Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Round 2.

So kind of on a whim a few weeks ago, I registered to run the Governor's Cup on November 3.  This is one of Columbia's biggest running events, and it's celebrating the 40th running this year.  It is not an easy course.  There is a long uphill in the second half and a pretty killer last half mile to top it off, but it starts on Gervais Street right in front of the Statehouse and ends on the other side, at the Horseshoe on Carolina's campus, which is cool.

My parents are coming into town, and they haven't seen me run a race yet.  Since I knew I'd still be in shape from Georgetown, I figured I might as well piggyback onto that training and get one more half marathon under my belt.

This is my plan:

Easy 3 mi
Easy 3 mi
Easy 4mi
Easy 5mi
Easy 5mi
Easy 3-4mi

To be clear, this is Week 2.  I had to go home to Florida unexpectedly last week so I didn't make it to yoga or barre, but luckily Pinterest saved the day with some workouts that were easy to do when I only had a few minutes.  I did go out for some easy miles this weekend and felt fine, so I think that's a good sign.  

I am not planning to race-race this race, if you know what I mean.  Running a half is still hard for me... I get that it's not something that is supposed to be easy, but what I mean is that it's the longest I've ever run, and I've only done it twice, so even if I'm not race-racing, it's still a hard effort.  So this time I just want to have fun running through my "hometown" (I do not yet claim Columbia) and finish in a respectable time.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Race Recap: Georgetown Half Marathon

SUB-2 is official!  A week later, and I'm still recovering a little bit, but it was worth it.

Let's begin at the beginning...

J and I headed out of town around 4:30 on Friday, and made to Georgetown in time to scoop up my packet (took approximately 30 seconds... yay for small races) and to meet some friends for a carbo-loading sesh at Pastaria 811 in Pawley's Island.  I'm not sure what they do to the tomatoes that they put on their house salad, but it is magical.

After our delicious dinner, we checked into our hotel, and I laid out my race outfit.  Then I took a shower and straightened my hair.  This is what it's come to in order to avoid the uni-dread.  Anyway, we stayed at a Hampton Inn, so there was free breakfast starting at 6am, so I got dressed and got down stairs ASAP, then J drove me to start line.  We found a parking spot one block away, which awesome. (Again, yay for small races.)  It was windy and a bit chilly, but I was only at the start for 15 mins or so, so it wasn't too bad.  No lines for the porta potties, and I found my friends with no problems.  And then when we lined up, I ended up standing right next to a former co-worker who was running the 5K.  (Can I say it one more time?  Yay for small races.)

{Me, Leslie, Jenny, and Jennifer at the start.}

I knew that if I held at 9:09 pace then I would come in at 1:59:59, so my game plan was to start around 9:20 to get warmed up during the first mile, get it down to 9:00-9:05 at least until the 10K, and then pick it up after that if I could.  The first 2 miles of the course were through downtown, so I saw J right after the start and again just after the first mile marker.

{Thumbs up because I'm only 30 seconds in.}

The first 7 miles of the course are beautiful.  Downtown Georgetown is full of gorgeous old mansions, cute shops, and amazing views of the bay.  The sun was still coming up as we passed along the waterfront and over the first bridge out and back.  The first bridge was super fun .  I was able to hold my pace both ways without feeling like I was pushing myself hard and the view at the top was awesome.  It was definitely windy, but it felt good.  Plus, it was an out and back, so we got to see the leaders, which is always fun.  The first guys came over the bridge (going back) just as I got to the top (going out).  The turnaround was right at mile 4, so I ate half a packet of Honey Stinger chews before we tackled the bridge again.  I saw Leslie, Jenny, and Jennifer a little past the turn around, so that was a nice pick-me-up too.

 {Sunrise over the bay.}

Right at the the turnaround point, I started to notice something funky happening in my left calf.  Both calves were very sore this week, and I have no idea why.  I took my runs super easy, obviously, and I made a point to wear flats or very low heels to work to give my legs a break.  I rubbed the crap out of both of them with the Stick on Friday night and before leaving the hotel, and actually, the right one was much more sore than the left, so the crampy twinges in my left leg really surprised me.  And once it started, it never went away.  I expected it to go into a full blown cramp at any second the whole way from mile 4-13.1.  It was not a fun mental battle to fight - since it more annoying than painful, I told myself to keep going as long as possible and if it did go into a full cramp, I could deal with it then.  Luckily, this was also the point where I made a running buddy.  We were running the same pace and we stuck together from mile 4 until about mile 12 (when she totally left me in the dust... must work on that for next time), so I just tried to focus on staying with her.  

