So ... my blog had a major issue this past weekend. I spent Friday-Monday trying to get it restored. It took a call, several support tickets and a bunch of anguish on my part to bring it back. I lost one of my personally managed sites in the process. It was all sorts of sadness for me, especially because I truly thought I'd lost my daughter's birth story (even though I had backed up the database).
Posts tagged ‘13.1’
I must admit, I’ve been doing a great deal of staring at this little face for the past three weeks. It’s about all I’ve been doing because I’m not allowed to do much of anything else as I recover from my C-section.
My “all clear” date is likely going to be May 23 if I take everything easily.
That gives me one day less than a month to get ready for my first 5K in a very long time. And I’m so glad that it’s going to be the See Jane Run Bay Area race on June 22.
I’m ready to lace back up.
I really, really miss my running shoes (which now fit me since my swelling has gone down significantly since my daughter’s birth). I’m hoping my base is sustained a least a little. It shouldn’t be hard to hard for me to get back to 3.1 miles. I’m not aiming at a PR race now. I’m just hoping to finish after having major surgery only about eight weeks before.
That said, I’m hoping one of my readers CAN make this into either a personal best 5K or 13.1 with a little help from me.
I’m giving away a race entry (either 5K or half marathon) for the See Jane Run Bay Area race on June 22. The event includes the two events, plus champagne and chocolate at the finish.
You’ll be running with a group of amazing women, many of whom will be running their first 5K or half marathon, as the See Jane Run race is a popular destination for first timers.
All you have to do to enter is leave a required comment telling me WHY you started running and what inspired you and like See Jane Run’s race series on Facebook. There are other options, via RaffleCopter, to earn more entries as well.
The contest runs through May 17.
***CONTEST HAS ENDED***
You know you want to. It’s a fun run and there’s champagne and chocolate at the end. Plus, there’s 1980s-theme aerobics before the race and a ton of “girl power.”
I’m still working on my birth story for Cecilia’s arrival. Her original expected due date was yesterday and it was a very emotional day for me, especially since she’ll be three weeks old tomorrow instead. I didn’t realize my heart would be so torn about all that happened. I’m happy and excited that she’s here and she’s perfect, but her labor and delivery – and the subsequent time in the hospital – were incredibly hard for me.
I’m finally starting to feel like “me” again. I’m incredibly excited to get back to running and fitness by the end of the month too.
I always feel like bad news should be accompanied with a photo of a cute dog. I also feel that sometimes you just rip off the Band-Aid.
I didn’t run the Half Moon Bay Half Marathon this past weekend. I was too exhausted from a long Saturday. I had a headache most the night. I didn’t feel good at all most the weekend. I decided to throw in the towel and rest.
I’m glad I did. I’m slated to run the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose Half Marathon this weekend. And another half marathon the weekend after.
I’m upset, though, that I didn’t get to see a friend cross the finish line of her first-ever marathon. I’m upset that I essentially “went through the motions” and didn’t follow through.
It it not my first DNS, it probably won’t be my last if I continue racing, but it was upsetting nonetheless.
I was excited for more training this week to take me into next weekend, another week of some solid runs to propel me through 13.1.
Instead, I got a flu shot on Monday. And I should have realized that once I got a flu shot, I would suddenly not feel good. I’ve struggled through my classes this week, trying to not stand up too much and sleep as much as possible. I’m glad to say I’m not feeling nearly as sick as I was on Tuesday.
But I am still feeling a little under the weather.
So I’m crossing my fingers I don’t have a repeat of last weekend this weekend.
This running thing is hard lately. The change in my diet has basically meant I don’t have as much energy and I’m trying to “figure out” the whole fitness and nutrition situation. I’m still struggling. More answers soon…hopefully.
I feel like I’m breaking a lot of promises to myself right now. I know I shouldn’t feel that way, particularly after a very successful spring/summer running season, but the fatigue and stomach issues are really bothering me.
I’m having to adjust my fueling and, so far, having mixed success in what works for me. Speaking of fueling (and something that didn’t upset my stomach)…
ABOUT THAT ENERGY (BITS PLEASE!)
It’s funny that I talk about energy, because yesterday my Energy Bits giveaway ended! And we have a winner: JILL HARRIMAN!
The wonderful people at Energy Bits will be contacting you about your free sample! I’m excited to have you try out the bits, particularly because it’s an excellent way to get energy naturally.
