Sunday, April 3, 2011

Race Recap and a Winner

Running friends and the cheering section!
Today was the Knoxville Marathon and Half Marathon.  I ran the half. It was a wonderful day for a race - a little chilly at the start, but nice and mild by the time we'd run a few miles.  We got to the start line with just a few minutes to spare, thanks to my stomach.  I had an upset stomach all night (in spite of eating carefully) and I had to take two Immodium before I left the house.  This doesn't usually bode well for a race, but I was committed, so there was nothing else to do but go on.

The corrals were very crowded, and I got into my usual 10+ minutes per mile corral.  The first mile was very congested, and I was dodging people right and left.  It was a slow mile, because you just couldn't get moving.   Once we passed the first mile I said goodbye to my training partner and started pushing the speed.  She was doing a training run and didn't want to push, so we arranged to meet at the finish line.

Our friend Kate (the tallest girl in the photo at the top of the post) is expecting a baby soon, and so she did not run.  But she came out to cheer us on, and since she was very familiar with the course, she caught us about every three miles.  It was amazing! She is the best cheerleader on the planet.  My niece stayed with Kate and the two of them were very motivating!

I was still dodging people right and left, and I looked at my Garmin and saw that I was running about 9:20.  This is a good pace for me, but it felt good so I just kept going.  I slowed a little on the hills, but never got over 10:00.  I stopped for a potty break at mile 6 (which, incidentally, was under the hour mark), but was still going strong.

I kept up the sub:10-minute miles up until about mile 11.  Just before the 11-mile point my back tightened up and my stomach started cramping.  I stopped at the next porta-potty, but that didn't help. I got a Gu, thinking that the sugar might help my stomach, but it didn't.  It felt like my Immodium was wearing off, and I still had two miles to go.  This was not good.  There was nothing to do but finish, though.  I slowed down to about an 11:30 pace (very slow for me these days) and plodded along through mile 11 and mile 12.  Even so, I hit mile 12 at two hours - again, very good for me.  At mile 13, I told myself that I had less than 15 minutes to run and I was able to push myself and speed up to about a 10:50 pace.  Still slow, but better.  

I finished the run in 2:14:13 per my Garmin. I'd hoped for 2:10 or better, but this was all I had in me today.  On the other hand, I finished. And then couldn't find a potty to save my life after reaching the finish line - let's just say that I was very close to needing a shower instead of a potty by the time I finally found one.  My back was very sore, but the post-race party featured an assisted stretching area with trainers and physical therapists to help you stretch out the soreness.  I stopped by while I was waiting for my training partner to finish, but I didn't think it would help much. Boy, was I wrong! The deep stretches really helped and I was much less tight when I finished. I always forget how good a post-run stretch feels! I really need to stretch more often.

I'm not unhappy with today even though it was not entirely what I'd hoped for, because I am just two weeks out from re-injuring my back and I had the raging trots (I know - TMI!) all night.  I can tell I'm getting stronger - I was able to keep up the sub-10:00 miles during the first ten miles.  I'm not at all sure I'd have been able to continue beyond that even if it hadn't been for the other issues, because I'm still building my speed and endurance, and ten miles of hard running is the most I've done to date. So, odds are good that I was going to slow down at mile 11 no matter what.

I think I want to do another half sometime in May or June, just to see what I can do with it.  I'm convinced that I can (someday) pull off a sub-2:00:00 marathon.  Not in May or June, but surely within the next year.  That's my goal, anyway.  We'll see!

And, now that you've read my whiny post, I know you want to know about the giveaway!  Well, I found some great things while shopping, so I chose two numbers.  First, number 43, is Kim, who just ran her first half-marathon today!  Kim posted: "I am a follower!"  Second, number 106, is Kristen, who wrote: "I Facebooked the giveaway!"  I have just started reading Kristen's blog, and she is newly hooked on the half-marathon, as well.  Kristen and Kim, please contact me at trp100329(at) so we can get those Easter "baskets" on the way!  A great big thank you to everyone who entered, and wait 'til you see what I come up with in May! :)

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Half Marathon Weekend

It's race weekend here in Knoxville! The Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon is tomorrow, and Melissa and I are running the half.  Today was packet pick-up at the expo.  I love race expos.  Seriously, love them.  I love hanging with other runners, and I love the shopping, and I love all the informational booths, and did I mention the shopping???  Speaking of shopping, I got a few cute things for my Easter basket giveaway. There's one more day to enter, if you haven't already. 

I also got a new pair of shoes - half price! I didn't really need the shoes yet, but it won't hurt to have another pair to rotate, since I have dedicated one pair of shoes to trail running.  I know they make great trail shoes but I don't run trails often enough to feel justified in buying a pair.  If I keep running trails, I may re-evaluate that, but right now I'm content to use a slightly used pair of running shoes.

I also discovered that we have a local health shop with an Alter-G treadmill, and a Bod Pod, and VO2 max testing, among other things.  Right here in our own little town! How cool is that? There's also a local chapter of Girls on the Run, and a wonderful wellness center - all within easy reach of my home.  I'd never have known about any of it without the expo.  

And tomorrow is the run - Melissa is using it as a training run and taking it easy. I'm going to push it, I think.  Not an all-out effort, mind you (it isn't worth starting over with back rehab) but a solid effort, and we'll see how it goes.  I'll post a race recap (and the giveaway winner!) tomorrow.  Who else is racing this weekend?