We went back through downtown for a few blocks around mile 6-7.  I ate the rest of my Honey Stingers, and I saw all of my cheerleaders - Leslie's husband and father, J, and my coworker Ginger.  I went through the 10k right at 55 minutes, so I knew I was on track, and except for the occasional twinges in my calf, I was feeling good.  Just before mile 8, we hit the second bridge, which is the start of the second out and back.  This bridge was terrrrible, mostly because the sign for mile 12 was right at the base of it, so you pass it as you're going out and realize that means you've got to come back over it at the end.  Also, it's steeper than the first one, which is rough.  We did see the leaders again, though, at almost the exact same spot, just as we crested the bridge.


Then shit got real.  Miles 9-11 are run within this weird, unbuilt subdivision.  It's all paved and all of the lots are marked off, and you can tell it was supposed to be some kind of really nice development along the water, but there are no houses.  It's really bizarre, and it was totally open to the wind with no shade.  In fact, when we finaaaaaallllllyyyyy hit the turn around at mile 10, the wind hit us head on.  So miz, and definitely not the way you want to start the last 5K.  I was starting to get a little tired, so I tried to take 3 or 4 sports beans, but I couldn't hold them down.  I ended up spitting them out, which is weird because I did fine with them last time and had no issues on my training runs.  But, whatever, lesson learned... next time I will make sure I have more options in my fuel belt.

So Mile 11-12 means you have to go back over that damn bridge.  I passed mile 11 almost exactly at 1:40:00, so I knew I was going to be cutting it close for sub-2.  I told myself just to keep it steady and get up the bridge as fast as possible.  This is where my race buddy took off.  I don't know how she had it in her to get up that bridge so fast, because when I finally made it up, my watch said I was at a 9:53 pace.  I thought I had lost my sub-2, and even though the downhill helped me make up some time, I was DONE.  My calf was seriously unhappy, and my hips were throbbing, and I really just wanted to cry, but there was no way in hell I was stopping at that point.  I went through Mile 13 and my watch said 1:58ish.  I could see the finish and hear people (J) screaming at me to go sub-2, so I somehow managed to keep moving to the finish.

The clock said 1:59:47 as I went through, and I just lost it in the chute.  I was already out of breath and my calf was freaking out, so the crying didn't help.  I managed to grab some water and immediately scarfed down a banana, and calmed down a little bit.  Only then did I remember to stop my Garmin.  Runner fail.

Nevertheless, my official chip time, and NEW PR, is 1:59:34. 

The post-race festival included music by Bil Krauss, who is an institution in the beach bars along the SC coast.  J and I went to see him play the night we got engaged, and we try to see him whenever we're down at Pawley's.  He's a runner too, and he actually ran the course earlier in the morning.  We got a little shout out while he was playing, so that was fun.  We couldn't hang out for too long because J wanted to get back to Cola for the Carolina/LSU game.

So just like that, race weekend was over!  But lucky for me, I'll be running (not sub-2) the Governor's Cup on Nov. 3.  My parents will be in town, so that should be fun.  I will post my turnaround plan later this week, and I could definitely use some advice about how to pull it off.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Runner's Quiz + Race Week

What whattttt... it's Race Week

I am pretty excited for this race, but to be honest, I'm not feeling super confident about meeting my 2 hour goal. I haven't been very consistent about sticking to my training plan, sometimes for legit reasons and other times for less legit ones.  But given that this is only my second half, I'm just looking at it as a learning experience. I've definitely learned some things that I will apply to my next training cycle (i.e. I will not lie to myself and think I can run 5-6 days in a row.  Not happening on this shins.)  Oh, and if I don't do it this weekend, I can always try again on November 3 at the Governor's Cup.  :)

Also, I miiiiight have sustained a moderate injury this weekend at the wedding. I tried dancing in heels (stupid) but gave up after an hour or so and took them off (stupider). I ended up stepping on glass on the dance floor, and I just generally danced my ass off for like 6 hours straight (for real).  It feels like I've bruised the pad on the bottom of my right foot/toes, and it's a bit tender to walk on today. Totally, 100% worth it though... so.much.fun.


