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The Aftermath of 13.1

To think, I thought I would not be sore after a half marathon. I was delusional. I thought if I stretched, iced and “sticked” myself; along with wearing compression as if it was going out of style, I’d be in tip top shape today. Not so. Turns out, no matter what you do, after running the farthest you have EVER you’re gonna feel a bit stiff and like dirt the next day. And you need to just deal.

Thanks, R.E.M. (Sidenote, when I marched drum corps our morning stretch during spring training was often this song. Hardy har har, Carolina Crown staff)

This is the face of someone who has to hobble everywhere because their lower back and knees are killing. But worth it, right?

Because I don’t like to intimidate myself, I had never checked out the elevation chart for the half marathon. A lot of my friends who ran the race prior mentioned it was flat and fast, when in reality it actually had a gradual climb to it. I honestly didn’t notice it too much while running, but could definetly tell I was going up. And when I hit the turnaround at mile 7 and a volunteer yelled “IT’S ALL DOWNHILL FROM HERE!” I knew I wasn’t insane.

To say I hadn’t trained for hills would be an understatement of the century. I believe I had one run in it with hills, and it was my tragic 8 miler. I walked the hills and walked a mile that run, so I hardly admit that I trained for hills. Noted. More hill training next time.

My poor soaked shoes and insoles. I learned a lot about myself from pushing through those three long, wet-soaked miles.

So why am I sitting here contemplating signing up for a 10 mile road race in October? Maybe because I’ve found what I enjoy in running, distance. I enjoy running my own race, not having to be a slave to pace like in 5ks, and just enjoying myself (although according my recap I wasn’t enjoying myself, haa).

I have to be careful though, because I’m starting a bit more wedding planning after we move out. I can’t be running races every weekend and I need to plan my days around 4 other women for my dress fitting. Actually just texted my sister seeing if this was the weekend she couldn’t make it home, crossing my fingers it is. But still, the draw of the race is almost too much. It’s a shorter distance than the half (I don’t think I want to run another half yet) and the fee is only 35.00.  I love cheap, long races. It’d be something different to challenge myself with, and the name is HARVEST MOON. Hello!!! I LOVE that game!

So to say that this half wasn’t “life-changing” or “run-state of mind changing” would be an understatement. I can do the longer distances, it’s possible now. I just need to keep challenging myself. To think I’m considering signing up for more races while my lower half is in a state of pure-stiffness is insane. But, I suppose that is just who I am.

For the state of the blog, I can guarantee you there will be little to no running/working out this week. I move out of my house on Friday night, so this upcoming week will be full of packing, stressing and the like. If I can squeeze a run in I will, but it’s not my top priority 🙂 We’ll be getting internet at our apartment on September 16th, so I may be able to get a few phone posts up over the weekend, but again not my priority. And the countdown to moving out has begun!!!

 

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The Half Marathon Recap

Miles Today; 13.1

Miles This Week; 18.2

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You may want to sit back, grab a bowl of popcorn and beer, and get comfortable. This is going to be a long and picture heavy post.

This morning I woke up at 6am. Actually, I was awake since 5am but I forced myself to “sleep” until 5:45. I sat on running blogs until 6am when I finally got up. My first order of business was grabbing my coffee. I decided to do some multitasking and drink my espresso in the shower. I know, crazy. I wanted to give the most amount of time between waking up and the race for the coffee to “do it’s thing” ….i.e. clean out the system.

After the quick and actually useless shower, I got ready. I heard thunder as I was getting ready and kind of freaked. I hadn’t planned for rain. Lucky for me though, I had my Solomon jacket. I broke rule number 1 of running and that’s to NOT wear something new on race day. It worked out OK for me but I was a bit worried. I decided on wearing a visor as well, and again, this was a smart decision. I ate a Honey Stinger waffle and was out the door by 6:30.

Pre-soaked, I had no idea what was in store for me this morning.

When I arrived at the mall it was 7am. I was pretty loose actually from doing a bit of “sticking” in the morning, but I decided to take a quick walk around the mall as a test run for the jacket. I actually ended up not using my Spibelt for my gels and instead threw all my gels and phone into the pockets on my jacket. Again, good decision.

It was so dark out, it was almost weird. Before I took my quick walk I made sure to hit up the porta-potties. Again, good decision. This whole post should just be about my good decisions from the day. The lines got SUPER long as it neared 7:45 ….like, I kid you not there were maybe 100-150 people in line. I was super happy I decided to get that out of the way.

I’m not really sure why but I was shocked at the amount of people at this race. I think they said there were around 1500 runners, and for whatever reason I just can’t fathom what that amount of cars looks like. Evidently, it’s this amount.

After my quick walk it was back to my car to sit and warm up a bit. It was a bit windy and sprinkling and I wanted to take in as much heat as I could. As I sat in the car I contemplated not wearing my jacket ….SO glad I did (more on that later).

I lined up at the start around 7:55. The race began a bit after 8, but nothing crazy late. It was actually different that the other races I’ve ran because there was no National Anthem….we just kind of began advancing forward. Weird. But we were off!

