Wednesday, March 19, 2008

So, so, so THE RACE!! Its been 3 days of recovery since the half and I can happily say I have been wearing heels since yesterday. Sunday and Monday were kind of like learning to walk again though. Recovery aside, I’m sure you want to hear about the running!

So I ran the half marathon with my Aunt Beth. (Correction: she ran it much faster than I did). We had to be AT the field by 6:30am before the roads got closed off. Needless to say, it was a pretty early morning for me since I was determined to get my beloved Starbucks Misto before the race. Some “real athletes” would never drink caffeine or coffee before a race but its pretty much a morning necessity for me, and I drank it by 7:00 which left plenty of time to hit el bano prior to our 8am start time. At 5:30 am I woke up to my alarm (after not sleeping very well, and a dream at 2am that I missed the race but was still trying to get my Starbucks at the local high school) and a bunch of text messages from well-wishing friends. It was 44 degrees outside and very windy.

When Beth and I got to the starting field, it was still freezing and we were tired. We hung out mostly in the car resting. (And I did my hair.) (Yes, running requires doing hair. Its called bobby-pinning my bangs out of the way. [example shown in pre-race car picture] And no, it does not take longer than about 3 minutes). Well, finally 8am rolled around and we sauntered out with the other 3500 people running too. Although my finishing time goal was under 3 hours, I decided to try following the 2:30 finishing time pacer runner for a mile to see if I could keep up. Turned out, I could keep up. I even thought about passing her, but I did not want to fall victim to the “starting out too fast and running out of energy” theme. So I decided to stay with her for an hour and see how things went. By the beginning of the second hour (and my first energy gel) it was all I could do to stay up with the 2:30 group. I was starting to get bored of running and starting to approach my normal training run limits – 6 to 8 miles (and usually some walking along the way!) I held on to the 2:30 group until about 1:45 into the race. Then we had an uphill bend coming, so I prepped with my second energy gel. Once we got to the top of the hill, I truly unfocused my view and started just staring at the road in front of the pacers’ feet. Doing this blocked everything out and I began to slowly, slowly, slowly pull in FRONT of the 2:30 group. This kind of shocked me. At mile 10 (granted, my longest training run was 8 miles) I was probably about 30 seconds ahead of the 2:30 group but my legs were dying and I wanted to never run again. Somehow my best music started playing on my ipod and I zoned out again to that. At this point I was a little nervous because I didn’t know the way (although plenty of runners to follow) but most people around me were losing steam. I started to pass them, hating every step, but just wanting to finish. The last 3 miles, in retrospect, I guess seemed pretty quick and I sprinted the last .1 mile into the baseball field where the announcers and finish line was. I found out later that night my finish time was 2:27:24.9. I met all 3 of my ½ marathon goals: 1) to finish 2) to run the whole thing 3) to run it in under 2:30. I honestly was saving the 3rd goal for my second ½ marathon, now it looks like I’ll actually have to train tough to beat that if/when I do my next race.

I had blisters on both feet, but they’ve mostly healed now. I have been pretty unmotivated to do much – post runners’ high, I guess, but apparently this is decently normal after a big athletic endeavor.

So…I still like running…but I want to go back to more swimming, climbing, and racquetball too!!

Monday night I saw Tara, Kyle, and Kristin at the Placer House and we hung out a bit in the hot tub. Kyle is growing so much and is so hilarious!!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

4 days to Race Day!

I am excited about Sunday’s half-marathon. I know I won’t have a great finishing time, but I’ve learned a lot about running in the past 3 months and I think after this I’ll stick to improving my speed for a while and then run another one. I’ve still been experimenting with energy gels, although energy gels AND energy drinks should not be combined on the same run because then your run will be over. My favorite is vanilla or chocolate Gu, and then next favorite is Power Bar (I think) Chocolate. I tried some fruity ones, and a Clif Bar (I think?) brand one and those were just awful. I love running with caffeinated “Invigorating Propel” or “G2” Gatorade because mentally (and physically) the caffeine really makes a difference.

My goal for the race Sunday is to shuffle along at a 12 minute mile pace. Running straight through this would put me finishing at 2:36. I’m sure I’ll stop for water/gels/bathroom along the way, so I’ll probably be more like 2:50, but I’m hoping since I like to sprint at the end of most of my runs that I can average a faster pace than 12 minute miles. (I like to set low expectations).

I was actually hoping to document this training process, along with concepts of training while traveling/keeping fit on the road to write into an article for a magazine, so I’ve been taking some pictures along the way (a few) and brainstorming what to write about. I don’t know if I’ll have the time/ambition to actually write the article, but hey, why not?! It might not make a runner magazine, but those corporate/travel magazines are always talking about exercising while on the road, etc, so maybe I could try there. Anyhow. That’s a not-so widely known interest of mine.

I’m putting in a post-run picture, mostly because blogs are more fun with pictures. I don’t mean them to always be of ME, not trying to be self-centered, but, that just happens to be what has been near my camera.

In other fun worlds, last week in Dallas it snowed TWICE while I was there. I took a picture in my hotel room to document 1) the lightweight blue hooded sweatshirt I brought from California and 2) the mega-weight jacket someone from work brought me so I wouldn’t freeze. My coworkers love me. 

Lastly. Between when I wrote this blog in MS Word and logged into my blogger to post, I forgot my blogger password. Does anyone else have trouble reading those security things where they distort a word and make you human-read it and type it in to validate that you aren’t some computer spammer?! Lately I have been having issues with those things!!