I left off with Saturday morning Bikram yoga class, but don’t believe I touched much on Friday’s workout in that post.
According to my training plan, Friday is leg day. Now, I assume my trainer did this to give ample recovery time over the weekend. Saturday is abs and cardio and Sunday is rest.
Silly runner that I am, it did not occur to me that weekends are for racing and long runs, this being my first week on the training plan. It crossed my mind mid-week that I might want to do it earlier, but hey, I’m a moron rebel.
Back to Friday, I go to the gym in the morning and only make it halfway through my new leg routine. Wow, that took me longer than I thought. Decide to head back to the gym for Round 2 Friday night with my amazing boyfriend.
I finished legs and bothered him with pictures.
I’m kind of obsessed. Luckily, he understands why I document nearly everything and completely supports all of my madness. I’ll spare you more sappiness.
So, leg day completed in two sessions on Friday, Bikram yoga Saturday morning… legs TIGHT and sore after that and all night. Amazing boyfriend steps in to massage my aching legs for me without asking him to do so (I know you’re jealous now). I’m so lucky.
Sunday morning. Big race day. Seriously, BIG. I hadn’t ran more than 8 miles in a session prior to this race. I hadn’t done enough long runs or even short runs. I was sore from the weekend and definitely not prepared but figured, what the heck, I can do this.
We were actually planning to do a different race in the Upper Peninsula, but plans had to change due to some car problems I needed to deal with. Ironically the race that ended up being the same weekend, the Capital City River Run, was a race I had hoped to do 3 years earlier. Summer of 2010, I thought I would go to the gym and start running and lose all this weight and run a half marathon. Well, that lasted like two weeks and I fell off the wagon again. Whoops. It was sort of spectacular that it was going to end up being my first half after all.
This was my first race with pacers, which was really convenient. I decided to start off with the 10:30/mile pacer. It looked like all of the pacers were actually pairs of people, I assume to have a back up. Pacers dressed in costumes (pirates and hockey players were a couple) and they had little signs to hold up through the race, as well as signs pinned to their costumes.
And a quick pre-race selfie…
Dion started the race next to me, but quickly moved through the crowd after the start to join the 9:00/mile group.
I didn’t develop a race strategy until after the race started. I decided to run to each aid station (which were all about 1.5-2 miles apart), take a short walk, drink some water and then run to the next. I had a map of the route, folded in my armband and referenced it every now and then to know how far I had to go.
I felt really good for the first half of the race and my strategy was going well. I even ran the first 6.2 miles (10k) faster (1:07:30) than my only 10k finish time (1:10:31). At the midpoint though, my legs started aching. It was starting to get really difficult to run. I averaged about 10:30-40 miles for the first half and I was proud of that. Now, I was slowing way down though. Walking a lot more. Hurting and feeling like this race would last forever.
Then I’d talk myself up and say, “The more you run or at least speed walk, the faster you’ll reach the finish line.” So I walked a lot, fast, and ran as much as I could.
Another good distraction was signs placed throughout the course with science facts on them. Pretty fun to keep your mind from focusing on the pain.
I tried to think of the race in intervals still, breaking it up by aid stations. Just make it to the next. Then the last one was less than a mile from the finish, heck yes!
I made it most of the last segment running. I knew I just wanted the race to be over and have that medal around my neck.
All I could think after I crossed the finish line was Medal. Banana. Water.
My goal was to run it under 2:45:00. Unfortunately, I again missed a goal, but at least it wasn’t by a whole lot. I finish at 2:49:58, at 12:58/mile. To meet my goal, I would have had to average 24 seconds less per mile.
Overall, I’m happy with the finish. It was my first half. I should have prepared more with longer runs. I shouldn’t have done Bikram the day before or leg day two days before… BUT you live and you learn and I have a whole lot of shoulda, woulda, couldas in my past. I’ll have more half marathons and hopefully all of them are faster than my first.