Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Post-race reflections

If you've been following along this summer, you know I ran the Zooma Cape Cod Half Marathon this weekend.  It was a beautiful course, and very well run race. Don't tell the folks at Disney, but I think I actually liked Zooma better!  Less pagentry, more camaraderie. 

Anyway, I PR'd by 1.5 minutes at Zooma.  On hills. Almost 800 feet of elevation. I was flying high at the end of the race.  Crying and yelling when I crossed the finish line. 

Then, Sunday, we had a bit of excitement at home and I barely noticed the day (quick summary: It's all good now, Hubby got dehydrated, and passed out.  7 year old called 911 for me, Hubby ended up in the ER, discharged 6 hours later and has been fine since. Side note: I ran 13.1 miles and peed within an hour of finishing. Hubby had a gigantic buffet breakfast and ends up on IV fluids. Just saying.) But Monday? Monday hit me hard!

Monday, I couldn't walk up or down stairs without grimacing.  I was told to take the elevator several times.  I replied with "I ran 13 miles, I am not taking an elevator" and continued to hobble.  I fell into chairs instead of sitting.  I wore flip flops with work clothes because my weird toe nail hurt. I had slammed the toe into a curb a few years back and the nail now grows up instead of out. Apparently, it was too long during the race and got banged up. It's now a pretty pale purple color and achy. 

Tuesday, got better.  I could almost sit and stand easily. Stairs slowed me down, but weren't painful. Toe got some more color to it, and a bit throbby, but I could wear shoes.

All of the aches and pains got me thinking: during the training runs, I was fine.  No long recovery times, no toe issues.  But, then again, it took me 2:40 to run 12 miles during training.  What was different about the race? 

I ran faster.  That's it.  I checked the elevation, my 12 mile run was 787 ft, the Zooma Half was 797 ft.  Let's call that even (and I was worried about the elevation change! I probably should have check my long run elevation before the race, not afterwards!).  The only different was I kept my pace and walked less. I also set a more realistic pace than in training (10:20-12:30 min/mile vs 8:50-10:20 min/mile), which made it easier to keep.

Going into the race, I wasn't even thinking PR. Heck, I was hoping for 10 minutes over my first half.  At one point, I was running with Michelle, and found she was aiming for sub 2:30.  I ran with her for most of the race.  She finished stronger than I did, and got her goal and PR.  I was right there with her, till mile 10.

Up until mile 10, I was on target for a 2:30 finish.

Right now, I'm afraid to actually aim for a 2:30 goal.  But maybe that's just the busted toe nail talking. 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Zooma Cape Cod Race "Weekend" Recap

I figured I should write the recap while my legs are still achy.  Which means the pictures are still in Todd's camera (hey, we picked up our iPhone 5's yesterday, my photos are low on the priority list!)

Since I haven't been as diligent as updating this, let's back up a few weeks.  I messed up my schedule and only (ha! "only") ran 12 miles for my longest long run. And it took me 2 hours 38 minutes.  I panicked, I bombarded the internet for help and they all responded with "silly girl, if you've done 13 before, and you did 12, you'll do 13 again. Rest. Your body needs rest".  Fortunately, I listened.  Still panicking, but listening.  I did 8 the following week then 6 last week.  Ran 3 on Monday and Wednesday and fought the urge to go out Friday.  Which was probably pretty smart, since Wednesday afternoon I got vaccinated for Hep A, Typhoid and Yellow Fever (Peru trip in November).  Thursday, I was incredibly cranky from the vaccines, and convinced I just threw the race out the window.

Sarah and Dimity chatting.  You can almost see the water bottle
I won on the table
But Thursday night, I went to Another Mother Runner House party.  That was so much fun! I showed up a bit late because of back to school night. But made it before Dimity and Sarah started talking. I threw my name in the raffle bucket and won one of the first prizes, I super cleanable water bottle.  Now, I don't have to use a kid's party water bottle for my runs anymore :)  I was surprised that Dimity recognized me (well, my name) but it was pretty cool to realize that I really am "another mother runner". I also "met" a few woman I had chatted with on-line (which always feels weird, since you already know them).  Erica had asked if I wanted to run with her, but she was expecting to be a bit faster than me, so I declined.  I also met a new mom, who showed up solo.  Rebecca and I both sat on the couch and I think we were both in love with the color of Sarah's toes! (she took a picture, I didn't!)  Anyway, had a blast at the night, got home at decent hour, and slept well.

