Time 1:15:08 | Age Group 9/29
I did this race for the first time four years ago. Since then, it has coincided with other events so I haven’t been able to race it again until this year. Being my first race of the season, performance was anything but optimal. Actually, after being on a swim/bike hiatus for about five months and not running much since I injured my back in February, I wasn’t expecting much. Taking past races and this particular course into account, I thought a 1:10 finish was doable. I was slightly off and, again, I have to blame the swim.
SWIM | .25mi | 18:35
You’re probably asking yourself “can she really be THAT slow ?” I like to think no. The swim course seemed much longer than usual. There was also a bit of a current. Then there was the long trek back to transition. These three things combined made for what appears to be the slowest quarter mile swim in history. Actually, some of the best swimmers who are normally first out of the water had longer swim times as well, so I think it was pretty bad all around. The good news is that I was totally calm the whole time, especially given the size of my wave, and I was NOT last out of the water. There’s a chance I’ve finally become one with my inferior swimming ability. Le sigh…
T1 | 2:09
My feet were still covered in sand when I got back to transition but I just slipped my socks and shoes on and kept going. I’m telling you this because it will factor in later.
BIKE | 10mi | 27:36
Surprisingly, I totally rocked the bike. I tested the bike this morning to make sure everything was OK. I thought I’d feel the usual unsteadiness after being out of the saddle for so long, but I didn’t. Still, I wasn’t sure what to expect during the actual race. It was pretty calm this morning, another rarity since it’s been insanely windy lately. I took off and managed to hang an even 21-22mph most of the way. My legs felt good. I played the catch up game with another girl on the course, but eventually lost her. During the last mile back to transition, I felt my legs start to ache a bit and worried I’d blown them out for the run. I coasted in and couldn’t believe my time.
T2 | 1:19
My transition spot was all the way on the other side which sucked. Still, I managed a good T2 time. This was one of the most disorganized races I’ve ever done. The transition area wasn’t even closed off. There were people walking through with strollers, etc. Despite the huge risks, it was nice for Geoffrey who got to spectate from within for once !
RUN | 3.1mi | 25:31
I thought I was going to kill the run. Even though I haven’t been running much, every run I’ve done has been strong and felt really good. Unfortunately, I forgot to pack my watch. Of course, having it wouldn’t have helped because there were no mile markers anywhere. In fact, the lack of signs at this race was severe. My legs felt fine, but I had this strange pain in the middle of my chest, almost like heartburn. Actually, it was probably heartburn. I’ve been so stressed out lately that I’m quite shocked Geoffrey hasn’t committed me to a mental hospital yet. I guess I must have taken off too fast because I started to cramp up at the turn around point. The pain became so intense that I actually had to stop for a few seconds. I felt like I was crawling through quicksand after that. In the end I was ecstatic with my run time because it seriously felt MUCH longer than that.
I’ve made my peace with the swim, but I really wish I would’ve had a stronger run today. I felt solid otherwise. I think it’s definitely time to focus on longer distances. Next up is an Oly on May 15th. Time to start hitting the pool again, right after the sand-induced blister on my ankle heals. That’s a subtle tip for all young players out there.
1. The reason why there haven’t been any Three Things Thursday posts lately is due to a severe lack of time, definitely not for lack of material. So, hopefully this will make up for it.
2. The new job is going really well. I think I started at a good time. Unfortunately, one of the build servers had just died. Fortunately, I got to help out with the re-build and learned a whole lot in the process. Plus, I got to work in the downtown office, which is minutes from home, for a week. Yay !
3. The 20 mile run before the Marathon was absolutely horrible. I ran 6 miles on my own and then 4 with Geoffrey. By mile 9, I was ready to quit. I honestly didn’t think I could continue. I stopped for a bit and then ran the rest of the way home where I drank some water and had a gel. Without giving it much thought, I just ran out again. The last few miles were brutal and my pace was completely off, but I made it. Still, I was disappointed and I carried that disappointment with me until marathon day. I may have driven Geoffrey a bit crazy, actually, as I kept bringing it up randomly.
