Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Paying the piper

On the bright side, I was able to get through 6 months of training and 2 half-marathons without being sidelined by any injuries. On the not-so-bright side, all that training has been silently building tension and irritation in my IT bands, which have decided now is a good time to let me know. I need to get back on my training plan if I am going to be ready for OBX in 6 weeks, but I can't get rid of this nagging IT band pain. The good thing is it doesn't hurt when I am actually running, just afterward. And especially when I try to rub it or use the Stick on it. After the race I tried doing 2 days rest, 1 day running but it didn't last long; I ran 3 days out of the last 4. Not so smart. I am going back to 2 days off, 1 day on I guess. The pain doesn't really bug me, but I don't want it to turn into a bigger problem where I have to take a few weeks off or get professional treatment.

I have a 5K and a 10K planned in October, so hopefully I can get through those without problems. With tapering and the halfs it's been awhile since I've run 10K straight (2 months to be exact). It will be an interesting month.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Photos from the race

At the race expo

Bib number

All our race stuff ready to go

Me before the race

Chris before the race

City Hall, my favorite building in Philly

Museum of Art, the Rocky steps!

Race starting line

After the race!

Chris after the race

Photo taken by Haribo gummy bear person

The Garmin started having issues when we went through a tunnel. We did not actually go 13.45 miles.

Celebratory carrot cake

Eating my yummy Delilah's mac and cheese!

Chris eating his giant sandwich

Shirt, bib and medal

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Rock n Roll Philadelphia Half-Marathon


The weekend started off shaky, only got about an hour of sleep Friday night, wasn't drinking enough water and carbs on Saturday, so I had a few worries about how the race would go. I took a sleeping pill at 7:30 on Saturday (I don't think you are supposed to do that the night before a race but I was desperate for some sleep) and didn't fall asleep till 9:30, then woke up early at 4:15. I laid in bed drowsing till my alarm went off at 6.

I had a bagel with peanut butter in two parts, half at 6am and half at 7am. Also had a little water and powerade. Then got dressed, got ready and left around 7:15. Luckily I realized within a block that I had forgotten my sunglasses. Hubby went back and got them for me and we were off to the start, about a mile from our hotel. There were lots of other runners walking over and the city was still pretty quiet so it was nice.

We checked our bags, found a section of porta potties that amazingly had no line, then got in our corral. They were interviewing Ryan Hall, the defending champ, over the loudspeaker. The race started at 8 and we were released around 8:20. Within the first mile we saw the elites coming back our way (the course went south, then turned around and went north past the starting line). We saw Ryan Hall! I just saw him for a few seconds but it was really cool. He was easy to pick out as the other leaders were all Kenyan or Ethiopian.

The first few miles went by pretty fast, I stopped to get some water at the 3-mile stop but only walked for a few seconds. We went through a tunnel after mile 4 and our Garmins lost the signal so they were about 1/4 mile off the rest of the race. I took brief water breaks about every 1-1.5 miles and gel breaks at 4, 7.5, and 11 miles, and tried to keep my walking to 1-2 mins. This seemed to work very well, I didn't hit "the wall" till around 11 miles. The course was BEAUTIFUL, it went down this treed, downhill road next to the Schuylkill River. It seemed we went a lot more downhill than uphill. It was also very shady until the last 2 miles.

The last 2 miles...were tough. I could feel myself running out of steam. I'd been fighting a foot cramp and a side ache for several miles, and my toes were hurting from slamming into the front of my shoes during all the downhill stretches. I was so tempted to take longer walk breaks and let everything rest for a few minutes but I could tell we were close to making 2:35 (this randomly became my goal sometime during the race). Hubby was very good, he wanted to run the whole time without stopping so he would slow his pace and stay close in front of me while I walked, then speed up when I caught up with him. He also helped me to avoid possible puke situations, which I am grateful for :)

After mile 13 there was a sharp incline to the finish, I was not expecting it! But knowing we were just a few hundred feet from the end was enough motivation to power up it and through the finish line. I had the BIGGEST smile on my face when I got my medal. We got our checked bags back and then made our way over to Reading Terminal Market, about 1.5 miles away. I got my mac and cheese from Delilah's and had a mini carrot cake. So good! Then we came back to the hotel to shower, put on compression sleeves, and wait for the official results :) My legs are tired but overall I feel good. Actually I feel great! We cut 16 mins off our last half-marathon time! And we successfully ran 2 half-marathons 2 weeks apart. Pretty good in my book.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

One week till Philly!

