Monday, April 18, 2016

Petersburg Half ❤ 2016

I ran the inaugural event last year and really enjoyed it, even though it threw some challenges at me.

Last year, I was still in recovery mode from my tibial stress fracture, so I didn't get to formally train. I had not run any long distances, just a 10K and few 5 mile runs, but my short runs were going great and I really thought I might be able to knock out a good finish.
It ended up being freakishly humid and hot, very swampy like, and I ran a 2:14:51. I turned on my timer at mile 7 and used the Galloway method and survived.

I signed up for this year a few days after I ran last year, hoping I would be able to kick butt this year!

Yet, here I am recovery mode with no training, so I had zero expectations going in to this.

The course is laid out so I could cut across at several points, and have a short walk back to the car if anything went really wrong.

This year our weather has been great and race morning it was an amazing 32 degrees and 100% humid, but you can't feel it when it is that cool :) The temp was quickly climbing, the humidity dropping, and it was sunny and clear. ❤ 
It was 54 degrees when I finished.

The course goes through rolling hills in Battlefield Park as a civil war reenactment is happening, and then through old towne, Petersburg. 

I took an extra tinkle break and started behind the crowd...the whole crowd. I was 1:40 seconds behind the clock. 

The elevation gain was 438 ft. Hilly for sure, but not too crazy ;)

My official time was 2:10:11

I have run that pace when I have trained, so I 'll take the result and be thankful, but the course was short! It bugs me!  ٩(-̮̮̃-̃)۶
If I had been running this as my very first half, or run a PR, I would have been really ticked.  I'd rather run long, than be shorted any day.  At the finish line, I chatted with a few runners and their Garmin's were reading 12.92, and 12.90. A few folks heard us talking and they were just a tick less...I was the shortest by far, so again, like my trail race, I must be good at cutting corners (or my Garmin is wearing out) lol 

I was too tired to go run to make it up though, my feet were done. The reality is I should probably add a few minutes to this. 

So there you go! Now the nitty gritty stuff. 

I am icing my feet Saturday afternoon as I type (most) of this. 

10:05   9:48   10:19   10:21

The first mile was very crowded, and I felt claustrophobic. That is what I get for starting in the back. There is a lot going on back there! Groups walking the start, lots of strollers, just a thick wall of folks. I passed a lot of people.  I did't turn on my timer on until mile 2, I just needed to get to a space that wasn't so crowded. My plan was to use 4 x 1 intervals. 

I forgot my gloves, but I had a throw away jacket on, and I let it hang off my shoulders so I could wrap my hands in it.  I didn't need the jacket, if I had gloves on, I would have been 100% comfy. 
I carried a flimsy water bottle with a Nuun tablet in it, so I could collapse it as I drank.
I ditched my jacket and water bottle around mile three, I did not want to deal with holding anything. I only drank a little of the Nuun; I just wasn't feeling thirsty. Miles three and four are all uphill, no break, 36 ft and 59 ft. Running uphill made me warm enough. 
Mentally, I was bouncing all over the place. Happy to sad. I was passing spots on the course remembering how hard it felt last year in the oppressive heat. I marveled at how wonderful I felt in the present. I was sad I wasn't in shape to take full advantage of the great day. 
I wished I could run faster and push myself, but I knew that would be a disaster. I stuck with the Galloway method (4 x 1), and tried to replace the frustration over the last three months of injury, with positive things.  

Man! It was beautiful out! 

9:53   9:45   10:23   10:32

At the mile 6 sign, I was close to an hour (and the mileage was close on my watch). I was elated! I also realized I better slow down.  I ate a few jelly beans at this point. A mile later I ate about eight more, and that was it for fuel. I didn't feel like digging in my running belt anymore. I didn't even take out my phone to take pics during this section.  

The battle reenactments are fun to watch.  This section is shady, you can smell the gunpowder, dressed up civil war soldiers are everywhere,  it is very hilly, very enjoyable, yet the injury frustration kept creeping in...