The first mile was all down hill. The race begins in the mall parking lot and the first mile leads down to the trail. I tried my best to stay slow going down and not beat my legs up. This part seemed to go by forever though …and when we hit the bottom of the hill I SWORE we had already done 2 miles. Yeah …not even one mile yet.

That’s how the first few miles felt to me. I felt like I was running much faster than I was and that we were farther along than we were. I specifcally remember looking down at my Garmin at the 2nd mile thinking….wait, only 20 minutes? Really?!

After hitting mile 3 was when it finally hit me that I was running a half marathon. Before this I’ve only done a 5k ….I remember thinking “Well, this sucks.”. I didn’t really HATE the fact I was still running, but the fact I still had nine miles to go was not the best thing in the world. Then another thought popped into my mind ….my fueling. I need to drink water with my Clif shots and GU’s, so I had to wait for the first water stop. I didn’t know when it was …but was praying it was soon because I could already feel myself running out of gas.

Mile 4.5 was the first water stop I used. Except, I accidentally grabbed gatorade. Oops? I didn’t want to drink that and my gel, so I just drank the cup and figured the next stop I would take my gel. It was lemon lime gatorade which I ABSOLUTELY HATE, but for some reason it was like nectar of the gods at this point.

Mile 5-6 was when I was feeling really good. After I took my gel around 6.5 I started really chugging along. Getting to mile 7 seemed as if it took forever though. The course is an out and back so you begin to see the elite runners coming back. I kept trying to see where they were coming from and if it was close …but it just kept dragging on and on and on! Finally I hit the turn around and this is where I began to hit the proverbial wall.

My back was KILLING me and it was obviously from bad form. At this point I allowed myself to walk at all water stops and all mile splits. I would stop, stretch a bit and be on my way. Mile 8.5(???) was the next water stop and I actually took two gatorades. Again, the lemon lime tasted supreme. I wanted more!!! Miles 9-10 were painful and I just wanted more than anything to walk and be done.

And then ….it happened.  Torrential downpour.

THIS is why I was happy to have my jacket. The whole race I saw people who had their jackets on prior had ripped them off and thrown them. I kept mine on …I saw the sky, I KNEW something was coming…and it did. At this point I wanted to say “fuck it” and just walk the rest, but I couldn’t let myself do that. I kept thinking “Just a 5k on tired legs, that’s all!!!” It worked until about mile 12.

I kept pace with one other girl for a while who seemed to also be having back issues. She will never know but she got me through the back end of the race. There were puddles inches deep and at points I couldn’t even run on the trail. My jacket was soaked and my socks and shoes were so heavy …yet I kept trudging on.

Mile 12.5 was where I kept thinking HOW am I going to finish. It was only .60 from the finish but I could NOT keep running. I just stared at the ground and counted my steps til the end. Finally, at 2:33:44 , I passed the finish. I actually passed the first pad and walked to the second. I was so out of it ….I grabbed my medal, two gatorades and headed for the bus pick up station.

I was actually so out of it I forgot to get my chip taken off, oops!

I also forgot to shut my garmin off at the end …I actually let it go for the duration of the walk to the bus….oops! But I WAS DONE!!!! The worst part was walking to the busses. While I understand the premise and why it was necessary to walk, IT STILL SUCKED! I Just ran 13.1 miles, I don’t want to walk ANYMORE than I need to !!!! Haha. The bus also didn’t smell wonderful either, but oh well!

Awful, awful AWFUL pacing, but I was just glad none of my miles ever hit 13 minutes. I FELT like I was running 10s after the 6th miles, but boy was I wrong!!!

When we got back to the starting area it was actually kind of dead. That was the sad part of this race is that everyone kind of cleared out since it had been pouring. I actually didn’t even get a picture out there because I was so cold and needed to change. That’s another thing, I was reaaaaaaally hoping for those space blankets (I read from those in the past they don’t give them out so I didn’t hope for much) But boy did we need them today … I was shivering the entire walk to my car!

But I did it! My first half marathon, and while it was tough, I will definetly be doing another one! I just simply cannot imagine a better feeling than crossing that finish line today. On more than one occasion I thought of my celebratory Blue Moon and sushi that was awaiting me.

Icing time, take 1!

Assuming my favorite post-LR position; leg drain on the wall!

Post run foodage …Blue moon and sushi with Miso. MMMMMM!!!!

Jordan also ran a half marathon, he was very sleepy.

And that was my show. I had a great time, will totally be back next year if time permits …Weirdest of all, I can call myself a half marathoner. Hope you all had a great Saturday!

Steelers 5K RECAP!

It was a great day for running. Today was the Steelers 5K of which the great selling point is finishing in Heinz Field. Being a huge Steelers fan, I was all over this race. I woke up at 7 am and got myself ready. If you are interested in my times/finish you can read that here.

At me a Honey Stinger (side note, does anyone else think ‘Honey Stinger Don’t Care’ when they eat these? No….?No? Bueller?)

 

These things are good. Totally eating one of these this Saturday for the half marathon. I didn’t feel too full and wasn’t running on empty either for the race. I also drank a Starbucks espresso and cream and was out the door.

