Wednesday, September 13, 2017

High Bridge Half Marathon #17

Hopping in late this week to tell you all about half marathon #17
I am linking up with my awesome running gal pals Holly  and Tricia  for the weekly wrap! and guest host Sara @ Sara Runs This Town 
Stop by and show her some love!

Throw back to September 2015
I was on it!  I was training and hitting great paces and in November 2015 I ran a PR half of 2:02:43. A month later I ran my second personal best half of 2:06:11. I was thrilled, but I was also struggling with pain in the ball of foot and toes. I was cycling and giving my foot lots of rest days. Every-time I thought I was past the foot issue, it would come back with a vengeance. I'd cycle more, feel better, then hurt again a few runs later.  I ran another PR race (a 5K) January 1, 2016.  I thought I was finally better! A week later my foot blew up like a balloon and I was off it until March. A tear in my plantar fascia near my toes on my left foot.

While I was rehabbing that mess my right foot started acting up.  Toes two and three, started having the same swelling and pain at the joints.  The tear eventually healed but the capsulitis issue has been persistent. A little fact.."This inflammation causes considerable discomfort and, if left untreated, can eventually lead to a weakening of surrounding ligaments that can cause dislocation of the toe." That is me to a T - my toes are out of whack now.

Throughout 2016 and 2017 the pain and stiffness in my toes increased quite a bit, and it really restricts my push off, that is probably the biggest change, and why I can't hit speeds like I used to.  I have orthotics that help distribute the load to my foot now, but long runs have remained a challenge. I have used intervals ever since on longer distance runs to manage the pain.
Since I switched to Hoka's the pain in the ball of my foot improved just enough to give me hope I might run a half  marathon one day without intervals. I hoped to try this past Spring, but every race I ran was soooo hot I needed intervals to survive in the heat.

I tell you all this background to share what a journey it has been just trying to run again consistently.
For a long time, I honestly never thought I would be well enough to ever run 13.1 again without intervals, but I finally got a great weather day, a trail race, and almost enough training LOL  It was a weeee bit early in training to tackle a half, but sometimes you gotta seize the moment!

Coach Holly has been assigning me some speedwork, and although it feels tough, it's giving me a big head and making me believe that I can run a little faster. 💗 🙈 😂

I am sure I am biggest pain in the butt client ever for Coach Holly but the one thing that I've learned through all these health issues is, do not pass up a good opportunity!

SO here's all the things about #17

I woke up at 5 a.m. and showered off and got my running clothes on.
I had mega cat cleaning (that is every morning) duty but it took a little longer than usual.
I made a vegetarian corn dog - 26 grams of carbs - 8 grams of protein, I was thinking that would be a good balance for breakfast and just a few sips of diet Pepsi for caffeine...not in the mood for coffee.
Five minutes before six, I still didn't have my hydration pack ready, and I wanted to be on the road, so I grabbed my handheld tossed a tablet of Nuun in it, and took a bottle of Powerade to drink on the way.
I had agonized the night before about wearing the pack....not wearing the pack LOL wasted time...anyway,
I did remember to pop a piece of run gum (thanks Marcia) in my mouth, but forgot my sport beans.
I arrived in Farmville an hour later, and I was sooooooo tickled it was 55 degrees, it was humid, but cool enough I could overcome it. I was feeling confident...and nervous. 😇

I signed in, picked up my bib, and hit the restroom. I ran a short warm up and hit the restroom again, and ran to the start line just in time to hear start horn blow. Ahhhhhh! Damn my weak bladder.
I only stood still long enough to save my warm up run on my Garmin and start my pre-programmed dream half plan.  I don't think I had a full 30 seconds from warm up to race start. If I would have left the house 5 minutes sooner, I could have stood still and did some deep breathing...but nope, gotta go!
I was one of the very last people to start.
I admit my dream plan was a little lofty - but may as well dream big right!

This race has a special place in my heart because it is where I ran my very first half marathon September 7, 2013.
The course is limestone trail with 4 hydration opportunities along the out and back. My only pauses were to fill my handheld with Gatorade.

I was gulping it down.
I was so salty when I was sooooo salty you could rim a glass on me.
I ran my hand across my knee cap and came up with enough salt for a pretzel. Seriously, it was odd since it wasn't super hot. My shirt was dripping like I had ran through a sprinkler when I was done.

