Monday, October 30, 2006

So Here We Go....My First Ever Half Marathon

Yeah I'm a slacker blogger; but hey cut me some slack. I just ran a 1/2 marathon yesterday!

I am not even sure where to begin, or how much to say, or what not say. I even contemplated not writing anything but figured I probably couldnt get away with that.

In a nutshell though I do believe I did everything right. From eating all the right things and plenty of them on Friday, to two really great nights of sleep on Friday and Saturday. To not running since Wednesday (well I threw in a short 2 miler on Saturday morning), to not overthinking the situation.

Well I probably did overthink the situation a bit too much a time or two but thats to be expected. I was a bit apprehensive on Saturday evening. I hadnt ever ran 13.1 miles before.

I had done 12.2 though. Once.

But I had alot of 10 milers in me and the book (and many others) say 10 is enough.

So there ya go. Quit thinking about it.

I of course woke up extra early on Sunday morning but didnt feel the repercussions of that since we had the "fall back", so I was well rested. Had myself an oatmeal creme pie, a few ibuprofen and off I went.

As I walked outside I knew the temps were at 50 or so. I had secretly hoped for another cold front to push down and send the temps to 45 but I did not get that wish.

I met Vic at the parking lot near the Start/Finish and we picked up chips. We set off from there to store our stuff and walked over to the Koala tent for a professional to loosen us up. I had never stretched that well before and hoped that I wouldnt regret it. I hear some people dont like to stretch that well, but I must say I wonder if thats what helped me be so strong through the entire 13.1 miles or was it that I had just done everything I possibly could have and I got the job done?

I usually have a hard time the first 3 miles but not today. The first loop only took us down and up one of the "hills" on Allen Parkway and I was relieved when I saw the upfront runners going off to the right at Waugh...Yay!

Once I passed the area of the Start again and going into mile 4 lo and behold if it wasnt 3 of my dear friends standing in the middle of Allen Parkway! I had known that Renee was going to try and make it, but I didnt expect Allison and Meredith. They were screaming my name, holding up posters of some of the best looking musicians...From Reckless Kelly and Micky and the Motorcars! Pictures to follow. Off I went with a big smile on my face because now I knew I got to see them a few more times and I knew where they were and that kept me going.

I knew this stretch was going to be tough, but once I made the turn at Shephard going back towards Downtown I had numbers in my head. Every time I went by the pace callers I was always on target between 11:30 and 11:45. I was doing alright.

The temps were still low and there was shade still to be found. As I came up on the girls again, I was close to being on my last loop, coming up to mile 9 after them and I knew I had it. I wasnt sweating, I wasnt tired and I still had plenty of gas.

I stopped this time for hugs from them and a few photo shots as well. As I got back on my way I knew it was now or never to get a pee in. :O) I raced off the street to the ports and I swear that was the fastest pee ever. I came barreling out of those ports and caught the person that I had been running with before heading off. No time lost there. I had tried to go earlier but the ports were both occupied and I wasnt waiting around, no sirree Bob!

When I got to the end of mile 10 I saw the clock and it was at 1:54 which is a minute less than what I ran Clear Lake 10 Miler. Plus I knew that it had taken me a couple of minutes to cross the Start.

Thats when I started wondering can I do this in a sub 2:30??? That would be even cooler than me getting it done in 2:35 which was my goal, and I wasnt going to settle for anything over 2:40. It just wasnt going to happen like that.

The last 3 miles were all sun. Sun in my face. But I didnt give a damn. I knew the girls wouldnt be in their spot this go round but had gone up to the Finish line to wave me in... But once I did hit that spot where they had been I knew I was almost home. I didnt know where I stood on time at that point. I had the Garmin on but it was telling me pace and giving me my interval beeps of which I ignored about half the time and just ran slower through the 1's instead of walking the 1 minute that I was allowing myself every 6 minutes.

I knew that I had just run 13 miles of my first half marathon and that my legs were strong, my lungs were strong and my mind was very, very clear. I knew that I had .1 to go and I could hear the people cheering up ahead.