Plus, Jill can now use my line, if she wants to, when someone asks her what she’s putting in her mouth: “Oh this, it’s algae. You know you want some.”
Yes. I totally went there.
But I’m not quite ready to share.
There’s a great concern among readers of this blog when I suddenly drop off the face of the world for awhile. It’s not deliberate. I promise. I’ve been busy with my students (journalism conference last weekend and a new issue this week), website work and family stuff.
There are some confessions, though:
- My nutrition is still in flux and I’m working through it. I say that because I have received many, many suggestions for things that are “easier” on my stomach. The problem is I still have no gallbladder, so what works for one person sometimes (usually) doesn’t work for me.
- The nutrition aspect has wrecked havoc on my training. My mileage will be severely cut this month, likely in the 65-70 mile range.
- For two weeks, I couldn’t run without feeling like I was going to throw up. TMI, I know. But it was really bad there for a minute.
- I’m still running the Half Moon Bay Half Marathon, but I’m pacing myself. That should translate into “I’ll likely be slow and I don’t care.” And I’m already slow-ish. So “slow” may take on a whole new meaning.
- I’m still signed up for multiple races this month and have every intention in running them. Slower, with more deliberate thinking and motion going into each step.
- The “Year of the PR” is officially over for me. I’m completely OK with that. I’ll hold my 2:16 half marathon finish very close for awhile. And my 5:12 marathon finish. (Not to mention running a 5:15 in San Francisco on a tougher course than San Luis Obispo.)
- I’m OK with my level of fitness devolving a little right now. I ran a six-mile taper run yesterday. Today my butt hurts in a way it hasn’t since I trained for my first half marathon. I haven’t hurt this bad after a six-mile run in forever. After tomorrow’s 13.1, I may pass out. It’s likely.
- My marriage is fine, my husband continues to be the most supportive man I know. He even let me drag him to Walnut Creek last weekend for packet pick-up for the Half Moon Bay Half Marathon. He stood by me as I traded in my personalized marathon bib for a half one. I think he realized how bittersweet it was for me, but both of us KNEW it was the right choice.
- My mental health is fine. That comes up, not surprisingly, because it would be easy for me to regress into an anxiety-ridden, panic mode. That hasn’t happened.
- All of this equates to nothing bad. I ran with a cranky gallbladder for two years before the damn thing was removed. I’ve had to work much harder than this. Right now, though, every step feels like a mile. I’m working through it.
Working through it means I haven’t wanted to share as much, for the first time since I started this blog. So I’ve been stepping back and prioritizing. It doesn’t mean I’m joining the mass exodus of bloggers who stopped blogging either. I’m not there yet either.
I just ask for a little patience as I put my health back together. And a little understanding when my half marathon times really start to take a hit.
As of 11 a.m. today, I am officially no longer running a marathon in a week. I traded in my dark-blue bib with my name emblazoned on it for a teal replacement that signifies the switch to 13.1.
I had a moment, as I was walking in to Sports Basement in Walnut Creek, where I asked my husband if he just wanted me to try and run the marathon so we could get our money worth. We both agreed that with the stomach issues and training changes over the past couple months, it would be best to not go that route.
So I walked it, turned a corner and found my way to packet pickup. I went through pickup for the full, with my number 344 being assigned to me. I grabbed the shirt and headed around to the answers desk. The race director was cordial about everything and got me switched out really, really quick.
Part of me wants to be sad. I wanted to finish 2013 with six marathons under my belt.
Instead, I’ll be running 13.1, likely slowly, and adding another half marathon to my list.
Speaking of that shirt, I love it. All the shirts are the same, saying “26.2 Miles of Running Heaven” so I didn’t have to switch my full marathon shirt for a half shirt. It’s a large Brooks shirt, so it’s good quality. This will be my first of two Brooks shirts in the next couple weeks. The Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon series also has Brooks shirts. I love how durable they are.
I don’t know much about this race, but I’m already liking what I see. The Half Moon Bay International Marathon has only been around three years now. It seems to have gathered some great traction, though, with a hefty list of sponsors.
When I first found out about it, I was excited because it sounded exactly like a Big Sur race without the need to travel a long distance and book an overnight hotel room. (It’s about an hour and 15 minute drive early in the morning from where we live.)
Big Sur, though, is a very well established race that splits its main event into two: An April marathon and a November half marathon.