It has been a little tricky balancing recovery and training during the two weeks between the two races. I ran Monday/Wednesday/Friday last week and my knees were starting to hurt during the last run, so I eliminated one of my runs for this week and will only be running on Monday and Thursday to allow my legs to rest as much as possible before Sunday. I hope I'm not making a mistake by taking that many rest days this week. I get so anxious and overanalytical about stuff like that.

I'm a little nervous about Philly. I didn't have any expectations for Virginia Beach except to finish, but now I feel like I need to do better at Philly because I know what to expect with a half-marathon, and I should be able to avoid making the same mistakes I made last time. The good thing is I should get about 2-3 more hours of sleep, the weather will be the same if not better, and I will make sure to eat more before the race and hydrate more during the first half. So as long as I don't train too hard/too easy this week I should be good to go.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Race pics

Bib number. There weren't really 20,000+ in the race, they did it by corral. I was in corral 20.

All my running gear ready to go...

D tags on!

Me and Mel before the race.

After the race! Yeah!

Hubby after the race.

The race according to Garmin. All that weaving around walkers and slow runners added up. We actually hit 13.1 around 2:47.

The shirt is a little big. But it makes for a nice picture!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Last night I went out for a slow 2-mile run to try to work some kinks out of my muscles. Today I am still sore in my quads and glutes but nothing too bad. Only 12 days till Philly! Can't wait. I'm aiming for a 6-7 mile long run this weekend and just a few 3-4 milers other than that. My goal for Philly is just to improve my time over Virginia Beach, and feel strong throughout the race. Eventually I'd like to have a sub-2:30 half, but that won't happen anytime soon.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Rock and Roll Virginia Beach Half-Marathon

Short story: I did it!

Long story: I got in bed at 9:30 hoping to get a good amount of sleep. Due to various reasons (mind was racing, neighbors were arguing, kept getting up to pee), I didn't fal asleep till about 11:30. I had set my alarm for 3:25 but woke up at 3:20 when I heard hubby in the bathroom. Got up, ate a cup of multigrain cheerios, got dressed. Our friend Melanie came over at 4 since she was riding with us. Got everything ready, went through one last mental checklist, and we were out the door around 4:15.

We got to the parking location about 5 and loaded the shuttle to the race start. It was pretty dark out and I was still waking up. The shuttle took about 20 minutes and then we were there! I ate another cup of cheerios and we all used the porta-potties since there wasn't a line yet. The race didn't start till 7 so we waited around, talking and stretching. They had water and bananas available but I was afraid of having cramps or having to make a bathroom stop during the race so I didn't have anything (mistake #1).

Around 6:30 we walked over to our corral, it was pretty far back (we were 20 out of about 27). The sun was starting to rise and it was right in our eyes. At 7 the race started, and we slowly moved toward the front. The crowd was pretty energized and excited. The horn finally blew for our corral around 7:30 and we were off! We started off great. Everyone was excited, there was crowd support right away, and the weather was cool and breezy. The first 3 miles flew by. We stopped at the first station at about 3.5 miles, it was our first planned stop. And the first time I drank some water (mistake #2). I kind of had to go to the bathroom but didn't want to hold Chris and Mel up so we walked for a bit for my water and GU to settle, then started running again. Around mile 5 we all stopped to use the porta-potties. The line took several minutes and it was hard to get started again. Still doing ok though.

We stopped at another station at around 7 miles, our second planned stop. I could feel I was quickly losing steam. I had 1/2 a Hammer Gel and some more water, but I only made it about a mile before I had to stop again. I was completely out of energy with 5 miles to go. I felt so bad making Chris and Mel stop to walk with me, I kept telling them to go ahead but they wouldn't. I just took it 1 mile at a time, walking every so often. Around 10 miles I could tell I was pretty dehydated, my skin was covered in salt from sweating and my fingers were pretty swollen. I started stopping at every station to drink water. Then all the water made me feel sick when we ran. Then I would feel bad for walking. It was a bad cycle.