Ok, so this running quiz is kind of making the rounds, but since I love running and I love quizzes (it's true, I thought school was awesome) I figured I would try it.

1. Fuel: Shot Bloks, GU, Energy Chews, Candy, or other?

Definitely Honey Stinger Chews. Preferably Pink Lemonade. Finding the right fuel has been a long battle for me. I was definitely underfueled during my half in May. I only ate like 3/4 of a bag of sports beans because I just really, really haaaaate gels. I tried to make myself like them, but one time I tried a Strawberry Banana on a long run and it was hot and just so gross and that was the end of GU for me. I was dry heaving for like a mile afterwards. So sick.

2. Race Length: 5k, 10k, 1/2 marathon, marathon, ultra or other?

Maybe this is a weird choice, but I really like the 10k. It's a good combo of endurance + speed - too far to go all out right from the start, but short enough that you can really push it.

3. Workout bottoms: Running skirt, shorts, capris, tights or other?

TS4L.  Tempo Shorts 4 Life.  I really love my Nikes, but I just bought my first pair of speed shorts from lululemon (thanks J!) and I might be hooked. That is unfortunate given their price tag.

I've never tried the running skirt thing, and it's waaaaay too hot here for like 10 months of the year to run in tights or capris. I did get some sweet running tights for Christmas last year, but I only used them once or twice before I got injured, so we'll see how it goes this winter. Unless it's in the mid-40s or below, I usually just wear shorts + a long sleeve tech tee. And let's get real... if we're getting below freezing, I will be staying inside.

4. Sports Drink: Gatorade, Powerade, Cytomax, water or other?

I drink plain water exclusively during my runs, but I do love a cold red Gatorade (the cure for [almost] anything that ails you ... well, maybe not, like, SARS or something) or some Nuun before and after. I am a salty sweater for sure, but I really try not to overdo it with sodium, and sports drinks tend to have more than you think.  I'm not convinced that because I'm salty after a run, it means I need more salt. I get plenty (read: too much) in my normal diet and that seems to be enough.  I haven't had an issue with cramps even at the peak of my summer running (see below), so I don't see a reason to change that right now.

5. Running temperatures: Heat or cold?

{Summer in Columbia}

Hot, hot, hot any day of the week. I live in South Carolina... it's not like I have a choice.

6. Running shoe brands: Saucony, Brooks, Mizuno, Nike, Asics or other?

I love my Mizunos. My shin splint issues really decreased once I ditched my old New Balances for these. I'm a fan for life.

7. Pre-race meal: Oatmeal, Bagel, Banana, Eggs, Cereal or other?

Finally got this one figured out too. Honey Wheat English Muffin + PB + banana slices + Tupelo honey (preferably from the actual Tupelo Honey in Asheville). Usually with 16oz of Nuun to wash it down, as discussed above.

8. Rest Days: 1x per week, 2x per week, never ever ever or other?

We all know I am the Queen of Rest Days. Usually 2 full rest days per week plus one cross training day for yoga or barre or an NTC workout.

9. Music: Have to have it or go without it?

I surprised myself on this one. The first time I had to go without music was because I couldn't find my headphones, and I was sure I was going to be the mayor of Miz City. But... it really wasn't that bad. These days I tend to do at least once a week without any type of "entertainment." I still want music for races, but I also love my zombie runs and recently I started listening to audiobooks on some of my longer runs as well. My first pick was Bossypants, which actually turned out to be kind of a mistake... breathing gets even harder than usual when you are laughing uncontrollably at the genius that is Tina Fey. Also, people tend to look at you strangely when you're running along LOLing to yourself.

10. #1 reason for running: stress-relief, endorphins, you love to race, so you can eat all the cupcakes you want, weight-loss, love running for social reasons or other?

Easy. All of the above. What started out as a weight loss thing very quickly reignited my love of competing/having a sport in which to participate. (Sorry, the English major in me would not allow myself to end on a preposition.) The stress relief and endorphins are also addicting. The cupcakes (or in my case, Swedish fish) are a bonus.

BAM.  There you have it.  Leave your answers in the comments if you'd like!