Then I saw the Finish line. I remember passing a few people. I remember Erica the Finish yelling my name. I just love her! I remember the girls. I remember a poster I had not yet seen about "the strongest woman we know". I remember a male version of Go June, but not knowing who it was till long after that. Thank you BFG :O)

I remember the clock saying 2:33 and some change and I knew that maybe, just maybe it would come in under the 2:30....but it didnt. And thats ok.

Official Time: 2:31:13

It was over. Just like that 3 months of hard work had just paid off.

I had completely rocked my first half.

Visiting with everyone was so great afterwards, but my thoughts started drifting towards bed. And a shower. So I left the park that morning, posters in my arms, and a smile on my face. I made a few phone calls on the way home, to M, to mom with my success.

I slept like a lamb for a few hours and when I woke up my thoughts turned only to January.

Blister update: all is well. Its basically gone with absolutely no pain. I think that maybe BFG has something when he says that he thinks beer speeds recovery time...

I hope to post pictures sometime in the next day or so. Oh and before I forget, the Striders kicked some serious ass in organization on this race. Amazing! Gu's at loads of stops, water and gatorade at each...I mean really, they just outdid themselves and I am proud to be a member!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

(Not So) Clear Lake and a Distance PR - Space City Alliance 10 Miler

Well not really a distance PR in training, but definately a distance PR in official races. 10 miles at the Space City 10 Miler this morning in, as I said, (not so) Clear Lake.

Why the not so? Because well it was a very wet race this morning. I got to the race site just about an hour before the gun, and a couple of times the skies opened up and dumped alot of rain on us. Thank goodness for the Strider tent as we huddled up under as the rest of the crowd would run when the rain would start falling heavily. It was just a sprinkle as we headed for the start line about 5 minutes before.

At least we knew it was going to be completely overcast for the entire route and the rain was going to come again, sooner than later. I had watched Weather Channel before I headed out and it doesnt take a genius to see what was in store for us.

I dont really remember too many things about the race itself because while yes I had done 10 miles several times, this was different. I couldnt let anything get in the way of me doing well. This just wasnt a training run. Well, yeah I could have run faster, I know this, but I was too scared to do anything out of the ordinary for fear of bonking, and ending up with something that I couldnt live with.

Cassie found me before the start and she ended up running the first mile with me before heading on ahead to catch up to Sarah who was doing the relay. Later I found out that Cassie would only be several minutes in front of me the whole way, as was Jon. We all finished within a few minutes of each other. I had my watch set on 6/1's, but I ignored several of them, including the first one on mile 1. I had not ever done 6/1's for a 10 miler, but I knew it would be ok.

After that I dont remember much till I crossed the mat at the halfway mark. It was 58 and some change so I knew to take off a minute off of that since because of my starting point at the beginning. Ok I can take that, however I knew I was doing that during training runs and well this wasnt to be a training run. Well sorta, but not really.

I was always in a clump of people, the same ones off and on. Some would pass me, then I would pass them and so it went. Just after we started mile 8 I caught up with another girl in pink (I was in pink as well; thank you PG cap to match my pink shirt), and who I had seen off and on, all by herself. She was walking and I said to her "come on, lets go". And she did. Right about that time I heard a guy yelling from the back (who was pacing some girls in front of me) "here IT comes!"...and I heard this rumbling like the trees to our left were being pushed by something like wind...and then it hit.

A deluge of rain just freaking poured down! And poured. And poured. For about a mile or so. The girl in pink had no cap and she was having a hard time. Her longest run to date had been 6 miles and never had run in the rain, especially not the type we were getting at that time.

"Put your head down and just go". That was the only advice I could give her. And I did the same thing. As we made a right turn we were then running in water that was ankle deep as the rain was coming down so hard and so fast that the street on the right was flooding. Keep. Going.

Just. keep. going.

It was also during mile 8 where I started passing quite a few people. And they never would pass me again. I was even passing some men, and well sorry fellas, but that makes a girl smile when she passes you men! People were starting to bonk and to just be over the distance and the elements I suppose.

We were in last mile and the rain had let up and when I saw the 15K marker, I knew it was going to be close.