Mile seven, I started to pray. I was determined to shed the negative and enjoy the run. I thanked God for my family, that I ran a good first half, that the day was perfection, that I was out there moving, and that my feet had given me minimal protesting. 

Mile eight takes you out of the battlefield section, and back on busy streets, but runners have their own lane to run. I felt a boost as I passed the spot where I saw my hubby on the course last year. I told Kenny to stay home in bed this year, his foot has been hurting quite a bit lately, and I didn't want him to have to stand around. Just passing the spot made me smile though. 

9:43   10:49    10:37    10:37  and I finished running with a 9:15 pace...

I started praying for my hubby when I thought about him, and I was so engrossed in my thoughts, I ran right through my walk break :)
This part of the course is really busy. There is traffic on the roads, and the course goes through neighborhoods where folks are hanging out, and there are lots of cheerleaders waiting for their runners to pass. I felt a little pressure on the top of my left foot, but it was manageable. The right foot however was feeling tender on the ball, and it is more of problem now than my original injury, so I slowed up. I dismissed that nagging voice that said, "GO!" 
I had run a good race to that point, but I needed to let the pace go and ease up, so my feet could chill.

At mile 10, the course gets narrow.  I was surrounded by a group of tutu friends, a stroller a couple was pushing, and another group of chatty friends all running in a pack, and it was like a rolling road block. It was good for me! I slowed down. I chatted with one nice tutu runner, and I thought we might stay together, but I lost her after just a few minutes. I also chatted with some men who were interval running (3 x1). We talked, intervals, pace, timer, etc...
I passed the 2:15 pacer and I realized I would beat my time from last year. That made me grin. 

My mantra at this point was progress, walking or running, you are still making progress. I said that to myself several times. 

My right foot felt a little better after going easier, so I decided when my watch beeped at mile twelve, it was go time.  I was booking along as fast as I could and as I turned the corner toward the finish line. I braced myself to run across the rough cobblestones, but I didn't have to!  The finish line was much closer than last year, and I guess that accounts for some of the distance loss. My feet were grateful, because the cobblestones hurt last year, but I was freaked out to see my run shorted.

I chatted with my my fellow interval runners to see how they did, and they said just take the official time and don't worry about it! 
Good feet were tired.
I am proud of my finish, I did the best I could. 

I saw my friend Carlton and his wife. (I use to work with him) This was his first ever half!

I drank a bottle of water and walked back to my car. 

There was amazing food, but I just didn't want any, I just wanted a shower!

Kenny and I went to Waffle House after my shower, and it was a yummy eggs and cheese recovery meal :)

Like my trail race, I have no regrets about running this event untrained. 

I enjoyed it!  I would rather try and have to bail, than not try at all. 

The Galloway method got me to the end and I felt great other than my feet. My legs were ready to roll!

Here is a link to my finish video :) I love these!
Karen's Finish

I am ready to take a step back now, and try to weed my way through what next. I do want to run, but I don't want to run always worrying about what kind of damage I am doing. 

I wish I knew if they were going to get better than what I feel now, only time will tell. 

I appreciate you all hanging with me through this journey. I know you are sick of hearing about my feet, and I am very tired of them as well. Too bad they are attached and I am stuck with 'em. 

Thanks for reading! I hope you have a great day 

Progress, walking or running, you are still making progress.

What do you think of my new mantra? 


  1. Oh Karen! I was so happy to hear about your race on Saturday!!! I know you were so glad to be running! And what a great pace that was!! I'm so glad it worked out for you. I think Waffle House is perfect after a race I do love the All Star Special and I'm unashamed to admit I can eat almost all of it!!!

    1. Thank you! It was a great running day and I was thankful I was at a place I could give this race a shot :)
      Waffle House is one of favs :) I will have to look at the All Star special next visit.

  2. Wow, you did a great job! Way to go on beating last year's time, though I agree with you that I would rather have the course run a little long than short. That's cool that the reenactment is going on while the runners pass by.

    1. Thank you!
      The race organizer truly does a great job with the entertainment, the medal, the shirt, and food line up, the course just needs to be right :) I would have ran down the cobblestones until I made the distance if I felt better.

