A Simple Running Log

November 24, 2009

Training for 11/24/09

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 6:24 pm

This morning was a 5.5-mile easy run (didn’t time it because I didn’t want to be tempted to run faster), my first run since the half on Saturday. Yesterday morning was a little weight training before my day off from work, spent doing some early Christmas shopping with my friends. And Sunday was a rest day, spent eating chili made in our new Crock Pot and drinking beer while watching the Ravens almost beat the Colts and Jimmie Johnson ruin this NASCAR season AGAIN by winning the championship. I am so tired of him.

Anyway, Saturday was pretty good too:

  • Chip time: 1:49:19 (oh yes, that’s a big PR)
  • Gun time: 1:49:35
  • Overall finish: 62/370
  • Gender finish: 14/220
  • Division finish: 4/38 (but the overall women’s winner was in my division, so I got the third place award)

Yup, I ran that half five minutes faster than I did only a couple of months ago. GO ME.

I decided to go ahead and get my race packet the night before just to make sure everything was set before I went to bed. After I got home from Rehoboth, I washed my stinky running clothes, ate a huge plate of spaghetti and was in bed by 10 p.m.

I woke up five minutes before my alarm went off at 4:45 a.m. I pulled on my only pair of cold weather running pants (seriously, Christmas can’t get here soon enough), a long-sleeved Under Armour shirt and my absolute favorite thing in the world, that New Balance hoodie I got on clearance this summer. My breakfast was my usual bowl of Total with skim milk. I kissed my sleeping husband goodbye and was on the road by 5:20 a.m.

I got to the race start a bit before 6:30 a.m. The vibe in the air was much different from the first half I ran, one of the Rock ‘n’ Roll races in Virginia Beach. That race had 16,000 runners; this one had 570 in both the full and half marathons combined. Not many friends or family members were there. In Virginia Beach, my brother was running too, and my husband, my sister and my brother’s girlfriend were all there to cheer us on. This time, it was just me.

The relatively small crowd of runners was milling about, trying to keep warm in the near-freezing temperatures. I was fighting the urge to go back to my car and get my hat and gloves, but I knew I’d warm up quickly once I was running and then have to carry them most of the race. I was already carrying my little packet of GU Chomps, since no gels were provided on the course.

We watched the sun rise over the ocean, and about 10 minutes later, we lined ourselves up and the race director counted down from 10 and sent us on our way.

The first six miles of the race were on paved roads in Rehoboth. We ran an out-and-back to Gordon’s Pond State Park, came up a road parallel to the road on which the race started and made a right onto a road heading north toward Lewes.

My plan was to take Powerade at the 4-mile water station, water and four Chomps at the 6-mile station, more Powerade at 8 miles and finally the other four Chomps and water at the 10-mile station. I was trying to stay hydrated and get some carbs throughout the race to prevent the severe cramps I got in my calves and hamstrings near the end of my first half marathon.

Everything was going according to plan until I tried to open that packet of Chomps at the 6-mile station. It would not tear open for anything. I came to a complete stop on the side of the road, I was getting so frustrated with the damn thing. Finally, after what felt like an eternity but was probably only a couple of minutes, I found a way in. I only ate two of them though, washed them down with water and was on my way.

Not long after that, we hit the Breakwater Junction trail for an out-and-back that covered the next five miles or so. It was absolutely gorgeous. I had no idea that trail was there. While on the way back on the trail, I caught up with this woman I’d been running behind for a while. We pushed each other through the final 5K of the race. At one point, she said, “You’re killing me!” I told her we were almost there and were on track to smash her goal time of 1:55:55 (it was her first half marathon) and my goal to beat my previous time. (I had been hoping to come in at 1:42:xx, as some stupid online calculator said I should be able to based on my best 5K time, but I realized that was a bit over ambitious near the beginning.)

It was around 11 miles (I think, the mile markers were eluding me after the 9-mile marker) that I realized my legs did not hurt. At all. They were getting tired for sure, but they did not hurt. I popped one more Chomp sometime around then, got a bit of water at the water station around 12 miles and headed in for the finish.

That was when the woman with whom I was running said it was time for our kick. And I had a kick! A small one, but still. I felt myself running faster and was amazed. At that point in Virginia Beach, I was in so much pain, I was just trying to get one foot in front of the other to get to the finish. This time, I was actually racing.

We were coming up to the finish, when that woman returned my favor of pushing her when she was feeling like slowing down. She came up behind me and yelled, “This is it! Come on! Sprint!” And I did. There were three timing mats right there at the end. I had no idea which was the actual end, so I didn’t let up until I was over them all.

I finally remembered to look down at my watch. 1:49:something. I couldn’t believe it. I had shaved five minutes off my time for 13.1 miles in only a couple of months. And I felt 100 percent better when I finished. I wasn’t hobbling and grimacing in pain, I was walking and grinning like a fool. We got our finisher’s medals, and my running partner’s husband came up to congratulate her. She pointed at me and said, “I had someone to run me in!”

The post-race spread was impressive. They had a heated tent set up. There was breakfast foods on one side (pancakes with all kinds of toppings and baked apples) and lunch foods on the other (burgers, salads, mac and cheese, baked beans.) Unlimited Dogfish Head (Lawnmower Light, Shelter Pale Ale and Raison D’Etre) and Blue Moon. Free massages.

It always takes my appetite a long time to come back after a race, so I only had a huge spinach salad and a beer. I was going to go home, but then I found out I’d won an age group award. To kill time before the awards ceremony, I got another beer, got a wonderful massage and talked to some of the other runners who had come out for the race alone.

They called my name at the awards ceremony, and I went up to the front — only to find out someone had taken my plaque! I’m pretty sure it was the second-place runner in our age group. She probably didn’t notice the first-place runner was the overall women’s champ, thus moving up everyone else a spot, and took the third-place plaque instead of the second-place one when she left.

It worked out for me, though. The race organizers promised to get another one made quickly, and they felt so bad about it they gave me a $50 gift card to the running shop that sponsored the race.

And when I got home, I found out my husband had been using his time wisely. The entire house was clean and the laundry was nearly done.

I would call Saturday an overall win for me. I would also recommend that race to anyone. It’s small enough you can actually run your own pace throughout the race and enjoy the post-race amenities. The part of the course on the trail is amazing. And everyone was really friendly.

My next big race is my first full marathon in March. Training officially begins next Monday.

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