Friday, March 12, 2010

Red Rock Report and VFFs

Official times are in for the Red Rock Half Marathon I did on March 6, 2010!

So to be honest, Angel left me not really wanting to do another one. It was really rough and I was very sore afterwards. I got a few tips on hydration and electrolytes. As I've said before, I'm a minimalist and I didn't want to take anything but water in. I got advice on at least giving something like hammer gel a try. So I started adding it into my training and found it worked really well. I don't get jittery from it and I seem to have much better recovery with energy and my muscles.

Well, after all the shoe issues I was feeling like a debbie downer about the Red Rock race. But it was the one I looked forward to in all this and the race that began the journey of 4 halfs this year. I had to do it... I stood at the start line at 7am with my arms tucked in my shirt until she started counting down 3,2,1...GO! Until she said GO, I didn't even know if I was going to run this thing. But she said go and out my arms came like a turtle from it's shell and I shot off. I placed myself differently in the crowd this time compared to Angel. With Angel, I stood in the back knowing I'd be slow. This time, I didn't want to be left as the last in the pack and decided the fast guys could go around me. I stood up near the front.

I was praying my heart out the whole way there, while on the bus and at the start line. I needed motivation and confidence sparked in me! And this race was totally a Lord's race!

I felt strong right from the start. I didn't get that fatigue and struggle in the first 1-2 miles. Before I knew it, I was at mile 2 and still feeling good. The race this year went backwards from the exit of the 13-mile scenic loop, up to the visitor's center, with a little out-and-back on a dirt road to make up the total 13.1 distance. This was actually much easier in my opinion! Although an uphill climb from the start, it allowed the rolling hills to come later.

I was running in the old shoes, and knee started hurting just a tad at mile 5-point-something... so at that Ultra aid station I grabbed an Asprin, water, some gummi bears and ate an apple cinnamon hammer gel. I ate another gel around mile 10. I probably didn't need this, but I think I took it out of habit... it was in my hand and I needed something tasty but didn't want food.

I was struggling as we hit the first steep rolling hills, around mile 6. As a bunch of us walked up this hill, me and another girl struck up conversation... we ended up running the rest of the race together! Another 7 miles with a stranger made this the best race ever!! We seemed to have the same speed and threshold for hills. We were on the same page of 'walk to that sign and then start running". She was motivated and energetic, yet steady and realistic in that we just had to walk sometimes. It was a really wonderful experience :o)

Our official time 2:34 - 16 minutes faster than Angel in January! That's really good considering this was a much tougher hilly course. I really do chaulk that up to having a great running partner and the Lord's timing!

The next day, I went out running in my VFFs and felt great! 3 miles. And as I mentioned before, the only issue was the beginning of a blister that is supposedly something normal. I put a bandaid over it and have used nothing but my VFFs since then to run in - with no problems! I run faster and more efficiently in them. Other than some very slight soft calf soreness, I haven't felt any other pain like I did in sneakers. I'm really excited about the easy transition! I am really surprised at the pace change. I guess without the extra weight on my legs, I'm able to move my feet quicker. Also, uphill running is much easier and less straining on my thighs. I feel like I fly uphill now! I've been doing P90X in them and have run 2 more times in them this week.

I suspect my easy transition might have to do with being somewhat of a self-proclaimed hippie at heart already. I'm usually wearing sandals, flip flops or going barefoot. Hey I live in the desert - it's a perk of living here!

I decided I'm going for the Lovell Canyon Half as #3. And I will be wearing my VFFs. I have less than a month left. I heard the hill is awful, so me and the fam went to check it out. I can see why it's hard, it is a striaght upward grade for the first 4.2 miles... however it does seem somewhat of a soft uphill like the first 5 miles of Red Rock.. so I really do think I can do it. Especially considering it's a turn-around race, so the last 4.2 miles are a soft DOWNhill.


robison52 said...

Congrats on a fast Red Rock Half Marathon, which is indeed a tough hilly I've ran this course many times before, and only one for a actual race. Yup, lighter legs will make those hills easier.

I plan on racing my first ultra (50k) at Lovell Canyon on April 11th, maybe we'll chat there!!

Coach KBeans said...

You're going for it again? YAY!! Yes maybe finally we'll get to see each other!

What day will you race on? Sat or Sun?