Then Friday, we drove to my father in law's house about 15 minutes from the Sea Crest Hotel.  Had a nice dinner, tucked in nice and early. Then, 10 minutes before the early alarm went off, Pete threw up.  Poor kid, he never gets stomach bugs.  We all managed to scurry around for 15 minutes, get back in bed and rest until the late alarm.  5:30 am and we're up, eating and puking again.  Change of plans, Pete is staying home with Grandpa, Brian - the night owl - is up, dressed and ready for the kids' race.  And off we go!

We get to the race and park in the Old Silver Beach lot.  We go to this beach a lot during the summer, but it looked so different with the bath house closed, the gray, pre-dawn sky and fall in the air.  I grabbed my goodie bag (ok, 1st of 2.5 complaints: 4 samples of rub on pain cream? That's it? I hope the girls who didn't do the mail option got better stuff. Although I do like the bag itself!)  The race wasn't as crowded as I expected (not even 500 runners, including the men), but I still didn't find Rebecca!  Ended up seeing Erica and Danielle and lined up a bit behind them.  Ok, I lined up at the 12 min/mile sign.  I was feeling pretty gutsy doing so, since I was expecting a 2:45 or under finish.

The start kind of snuck up on me.  I went out and kept my music and micoach low, since the roads were partially open.  I started talking to my phone, asking why I couldn't hear MiCoach Man talking to me.  Turns out, I had already hit my pace.  Ok, good.  Then the road starting turning and tipping left.  I chat during races, so I asked to no one in particular "Anyone else sliding left", and Michelle replied with a "Yes" that was obvious she wasn't thrilled about it.  Then we saw the Fast Girls coming back. Man, that was a motivating site!  We hit the turn around and then ran past the entrance to the hotel. I got a high five from Brian (and his juice box) and kept going.  Saw Dimity taking pictures around mile 2ish, fell in with 2 women who were calling me "Cute Skirt" thanks to my Hot Chocolate Happy Girl (thanks Dana for my early birthday present!) then noticed I was keeping pace with Erica and Danielle.  They were at the top end of my range, the end I didn't expect to see.  Things were going well until 3 miles.

We were running along the water, with houses on our left and BAM, shooting pain in my left knee.  My normal response to pain during a run is 5 more steps then react.  I slowed to a walk for a few steps, it went away immediately, so I started running again. This time I grunted and knew the pain showed on my face. I pulled over and did my IT band stretches (hey, I couldn't think of anything else to do!) then started back up again. It was lessening at this point and I was able to keep going.  Within a few minutes, it was gone.  Then we found the hills...

The first hill, we didn't have a lot of room, we were running on the shoulder.  We came around the corner and it was staring at us. But, there was a dad and 2 boys on the side of the road cheering. Turns out they were Michelle the Race Ambassador's family.  It was great, I was within a couple of minutes of her for the whole race (except the finish, she beat 2:30!!!!) and I got all of her overflow cheers!

I did pass her up that first hill! It wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be.  I just aimed for the street sign near the crest and ran.  After that, I was emotionally flying high!  I didn't stop to walk as often as during my training/regular runs.  I actually had to slow down to keep my pace in a good zone.  I kept hydrated and fed, but still, mile 12 sucked.  The hills, they looked a lot scarier on paper than they did in person.  The kids at the rest stops were wonderful, except for the cheerleaders at mile 8.5 yelling "You're almost there!"  I gave them the polite version of the response from "Train Like a Mother".  It went something like "Nononononono, there's 4.5 miles left. that is NOT almost there".  See, polite. No swearing :)

Mile 12 is always hard, the finish is so close, yet so far away.  Then it's up hill (ugh, I was done with hills) and in the middle, there was a detour down a side street.  It sapped so much emotional momentum from everyone, even those of us who looked at the updated map and saw it coming. (yep, that's complaint #2).  It reminded me of a side road on my regular long run route. The one that I'll skip about once a month and coming in 0.2 miles short that day but call it close enough.  I think that's why I walked back up the side road.  Then, I got a text from Todd. He'd been tracking me on "Find my iPhone" and thought I took a wrong turn.  Honestly!

Then the finish line was in sight.  The road was partially closed, so I was running on the right shoulder and had to take a left into the hotel.  As I coming up on the turn, a car starts coming up behind me.  There was NO way I was letting the car go, so the New Yorker in me came out and I stuck my hand out and cut the car off to take the turn.  As I did, I yelled to the cop and volunteers "What's the time?"  The cop replied "2:33" and I took off as fast as I could.  I crossed the line at a gun time of 2:34:06 which is still a PR. My chip time came in at 2:33:23! over a minute and a half faster than the glass like Princess Half!

