhill course on unpaved road. It had been a little over three months when they contacted me (I had forgot about it!) and said I could have a spot! I was shocked…the wait list was huge when I threw my name up; I really didn’t believe it would happen.

There were a handful of reasons I threw my name on the waitlist.

My first marathon did not turn out as well as I hoped and I felt I needed to right some of the things that went wrong that day, and I was very curious if unpaved surface would make a difference for my feet.

I spent 8 months without the slightest desire to revisit 26.2 after the Richmond marathon in 2016. Something flipped after that and I was ready to create some new marathon memories. 

I had a lot go wrong race morning last year. I had sooooooooo much anxiety I could not even eat. I ran on empty and while doing a race close to home did allow me to sleep in my own bed, taking care of my animals in the morning, cleaning up messes, was all part of my undoing. Also trying to drive downtown and park at such a big event was a total stressor. I still get sad when I think about how the morning went; it wasn’t conducive for a great day. I could go on and on about how heartbreaking this was to me in so many ways, but the big lesson I learned, is that I need to remove those elements so I can have a clear head and happy heart when I get to the start line.

This race limited to 400 participants, with a parking area and shuttles to take you up the mountain and affordable accommodations nearby, and the promise of beautiful views made me want to be there!

Also, actually tackling the beastly 26.2 once before gave me experience with what to expect, and confidence that I could get it done. 26 miles seemed so unimaginable to me all during training last year, I am not sure I really believed I would finish until I ran my 20 miler. I have always known though I would not train the same way (if I ever decided to do it again) and I figured 16-17 would be about my longest run. 

When race organizers contacted me my initial gut reaction was go! Then the doubts and worries started to flood my mind…will I get hurt, will my feet explode, will it be miserable if I walk 10 miles of it, will Coach Holly be upset I am messing up my half goal???
I have been on a half training mission with Holly, and I didn’t want to flip from that goal, but my heart wanted to do this.

Honestly, it was just a few weeks ago I got pulled from the waitlist. Is that really enough time to make a big difference in my fitness level?? No! But, I did believe deep inside I was ready. I just had a sense of peace about it.  If I had a little more notice I would have trained up to 16 miles, but time wasn’t abundant so I just stuck with my normal plans. 

Remember, I put my name on the list and said if it is meant to be…

In the end, I decided to say thank you Lord for the opportunity; I am going to become a second time marathoner. My BIG race plan was to hopefully see some beautiful sights, run some intervals, and enjoy the journey.

I, of course, had been stalking the weather, which was great in NC and VA the week leading up the race, and of course the Thursday night before the event – rain 100% chance!!

If you saw my Instagram post you know I accomplished marathon #2 and it was a 5 minute PR and I am very happy I decided to go for it!

I’ll leave you here until I can get more details written out…but I did it! 💫
Thanks for stopping by!! Karen

Have you read this article about training and the long run before? Any thoughts about it? 
The importance of a 20 miler?? I believe I needed it for marathon #1!!
Have you run a race undertrained? 
Have you ever made a big decision on...if it was meant to be?? 
Does a rain forecast make you dread a race? UGH!!! 

Monday, October 23, 2017

Petersburg Halloween Half

I am linking up with my awesome running gal pals for the Weekly Wrap!
Join in with Holly @ hohoruns and Tricia@ MissSippiPiddlin

I ran half marathon #18 on Saturday hoping for a 2:15 or better finish and I fell a bit short, but I still had a pretty good day.

My goal was very reasonable, a 10:15 -10:20 pace should be very manageable for me, I really don't believe I am setting the bar too high or setting myself up for disappointment, I should be able to accomplish that mission. 

Here's the details:
I got all my working out done by Wednesday and rested till Saturday.
Monday - 3.55 mi (37:28) 90 minutes weights and core
Tuesday - walking w/Andrew
Wednesday - 3 mi (33:33)
Saturday - 13.1

walking w/Andrew

I ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for breakfast, drove 35 minutes, grabbed my bib, and ran 5 minutes to warm up. Boom! Ready for the 7 a.m. start.

It was 52 degrees and it felt dewy...not the crisp clear morning I hoped for, but there was a coolness in the air and usually at that temp I am fine in the morning humidity. It was 62 at the end of the race, so it was warming up, but not drastically. I had a 24 oz. throwaway bottle with two tablets of Nuun in it and 1 pack of honey stinger chews.

