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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Zooma Women’s Half Marathon Annapolis- June 1, 2013

I KNOW I totally skipped two race reports. And I will post them, but for now you get this one. Nike Women's Half (April 28th) and Frederick Half (May 5th) will get posted... I promise!

I’m going to start this race report off by tell you the single most important lesson I learned during the race. I. Hate. Running. In. The. Heat! Seriously, hate it. Training at dawn/dusk is great to get me to actually train, but not so great at prepping me for actual race conditions.

This is how the race went-

Due to predicted traffic to park, we arrived there by about 6 (race started at 7). I waited in the car for about 10 minutes then decide to let Mike continue napping while I ran to the bathrooms. On the way back to the car I ran into Heather, a girl from my ASL class who was doing the 10K. I wished her and her sister good luck and headed off to get Mike so we could meet up to take my very first Half Fanatics group picture!!

As you can see, only three of us met, but through the Facebook group after the race I saw that at least three or four others were there as well.

They were both smart and headed to the bathrooms. I decided I didn't need to go since I had just gone a half hour before, so I went to try to find the 2:30 pacer. Then I decided I actually did have to pee, but the line was soooooo long that I decided to head back to the start and forget about it. Mike advised that I shouldn't start the race having to pee (duh!), but I knew I was not going to keep pace with out the pacer. This was the first race I was running with my phone (I use the Nike app to track/pace) in my belt, not on my arm. I knew I was not going to get it out of there to check on progress so starting with the pacer was really important to me whether I had to pee or not. (This would later be revealed not to matter one darn bit)

I got back to the start and started right behind the 2:20 pacer and was really excited to finish this half under 2:30. (Note- my goal was 2:20, but given the heat and humidity I dropped that back race morning) The race started and oddly went through the parking lot of the Naval Academy Stadium for about a quarter mile, but it didn't really bottle neck, which was a nice change for a race start.

How I was hoping the rest of the race would go at worst- I kept up with the 2:20 pace group until about mile 7 then slowed down a bit, took some walking breaks, and finished right behind the 2:30 pacer.

How it actually went- By mile TWO the heat had sucked out my will to live finish this with any speed. By mile 3 the 2:30 pace group had passed me and before mile 4 I had decided there was no way I was running up any more damn hills and I would be walking up those suckers. Oh, also by mile 2 I had decided I was going to only do the 10K.

During the second mile the race ran down Main Street, which I LOVE!!

Since I haven’t been taking pictures during races, I was going to find a beautiful picture of Main St, but I can’t find one that doesn't have a million cars, faces the water, and is during the day… so if you've never been- Google it. Better yet, go!  You’ll love it and never want to leave!

It was beautiful running towards the water past all those wonderful stores and restaurants. Except I was totally thinking “if one of these bars were open I would be quitting now and calling Mike to meet me here.” I was so motivated. Then I saw my absolute favorite diner coming up and literally made my way to the right side of the street, closer to it and contemplated stopping. I had to pee, I wanted a crab omelet and a milkshake, and you can’t make me finish darn it! Hmm… wrong… I kept going. I considered this a very high point in the self-control department.

By the time I saw Mike right around mile 4, right before the dreaded bridge, I was walking up a wimpy hill hating life. I probably looked so pathetic and miserable I would not have blamed him if he had just decided to go home. I wouldn't have been thrilled to see me again after that… also he had to have realized at that point that he could just toss out the paper I had given him with my expected times at each point and expect to wait an eternity for me to finish.  For some reason he did not leave and I he even ran the last ¾ of a mile with me. Best husband ever. J

Elevation chart
 Looking at it before the race thought- “eh, yeah it’s hilly, but nothing too bad.” 
Looking at it after the race thought- “the horror.”
Heat does mean things to you dude!

Anyway, the 10K turnaround point was in the middle of the bridge. As I said, by mile 2 I had decided I was only doing the 10K, so I was getting excited- the end is in sight. Then all of a sudden- bye bye turnaround point, hello second half of bridge. What the what? You missed the turnaround point dumby, TURN YOUR BUTT AROUND!! TURN AROUND!!!

Well apparently a different part of my brain and made the decision that I knew I would be mad at myself for DNFing the race I signed up for and told my body to keep going. All I have to say to that part of my brain is “you are a jackhole and I hate you,” but nonetheless I had passed the turnaround point and was headed down hill on the bridge and was not going back up it at that point.

