Monday, March 19, 2012

Well, that was...okay (Half of Quincy RR)

Half of Quincy is in the books.  And although I did PR, and hit exactly halfway between my B and C goals, it doesn't feel very good.

Let's start with the day before.  I was feeling good that day, very excited to be running.  I had a lovely lunch of a leftover half meatball sub and was feeling good.  At night I had a lighter meal - english muffins, one with PB, one with butter, green beans, and a yogurt.  Then I had a serving of chocolate.  Then another.  Only two servings, but that second serving was out of mental desire not true hunger.  It happens, but this time it happened when I was already feeling a bit overfull. 

So - off to bed feeling vaguely queasy.  Slept well, which is good, but it also helped that I had slept well the night before.  Woke up - still feeling a little off from the sugar overdose.  Got up, toasted my bagel, PB'd it, and was out the door on time.  I will pause here to say that on the days that I don't want to do my long runs it's really the bagel that gets me out the door.  Not so much the fueling (which it does), but the mental thing - "ate the bagel - let's go run!".

Drove down to Quincy to a gorgeous, sunny morning.  It was in the forties but I knew it was going to warm up so I was in a long sleeve tech shirt and shorts.  The shirt was from the Tufts Women's 10K from last year, and it was really funny how many other women I saw wearing the same shirt! 

Lined up for the bathroom (of course), and as I was waiting a woman wearing a jacket that said Security came over to the line and tapped the woman in front of me, me(!), and the two women behind me.  She said "Come with me.".   I was mentally like - "What did I do?".  She walked us over to the other side of the hall (we were in a high school), and unlocked another bathroom!  She said since it was only four stalls she wanted to manage the number of people going in....

Did some more stretches, lined up for the bathroom again, got in just in time, and lined up outside.  It was interesting because this was the first year that this half also was doing a 5K.  They both started at the same time and lined up at the same place, but the 5K people were splitting off to the left while we went straight.  I do wonder how well it went in terms of traffic management. I didn't see any issues, but I might do a check to find out what people's experiences were.

Started out feeling...ehn.  Not fast like the 10 mile race, more like just running was an effort.  I fought from the start and it didn't get any better.

And as a note - never believe a race director when they say the course is "mostly flat".  Mostly flat.  Like I'm mostly Nicole Kidman.

The run itself was mostly uneventful.  I did have a mini cheering section in my cousin and her boyfriend.  They were at mile 4.  What's awesome is that I had started out wearing gloves because of the chill, but by mile 4 I was so hot that even though I had taken them off and tucked them into the front of my shorts I even felt hot with them being there.  Just as I was thinking that I saw my cousin ahead of me; she was cheering, I veered over towards her, and tossed my gloves.  She caught them.  Good thing - wouldn't want to lost 67 cent gloves that I had multiple pairs of at home!

As alluded to above there were definitely some hills on this course.  I mentally wasn't feeling them and had to fight to not walk.

I've gotten this far into the race report and haven't mentioned the major problem yet.  My right hamstring/piriformis?   Killing me the entire race.  Literally the entire race.  Luckily it's not the kind of pain that throws off my stride, but it was not fun. 

So even with the oversugaring, painful glutes, overheating (yes - even though it was a light tech shirt I was still hot), I still feel that I gave all that I had that day. 

 My old PR for the half was 2:29:45; this new one is 2:12:00.  So - good.  But just not mentally good.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Goal time!

In less than 12 hours I will be getting up, getting dressed, and pinning on the below #.

I'm already trying to make up why this # is good luck.  It's my 10 miler # + 20?

I'm excited for this half because it's the first where I really plan to race.  This is my third half.  My first was "I am in intense pain and sick, but I will cross the finish line".  My second was "Let me see if I can run the entire thing".  (Spoiler - I did).  This one is "I have trained my butt off - let's DO this."

I definitely have goals.

a.)  PR.  This is inevitable.  My current PR is 2:29:45.  The training runs that I've been doing - at easy pace - are faster than this.

b.) 2:15 .  This is a safety goal.  I really feel that I can get here with no issues, but it's still working hard.

c.) 2:10.  This feels right?  Sort of?  McMillan has me at 2:07 which seems too much of a stretch.  Or am I underestimating myself...