  3. Way to go Karen! I was surprised that you decided to do this race, but it sounds like by using the Galloway method you made it to the finish line with feet that still had a lot more left to give!

    I love your mantra about progress, I will definitely need to stash that one away in the brain bank!

    I hope Kenny starts feeling better soon!

    1. Thank you Kristina :)
      I had my first DNS back in February and that was enough for me. I have not been able to run much, but I do plenty of other training to give me a chance to do it. If it was hot, it could have turned out very different lol I really would rather try, than not try at all. I would have never been able to just run this one, the Galloway method was key!

  4. For no training, you definitely did great!
    So you had me at civil war area's to run through. I am a history nut, I love stuff and races like that. I'd so love this race, I know it! Especially if they had a reenactment going on at the same time, awesome!!
    Also, that is one of the most fun looking medals I've seen in a long time, love it!
    Great job on your finish!!!

    1. Thank you Kristy! This is a fun race if you like civil war history, there are plenty of places to visit nearby here.
      The medal is a great one :)
      If you come to VA, let me know!

  5. You did great at your race! And that medal is awesome! I have never come up short on a race but I am getting better at trying to get as close to 13.1 as I can. I always hug those corners when I know they're coming up! I don't want to run one step to far!

    1. Thank you Diane :)
      I am with you, I have run long and felt like please let it end lol that perfect distance is what we all strive for!

  6. Karen, you were flying across that finish line! I got tears in my eyes, seeing you do what you love to do. :) I am a sap for sure, but I do care about you and I am glad your feet allowed you to run this race!!!!! :)

    1. Awww, sweet Megan :) Thank you. I was so prepared to turn that corner and have to run a lot further!! I am so glad I made it to the end, I really do love to run ;)

  7. I dont know why but your recap choked me up. I guess I felt all your emotion.
    I am going to take your mantra on progress & use it too!
    I love praying when I run for others - it really does 'zone' you... I always say I have the best talks with God while I'm running more then any other time.
    Clear mind - open heart :)

    1. You know this prodigal has not been very good about praying lately, I really more of that. It is a good time to work stuff out :)
      The word progress was a blessing that day- it really centered me so I didn't overdo but still did enough. I do believe it was that clear mind - open heart - I clearly heard something I needed :)

  8. Oh my goodness, Karen! Considering you didn't train for this race, you went out there and NAILED it!!! The Galloway method works wonders. =) I absolutely love your approach of praying and thanking God and the universe for everything that was going well. What an amazing, inspirational show of faith! I am going to try doing that at my next race, too. What a beautiful medal! You earned it and I am so glad you were able to finish the race!!! HUGE CONGRATULATIONS!!!

    1. Thank you Emily!!
      The Galloway method did work wonders :) I enjoyed the walks breaks!! I really wanted to be in the right frame of mind and wanted to profess those good things. I did a lot of talking out loud lol I don't think anyone really heard me but there us power in speaking softly so you can hear it.
      Thanks again :) I will miss it for awhile, but I feel pretty certain I will make it back.

  9. congrats on your race. It sounds like you had a great time. I love those metals. They look awesome. I have a mantra now when I run a half marathon "it's only a run in the park". It helps me not take the race to seriously

    1. Thank you!
      I really love that thought!! I often get too nervous, and I have to remind myself - it's just running lol a run in the park is perfect!

  10. I cannot believe how well you did. You are a rock star. I can't run that fast when I train for weeks. You're going to have to pace me in Dec.

    Congrats on your race. You must be relieved. Now rest up. We need you healthy for our girls weekend.

    1. Thanks Darlene! Ha! I am chuckling because sometimes I can't run that fast either lol even when I have trained! I think this race really shows how weather sensitive I am! Heat and I easily could have been out there 2.5 hours... I was very fortunate it was so nice out! It made the difference.
      We should try to stay together in December! It could hot though lol I may not be able to keep up!!