To compromise between the two parts of my brain I decided that if I was finishing this darn thing I was stopping to use the bathroom at the next aid station. There were fabulously no lines. I waited for one person to get out and then it was my turn. Out of all races I have done over 5K, I had never seen NO line for the port-a-potty. It was magical.

Miles 5ish -9ish were all part of an out and back after the bridge. This was long and through a neighborhood, so not very scenic. You also swore the turnaround was at every corner, but it never was. This was the point where I saw all the pace groups pass going back. I saw something that I had never seen before, each pace group from 1:50-2:30 had walkers. People who looked pissed at the world, wondering when it was ever going end, walkers. Obviously at those paces you totally have runners that walk/run consistently or insert walking breaks every so often, but there were way more walkers than I have seen before. Then obviously the amount of people walking increased as it got closer to the turnaround/closer to the pace I was going.  Aaaand then even more as I reached the out and back between miles 10.5 and 12. By this point I had been sticking to the “walk up hill, run downhill” plan for most of the race (even ground was a tossup), but by mile 9 I was cursing the down hills because well, I just didn't want to run anymore.

By the time I got back to the bridge I was walking so much I actually got to really enjoy the scenery and let me tell you, the view of the Naval Academy coming back over the bridge was beautiful. I had some nightmarish flashbacks of Summer Seminar, but besides that, beautiful.  

The rest of the race basically consisted of hating myself for not running more and hating myself when I was running.  I got to talk to some cool people though, which was nice. Around mile 10.5 two girls who had been in my general vicinity for most of the race did something I found disappointing. They turned around during an out and back cutting off somewhere between a 1.25 and 1.5 miles off their route. Overhearing their conversation about how they just didn't want to do another out and back and how it doesn't make sense to go run that part just to come back to the same place was frustrating. Then to turn and look back and see they had actually turned around was really disappointing. One was wearing a half marathon training group shirt from 2011 and one was wearing a half marathon shirt from 2012. This was not their first race. They were not sick or overheated. They just didn't want to do that portion of the race. Very disappointing to see.

On to better news- somewhere near after mile 12 I saw the love of my life coming towards me and I was both so happy to see him and so sad that he would be seeing me finish this way. I really didn't want to run another step and was fine finishing it by walking. Luckily he was encouraging and helped me run much more of it than I would of on my own.

While talking to Mike during the last leg I told him it was disappointing that this was going to be a PW (personal worst). He said it wouldn't and I would definitely finish under my Richmond time. I didn't believe him, but he checked the time and said I would.

I ended up finishing in 2:59:30, not exactly the 2:20 or 2:30 PR I was looking for, but I honestly did not care at that point, it wasn't a PW. Also, I just wanted my darn necklace and wine. Mainly the wine.

Not wine, but here is the necklace

When I took my phone out of my belt to turn my app off I noticed it only tracked 13 miles. I started the race with a low GPS signal so I thought that was why. Come to find out within the hour that no, the course was actually about a quarter mile short. A cop parked in the wrong place and cut off a small loop. So, there is a good chance that I would have actually had a PW. That also completely explained why the line for PR medals was sooooo long and they ran out of medals.

Note: I have heard great things about this race in the past. The fact that it was so hot this year was unusual (and out of their control). The fact that the course got messed up was disappointing, but things happen. If you look at Zooma's Facebook group you will see some serious overreactions. You will also see some complaints about aid stations not being manned well enough; however, I didn't have a single back experience at an aid station and thought the race support was great.

Two other lessons I learned- 1. I much prefer medals over necklaces and 2. Beer after a race is much more satisfying than wine (even though the wine was good). These are obviously the important lessons here people- changing the world.

So that was little (long) insight into my brain during a half marathon that started at 75⁰ and ended in the 80s. After reading this you are probably thinking “well Sabrina, it sounds like long runs in the heat are not for you and you should probably hang up your shoes and not run again until the fall.” Well, if you thought that you would be partially correct. I do not plan on any more races until the fall, but I have decided that my big race in the fall is going to be the Baltimore Marathon, which means lots of summer running. “But Sabrina, you mean half marathon right?” No, I am actually starting to train for my first full marathon next week!

I do recognize that this falls in the “Sabrina Makes Bad Decisions” category, but I’m ok with that.  I know training is going to take up a lot of time since I’m so slow.  I know that I will probably end up with a lot of long treadmill runs since I obviously do amazing in the heat.  I know the hills in Baltimore are worse than Annapolis. I just feel like this is the time. I know running a full is something I want to do at some point (who am I?!?) and I feel like this is the year.  

