October 31, 2009
I feel like I'm posting this everywhere but facebook
I ran a half-marathon today, and PR'd, and broke 90 minutes for the first time ever. And that's the short story, so if running blogs or race reports (or bloggers named joe positive) bore you, you can stop reading right now and go on to the next thing. But you are welcome to read on for the gory details, which are also posted nearly-verbatim in several other places (but not facebook). Because it's a PR, dammit!
Anyway, this was the inaugural of a Halloween half-marathon, held in a state park on a barrier island about 35 miles away. 7:05 start = very early wakeup, very long drive to get there in time for packet and chip and warmup, etc. It was pitch black dark during my warmup, part of which I did with Fabulous Masters Runner, who was there in costume. She ran well at Steamtown 3 weeks ago and is still (and wisely) recovering, so she told me she was just running, not racing. I wondered how her "running" pace compared to my "racing" pace, figured I'd soon find out.
The course was a 3mi loop and then an out-n-back. Originally we were to start with the accompanying 5K, but at the last minute the RD decided the 5K would start 15 minutes after we did. Yay! no traffic problems. But this decision caused a delay in our start. Boo! even warmer weather to contend with.
Because the weather was less than ideal (74F/95%RH) I really meant to go out conservatively. But I got into a pack of acquaintances (including Fabulous Masters Runner) going a bit faster, and I thought it would be better to hang with them because miles 4-8 were going to be into the wind. When their pace got down to 6:45s, I eased up and ran just off the back, but kept contact. I ended up beating all of them but one, btw - most of them just died the minute we turned into the wind.
I tried to draft whenever I could in the headwind and picked off a few guys along the way. As we neared the turnaround I saw that I was 3rd woman, and both girls (way, way) ahead of me were 20something, so I knew I had a shot at masters.
After the turnaround, I saw that FMR was almost a half-mile behind me and not gaining, so I was safe there. The tailwind wasn't nearly as annoying as I thought it would be, and I couldn't believe the paces my watch was showing me, but I felt good. I just stalked men (sounds creepy, doesn't it) until there was no one left in front of me, somewhere around mile 12.
And then I got tired. I knew my mile times had been pretty good, but I didn't dare look at the total time; if it was close-but-impossible to PR (1:30:25) or even break 1:30, I didn't want to know. On the other hand, if it was doable, that knowledge might keep me going. Anyway, I ended up not looking, chickenshit me.
Around 12.5, the sole surviving member of our original pack passed me and said, "let's do it." I thought "no, you do it." but decided to chase as best I could, which was not very well. Once we were actually running toward the clock I struggled to see the time - 1:2X:XX and I couldn't tell if the X was an 8 or 9. Turned out to be a 9 and I thought "shit." But the XX turned out to be a 15, and it was no way/it'll never happen/maybe/I think it might/oh yes it will/yay, 4 seconds! all the way to the line.
technical stuff: 1:29:56, PR, 3rd female, no prizes or anything like that, but I don't care.
(loop) 7:01, 6:48, 47
(headwind) 7:05, 6:55, 53, 54, 52
(tailwind) 6:51, 47, 43, 38, 42 (getting tired)
6:32 pace for the last bit.
GPS says 13.17 miles.
my right achilles, which has been bugging me all week, is fairly screaming now.
October 19, 2009
some things I learned yesterday but could not post until today
Last night I got all fired up to post, even let my dinner get cold as I typed and backspaced and typed and backspaced, but running-blogs.com did not want to hear from me just then. So anyway, here are some mild breakthroughs:
yesterday's 18 miler (8 "moderate," then MP the last 10): I can run moderately and patiently for 8 miles, then take it down to low 7s and hold that for 10 miles. In and out of a headwind. Up a hill, even. Alone or with people. At the end of an 85-mile week that came after a 90-mile week. I don't need to start like a bat out of hell. I can stalk and pass, even after I've been running for a while. I can reel people in. It can happen. The ability to do this has taken a while to develop, and doesn't just "disappear" at random.
playing viola yesterday afternoon: I am comfortable enough to correct mistakes on the fly. I don't instantly fall apart at the first mistake. I am more aware of where the bow is and whether this will make an awful sound, and I can correct this *and* play in tune at the same time. I can take some liberties with the music. It doesn't suck quite so much.