Here's how it went down
The first few miles my legs did feel sluggish.
Never judge a run by the first mile right :) I started to find my groove after mile two.
Pre-programming target paces into my Garmin gave me cues, so I knew I was slower than what I hoped (10:20) but I tried to stay close. This pre-programming tool is turning out to be great for me.
When I tried to pick up the pace a little more, I felt right on the edge...and I remembered I forgot my fuel. I wondered if sport beans would have helped. I tried not to ruminate too much, I told myself I ate plenty of breakfast, drank a whole bottle of Powerade, and I had been gulping Gatorade (my best guess would be about 50 oz. throughout the race).
UH oh! The morning cast of shade had been blissful the first seven miles or so, but after that there was intermittent sunshine heating things up. I decided to slow up and give my body what is was craving, a little bit of recovery. I told myself it would help me pick up the pace the last two miles. Looking back I wish I would have pushed a little harder, but in the moment I felt fatigued.
Rest over, I heard that beep on my Garmin and tried my best to push.
8:47 - for .13

I felt pretty strong the last few miles and I was totally elated I ran every last flipping step!! FiNNNallY :)
I admit I had a few moments where I was bummed I did not come closer to my goal pace, but hopefully with a little more training under my belt I can do it. I think the trail surface was a huge help, hopefully I can pull it off on pavement next!
I was stunned my time was good enough to snag me an AG, but it is a very small race!!

This pic is from my Monday morning run 
I got 2nd :)
2:18:55 is a 10:36 average pace  - dream pace was 10:20 

Pausing to refill my handheld cost me about a minute according to my Garmin, but I gotta have hydration. Four stops wouldn't have been sufficient for me.

Overall, it was a beautiful day, I ran 13.1, my fastest miles were the last two, and I ran every flipping step! I feel very thankful for #17 and being just impulsive enough to try!
Thanks for stopping by 💞
I'm halfway through my 5th week of training as I write this! My October goal race is coming. 
What is your next Fall goal?? 
Do you love the small races or the mega events? 
Happy running, 


  1. Every.Flipping.Step. You go Sista. And running the last two miles as your fastest is music to my ears. I see great things in your future. #proudcoach

  2. Great job! First, it's awesome that you hit your goal of running the whole race but even more so congrats on that AG award. Well deserved! Good luck this the rest of your training this cycle.
    I like the big races....not huge but big with good crowd support. I like the extra distractions to take my mind off of running sometimes.

    1. Thank you :) I always feel strange when I win and AG but there were only so many of us lol
      Distractions at the bigger races is nice - a bonus for sure!!

  3. Wow! Wow! Wow! You did so great! Way to snag an AG!

  4. Congrats Karen! Woo hoo!!! I hope you celebrated that AG award!

  5. Congrats on running the whole thing! I know with your tootsies sometimes that is not possible, so this is AWESOME! And 2nd in AG!

  6. Congratulations Karen! You had a great race, even with the beans missing!

  7. Congrats on the race & 2nd in your age!! Was your Garmin beeping at you when you didn't get in your pace range? I have tried that before for races and then was just ticked off because my Garmin was beeping at me the whole time to slow down (not usually) or speed up. It really irked me! You sure have been through a lot with that injury - I hope it all clears up for you permanently!

    1. Thank you :)
      My Garmin was beeping at me and I was off pace a lot but it doesn't bother me. I have grown use to it and it really teaching me how to hold a pace. I have never been good at steady running.
      I wish all this would go away but it is condition I have to manage.

  8. Running 13 miles without stopping!!!!!!!!!!!!! You are a rockstar. Lately I have had to walk every 2 minutes.

    Congrats on the award. They are always sweet.

    1. Thanks!! I don't have many AG's.
      It is okay you are walking you are still speedy lol

  9. You did amazing, especially with all you have endured with your foot ! Congrats on your race and your age group placement!

  10. I'm thrilled for you!!! So many awesome things from this race--running the whole thing, finishing strong, AG award--all without your fuel and when it was super humid. You did awesome!!! And I'm sure it's all the sweeter because of two years of foot issues leading up to it. Congrats! You deserve it! 👏🎉💪😀

    1. Thank you so much :) I was so blessed with great weather and that really helped!!

  11. That is so awesome Karen! I'm so happy for you! I know how you've struggled the last couple of years. And I absolutely believe with the coaching and cooler fall races you're going to nail that goal race!

    I'm good with both small & mega races. But 4 stops -- NO way -- I'd have definitely worn my hydration vest. I might always wear it for a half!

    1. Thank you so much :) It was a good day for me for sure!
      4 stops is crazy right lol I should have worn the vest but I do need to give myself more time to fill it. I will probably wear it for my next race.

  12. Great job, Karen! How exciting to run every flipping step. :) You're doing so great!!


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