I used the restroom about 6 x's ...seriously, my badder is annoying. We heard a great rendition of the national anthem and off we went. I felt much less nervous than usual and I was confident that I could break 2:15 for the day.

I had created a workout in my Garmin. Run a warm up mile, because things are usually too bunched up in the beginning of race to interval, and then go 3 minutes running, 40 seconds walk break x 11 then switch to miles at a 9:45 - 10:20 pace to finish up the race. 
I hoped the small amount of intervals in the beginning would incorporate enough rest for my foot so it wouldn't throb by the end...and it worked well! 
The race was really small this year. It was much better attended the past few years and I wonder if it will survive for another year. 
They changed the course so it would be different from the spring race through the battlefields. However, a few sections were coned off but open to traffic, this became hazardous a few times around mile 8 and 10-11ish...which is usually about the time runners are really getting tired and not quite as alert. More about this in a minute. 

Those beginning miles were pretty peaceful as we ran through town, then back to a sports complex and looped out. Tranquil, shady, and people thinned out fast because the race was so small, 119 for the half distance. 
My intervals started during mile 2 and I knew they would carry me until around mile 5. I ate a chew during each walk break.
I tried to take it easy and let my legs warm up, they felt a little sluggish, not particularly heavy, just not super loose. I tried a few times to push and my legs and they would get that heavy feeling, but when I backed off they felt okay. I kept hoping my legs would warm up and come to life. 
On a quiet road I took a quick trot off course to pop a squat...dang bladder, but I was super fast. 

When my intervals ran out about 55 minutes in, I tried again to pick up the pace, but it didn't feel sustainable, as soon as I backed down a bit I felt fine...I ignored my pace cues and ran off effort. 
Steady run mile splits: 
10:14, 10:26, 10:28, 10:30, 10:44,10:22, 10:39, 10:24, last half mile at 9:30 

After we looped out from the sports complex we ran back through the city, and it got dicey at a few points. The cars were not staying outside the cones and one car in particular blew past me, and ran up fast on two girls who were ahead of me and honked the horn, I could hear them yelling to the driver about the cones and it being a race but I couldn't make it all out. A few more cars drove through very fast even though the speed limit was 35 on this road, all this was going on around mile 9.

There were a few good hills along the way too! 343 ft. of elevation gain total for the course. The car incident at mile 8/9 happened on a big hill and I do think it was a factor in people moving to the right slower because they were getting tired and focused on getting up the hill.

Everything after mile 9 was busy with traffic and around mile 10, cars were driving inside the cones here too. Police were at intersections stopping and directing traffic, but in between you were on your own. I ran on the rickety old sidewalk for a good long time between miles 10 and 11 because  the right lane was coned off and I didn't like cars coming up from behind me. Most runners stayed in traffic though. 
I only used two hydration stops for Gatorade because I sipped from my throwaway bottle most of the race. 
I did dump some water over my head at the last water stop because I was starting to feel warm. Even though it felt fairly cool I was still covered in a layer of salt...ewwww. I could tell at that point my right arm was chafed raw on the underside, so I guess I sweated my body glide off, but that seems to be the worst of it for this race. 
I didn't have my usual burst of speed toward the end, I knew I wasn't close to my goal so I just ran in steady. I felt pretty lack luster about my finish time, but the medal was cute 🎃

I felt a few twinges in my feet during the race, my glute had a few shots of pain, and a little soreness in my ankle at the end, but all that passed...just minor annoyances. Overall, it was a great long run, I just wasn't as speedy as I expected. 
I have zero excuses. I prepped well, had good weather, it just wasn't my day.  I tried a few times to pick up the pace, but my body was very stuck in the 10:30ish rhythm. 

I was hoping to make Coach HoHo proud and check off that goal race, maybe by Richmond half I'll feel ready to try again.
This happened because it was a small race! It is a cute award. 

Official time 2:19:43 - a 10:40 average pace

My last five races have all been very close to this time and it's funny because each race had very different circumstances, weather, and training behind it. The one exception of the last five was Glacier, I ran a 2:30:53 and I was thrilled with that because so much elevation was involved and I took my time to enjoy the views.

Hopefully before 2017 ends I will crack 2:15 again, but even if I don't I am still happy running all the miles 🙌💕 

How do you feel about races open to traffic? 
Any car/driver stories from a race? 
Relate to my bladders woes? 
Anyone pre-programming your Garmin yet? I am quite attached to this feature! 
Thanks for stopping by!