4. The Marathon, fortunately, wasn’t the nightmare I thought it would be and although I didn’t meet my time goal, I set a PR and had a rockin’ good time. But you already knew that. The Marathon aftermath hasn’t been as rockin’. A couple of days after the race, I started feeling some pain in the lower right side of my back which got progressively worse. I could barely walk, let alone run. Actually, any kind of vigorous activity makes the pain flare up. Since my healthcare benefits don’t kick in until April 1, I am taking it easy, lest I do something that requires a trip to the ER. I have no idea what it could be, but Ibruprofen seems to help a little. We shall see.
5. Ironically enough, we went away to Orlando this past weekend for a running workshop. It was my Xmas gift to Geoffrey last year and it sounds like he really enjoyed it. While he was workshop-ing away, I was working hard on relaxing which included an 80 minute massage. The massage actually helped my back. I am considering getting another one this weekend.
6. The Spinning class I teach is the only exercise I’ve been getting and it’s bloody painful. So, although I had decided to keep teaching for a little while longer, I am going to drop my class as soon as I find a sub.
7. Although work is going really well, a somewhat disheartening thing happened on my THIRD day at the job – my boss and his boss were laid off. I was completely shocked, worried and scared. It was like deja vu. In the end it turned out to be a small re-org. Of course, one never knows, but so far so good (knock on wood !).
8. Speaking of which, this Friday, a group of ex-eDieters are getting together for a mini-reunion. It should be… interesting.
9. My braces finally have an “off” date – April 25th. I’m excited, of course, but there are a few minor issues I’d like to discuss with my orthodontist before he rips all the fixins out of my mouth. I’ve scheduled an appointment for late March to discuss these “issues” with him and hope that there is time to fix them. I really want my braces off, but I want my bite to be right much, much more.
10. Geoffrey and I are planning a trip after my braces come off. The purpose of this trip will be to eat so we’re considering NYC or San Fran. SO excited. Nom nom nom.
11. The day before I started my new job, I got a facial. I hardly ever get them and to be honest, they sort of freak me out, but I actually enjoyed this one. It was most purifying.
12. I am finally done paying off my student loans. That’s one long road I’m happy to be off of. It’s one of those milestones I never thought I’d reach. In fact, I’m still in denial though I do feel quite liberated. Big sigh.
13. On that note, I think I want an iPad 2. Heh.
Time 3:51:20 | Pace 8:50 | Age Group 7/23
To say I didn’t feel my best going into this race is a stagering understatement. I was confident up until my 20 mile run. Every run before that was a smashing success. Then the infamous 20 miler, two weeks before the race, crushed every bit of that confidence. I had great expectations for it, which may have been the problem. However, I am convinced it was the humidity that did me in that morning. After 10 miles, I had to take a break and honestly didn’t think I could carry on. But, indicative of the resolved person I am, I did make it to mile 20, albeit slowly and painfully.
That run changed everything. I no longer felt “ready” to run a marathon at the pace I had originally hoped for. My goal time was just shy of 3:45. Crazy, right ? But I was pretty sure I could do it. My body’s come a long way, baby.
On the day before the race, my body started to feel very achy. My legs and lower back, especially, were quite sore and I felt weary. Geoffrey, with a newly healed leg and already registered for the Half Marathon distance, decided to go through with it. We got our packets, watched a movie and went to bed early-ish. I hoped I would feel better in the morning.
I woke up feeling the same, perhaps worse though it’s hard to tell if I was just imagining the latter. We parked close to the finish line. Geoffrey’s idea was to run the half and then jump in the car and meet me around mile 20 to cheer me on. I know. I do have the world’s best boyfriend ! We walked from the car to the shuttle that would take us to the start line. We were nervous when 10 minutes prior to race start, the shuttle was still sitting pretty closer to the finish line than the start.