I actually first ran the Big Sur Half Marathon in 2011 on suggestion from my mom. She had a friend who had run the marathon. I, without really looking into the run, decided I wanted to do the 13.1. The full marathon included way too many hills. I found out later, during my 21-miler along the coast there, that it was a tough one.
But the Big Sur Half happens in Monterey and in nearby Pacific Grove before finishing near downtown. It’s not exactly the same as running along Highway 1. That said, I love the Big Sur Half. It’s one of my favorite races. I’ve already told my husband I hope to be back to it in 2014 as I ramp up for California International Marathon next year. Schedule conflicts have prevented me from doing so many of my favorite races this year.
That said, I’m hoping I enjoy Half Moon Bay just as much. I love the feel of smaller races. And I love that more and more are popping up in coastal areas. One of my best experiences in running was at the San Luis Obispo Marathon this year. That route doesn’t run along the coast, but it is beautiful.
So as much as I’m upset that I won’t be tackling the full 26.2 next week, I have a lot of reasons to be really excited about taking on 13.1 along the California coast. I just hope my stomach and body cooperate.
More often than not lately I feel like running and I are just having a “time out.”
After a really successful spring racing season that gave me a 12-minute PR in the marathon and a 2:16 finish in the half, I shouldn’t be surprised.
I’ll be switching down to the half marathon at Half Moon Bay in a couple weeks. I have a lot of reasons to do so. One of them, though, is that I’m just not ready to run 26.2. (There are health reasons too, yes.)
After yoga on Tuesday, I felt like I had been hit by a bus for no other reason than it just didn’t go well for me.
I feel like a fitness mess right now. But I also have A LOT to look forward to in the next couple months.
COLOR ME RAD 5K
The first is that I’m FINALLY going to be participating in a color run this weekend. I’ll be heading to San Jose on Saturday, husband in tow, to run in the Color Me Rad 5K. After not making it to the start line this summer for the one I previously registered for, I’m excited to get to do one. I didn’t get to early packet pickup with my students in production for their first newspaper of the semester this week, so I’m anticipating long lines comes Saturday.
My wave starts at 9:20 a.m. I’m hoping to get there at about 8:15 a.m. or so.
The best part of this run is that it’s a 5K! That means that, in comparison to the other runs my husband has had to wait for me at, this one won’t be nearly as long. I’m excited to run something shorter too.
But I won’t be running for speed. Instead I’m going to focus on taking it all in and having fun.
HONEY BADGER HALF MARATHON
I’m planning on taking this one slow and steady too. I’ve never run a trail half marathon. I don’t really feel like I have anything to “prove” on the course either. I’m just going to get it done.
I went into my first trail 10K thinking the same thing. I was slow. The next year I ran it much, much faster. I just want to enjoy myself.
Plus, my husband will likely pack the kayak for this one, so I can take a little longer if need be as well.
I’ll admit, though, I’m a little bit more excited about the fact that this half is named for the Internet Honey Badger meme. And the medal is pretty awesome as well.
LET’S GO 510 10K
I’m REALLY excited to announce that I’ve been chosen as an ambassador for the Let’s Go 510 10K on Oct. 19 in Berkeley.
I love the East Bay. When I was a graduate student at University of California, Berkeley I lived in Oakland for two years. I loved the life and culture of the area. I lived in North Oakland, where there were a bunch of cute shops and restaurants.
I’m already signed up for the Berkeley Half Marathon in November. So when I saw this race, I knew I had to get involved. I sent an email inquiring about the company’s ambassador program. And I was accepted!
I’ll be running the 10K.
This race is partially put on by Brazen Racing, which is one of my favorite racing companies.
The race will take runners through the Berkeley Marina area. It will be nice and cool come October. Even better is the 10 a.m. start of the race. I actually get to sleep in a little before running.
CHANGING IT UP
The reason I’m so excited about these races is that they are all a little bit different than the norm for me. A color run. A trail half marathon. A 10K. Two I’ve never done. One I haven’t done in awhile.
I’m hoping by the time the Let’s Go 510 10K comes around, I’ll have rebounded from this funk. That said, I still have two other half marathons to run in that time. But the good news is that I’m excited about running again.
Now if I could only clam down the nagging pain in my hip and the nasty pains in my stomach…
My Garmin has me only running 12.99 miles today, but I know the course is 13.1. It also has me finishing a full 11 seconds after my official time. I never start my Garmin that early. I’ve had some irregularities with distance lately with Gertrude the Garmin III, so I’m not sure if it’s in need of calibration, but I was off the entire time today.