Finally we turned the corner onto the boardwalk, the final stretch. We could see the finish line but it seemed so far away. I was expecting to feel some huge catharsis or revelation when we crossed the finish line. I didn't. I was excited we had finished the race, but other than that I didn't feel a whole lot. We got our water bottles, snack bags, and medals. I could see potential vomit situations around us so I tried to get out of the "secure area" as fast as we could. We met up with Mel's husband and his parents, and she left with them. We walked around for a bit and the soreness started to set in. I immediately had a newfound respect for runners. All I wanted to do was sit down, but they had instructed us to walk around for at least 20 minutes. I got another water bottle and Chris got our checked bags back. We walked down to where the shuttles were and luckily got on a bus that had room for us to sit. There was no way I could stand and brace myself for the 20 minute ride.

Back at the parking location we took a few pictures with our medals. I tried to upload some but the computer is not cooperating. We drove back home and hubby picked up pizza for me while I was in the shower. I felt pretty good by then, the only soreness I had yesterday was in my achilles. Today I had some soreness in my quads and lower back. I'm surprised I'm not more sore actually.

I'm frustrated and disappointed at how the race turned out. I put in all the training, read all the books, and thought I was very prepared. But looking back I made 2 crucial mistakes; I didn't eat enough before the race (2 cups of cheerios doesn't get you very far), and I didn't hydrate enough before and during the race. My long runs are usually done by 7:30 and I don't have to deal with the effects of the sun; we didn't even start till 7:30. Mainly I am sorry that I held Mel and Chris back, because I know they could have gone a lot faster if I hadn't kept stopping.

Moving on, Philly is in two weeks and I am looking forward to taking what I learned from this race and applying it. I just wish I had had a better experience for my first half, and for Mel and Chris' first too.

Friday, September 3, 2010

I love race expos!

Today we went to pick-up our packets for the race. The expo was awesome! We bought so much stuff. I got a new pair of Brooks, a cute Brooks tee, a box of Chocolate Outrage GUs (and it came with a free water bottle!), some running-themed coasters, and a ton of free samples. Hubby got a running hat and a Timex Ironman watch. We had a great time, we were there for almost 2 hours. It was awesome! I am so full from all the snacks I had too, Snickers marathon bars, GU Chomps, Cytomax, etc. The one thing I wish they had out here is Hammer Gels, all they have are GUs and Powerade Gels.

I started my carbo loading today and it is awesome. So far I have had 2 bagels (1 w/peanut butter, 1 w/cream cheese), a banana, and a granola bar. I am having some Special K vanilla almond later. I finally weighed today after my vacation binge and I'm up 3.8 lbs. Not too bad overall, but I'd like to lose it quickly. I am letting myself eat whatever I want on Sunday and Monday, then its back on the diet.

It is crazy to think that in less than 36 hours I will be running a half-marathon! Yikes!

Oh, at the expo we decided to register for the OBX half in November. It was $10 off so we figured why not.

I have all my running stuff already laid out for the race, I love getting everything ready. I got a new pouch for my fuel belt and I can fit all my goods in it - GU, Hammer Gel, handy wipes, and imodium. I'm set!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

One more run to go...

till the big day! Tomorrow I have a short 3-miler then its rest for two days and the half on Sunday. I can't believe it is here already! A hurricane is supposed to pass by tomorrow night/Friday so hopefully it doesn't mess stuff up too much. I would be really upset if they canceled the race after I've been training for 22 weeks!

The last two weeks of training have been tough. I've been doing all my planned runs (except for my 12-miler in OR), but I've felt so tired and like I want to quit every time. I know I will be able to finish the race, I just hope I enjoy it. My long run on Saturday didn't go too well, I got a horrible side ache/cramp and had to keep stopping to walk. I also overdressed for the weather and was overheating. I'm trying to brush it off as just a bad running day but I'm worried it will affect me mentally during the race and make me lose confidence.

Hubby and I have been reading "Ultramarathon Man" by Dean K. and it has inspired hubby to start trail running. There is a pretty good 5-mile trail near where we live that he ran a few days ago and loved it. He has decided to train for a 10k or half-marathon trail race in Georgia in October. And, there is a meet and greet with Dean K. the night before the race! Sadly I cannot go, I've commited to another race here the same weekend. But now that he has caught running fever like me, we've been planning out races we can do this fall, both together and apart. It is nice to have a hobby in common! Plus now he understands my love of all things running. We went to a local mountain sports store to get him outfitted with trail running shoes, etc. For now I will stick with street races, I am not a fan of the trails.