I don’t live incredibly far from the stadium, but I was worried about the parking. They had two lots open for free parking. When I got there Gold Lot 1 was full (as expected) but Gold Lot 2 was still open. In fact, I got primo parking in front of the porta potties!

Score!

I got there at about 7:45. The race was scheduled to begin at 9am so I had plenty of time to walk around and get loosened up. I actually sat in my car until 8am because I didn’t want to be walking too much.

My favorite part of it all was that you could actually walk into the stadium before the race began. Lots of people were taking advantage of that. There were plenty of cups of water being laid out, though honestly I was hoping for Gatorade. After all, the race was sponsored by them 🙂 Maybe I was just hoping a little too much. I wasn’t upset about it as it wasn’t super hot and I don’t even usually drink gatorade on shorter runs ….(whine whine whine…..bitch bitch bitch). I dunno, just strange I didn’t see any around I guess. Maybe I missed it?

ANYWAYS, I am pretty familiar with the race route because I’ve ran it many Saturdays before.

Lots of boats were lined up against the shore which was pretty neat when we started running. Lots of people cheering and a few confused folks.

Seriously, this is why I love running this trail.

I walked around a bit more and headed to the start around 8:45. There was a corral system which was different to me for a 5k. It was necessary since this is a narrow trail, well not insanely narrow but for the number of people running it was.

It was neat, though I do think some people got confused and went in the wrong ones. I got caught in a lot of bottlenecks and a lot of people walked without recognizing their surroundings. Oh well, you live and learn and you deal.

The race began shortly after 9 with the first wave starting then. I was in the 4th wave. I started towards the right outside and was kinda freaking out that I was going to fall into the river but that passed quickly. This was where I experienced the most problems oddly enough with people walking. I kept starting up and stopping and eventually passed enough people to get comfortable. The first water stop was at the first mile and there was plenty to go around. It even had ice which was nice! I ended up chewing it for a bit and that was a different experience …nice 🙂

The finish.

As the path grew narrower after the first mile more and more people began to walk and more and more people began to slow down. It is inevitable and not much that people can do but just run and dodge. I felt I did a pretty good job. It was about 1.5 miles when the turnaround was and we ran back on an open road which was AMAAAAAAAAAAAZING.

From here on out I experienced no issues, other than I had to pee LIKE MAD. Holy crap did I have to pee like …it was not good. I saw several porta potties but was determined to not stop. Come on, I’m not stopping TO PEE. Geez.

Anyways, there were several Army service men on the sides of the road blocking it off and it was cool to shake their hands and give them high fives. I’m sure they think runners are insane. We are putting our bodies through so much and yet we are so happy and giving handshakes and high fives!

When we crossed the 2nd mile mark is when we headed down the ugh I can’t remember the name of this freaking road but it leads to Heinz Field road towards the stadium. No lie, this was incredibly motivational. Running down this stretch and seeing the end in your sight is awesome. I even heard a lot of runners saying that it was the main reason they kept running!

The end was great. Though, one peeve was that the Rib Fest is going on ….so when I ran through, I could smell the delicious ribs getting ready. Mmmmm….didn’t help I ran past a cart of Blue Moon either. Oh well, just keep running ….nothing to see here…..

The finish was awesome. Everything I thought it would be. I especially enjoyed the fact they had the runners on the jumbotron!

After the race they shooed people of the finish like normal. You could hang around on the field for photo ops and stuff, just weren’t really allowed to lay on the grass which I get (hello, this is for football).

From there you walked up the steps and they had food and refreshments in the Great Hall. I also had this finishers tag on my bib that I was supposed to give to someone in a finishers tent, but I had no idea where that was (or if it existed).

If there was a time I was confused, it was here. I was hungry and thirsty and wasn’t entirely sure where the lines began and ended for the food. They were set up at the concession stands, but there were two seperate lines. I ended up accidentally cutting some people, but I don’t even think they knew where they were in line either, lol. I grabbed some chocolate milk and a banana. There were oranges, cookies, ice cream and some kinda bread stuff. They also had water, sierra mist and pepsi. I high-tailed it out after grabbing my food though.

I believe they had door prizes and raffles (I saw some footballs, coolers and Steelers merch lined up) but I didn’t stay for that.

The only other thing is that they didn’t give out medals. At least, I don’t believe they did. I don’t really mind, though. The cost of this race is 15 bucks and a lot of the money goes to charity (including a scholarship to my alma mater, North Catholic). I don’t even really like medals, I would prefer a nice tech-tee or a jacket honestly.

All in all, it was a fun race. I will totally run it next year given the opportunity (and force Brian to as well) It was well put together and had a fun atmosphere. Plus, how can you say no to running in to Heinz Field? You can’t.

First Sub 30 5k – Steelers 5k!

Miles Today; 3.1

Miles This Week; 3.1

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5K Number 3 is in the books!

I had a BLAST at the Gatorade/Steelers 5K. It was awesome to walk in and around the stadium and see so many past steelers and steelers fans! And ….I broke my goal for this race of running a sub 30 5k!

Chip times were announced and my time was 28:58!