I also had some pretty significant stomach issues out on the course today. My abdomen was cramping up, very much like it was before my gallbladder was removed. The electrolytes didn’t go down well. The Gu made feel gross. None of those things have happened since my surgery. I have been having some issues with my GI tract lately…I’m trying to get it under control again.
That was the bad news.
The good news? I still did well on the course.
In spite of myself. And my slightly Debbie Downer attitude going into the run. That’s anxiety. It kicks you when you’re down. Repeatedly.
I told my husband three times as he was loading his kayak up (so he could explore the bay while I ran), that I just wanted to go back to bed. Last month, I did just that and didn’t do the color-themed run I was supposed to do.
The anxiety even got me at the start.
My official time is 2:19:15, which makes it my second best half marathon. (And yes, I feel guilty my Garmin didn’t read that.)
I’ve run in the 2:20 range enough that I can truly call myself a “middle packer.” I’m actually kind of proud of it. I’ve shown I can be consistent. Maybe my nerves will be far less the next time than they have been. Or not.
This is the last half I am currently registered for until the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose Half Marathon. I run that a week after I run 26.2 at the Half Moon Bay International Marathon. A chance for a PR? Probably not. I’m fairly comfortable with the knowledge that it takes me much longer to recover from a marathon than a half. I’m not going to push myself.
Right now, I’m just happy to be a “middle packer.” Why? Because the course changes when you move through it faster. It becomes a different world completely. I’m incrementally spending less time out on the course, which may not seem like much, but it’s huge to me.
I AM getting better. Now if I can only get my training and diet back to par as the school semester begins, I can probably get even better.
I can only hope, right?
That image is from my first major breakthrough PR at the Brazen Summer Breeze race last year. It was my first experience of achieving a sub 2:25 finish with a 2:22:45 finish. It was my first half marathon where I averaged under 11-minute miles.
I’ve run many, many more since then under 11-minute. My San Diego PR stands at 2:16:41.
Tomorrow, I’m running Summer Breeze for a second time. And I’m not sure what to expect.
The reason? Those previous PRs kind of came out of nowhere. I hadn’t necessarily been running faster in my training runs. I feel like San Diego was almost completely a fluke, kind of my reward for weeks upon weeks of constant races. If that’s even possible.
I don’t know.
My PR streak was broken in June at the See Jane Run Half Marathon when the heat was just a little too unbearable for me to get it together. I had also run a half marathon the week before. I finished, though, in 2:24:11, still much better than my previous times before my 2013 racing season began.
I think the hardest part of PRing is not knowing when it will happen again. I held my half marathon PR time for almost a year from 2011 to 2012. I started feeling like I’d never run a 2:27:20 or better ever again. Then I shaved five minutes off my time. I chalked it up to just “it being my day.”
But I’ve show, now consistently, that my “day” is turning into a strong racing season. It doesn’t make getting to the start line any easier, especially with my anxiety.
I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow. I don’t know what to expect.
Am I finally getting better at the half? I don’t know.
Should I go out with confidence? I don’t know.
Am I surrounded by self doubt? Yes. And I hate it.
Some days you wake up and just know that it’s not going to be a good one. The day just takes on a certain “air” to it. Today was one of those days, for various reasons.
Today was the first day since I left my full-time newspaper job that I was genuinely frustrated. More frustrated than I can even relay. See that face? That’s what I looked like at 6 a.m. this morning when I realized that a name server propagation that I started the day before still wasn’t showing up for me. The good news is that my boss could see it.
So could the client. But any necessary changes would be completely unseen by me.
Head. Hits. Desk. In. Frustration.
The site turned out to be fine, a beautiful culmination of four-months of work. It was one of those issues, the first in a long time, I had to admit was completely out of my control. I couldn’t make anything happen faster. I did everything correct. It just wasn’t showing up for me. Hence the 6 a.m. wake-up call for me.
And, yes, those are my running clothes. And my husband has a Samuel Adams mirror. My new “schedule” lately has been waking up early, working for about three hours, then heading out for a run before it hit the triple-digit temperatures we’ve been getting in Northern California lately.
As I was trying to navigate through all of that, I also remembered that today was the day I should be checking my email for word from Nike about random-draw entry into the Nike Women’s Half Marathon. A huge group of ladies from my running club signed up, and a man or two. I’ve mentioned before my luck over the past two years.
