Sunday, January 10, 2010

First Half Marathon Race Report

I know I need to do this before I forget the reality of it all.

Truthfully, I still have no patience or brain power to write. I'm definitely in recovery mode.

I'll start with reporting that I bombed the last 2 weeks of training. I ended up not running more than 8 miles, and that was only one time. I did pay for this later... I'll get there.

Leading up to the race, I was mentally weird. Feeling really confident I could do it, but not so sure in that confidence. I was nervous I was downplaying it in my mind so that I wouldn't get nervous. Like a subconscious mechanism so I didn't freak out. Thursday night before the race... I'm going to definitely get too detailed... but this is real... my monthly "friend" showed up! I was ready to throw the entire thing. It was too much to have to plan bathroom stops, headaches, cramps, possibly messing up nutrition etc. But after a chat with a runner friend, I felt much better and decided I'd take a day to think about it.

I decided the next day that I'd definitely run. But I won't lie... I was still really apprehensive.

For this race, I bought some Under Armor CoolGear running tights. No pocket but really like a second skin without being constricting. Kept me warm but not hot. Also, I loved the ankle elastic. It was snug enough not to let air flow up and to stay put (no riding up or bouncing around. It was like running naked. hehe

Ok so onto the course...

We took off @ 8:30am from Boulder Beach @ Lake Mead. I positioned at the back of the pack. I wasn't out to compete, just to finish.

I started out well. Took my time and made it up that initial hill that gets you out of the Boulder Beach area. I've done this course many times now - on foot and on bike - so I knew it was downhill as soon as I got out onto Lakeshore Drive. I have to note that getting up that little hill without walking was a milestone in itself. I've always walked it, even with my hybrid bike @ my first triathlon.

Found a nice pace right off the bat, passed a few, was passed by a few. A thumbs up by one guy keeping pace with me. I really felt like a runner! I know.. I know.. by now I should right? Anyway.. I took it to a walk at mile one. My goal was to run a mile/walk a minute. Even as hard as that was to do at mile 1 because I felt in such a pace zone. Well, I shouldn't have. I should have run like 3 miles before doing this. I lost my pace, my heart rate naturally drops very quickly and this hindered me getting back into a zone... I finally found one for mile 2-3, then broke it again and walked... then mile 4-6 was awesome! It was also a very beautiful downhill and then some uphill for the turn-around. This course as a whole is VERY hilly and has those imaginary flats... where you think the road is flat but in some way you can still tell it's definitely going uphill. That's this course to a T. The downhills are wonderful though, only one that was a bit steep, but mostly they were gradual grades so it didn't hurt too much. Going uphill was tough though.. probably for the same reason - it's gradual and felt like it would go on forever.

At the turn around, I stopped to change my number from shirt (that was now tied around my waist) to leg... I will always wear it on my leg from now on. I never thought of it and it makes it much easier to undress! Duh. The simple things no one thinks to tell ya! lol
Well, in case you didn't know, I just told you.

Somewhere around mile 9, I grabbed some food at an aid station - an orange slice and a piece of potato. As well as squirting my PB packet down... which going down a dry mouth is NOT fun. Thank goodness for the aid station water.

The way back was tough. I was mentally there, but from mile 9.5 - 13.1, I mostly walked. My body was sore, my hip flexors hurt like HELL! I couldn't wait to write this part!! How in the world can I get my hip flexors stronger?? I spent those 3.5 miles without my MP3 on (the music was annoying by now) and I prayed, talked to myself, enjoyed the scenery, definitely tried running the most I could. I did my best to walk as fast as I could and run every downhill all the way until the next uphill was too much to handle anymore, then I'd walk. My walking pace was in the 13min/mile range. My running stayed in the 10-11min/mile range. At times, I felt like my legs were going sooooooo slow while running that I had to check my watch and see if I was actually running or just fast walking! I was running though... so that was good.

A little slap in the face was when I was already on my way back, I passed 2 runners heading up to the turn around... eventually they ended up passing me. I had to repeatedly remind myself that I wasn't racing anyone else and this was just to finish. JUST FINISH VAL. JUST FINISH.

Finally the last uphill (which was that nice downhill that greeted you on Lakeshore Drive I mentioned earlier). At this point, I knew my family was waiting for me, my flexors were so sore and I just wanted a rope & some roller blades or a skateboard being pulled by a truck to help me climb up this darn hill. It was a little itty bitty thing compared to some I had now tackled out there.. but I was spent physically from the waist down.

As soon as I hit the top of that little hill, I ran the rest of the way downhill to the finish, waved to my family and had a huge smile on my face because I knew this was it. I had done it!

My 4 year old joined me running the last stretch and I was just SO happy! When he joined me, it was the reminder of why I do this. To be here longer with them, to be an example of health and fitness, to show them that goals are attainable.

My friend who talked me off the ledge of throwing the race, Miss Alyssa, THANK YOU for all your help and support. Your tips, tricks and experience is helping me so much and I know it will continue to for all of my running days.

Happy running!


Official time according to Judy (my Garmin):
Total time 2:49:40
average pace 12:57/mile

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