Tuesday, October 9, 2012

And she's off!

Updates. Warning, long post ahead. 

On April 15th I did the Tough Mudder in Amherst, Oh. It was 12 miles of mud and pain. Where the Warrior Dash is fun, the Mudder is just, well, not. It was hard and I'm sure I will never do that again. Pics here.

The following Saturday, I ran the Portage Lakes Run to the Beach Half Marathon. According to my GPS, the race was 13.68 miles, not 13.1. So as far as I'm concerned, it was a PR.  It was cold - about 40F and raining off and on during the race. I felt strong for the first 7 miles, then my knee went *pop*! and that's all she wrote. The last 6.5 miles were spent doing a combo walk/run/limp/try-not-to-cry. I finished in 2:37:xx. Like I said, though, the course was long - so if I discount that extra .58 mile, then I finished just under 2:30:xx. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it!

Rite Aid Cleveland Half Marathon - 05.19.12

The word of the day: HOT!

It was 77 in the shade at 10am. I had finished the race by then, but I would venture to say that for the majority of the race it was at least that hot even from the get-go. I understand that the red flag came out for the marathoners shortly after I finished the half.

My report:

Having not really trained for this race, I lined up behind the 4:55/11:17m/m/ pace group. I knew I didn't want to push this race and I thought I could (hopefully) keep up with that group. The course is, for the most part, flat, but the first 3 miles are rolling (mostly up-hill, since the race starts at the shoreline then goes UP to the city). The miles FLEW by for me. The water stops were very poorly managed this year. They were laid out right, just not managed well. At least one stop was out of cups pretty early in the race and none of them were prepared for the amount of runners. Each one was crowded to the point of having to actually stop and wait in line to get water. One good thing was that there was at least three points where they had the hose spraying people down at the stops. I was very thankful for that (even though it made my sweat drip into my eyes - ugh).

Aside from the water stations, I ran fully through to mile 10. I started incorporating walk breaks in there at that point - the heat was catching up to me.

Highlights for me: My hubby and daughter were waiting for me around the halfway point. She was giving out high-fives to the runners (she's four and super-enthusiastic) and she had a bottle of water for me! They also were right at the finish line so I was able to give her a high-five right at the end of the race. That was super sweet.

All in all, I'm happy about how I did. Leading up to this run, I hadn't trained at all (seriously - I ran a half marathon a month ago and have only run three times between them, less than 10 miles total in the month), and am not really feeling the running love right now. Oh well.

Warrior Dash - 08.25.12

A few pics from my latest adventure:




It's elemental!

Actual race report:

My friend and I were schedule for the 4pm wave. Seeing as how it was going to be stupid hot and they don't actually check, we opted to go early and get in the 1030am wave. It was still stupid hot, but not as bad as it was later that afternoon.

There were hills, mud, water crossings - but nothing even remotely difficult. The obstacles included wading through chest high water and going over logs that were floating on the surface (options included being in a group and pushing the log down to go over, or jumping/rolling over the top dive - I ended up at the back of the pack and had to do the log myself, so I did option b: and sustained my only injury of the day - a scraped knee. Boo-hoo.), a swim(7' deep water) that included climbing up and over a flotilla of what looked like cases tied together, more running, traversing a horizontal cargo net, climbing a 12' high 2x4 wall that had a ladder-like step on the way up, but nothing on the way down at the 8' mark (yay for upper body strength training - I didn't have to drop too far!), climbing over a barn-skeleton (10' high at the top, maybe?), more running, climbing the 17' cargo net wall up and over, jumping fire, crawling under barbed wire in rocky trenches, crawling under barbed wire in the mud and my favorite, the horizontal rock wall.

I don't know what else to call that one - it was a wall with a 2" ledge to walk on with hand holds spaced 6'-8' apart over a water pit, It wasn't too difficult, but I surely was knock-kneed shaking by the time I got across it. It was, I'm guessing, about 20' long.

I don't know if I'm remembering all the obstacles, but that seems about right.