In 2011, I didn’t get in through random draw. But I got to run as part of a sponsored team. In 2012, my running club group was accepted through random draw.
This year? Not so much.
As much as I wasn’t surprised and slightly relieved that the $175 race fee wouldn’t be deducted from my American Express, I was really sad for the women in the running club who wanted this to be their first half marathon.
And it’s still kind of a bummer. But it, essentially, solidified my race calendar for the rest of 2013.
But as much as I wanted to rebel against the Nike random draw and say “buy all the Lululemon things instead” (one of my friends did that, apparently, I like that idea), I realized that the positives in my running life and my life in general are completely outweighing the negative.
Sometimes you need to be reminded about things like that. These are the things I’m thankful for right now:
A year ago, I felt like I was fighting never-ending battles and getting nowhere. My creativity was hampered. I just felt like I was going nowhere in my profession anymore. There was no growth personally or professionally.
Today marked the fourth (or fifth?) site that I’ve helped launched that I’ve worked on. And this one was MASSIVE. I spent an enormous amount of time on it over the past few months. When a site finally goes live, there’s just a feeling that encompasses both relief, but also great satisfaction that I did something amazing.
I’m thankful that I’m back to growing in my work and learning new things every day.
EATING REAL FOOD
I didn’t make mention of it here, because I was still a little unsure of making a commitment, but about a month ago, I decided that my husband and I were no longer eating quick-pasta meals, frozen pizzas or anything that came out of a box in our freezer. At least for dinner.
I’ve had some severe stomach issues in the last two months, thanks to my missing gallbladder (which I still, for the record, don’t miss). I’ve had to trim down even more from what I was eating even two months ago. My body is rebelling.
Since I’ve cut out a lot of processed things, that’s stopped. Unfortunately I can’t cut down on ALL processed food. My husband doesn’t support that diet. He should, but he’s a spice-it-up-and-cook-it-to-taste-good-even-if-it’s-not-all-that-healthy guy. That said, I realized in the middle of my site launch last night that I hadn’t yet eaten dinner.
I buckled and went to McDonald’s. I immediately regretted it. And my stomach made me very aware it was not happy. Back to real food.
Ignore my slightly-dirty running clothes. That’s my ever-offending left hip that’s been giving me problems. On Wednesday, I ran seven miles in the morning. Then I went out to Mountain House and ran three with my running club. I even kept pace with the lead runner.
My leg wasn’t screaming at me at all. In fact, it felt nice to get out and run a faster, stronger pace. That was my longest-distance day of the week. I realized that I’m oh-so-close to 100 miles, which I’ve told myself repeatedly isn’t my goal each month.
But with two days left, I’m eight miles away. I’m not feeling bad. I’m running well. And the stupid hip injury may have just been a symptom of pretty significant overuse (someone remind me not to book five races in a two-month period), instead of something more permanent.
I’m keeping my paces mostly slow, but if I can keep going at this rate, I should be able to pick the pace back up in a week or so.
Most people run Nike for a necklace. I’ve run it the past two years because I wanted to challenge myself. It’s a tough course. It’s a beautiful course. But it’s not the only San Francisco-based run that goes along that route.
In fact, the first half of the San Francisco Marathon covers nearly an identical route, except in the last couple miles.
The necklace is a nice touch. It’s a beautiful gift. But both my Nike Women’s Marathon necklaces aren’t exactly my favorite necklaces ever. I have a roman numeral 26.2 necklace that I love more. I’m more afraid of losing my Nike necklaces than anything. So I don’t wear them often.
I would have been excited if I got in. But the price increase this year kind of turned me off.
But you know what? I’ve run five marathons. In August, I’m running my 20th half marathon.
“I didn’t get in,” I pouted to my husband earlier.
“Boo hoo,” he replied back.
As much as I’d love to get a reprieve entry and, maybe, run it, I’m good with the wait until next year. No running over to the Nike Facebook page and complaining about how unfair it is. No crying. No regrets.
It’s just another race. Two years ago it meant the world to me, because it was the one race I saw myself doing that crazy first-year of running half marathons. I’ve been lucky enough to run it.
I’ve mentioned before how I’ve cut down on races year after year. I think 2014 will include even fewer. I think most people will think it’s for financial reasons, but in reality it’s not. It’s because I’m running better, with not as much stress weighing on me. That’s making embrace running more and really want to put 100-percent into a race. I can’t do that racing twice a month, even if one race is a 10K.
