So putting two races mostly back to back was probably not my smartest idea to date but I survived and I actually did great! (no, not going to do that again)
I was running by myself again although I did meet up with a high school friend who I got to pal around with at the Expo and then met up with again at the start. We ended up in the same corral so it was nice to have her there to start with.
The night before the race she and I grabbed dinner and then drove all over Richmond looking for an open CVS so I could grab some sports tape to cover my still healing from Hershey blisters and some morning of nutrition (since I forgot to pack my oatmeal). We actually had a great time catching up. I haven’t seen her (except for Facebook) since high school!
On a side note: it pays to look for a race hotel the week of if you didn’t book ahead! I found a hotel that was two blocks from the race start and two blocks from the race finish – perfect for me so I didn’t have to navigate traffic and closed roads for parking.
The morning of the race they were calling for super cold temps – I think at the start it was just over 28 degrees outside. So, I waited until the very last min to leave my cozy hotel room! I ALWAYS overdress so I was super worried about what to wear. Trying to remember that it’s okay to freeze as you stand at the start because you’ll most surely warm up as things get moving, I wore my fleece lined tights, a long sleeved tech t-shirt and my wind stopper running jacket. I had light gloves and a headband to cover my ears. It was actually the perfect combo. I took off the gloves a few miles in but the rest stayed on and I was very comfy.
Since I registered for this two years ago (and deferred one year) my estimated finish time was just a shot in the dark that turned out to be about 15 min slower than my last half. The end result of this was that I was in a corral that was so far away from the 2:15 pacer I wanted to follow that I had to pace the race myself (I’d never catch him given he had a 15 min head start due to a wave start). Add to that the fact that my GPS didn’t pick up at the start and I had to restart it at mile 2 and I was completely unaware of my time the entire race. I had the general pace in my ear every mile or so but she was a bit discombobulated while in the city because of the buildings so outside of a quick glance at the starting clock, I had not a clue in the world what my time was.
Knowing that, I decided not to stress about it and just try to catch the guy in front of me. I was feeling really good – once things got warmed up and the creaking stopped that is. I would pick a person about 500 yards in front of me and try to catch them. As I caught up to them I’d find the next one and run for that and so on and so forth. It was a great game to keep my mind off of things and since I had trained with the same play list that was buzzing in my ear, I had a good sense of my foot cadence too. At one point I saw the 2:30 pacer and blew by him so I knew I was on a pretty good clip.
At the 10k mark I did some quick math in my head and realized that I could kill my 2:19 Hershey time by a bunch if I could just maintain my pace. Problem is, I usually hit a wall at 8 miles and there were a few hills between me and the finish (not counting the huge down hill into the finish line). I made an effort to stock up on Gu when I could and used every water stop to make sure I was well hydrated and fed. The gummy bear stop around mile 9 (I think) was AWESOME!! Who doesn’t love some gummy bears to suck on.
As I crested mile 11 I heard someone yell – it’s all downhill from here. I laughed because they always say that. This time though they weren’t lying! The last 2 or so miles was straight down hill. It was heaven! It was so steep that I was having trouble keeping my feet under me but it did enable me to blow through the finish line nice and strong.
I caught a glimpse of the clock as I passed through but didn’t trust my memory of the starting clock. Regardless, if it all aligned I was looking at 2:08. However, since I wasn’t sure and my GPS was completely wrong I had to wait for the official clock time to get really excited – which didn’t come until later that night.
I know I had PR’d but not by how much….at about 8:00 pm they finally posted the times:
I blew hershey away by a full 13 min and my overall best time by 9 min! I really don’t know what the difference was. Between Hershey and Richmond I was a pretty lazy runner. It took me a week to recover and even after that I was dealing with some serious soleus pain so my runs were short and fast and not as frequent as I would have liked. I know Richmond is a fast course so perhaps it was just that.
Regardless, I’m taking a bit of time off again to let my legs recover. It’s almost 15 days later and I’m still struggling with my soleus muscles. I need to be better about stretching and rolling. I figure I’ll hop back on the training wagon in the new year to get read for RnR USA in March.
My new goal is going to be 2:04:00 – it’s only 2 min but I know that DC has one killer hill in it around mile 6 that could blow everything if I’m not careful.
Some day I hope to be sub 2 but that’s a long ways off I think – just gives me something to keep working for!
3/22/2009 VA Beach Shamrock Half (pre kids – trained to 8) – 2:15
5/15/2011 Pittsburgh Half (A year after Noah’s birth – trained to 8) – 2:20
5/5/2013 Pittsburgh Half (9 months after Lia’s birth – no training) – 2:40
3/15/2014 Rock and Roll USA (first half by myself – trained to 11mi) – 2:19
5/18/2014 Fountainhead Off-Road Half (first trail half – totally different ball game) – 2:49
10/14/2014 Hershey Half (trained to 8) – 2:19
11/15/2014 Richmond Half – 2:06:14!!