Sunday, November 10, 2013

DRC Half Marathon 2013

Boy was I nervous about this race. Somehow, on Thursday before the race, I aggravated the old hamgroinstring injury that had plagued me during the Tyler half, and it was far worse than it was before Tyler.

After agonizing and fretting and even considered bailing on the race, I foam rolled and alternated ice and heat trying to get blood flowing and relax the muscles around the injury, which I could tell were having sympathy anger.

That helped a bunch, and the night before the race, I taped it all up really well with KT tape and that seemed to help immediately.

Since this was the DRC half, most of my running group was also running. One lives right by the start, so I parked at her house and we walked over to the race to warm up and meet our group. Our pace leader was going to pace 2:35-2:40, but my goal was 2:30, so I knew I could start with them to avoid going out too fast, and then once I'm warm, let my body tell me what it was up for.

After a couple of miles, another runner, Rachel, who was aiming for 2:30 but working through IT band issues, and I started to pull ahead of the group. I kept tabs on our pace, trying to hold us at 11:25-11:30 average running 3:1 intervals.

Around mile 9, the path narrows a bit, so Rachel got behind me and she was having to stop and stretch occasionally to keep her IT band from getting so angry. It wasn't long before I didn't see her around me anymore, and around the same time, I remembered that courses were never 13.1 on the nose. If you're lucky they're 13.2 or 13.3, but Tyler was 13.6 and I'd done my pace calculation for 13.1.

I was feeling good, other than my usual hip flexor tightness, so I decided I needed to run as fast as I comfortably could while keeping enough energy to finish strong. I had time to make up if I wanted to make sure I hit 2:30 since I had no idea how long the course really was.

You can see by my splits where I had this realization between miles 9 and 10. And where, between 12 and 13, I started to feel a little woozy and had to back off my pace a little. But once the finish line was in sight, I put everything I had into the "sprint" to the end. I just had this feeling if I didn't, I wouldn't make my time, and if I was just seconds from hitting 2:30, I was going to be really, really disappointed to left anything in the tank.

So, I ran and ran. Of course, we were in the third "slow people" corral, so the gun time was well off, but I thought my Runkeeper time was probably pretty accurate and it was 2:30:45. Ended up with my chip time being 2:30:34, so I'm calling that mission accomplished. But imagine if I hadn't stepped up the pace! Man, I'd be SO disappointed to have come so close and not gone for it. It was well worth pounding through the finish with my mouth agape from sucking wind and looking anything but victorious. Who cares? I made my goal time!

There were 5 things I cared about after the race:
  1. WATER: In fact, I breathlessly said, "Thank you. Where's water?" to the girl handing me my medal. "Right behind us." "Perfect."
  2. FOOD: Oh man, the line for the food tent was so long and I was hurting and couldn't imagine standing still in line for as long as it looked like it would take. 
  3. BEER: Dammit, the line for the beer area was even longer than the food line.
  4. MASSAGE: Ah! A short line! That 10 minutes felt really luxurious. It wasn't so much massage as skilled, gentle stretching, which felt amazing. Well worth missing beer and food for. 
  5. FRIENDS: I saw one of my running group folks while I was in line for massage, and then found the one whose house I parked at just as I got off the massage table. Unfortunately didn't see Rosie (who ran 2:08 for Pete's sake! I heard her yelling for me as I crossed the finish but was too focused to acknowledge her in the moment, but I think she left by the time I got done with massage) or anybody else, but you win some and lose some. 
We walked back to my friend's house and I headed home to an ice bath hubs had drawn for me. Yowza. I have no idea if it helped, though. I still had my usual 2 days of recovery before I even wanted to think about running, and my first run on Wednesday to the gym and back (1.7 miles each way) was not great, but not due to soreness. I was just excited to run and went too fast at the start. And then doing dumbbell squats at the gym didn't help my run back. Plus it's big rolling hills between here and there. Blah blah blah.

As you can see from my splits and the elevation changes, the DRC course was quite flat, so it's a great PR course, with hills only in the middle where you're still feeling good. Good course support and nice familiar terrain since we train on those very streets. But next time, I'd check a bag with chocolate milk and a banana so I wouldn't have to wait in line for sustenance.

Up next is the Turkey Trot 8M on Thanksgiving and then the Isle du Bois 18k trail run on Dec. 6. Rosie and I are running trails on Tuesday (smooth/flat) and Saturdays (technical) until that race and did our first at Cedar Ridge Preserve on Saturday. It was really lovely and took 1:45 to run/hike the 5 miles of trail we pieced together. What a totally different experience trail running is and how much more fun it is with a friend! I feel very fortunate to have found a like-minded runner to have adventures with.

I want to get back to doing MWF at the gym and probably doing very easy runs there (weather permitting) on Monday and Wednesday. Then doing speed work on Thursdays. Very much looking forward to this month of training. Lots of diversity in the cards!

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