So I’m cutting back. I realized when finishing the San Francisco Marathon that after five marathons, I’m finally understanding 26.2 better. I don’t think 2014 will be the “year of the marathon” like this has turned into the “year of the PR,” but I’m becoming less anxious about the goals I once considered “unattainable.”
Now everything is a little bit more within reach.
A year ago, I swore off the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon. I ran my second 26.2 on a warm, balmy day in America’s Finest City with bad shoes and an attitude in need of much adjustment.
I’m admitting it: The trip, despite the destination, didn’t include any of my finest moments. At the end, I collapse to the ground, threw off my running shoes and cried. It wasn’t even a pretty cry. It was an ugly cry, with an ugly cry face. I hated every minute of it. On the way home, I told my running buddy Sam, who did the half marathon, that I would never do it again.
NEVER. AGAIN. BITE ME SAN DIEGO. I HATE YOUR PALM TREES. AND SCENIC VIEWS.
It’s amazing what changes in a year. I ended 2012 and began 2013 going through the worst moments of my life. I was convinced 2013 would be the worst full year of my life.
And you know what?
It actually hasn’t been too bad. That’s one of the reasons Sam convinced me, during our February trip to Southern California for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Pasadena Half Marathon, to sign up for San Diego. Not the marathon, though. At that point, I was already registered for the San Francisco Marathon (which I’m running on Sunday and crossing my fingers I’ll be able to finish with the IT band issues that have flared up lately), so there was no way I’d run two marathons in a three week period.
I did run two half marathons in a two-week period, which makes me think I qualify for the Half Fanatics, which I’d gladly join if I didn’t have such an aversion to groups.
Still, so much has changed. Last year, I realized something was very wrong with me. Within a month, I was on anti-depression and anxiety medication, trying to keep my more-fragile-than-I-ever-imagined self together. That didn’t end well.
In the months leading into San Diego, I became a PR machine. I ran a half marathon five-weeks post surgery in February and knocked twenty minutes off my time from last year. In March, I ran my first ever 2:20 half marathon. In May, I PRed again at Portland with a 2:19.
In San Diego, the place where I had the worst marathon experience of my life (we’ll see about this weekend and this dumb IT band), I found something in myself to push me into a runner a year ago I didn’t think existed in me. I ran a 2:16:41 half marathon. And I know exactly how I did it, which made it all that much better.
Mile 1: 10:08 — We get started at 7:08 a.m. I think I finally found my footing in the 2:20 corral. That’s my pace at the start and, usually consistently. I feel good. But right before the mile mark, I also realize I’m really, really warm.
Mile 2: 10:37 — That feeling of “warm” kind of stayed with me. I figured this wouldn’t be the best day to race. Plus, this Rock ‘n’ Roll race welcomes a ton of people … so at the first aid station, I felt like I was pushing my way through people to get to the water.
Mile 3: 10:07 — We start making our way into the University Heights neighborhood. The support here was AMAZING. These people were yelling and cheering for all the runners. A real boost.
Mile 4: 10:53 — Water stop to slow me down again. Vanilla Bean Gu.
Mile 5: 10:06 — I’m starting to feel the Gu as we get to the “top” of the half marathon route.
Mile 6: 9:53 — Now the Gu is really kicking in. And I’m getting excited as we move past the relay exchange point. There’s no “mini marathon” option in this race, but the half course is split in two so that people who aren’t quite ready to go the full 13.1 can test out their skills on six-mile and 7.1 mile routes.
Mile 7: 10:43 — A much-needed downhill. But not a complete downhill mile. Despite what this race boasted, it was not “flat and fast.” Nope. Not even close.
Mile 8: 10:05 — Some up and down here. I grab another Gu. I was running so fast (for me), that when I grabbed my Gu it literally felt like it was taking forever. I felt like I was clumsy and couldn’t really control my iFitness band really well.
Mile 9: 11:00 — Rolling hills. NOT A FLAT COURSE.
Mile 10: 10:45 —The combination of an aid station AND the hill right at the beginning of this mile dropped me here. Plus, I was getting tired.
Mile 11: 11:17 — I nearly lost it this mile. This is when we started heading into Balboa Park. The course narrowed here, with half marathoners on one side and marathoners on another. The problem with that is this the half marathoners, which there are more of, were right on top of each other. I took an elbow to the chest at the aid station here. Then I walked for a bit to recover from that. Then, I swear, another hill popped up.