  11. I would take this as more than just progress!! I wonder if I would have stopped to watch some more of the reenactment...
    It is really funny to think what our minds do when we are running. I usually take the first couple miles to pray for those I know. The clarity running gives me helps me focus.
    I hope your feet are continuing to improve, and I am glad you didn't run the cobbles!
    I miss waffle house--I love the smashed, smothered etc. home fries! They are also still one of the only places that will make you a burger for breakfast! (that's more my style :) )

    1. That's funny because on the way to the race I thought I would dilly dally - take pics- watch the solider a more- then I started running and gut stubborn! I still wanted to feel like I get it all I had. Sometimes I question my crazy lol
      That is nice you pray when you start out. I really do need to do that more often, gave me a very different perspective:)
      Smothered and covered is so good!
      You know I am bursting at the seams to hear about Boston! I left you a comment - you are a rock star!
      Oh, and I didn't miss the cobbles - they do hurt!

  12. Congrats and I am wishing you all the very best with your feet! Hoping they heal up quickly :)

    1. Thank you Susan :)
      I am going to try to be a little more patient now lol I hope...

  13. Sorry that you are still struggling because of your feet.
    I can't believe that you ran a half marathon and I think your time is great ! Now that it is mid week, how are you feeling ?

    1. The half felt easier than the trail run did in many ways. My legs were never really sore afterwards, just the crazy feet. They did feel improved by Sunday, so I didn't worry too much.
      I did a Galloway run and felt the usual stuff I feel...I am not worse for doing the half.
      some days I am ready for another break to see if I can get better, and sometimes I just can't stand the thought lol

  14. I am happy you were able to do the race! It sounds like the Galloway Method is working well! We aren't sick of hearing about your feet! But I do worry what these longer distances are doing to them!

    Man, that is too bad the course seemed short. Is it not USATF certified? I would be annoyed if that was my first half! (This actually happened to my friends when I tried to pace them for their first half - it was quite a bit short cause the course wasn't marked right and we were all so frustrated!)

    1. Thanks Kim, I do worry about what is going on with my feet, so I think I will try to stick to Galloway and shorter runs for a bit.
      Oh that stinks! A first half coming up that short would have killed me. I do not think they have certified it yet. They really should and get it right!

  15. I love how you turned to prayer and gratitude to reset your mindset. It can be so hard to finish a race when you don't feel like things are going well. I don't think runners tire of hearing about other runner's struggles as quickly as non-runners, so keep sharing what you are going through - that's what we're here for!

    1. Thank you Coco :-) It was a beautiful day.
      It is funny what just slowing down can do to us mentally when we are running, I appreciate you listening!!

  16. Congratulations on your finish. You did a great job considering your foot problems that you have been dealing w lately.-L

    1. Thanks Lacey :)
      I feel very content considering how these past three months have been!

  17. Great job for being in recovery mode you did awesome! Those runs are such a mental thing, praying and positivity are great ways to stay out of the doldrums. I love that it made you happy just remembering where your husband was last year when you passed the spot. Sorry your foot is still bothering you, I hope that gets better.

    1. Thank you Christy :) I try not to let the mental part be what defeats me, the physical challenged are plenty right now. Thinking of my hubby always makes me smile :)

  18. A HUGE congrats to you on your race finish - especially since you weren't able to train for it. Perfect weather for race day, too! I love running local races and I also enjoy running a race where I am familiar with the course. It's neat to explore new places, but the old and familiar is fun, too. This race sounds really neat. I still can't get over how big that medal is!

    I hate to hear the course was short, though. I had a 5K once that ended up being 2.9 miles. I was gunning for a PR and I would have had a 1 minute PR had it been full length, but I felt like I couldn't count it. I was NOT a happy camper after that one.

    1. You are so right! Running on a familiar course is really fun, I like to pass spots and think about how I was last year..especially when this year is going better lol
      I would have been so upset with a short course if I had worked hard and been shorted! I had that a few years ago for my 5K PR and I felt just like you! Luckily, I got to run a perfectly laid out one on New Years Day this year and it was my PR. I totally get being upset.


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