It was fun. I'd do it again. Not like the Tough Mudder. That one hurt. 

Akron Half Marathon - 09.29.12

Fourth time participating in the Akron race, first time solo. I've usually been on relay teams, but this year I decided to tackle it myself. The initial plan was to run the full as my first full mary, but I ended up with a stress fracture right after the Cleveland Half marathon in May that knocked me out of training for six weeks. So much for the full, eh? I knew I could pull off a half with minimal training, so I changed my entry and went on my way.

The day started out chilly - as to be expected for late September in Ohio. It was 41F at the start. Warmed up to maybe 60F by the time I finished. Maybe. I'm not really sure.

The miles went pretty fast - I was pacing around 11:18 for the first 7 miles... then my phone died. So I have no idea what I paced from there on out. I walked mile 10 - stupid me. I should've just pushed through, as I missed my PR by 02:15. Seriously. If I had just pushed through mile 10 running, I could've PRd. Oh well. Heck, I probably could've PRd if I hadn't stopped to use a volunteer's phone to text my hubby to let him know where I was (mile 11.5 - I wanted him to be ready to shoot pics when I got into the stadium!).

Mid-Run - a mere second before my phone died.
Taken mere seconds before my phone died.

Final time: 02:37:37. Missed my PR by 00:02:15. Grrr and harrumph.

Post race:

P, pointing to my name on the pace car.

... and I don't even like to run. (The smile at the finish line? Yeah, that's because it's OVER!)

Saturday 10.06.12 I ran the YMCA Jack-O-Lantern Jog through historic Glendale Cemetery

It was overcast, 40-ish degrees. Brrr chilly cold I believe was the actual temperature.
So yeah, I'm a week out from running a half marathon. This race is super hilly. It's all up and down through the cemetery, part road, part dirt path. My entire goal was to not kill myself or get injured. I completed it in :35:13. Not great, not bad... considering I was recovering from a half marathon.

The next day, however, I did something really stupid! I ran another half marathon!

Towpath Trail Half Marathon - 10.07.12
It was cold. The rain held out until the half marathoners were finished. Not so fortunate for the full marathoners, though.

Towpath Half starts at a ski resort, runs down the road a few miles, then turns on to a trail that is three people wide. Oh, and it's an out and back once you hit the trail.

Miles 1-3 were on the road and I ran very conservatively - trying to assess whether I would be able to even finish 13.1 miles on tired legs. I stuck to my fuel strategy - GU 15:00 before the start, then at miles 3, 6 & 10. They had water and Gatorade on the course, but I'm used to Powerade, so I carried that on my belt.

Once we hit the trail, it was on. I ran (well, jogged as is my pace) steadily, passing people when I could (mainly because I hate running on someone's heels - this plays a very important role in my time at this race). I did many short bursts of speed over the 10 miles of trail. Around mile 6 the lead pack started passing by headed back to the finish, so passing got dodgy and even faster at places. Keep in mind the trail is 3, max 4 people wide! As in last week's half, my phone died at mile 7 or so (stupid phone), but this time I remembered to wear my Garmin so I knew I was keeping a good pace.

Miles 8-10 were just plodding along - I've run this trail quite a few times, so I knew how much further I had to go with every step. Which can be both exciting and daunting.

Miles 11-12.5 I had some serious pain in my toe. Toenails are overrated, right? At this point I knew I would PR... just keep running.

Mile 12.5 - 13.1. Longest. Freaking. Run. I was ready for it to be over. But I kept going. I looked at my Garmin and thought, just maybe, I could possibly not only PR, but finally break 2:30:00. As I rounded the corner and saw the clock at the finish line showing 2:30:09, I knew I had broken 2:30:00! Holy crap. Official time:  2:29:37. Exactly 8 minutes faster than last week.

Now... to do it all over again on October 28th.
(with 2 more 5ks between now and then, too!)

Did I mention I hate running? Ugh.

Oh yeah.... and I celebrated by having strawberry french toast. It was delicious!