Mile 12: 10:01 — Gu. I’m finishing this thing. Downhills in sight. Let’s go. Right at the mile 12 beep on the Garmin, the 2:15 pacer passed me. First thought: I RAN 12 MILES WITHOUT BEING PASSED BY THE 2:15 PACER! Second thought: CHASE. HIM. NOW.
Mile 13: 9:42 — So I literally chased the 2:15 pacer. I lost site of him as we got back into downtown, but I already knew I was on a good pace. There was no way I couldn’t PR now. I HAD THIS.
Mile .18: 1:28 (8:15 average) — Right downhill into the finish chute.
Official time: 2:16:41
This time though, I wasn’t stunned. I didn’t cry. I held it together pretty well. I found a curb. I sat and waited for Sam, who was leading her sister into a sub-three finish. I was really proud of Sam. She helped her sister take an hour off her previous half marathon time. And Sam ran a pretty great race herself for “just getting back into it.”
I hate to say “I wasn’t surprised.” But this time, I figured out WHY I ran well, which had been alluding me in previous races.
1) I took care of the jitters, for the most part, before hand.
That includes the required visit to the portable toilets. But it also includes having a more “set” schedule and plan for race morning. I now do a Gu about 45 minutes before the start. I also eat a Luna Bar for breakfast. Nothing too fancy or extreme for my stomach. I also plan and pack everything the night before.
2. I found my comfort zone early, then backed off that pace a little.
It’s hard not to speed up. I’m really bad at that. But, for the most part, I’ve gotten that under control. I find a pace I can reasonably sustain for 10 miles, then I ease up. That way, I get to mile 12 still feeling good. I’ve finished my last three half marathons feeling amazing. That’s a huge change from feeling like I was dying before in nearly all of them.
3. I paid less attention to my Garmin.
Really now. I know that’s hard to believe. But I am spending less time staring at it between miles and more time just running. I’m doing more “in the moment” running.
4. I’m having fun.
I used to feel like these races were “make or break.” It had everything to do with the fact I was carrying the stress of my bad days, and bad life there for awhile, with me into them. I ran so well in 2011. I improved my times. I ran my first marathon. But 2012 turned into a bad year for my racing, until I took a vacation from my full-time work in August 2012. That’s the week I ran my best half marathon, a 2:22.
That should have told me something. (Everyone, including my grandmother, has since told me that.) Proof of that fun? I’m able to joke around now before races (see above? It is unpleasant to be towed…ha!). I’m just much looser than before.
5. I’m fueling well.
The Gu pattern is becoming just that, a pattern. I’ve started to “figure out” this half marathon thing. I’m carrying just enough to make it in to the finish, taking it when I need it and not dwelling on it too much.
6. I’m training better.
I’m sure that’s telling in itself. I do incline treadmill training now. I’m also running outside more when my IT band is allowing it. Unfortunately lately my IT band has been really angry. I do one long run a week, two mid-length runs (7-8) and two tempo runs (4-6). I feel better about my training. And it’s “just enough” to push me where I need to be.
That said, I don’t necessarily have more time. I don’t. Right now I’m back to averaging 10-hour days while my boss is on vacation. I’m just glad to have the “itch” to run back. My self-imposed “no run” rule this week to help my leg get better is annoying me more than this sort of thing ever did before.
7. I know now what I didn’t know then.
I didn’t realize how much “healing” I had to do after January, both mentally (from all depression and anxiety) and physically (from emergency gallbladder surgery), until I really got away from what I felt was making me “sick.” Part of me thought everything would get better overnight. In many ways, it did. In others, it didn’t. I had to heal. I had to grow. And much like I literally regained my “stride” in running last year, the running this year has played a huge part in that.
I’m better because I run.
Half marathoners are just better now. Running is just better now. I’m better now. And believe me when I say I know I have further to go down that road to feel “whole” again. A 2:16 half marathon though moves me closer to that goal.
Last year, I walked away from San Diego feeling the lowest I had ever felt. I was miserable. I hated my life. I wasted time on people I thought were my friends. I couldn’t imagine that it could get much worse. Then it did.
This year, I came to San Diego with a completely renewed purpose. I came into it a more whole person. I came into it happier. And also with better shoes. But, most importantly, I came into this race knowing that I had that faster race in me. That made the biggest difference. Everything else was just complementary.
Two races. One year apart. A little rock ‘n’ roll. A world of difference.