Fleet Feet Half Marathon
November 12, 2012 § 1 Comment
So, I guess it’s been a little while since I’ve posted. Sorry about that. Life has kinda gotten in the way of me taking a few minutes out of my crazy schedule to check in on my running, post some recipes and share general nonsense. Well, I haven’t forgotten about my little site. In fact, I have a great race recap to share to (hopefully) get back in the swing of things.
Switching things up
Sometimes training for a marathon can become tedious. What’s on the agenda this weekend? Oh, I have yet another long run? What a surprise. But this time around, something is different. I look forward to my long runs. Each week, as I have added miles, I find myself staying calm and collected. All those previous downfalls are a distant memory and I am focusing on now.
This weekend’s run called for backing down on the mileage just a tad and running a half marathon. To switch things up a little, I found a half in Tucson and we loaded up the car to head south for the weekend. I promised myself (and my trainer) that I would NOT go all out for this race. This was to be a training run only, which made the time leading up to the event much easier to get through. No nerves. No anxiety. Just another run.
A kink in the plan
Some time between packing up the car and getting to Tucson I had a pain emerge in my lower back. Well, to be more precise, it in my left butt cheek. I think I pinched a nerve in my back that was shooting a sharp pain with every step I took. Seriously? Did we just drive two hours and book a room just to have me not run? Not happening. After hobbling through the Fleet Feet store to pick up my packet, I stopped at a store and grabbed one of those self-heating pads that wraps around you like a girdle, put it on and hoped for the best.
Cold and hilly
The night before the race we drove the course. Being unfamiliar with the area/terrain isn’t a problem for me, but we had some time to kill so we decided to see what I was in for. In addition to checking the weather and seeing that the temps would be in the mid-30s at the start of the race (brrr!), the course turned out to be full of rolling hills and steady inclines. Hmmm. I wan’t in flat-as-a-pancake Gilbert anymore! The positive side to the pain in my back, the cold temps and the never-ending hills was that I would definitely not be going all-out for this race.
It’s a miracle
I didn’t sleep well the night before the run. Despite staying at an adorable B&B two miles from the starting line and knowing I was going to take the race easy, I was tossing and turning all night. (The coyotes making noise outside the bedroom window didn’t help.) By the time my alarm went off I was already wide awake and daring myself to get out of bed to test how my back felt. As I took a few steps I prepared myself for the terrible pain I was feeling just hours before…and…nothing. Huh? There was maybe a slight ghost of the pain, but overall, I felt great. I didn’t question it too much and decided to just be thankful the pain was gone.
Chuck Norris never ran a half marathon
The course support for this small race was amazing. Water stations every two miles; local musicians playing their guitars, bagpipes, drums, etc. throughout the course; local residents standing on the corner with signs. Then, there was my husband. He found ways to drive up and down the course to see me and ring the giant cowbell I recently bought (this thing is no joke!). Having such amazing support really makes a difference. I tried to thank all the volunteers I encountered and made sure I told my husband how much I truly appreciate him being there for me.
Where’d the time go?
Before I knew it, I was half way done and the only “complaint” I had was that I nearly tripped at a water station (Tucson has some really crappy road conditions) and almost choking on my pop tart – my new favorite long run fuel. My legs felt good; no issues with my back; breathing was steady. Wow. What a great run! I took in all the beautiful desert scenery, enjoyed all the volunteers on the course and just ran.
I came up on the last two miles and ran by the B&B we were staying at. I saw Jake, said I’d see him at the finish line and off I went. I still had a bunch of energy and was feeling elated. Ahead of me, I saw a woman who had passed me at mile seven. The gap between us was getting smaller and smaller and before I knew it, I was right behind her. I felt bad that she was running out of steam so close to the end, but I surged ahead of her and headed to the finish with the remaining energy I had. Then…it was done. I crossed the finish line, picked up a medal and race shirt and walked to the car. Kinda anti-climatic, but that’s how it should have been. I was 5+ minutes above my PR, which was perfect. I hadn’t pushed the race too hard and this was truly a strong training run.
Now, I’m really looking forward to heading into the longest runs of my training with confidence. Here’s to hoping I don’t get in my own way!