I need to remember these things.
October 5, 2009
obligatory post about a race, and some more running
So I ran this 5k Saturday.
Short story: it was either a PR by half a second, or 2s slower than my PR, or somewhere in between. Also, I won. Also, I sort of beat this Fabulous Masters Runner I have idolized forever and never thought I would beat.
Much longer story:
Temps had moderated some since our little cool front earlier in the week, but Saturday morning was a relatively delightful 71F with only 76% RH.
The Fabulous Masters Runner was there doing her traditional week-before-the-marathon-5k (we used to be in the same club and trained with the same coach, so I know) and she's been training so well I figured she'd easily get back under 19 with this race. My goal was a certain pace so I wasn't really out to beat her or stay with her or anything, but I thought it would be nice to be able to keep her in sight.
After a false start we got underway, too fast, around 6min pace for the first quarter/third. I felt fine but made a point of slowing down. By the first mile I'd passed all the women except FMR, who was 5s in front of me. I knew that she typically took it easy the 2nd mile so I resolved 1) not to get complacent, and 2) to use her to pull me along in the 3rd mile once she started to roll. I was actually looking forward to watching her pick it up, because I'd never run this close to her before and wondered what she looked like running flat-out.
2nd mile was a touch slower than the first, but I still felt amazingly good for this point in the race so I pushed on. Found myself getting closer and closer to FMR, but after that race in June where I passed her and led for about 45 whole seconds before she steamed back by me, I was not going to pass unless I felt I could put her away. I figured I'd just run right behind her for a bit until she started her famous kick. Then at 2.5mi, she pulled off the course and stopped her watch. She yelled something encouraging as I passed and I yelled something encouraging back, and then I finished the race in abject terror that she was going to come back and pass me. She never did (in fact, she stopped a total of 4 times in that last 1200m).
As I got close to the clock I saw low 19s - cool! - so I tried to pick it up. My 5K PR - set on this course 2 years ago - is 19:18, and this time I went under the clock just as it flipped from 19:17 to 19:18. Hit my watch at 19:19. At the awards they announced 19:20. So it could've been a PR, but it officially wasn't.
6:17, 6:19, 6:20, 5:58p (last bit). Someone who asked about my splits said, on hearing the answer, "that means you could've gone a little faster if you'd just tried harder."
GPS said 3.07mi. On this same course I've had readings ranging from 3.05 to 3.15, so who knows. The course is certified, but it can be a little long or short depending on exactly where they set up the finish line.
While I'm happy with this race (especially at this point in marathon training, with 9 or 10 weeks to go), I'm a little bummed to realize that I still have head-problems regarding races. It's gotten a lot better. I used to spend the entire day before a race obsessing about the race, worrying about pain, scared my legs would fail me, scared I'd fail somehow. And all for some lousy 5k that wasn't even a goal race, imagine that. This time, I wasn't thinking much about the race itself but something wasn't right - all day Friday I was distracted, unable to concentrate, constantly on the edge of a foul mood. And although I wasn't actually thinking about the race, I knew all this was because of the race. And it lasted all day and through the night and through my warmup and right up to the moment when the horn actually went off. So yeah, it's gotten better, but it still stinks that I wasted an entire day in a funk about something that actually turned out ok.
Sunday I met up with some former-club people (including FMR) for a medium-long run. I wanted to do 17 miles with 8 miles around 7:15-7:20 pace. I ran the hard miles with some very peppy young people who were nice enough to drag an old lady along. Somehow - O2 debt? early dementia? - I managed to add an extra "work" mile in there so the workout portion became 9 miles @7:17. While I was very happy with the run, I was pretty useless the rest of the day. This morning I got up and ran a bit over 8 miles like a little old lady with glass bones.