Finally, we were on our way. We arrived at the start with only a couple of minutes to spare. We chatted quickly with two of our friends who were walking the Half Marathon. Before we knew it, the race had started and we were all the way at the back. We ran on the outside until we found a gap close to the chute. Geoff and I barely had time to wish each other luck. It was a very anti-climatic way to start the race. To be honest, I didn’t quite like it.
Miles 1-5 ~ 8:40 | 8:42 | 8:40 | 8:39 | 8:34
The first 5 miles were frustrating. I didn’t care so much about my pace during the first mile, but, even then, I had trouble sticking to my goal pace. Don’t get me wrong, I was still enjoying myself, but I hate having to keep looking down at my Garmin. I normally find a “comfortably hard” pace that I know I can maintain and run by feel. I figured out quickly that I wasn’t going to be able to achieve my goal, but a PR was still in sight.
Miles 6-14 ~ 8:51 | 8:45 | 8:50 | 8:43 | 8:48 | 8:47 | 8:43 | 8:46 | 8:47
Once I decided to give up on my goal, the race completely changed for me. I ran in A LOT of pain last year and finished with a respectable though sub-optimal time. I was certain of a PR this year, so my new goal was simply to have fun. The next few miles were still a bit rough. My legs and lower back were stiff, but I kept chugging along. Somehow, I got distracted somewhere along the way and lost track of my fueling times. I ended up taking two gels too close together and my stomach let me know about it. I decided to stick to water for a while and energy drink only when I started to feel better. My body cooperated with that plan.
Miles 15-17 ~ 8:28 | 8:31 | 8:54
These miles were the most fun. It’s the turn around point where you get to see a lot of your friends as well as the top contenders. Their energy is contagious. Not only that, once you make the turn, you’re 10 miles away from the finish. I actually caught myself shouting “Yay ! Only 10 more miles !” Yea. I know how incredibly insane that sounds. I got crazy looks even from other runners. I was feeling so good though. In a way, I was excited and in an even more masochistic way, I was bummed that it would be over so quickly.
Unfortunately, I started to pay for all that exuberance as soon as we were clear of the turn around point. My pace slumped and my stomach started to annoy me again, but the rest of me was still feeling good. Mentally, I was a rock.
Miles 18-23 ~ 9:05 | 8:51 | 8:55 | 8:50 | 9:04 | 9:19
I continued to move along. I started to pass people who had passed me earlier, which I took as a good sign. Then, I saw Geoffrey. He rocked the half with a huge PR, drove home to pick up Luka and then met me at mile 20 as planned. Come on ! How can he not win Boyfriend of the Year ? I saw Geoffrey and Luka again at mile 22 which was great because body parts were starting to talk to me at that point.
Just as I did last year, I worried about “hitting the wall” after mile 20, but I never did. I was still a rock.
Miles 24-26.2 ~ 8:57 | 9:09 | 8:48
These were the hardest miles for me. As you pass the mile 23 marker of this course, every bit of shade disappears. It’s like an evil magic trick. It had to be 80 degrees at this point and although that’s absolutely wonderful when you’re lying on the beach working on a sexy tan, it’s another thing entirely when you’re running the last 3 miles of a marathon. I slowed down a bit at mile 25 because I wanted to finish strong. And, I did. My average pace for the final .2 was 8:14. I still had a kick !
On the one hand, it’s a bummer to miss a goal, but I beat my previous time by 21 minutes ! Plus, I am now certain that I have what it takes to bring home that 3:45 eventually. Most importantly, I had a blast. There isn’t one race photo where I am not smiling. In fact, I had totally zoned out around mile 18 when, suddenly, a man running in the opposite direction startled me by pointing and screaming “THAT’S A GREAT SMILE !” into my face. I didn’t even know I was smiling at the time. What can I say ? Running makes me happy, so I run happy.
So, what’s next ? Like I said in a previous post, I entered the the NYC marathon lottery and I am hoping I will get in. Otherwise, I will consider ING Miami in January or perhaps Disney if Ian Moss says the word.
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