I was (still am!) thrilled.  I hit the expo, but we couldn't stay long, since Pete was home sick. I shot off my "runner's high" tweet of "Hills? What Hills? I PR'd. Only 365 days to Zooma Cape Cod 2013" and I won! Of course, I don't know what I won, because I had to go to the finish line. And we were already home with Pete, who was feeling much better by then (complaint 2.5).  I'm going to assume it was another water bottle, since I just got one the day before.  If it's a free entry to next year's Zooma, that can be emailed, right? :)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

AMR 10 Running-Related Personal Questions

Sarah and Dimity over at AMR decided September is The Month Of Asking. They never really said why, but I'm assuming because it's back to school, and those kids just never stop asking questions!  Anyway, since I almost never run out of things to say, here's my answers!

1. Best Run Ever: Sunday, December 4th, 2011.  I set out to run 9 miles in preparation for the Princess Half that coming February.  I was feeling really good at 4.5 miles on my out and back, so I figured "Another half mile won't kill me." and went to 5 miles.  Of course, that half mile was really a mile, but whatever, right?  Anyway, I'm turning the corner onto my street at 9.9 something miles and I can see my boys in their bedroom window.  They started banging on the window and cheering, like I was going for gold in the Olympics.  I made it 10.0 something miles and came home to the biggest, best welcoming ever!  Plus, I did a 10 mile run before my 39th birthday (which was the following week).  There's something about clicking over to double digits for the first time that just gave me such a feeling of accomplishment.

2. Three words that describe my running: Quiet, calming, motivating

3. My go-to running outfit is: Nike Be Bold knee length shorts (that they do not make anymore. So not happy about that!), although after this morning's run, I could see switching to Skirt Sport's Happy Girl skirt (7" inseam on those shorts is very anti-chafing), a tech t-shirt, headband for hair control and sunglasses if its day light hours (although if it's cloudy, they will likely be on top of my head)

4. Quirky habit while running: Wearing sunglasses on my head in the rain (see outfit info). It's New England, you never know what's going to happen with the weather!  Also, all of the fire hydrants have a reflector mounted on a 5 foot pole, so you can find them and dig out the hydrants in the winter.  I high-five the reflectors when I run past.  Especially the one at the top of the hill, when I don't stop to walk (he's super proud those day! :) )

5. Morning, midday, evening: Morning! It's my only "me" time.  I leave the sleeping house, drive to work, run, shower and have my first cup of coffee before the alarm goes off for the rest of the family.  Added bonus: I get to work before rush hour hits.  In the winter, I sometimes run in the afternoon, if I needed the extra sleep, or just want to see the sun for a change.

6. I won't run outside when it's: dangerous. I can handle smooth ice, I have my YakTrax for that. It's when it gets slushy then freezes overnight so the ice is all lumpy and just begging for a busted ankle.  I won't run on that. Or if it's below 25 or so.  I just can't get the clothing right when it gets that cold.  In the summer, I won't run in a heat advisory (unless it's Columbus Day, 90 degrees at noon and I'm signed up for a 10K. Of course I'll run then).

7. Worst injury -- and how I got over it: IT band/hip thingy.  Not really over it.  Found out sitting in my favorite spot on the couch aggravates it (think there's a busted spring and I'm listing).  I have my foam roller and that helps a lot.  Plus stretching before and during runs when its really bad.  I know I need to do my strength training though...

8. I felt most like a Badass Mother Runner when: I wear the shirt that says it! (Love that shirt!). After I ran my first half.  I bawled right after I crossed the finish line.  My family missed me finishing (rain jacket confusion and a delayed bus), but we met up afterwards in the family reunion area.  We went to Epcot for the day, and we all wore our finishers medals (the boys did the kids' run the day before).  At one point, we were just walking through the park and my then 6 year old stopped, looked at me and said "You did it Mommy, you really just ran a half marathon!" and hugged me.

9. Next race is: Zooma Cape Cod.

10. Potential running goal for 2013: Not give up running.  I don't currently have a goal or race scheduled for the first half of the year, and I'm the type of gal who needs one.  I've got my eye on a half that's a "hilly" race (you know the terrain will be interesting when they name the race after a mountain, no matter how small!) but I want to see how I do on a non-flat half first this month.