Monthly Archives: May 2010

My First Half Marathon!!

As of yesterday, I can now check off my 101 in 1001 goal* of running a half marathon! Woohoo!

Aside from some strong wind gusts (including pretty much the entire last mile, where I think I may have been moving backwards at some point), the weather for the race was perfect. 50 degrees, slightly cloudy, no humidity. I didn’t even finish my entire water bottle and I felt fine! I brought two packets of sports beans with me and probably only ate one of them (I combined them, so I don’t know exactly), but I never hit that “wall.”

The first half of the race went great. I ran with my friend Carolyn and our half split was 1:09:25, which was 10:36 pace. Right around that time, my knees started to feel really tight, and at about mile 7.5, I had to stop and walk. Carolyn went on ahead and finished the whole race without walking! (Yay Carolyn! You rock!) I knew I was going to need some walking breaks in order to finish (they usually help my legs recharge and I go faster during my running intervals than I would if I ran straight through), so my goal was just to finish in 2.5 hours.

I kept alternating running with a few short walk breaks until I got to mile 10. By that time, my left knee felt really tight. It felt okay while I was walking, but when I tried to run (or, more accurately at that point, to shuffle), it did not feel good. I finished the 10 miles just two minutes slower than I ran the GW Parkway Classic two weeks before, so I was pretty sure my goal of 2.5 hours was within reach… I just needed to cover the last three miles in about 13 minute pace.

By this time, I was definitely walking more than running, but I tried pumping my arms during my running stretches as much as I could to go faster. I wasn’t feeling completely exhausted, which surprised me… it really was my knee that was holding me back. I’d try to jog a little bit for a few minutes at a time and then basically power-walk in between. But when 17 minutes had passed and I hadn’t seen the mile 11 marker yet, I figured I didn’t have a shot at making my goal. There was no way I’d be able to run the last two miles at a fast enough pace to make it. I started extending my walking intervals.

And then…

I happened upon the mile 12 marker. (Note: neither Carolyn nor Adam had seen the 11 marker either. I’m guessing the wind had knocked it down.) But by then, I’d slowed down enough I knew I really couldn’t do it. I think if I’d seen the mile 11 marker, I may have been able to push myself fast enough to make it in under 2.5 hours, but I ended up crossing the finish line at 2:32:35. I may not have met my time goal, but I did finish a half marathon and did it in under 12 minute pace. (Actually, prior to running the GW Parkway Classic, my goal was just to go under 12 minute mile pace… I didn’t move up my time goal to 2.5 hours until after I did that race at sub-11 minute pace.)

I don’t think my knees are seriously injured (my right one was tight and sore by the end too), but just a little overworked. I think it’s a stabilizing muscle issue, not tendons or ligaments or anything serious. I’m going to give my legs some time off, and I’m going to train a little differently for my next half marathon. (Yes, I definitely plan on running another one.) In the training program I used, the longest training run was 10 miles. The theory is that the excitement and adrenaline will take you the rest of the way, and yes… I finished, which was the point, but I wanted to finish stronger than that. The training program was for beginners and really is intended only to get you to the finish line, and encourages walking. Next time, I am going to try a more advanced training program that has longer training distances and some speedwork. (Uhhh, I also didn’t do any of my training runs between the 10 mile race and the half marathon, except for one 5K race… I’m sure giving my legs that much time off didn’t help matters either.)

Distance: 13.1 miles
Time: 2:32:35
Pace: 11:39/mile (sub-12!!!)

* I also checked off another 101 in 1001 goal this weekend… I made a perfectly poached egg! On my first try! Here’s how:

1.) Fill a large pan with sides full enough to cover the eggs and add vinegar to the poaching water.
2.) Bring the water to a boil and then down to a simmer before putting the eggs in.
3.) Crack the eggs in a dish and then pour into the water, don’t crack them directly into the water.
4.) Leave the eggs for 3-4 minutes and then remove with a slotted spoon.
Perfectly poached eggs! And so simple!

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Filed under 101 in 1001, Pretending to be a Runner, Race Recap

A Few Race Recaps…

Better late than never: recaps of the last two 5K Fridays and the GW Parkway Classic 10 Miler…

5K Fridays 2010: Race 4
This race was two days before the 10 miler, so I didn’t want to go all out and have dead legs come Sunday. I forgot to wear my watch, so I had no idea what my pace was while I was running. It was pretty humid out and I think I started out too fast, because the last two miles were tough. I didn’t walk at all though!

Distance: 5K/3.1 miles
Time: 31:54
Pace: 10:16/mile

* * * * *

GW Parkway Classic 10 Miler
When we woke up (at 5:30 in the morning!!), it was dreary and rainy. I actually don’t mind running in the rain… I definitely prefer it to it being hot and sunny, especially for a run that long. But it was coming down pretty hard, which wasn’t going to make for a pleasant race. Luckily, by race start, the rain had stopped. It was pretty humid, but it was overcast and relatively cool (I think 60s) throughout the race… good enough for me!

I started the race with a water bottle and a running hat, in case it started raining again. By mile 2, I had to take off the hat and run with it in my hand the rest of the way because I was starting to overheat. I like carrying water because then I don’t have to rely on the water stations and I can keep on running when other people are walking through the water stations. Plus, I find it much easier to drink out of a small mouthed water bottle while running or walking than those paper cups.

For my birthday, my marathon-running friend gave me a few packets of Jelly Belly sports beans. I’d never considered using them before that, but they sure do help on long runs!! I’m going to use them anytime I run more than a 10K. I ate a few before the race started and then began eating them around mile 3 and continued to have a few of them at each mile, until I got to mile 7 and then finished the rest so they’d kick in before I finished the race. I ran straight through to mile 7 and only walked three times throughout the whole race. I even managed to run the 10th mile in under 10 minutes! My goal was to come in under 2 hours again (I had finished the Army Ten Miler in 1:59:29)… well, I crushed that!

Distance: 10 miles
Time: 1:47:47
Pace: 10:46/mile (Under 11 minute pace! I was shocked!)

* * * * *

5K Fridays 2010: Race 5
It was really hot and sticky for the last Friday 5K, so my goal was only to finish without feeling totally sick after. I have had a really bad experience running in the heat and humidity before, and I did not want to relive that. Even when things aren’t that bad, I do tend to get headaches from overheating.
I’m still not quite sure how I did it, but I managed to run the whole thing! I kept a pretty steady pace throughout… first mile in 10 minutes, second in 10:20, third in 10:10. And the best part was, I didn’t feel sick or even get a headache afterward!

Distance: 5K/3.1 miles
Time: 31:38
Pace: 10:10/mile

Next race: Pacers Running Festival Half Marathon. My goal is to finish in under 2.5 hours. The weather looks to be perfect for the race as of right now.

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Filed under Pretending to be a Runner, Race Recap