I plan on following Hal Higgdon’s Novice 1 training program. If you remember, last time I did a Hal Higgdon program I actually posted about my progress, so lucky you- more posts to come! I would love for you to comment with advice for training for my first full (or reasons why this is a bad idea, I’m fine with either).

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Cherry Blossom 10 Miler

Yes, I have been a terrible blogger and now owe you two races. I am going to get them in before I owe you three!

I am going to try to keep both of the Cherry Blossom and Nike reports pretty short. I have a lot of complains about both (because of me, not because of the races themselves) and I don’t really feel like dwelling on those, so short and sweet!

I can’t even begin to describe the nerves I felt going into Cherry Blossom. I was TERRIFIED that I would not be able to “beat the bus.” Fun news- I was not the only one. Being in the second to last corral, I was surrounded by people who were nervous about not finishing quickly enough.  That really did not help me. My nerves combined with the fact that it was about -10⁰ (actually temp, feel free to check), I was shaking! Luckily, Pasty was kind enough to start with me.

Note: My headband says "Run, Walk, or Crawl, Just Finish"- took that literally!
Note 2: I did NOT want to give up that jacket before the start due to the -10⁰ weather!

Our goal was to stick with the 11:30 pacer as long as possible. This ended before we even crossed the start line because the pacers ditched their sticks and blended into the crowd… not cool man. Not cool. Anyway, here was a quick breakdown of the race:

Miles 1-4ish: Patsy and I ran together at about an 11:30 pace (first two miles under and around 11). All was good, the bus could kick rocks. A little after mile 4 my right foot reeeally started hurting. I had to take a walking break and try to stretch it. Basically from that point forward my mantra became “beat the damn bus.” I was doing walking/running intervals, but my foot really hurt.

Mile 7- Shortly before mile 7, my right knee started hurting (probably from over compensating for the knee pain... cool). When I passed the mile 7 marker I actually contemplated sitting my tush on the curb and waiting for the darn bus. Well, I don’t like attention and really didn't want to talk to a race volunteer who would inevitably come and make sure I was ok. Also, I was sure that I would wait long for the bus to reach me then it would take for me to finish.

I finished the darn race cursing in my head at the people who were lying about how close we were to the finish. I finished in 2:07:11… a 12:43 pace. Not exactly the 11:30 pace I was shooting for, but given the pain, I was happy I finished. I called Sara when I was done to see if they were still around, and I was so emotional and upset that I was in pain that I started crying while talking to her. Yep, I’m so mature! Eventually I got ice, put my big girl panties on and then was fine.

The PT that helped me with ice said it was probably just sore planter fascia and it probably just needs to be stretched more on a regular basis.  So that’s what I did between Cherry Blossom and Nike and that seemed to help.

Overall, not thrilled with my time, but happy I beat the bus (moreover, that I didn’t see the bus at all except on an out and back coming the other way)! J

Up next- Nike Woman’s Half…

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Back in the saddle again...

Four straight days of (legit) working out under the belt! Woohoo! (baby steps)

My plan for this weekend was a long run one day and strength another, preferably in that order. I volunteered at the B&A Marathon Saturday morning and got done a little later than expected. Given my evening plans, my choices were run and not watch the Maryland game or do strength after the Maryland game... Obviously I chose watch the Maryland game! I did my strength with heavier weights than intended because I didn't have the time (read: desire) to continue my search for my missing weights. (I am obviously taking small steps in the not be lazy bum category)

Saturday night and Sunday I ate lots of yummy food thanks to Monica's Pinterest adventures and my mother in law's St Patrick's Day cuisine. Unfortunately none of this food was good fuel and most of it being bad for me or bad on my tummy. This led to my long run Sunday being cut a bit short due to some puking. Eh, win some, lose some- learned a valuable lesson about proper nutrition.

Yesterday I went to a kickboxing class (thanks Groupon). It was good and kicked my butt and made me sore, but I needed those things! The only downside was every girl in there looked like this:

It was a little intimidating to say the least!

After kickboxing I went and finally got new running shoes!!! (I went for new shoes in November and had to return them because they made my toesies numb aaaaand now just went back) The sales lady was like the 10th person to tell me my current shoes were too small and I would probably lose a toenail and blah blah blah. Yes these people were probably right, but I loved them and never had any problems. Aren't they always telling runners to listen to your body? Well my body loved those damn shoes...but I'm over it because my new shoes are fantastical:

Aren't they beautiful?!?! I love them and they make my heart happy. PS they are actually the only reason I ran today. Yup, I'm awesome!