The thing is, even with my goals I'm very much in the mile when I run.  I'm very bad at the mental math, so I really won't know until I get towards the last few miles where I am.  Well, that's a bit of an exaggeration - I will have my mile splits, so I'll have some idea.

I'm excited and nervous about this race.  It's ~1,300 people, which compared to my other two halves (Disney) is distinctly smaller.  On the plus side I will have my cousin cheering me on - she said she will be at two places on the course, plus at the end.

Love ya lots, Pammy!

I was a lazy bum today, fueled myself wonderfully (what - meatball subs are awesome the day before a race), the weather looks gorgeous...I'm ready to dominate.

Watch out Half of Quincy - I'm comin' for ya!

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Holy...! (Black Cat 10 Miler RR)

Quick update - I did not make it streaking through February as planned.  That's okay - I think that the effort got me more comfortable with my legs which is enough for me.

I also got exceeding lazy about posting my goals for my first race of 2012, which was this morning.  So call this a goals and post mortem at the same time.

First of all the race was the Black Cat 20 and 10 miler.  I did the 10 miler; this was my second 10 miler ever. It doesn't seem to be that common a race distance so I don't know how many I'll end up doing.  Randomly I saw someone posting about doing an 8K, and I couldn't even believe that was a distance.  Makes no sense to me.

Anyway, goals.  I was having a hard time getting A/B/C (absolute/probable/stretch goals) because one that I was considering seemed like good practice more than a goal.  What I did have were:

A - PR.  Considering my PR from my prior 10 miler was slower than my current slow run pace, I figured unless I slammed face first into the pavement (sneak peak - I didn't) that I was safe with this.

B - 1:40.  It's a nice round number, exactly 10 minute miles.

C - This is where I ran into trouble.  I was torn between setting a goal of hitting McMillan prediction (1:39:47, based on my last race) and trying to negative split.  I don't think I ended up on a decision, so I really went in with A and B goals only.

So - race.  The race was in Salem, MA, which apparently I only visit to race?  It's not that far away and it's full of historic interest - get on the ball, chick!  Anyway - I was 90% prepared when I got to the race.  The missing %?  My stupid brain which forgot blister band aids that I've been living on recently (new shoes are needed desperately) and my sunglasses.  Luckily I ended up not really needing either.

I got to the race location half an hour early with the expectation that I would do an actual warmup mile or two before the race, instead of taking the first couple miles in the race at a slower pace.  That decision went out the window when I saw that I could wait on line for bathrooms inside instead of using port-a-potties.  Once I was done peeing I did some stretching and went out to the start.

It was a bit chilly but not that bad.  I really didn't hear the start announcement and only knew what was going on when people ahead of me started moving.  I also was very lucky that I kept my eyes on the road, because giant pothole right at the start!

Not much going on during the actual race.  ~mile 2 the voice in my head piped up, right on schedule - "Do you really think you can do this?  Maybe you should slow down.  Walking sounds good.  You're breathing pretty hard...".  Ignored.

Also around mile 2 there was a woman with disturbingly tight shorts ahead of me.  Serious wedgie.  She had incredibly awesome legs but those shorts... I really was glad when I passed her because they were seriously creeping me out.

The description of the course said  - "The only big hill is entering into Marblehead, there are a few other hills on the course but nothing major."  I don't know when they imported Mt Everest to MA, but it must have been right before this race.  It was a big hill alright but I felt good powering up it.  I was also happy that the course was a loop so I got to run down it on the way back.

This was the first race where I didn't walk through the two water stops that I ended up using.  I splashed myself pretty good on the first, did the squeeze sides of cup on the second which worked well.

Mile 8 the voice came back - "You still have two miles to go - maybe you should slow down?  You're going to trip yourself".  Stupid voice!  I don't listen to you!

I wanted to kick it up in the last mile.  I didn't kick it up as much as I have before, but I think that's a good thing?  I didn't leave much on the course?

My result - 1:35:40.  Almost 4 minutes faster than I was going for.  Wow.  Where did that come from?  So goals A and B definitively met, as well as beating McMillan.  Did negative split - first 5 miles were 48:28.

All this makes me excited for my half in two weeks.  I'm gonna bring it!