I wanted under 2 hours, but secretly I wanted 1:55. I didnt know my time so far as my intervals were just that, and didnt want to take the time to go through the buttons on the Garmin to see total time at that point. I did the math in my head going by the number of intervals I had completed and I knew I would be cutting it close. As it was I was off on my multiplication and I did come in at "unofficially" 1:55 and some change. (Update: official chip time 1:55:36)

Yes, I could have probaby shaved off a couple of minutes, but I just didnt want to chance it, which I should have a time or two to just put a little extra steam in my step, especially not knowing what my time was. I could have just as easily came in over 2 hours, but I got lucky this go round. :O) An average pace of 11:30ish is not something I want to do again for a 1o miler. Next time I will be going for a PR for sure. I will shave off those minutes (God willing and the creek dont rise :O)

So to all the bloggers and all the Striders (and to one guy at BCRR), thanks for a great morning.

Rain or no rain it was one helluva good time this morning!

Wednesday, October 4, 2006


That's my bib number for my first half marathon.

I tried and tried to figure out some significance in the numbers, but couldn't. I came close to one. If it would have been #1003 it would have been easy.

10/03 ... which was yesterday's date. A date which carries with it memories of my father. So its close enough that I will have thoughts of him on the day of the race. As if it would have been any different from any other day. But I like to find significance in everything, so there ya go.

Now I just have to get my people list in order. One mile of the race per person to thank or just commemerate the mile with their spirit.

Monday, September 4, 2006

Fired Up 5K

I had a PR in my sight. I could have done it. However I chose not to. Huh? Yeah, I had it and I knew it, but I chose not to. I was 1 min 7 sec off from it. The reason I chose not to was because it wouldnt have been that much off of my PR set back in April of 32:57. I probably would have just got there and maybe a few seconds less. When I passed by mile 2 marker and heard the guy holler out just 21 minutes, I knew it then. And I knew it towards the end of mile 3.

I want my next PR to be a PR that I can get excited about.

Therefore I just kept on keeping on...I still feel REALLY good about my effort today though. Given the humidity (although its been worse) and the temps (in the low 70's I would guess), I did alright.

My average pace was 10:59 throughout the 3.1 and I am pleased with that.

Here are my splits:

Mile 1: 10:19
Mile 2: 11:04
Mile 3: 11:20
last .1 : 9:08 pace (yeah I stepped it up at the end :O)

As usual I am too quick out and need to focus on trying to do 11 at the start and finishing stronger. My hope is that when the weather gets cooler, I can maintain those 10's though. My best mile ever (that is on record) is 9:40. And thats when I set my PR.

I KNOW I can break 30 minutes, its just a matter of when it will happen. As I have said before if I do it once, I will be happy with that and never care again!! :O)

It was great to see Vic, Jon and Jan out this morning. I also met a couple of Steve's out there as well. The course was an easy one, with just one slight incline there at the end. It was overcast and even if it hadnt been the course was tree-lined and there would have been plenty of shade.

I can definitely tell the progress over the past 9 months and I just have to keep on working. Right now my focus is finishing 13.1 Then I might try for some speed work again, and definitely working on hills. Those are better left for cooler weather (at least for me).

Now for the important thing. Running skirts? ROCK!!!! I doubt I ever run a race in anything but! However, body glide will be important. Training runs will still have to be done in shorts though since (right now) I only own the one running skirt (thanks Mom!!), but I plan to start adding to my running apparel collection. Seriously it was great running in that thing. I never imagined it would be so much more comfortable (and you're right MsRabbit, no riding up!!!)

I do think I am about to join the Striders. I need another club to run with and alot of people I have met are on that particular group.

Its another week (now in Week 10) of training.
Tuesday: 5 miles
Wednesday: 5 miles
Thursday: Rest
Friday: 9 miles (Memorial/Downtown)
Saturday: Mom's
Sunday: 3 miles

As you can see right now I have no cross training or weights work. The plan calls for it, but right now all I want to do is run. Get the miles in. After I get through September, then I will start more on the weights and my core leading up to the half at the end of October.

Now I have a huge pot of Taco Soup on the stove simmering (with ground turkey of course) and the whole house smells fabulous. Time to figure out what I am going to do the rest of the day!!

Keep on truckin!!!!