Anyway... I did say I would post my plans so we can see how closely I stick to them, so it here it goes for the rest of the week:

Wednesday: cross training (goal-P90X plyometrics)

Thursday: run 3-4 miles (goal- run and strength)

Friday: rest

Saturday: run 7-8 miles

Sunday: cross training/rest (goal- get the bike out!)

There it is! Let's see how it goes.

How about everyone else- any fun runs/workouts planned?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

I'm baaaaaack

It has obviously been a while since I’ve written a post. This is mostly because there has not been a lot to write about. “But Sabrina, you started this blog to write about your running and you have four half marathons and a 10 miler on the calendar for this year, so you must have lots of training to write about,” is probably what you are thinking. And you would be right, I have a lot of training to write about so totally wrong, I have been the biggest slacker ever. As you know, I have a tendency to ramble and write long posts, so I’m going to keep this simple. This is what I have been up to since my last post:

Thanksgiving Day:

Ran a 10K in Miami (hello PR nice to meet you)

I was super inspired and excited to reach the half marathon distance. Then I came back to Maryland (hello craptastic cold weather)… then before I knew it Christmas came and I had only ran maybe ten times between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  No worries though, the hubs and I were leaving for our honeymoon two days after Christmas and since we were going to be in sunny warm weather, I would run every day. Ok, cool, plan set.

The honeymoon was amazing. Puerto Rico and Miami were both BEAUTIFUL. The weather was perfect the whole time. How could you NOT run in this weather?!?!  Quite easily actually.  We ate, relaxed, drank, ate more, relaxed more, threw in some hiking, kayaking, and walking. Oh yeah, and I ran… once… for a mile… on a treadmill. How awesome am I?!

Fast forward to February 16th :

Ran my first half marathon.

It snowed, rained, sleeted, and hailed the entire time. I was freezing and wet. Since my training had been going so well I did awesome I ran only a handful of times within the month (I only needed my long runs, right?!!?), I wanted to die. Ok, maybe not die, but I was certainly not a happy camper. I finished though… yay!

Even though it was rough, I was glad I did it. It really inspired me to get back on a real training schedule. This time was different. I was going to get back into it or die trying. I even felt good enough to run that Wednesday and was so happy I wasn’t sore and was ready to start.  

Whelp then I didn’t.  I have run three times since then.  To make it even worse, my working out in general has sucked since the half. My friend Katie and I have a “challenge” set up regarding working out. It involves having to pay the other person if we don’t work out a certain amount of times a week. Well most weeks the money is enough motivation to work out. Unfortunately sometimes it has not and I’ve had to pay her- Katie, by the way has never once had to pay me. This is reason a zillion Katie is a better person than I am…anyway I digress. Where was I going? Oh right, work outs sucking. One rule we set when we first started the challenge- each work out had to be a half hour, so each of mine have been… but they have been some of the saddest half hours of working out ever seen.  Seriously pathetic. Many of them have included me yelling at the DVD instructor and then only half ass doing the move. I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHERE MY WEIGHTS AND BANDS ARE!

But then this happened:

Actually no. I was going to try to find a picture of me now because I have put back on way too many of the pounds I worked so hard to lose, but I don’t feel like it. I’m going to save the little of what is left of my dignity. Go on Facebook or Instagram and see my sad sad downfall. .. or just look at the above picture from the half in February.

The above are really hard for me to admit about how my training and general “healthy living” is going.  But I hit a low point last night and realized I needed to make a change. I thought about when the last time I was really motivated and sticking to my training (before Thanksgiving,ouch) and tried to think about the differences.  Well, I was blogging. I was telling the world (or Elana who may be my lone reader- hi Elana!) what my training plans were and then reporting on how I did. Blogging kept me accountable. Since apparently I am five and only have self-control to save face, I decided I needed to start blogging again.  

So there you have it, recap of the last few months and my plans to start blogging (oh yeah and training) again.  I have had such good intentions and great plans and have failed so hard, but hopefully this will help.  I’ll start posting my weekly plans sometime this weekend. Since my training has been so sporadic, but I have two long races in April, I need to figure it out still. I’ll keep you updated. J

How about you, ever fall into a workout slump you felt like you couldn't get out of? What did you do to get back on track?