Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Suzanne is Half Fanatic #1138!

Submitted to the Half Fanatics after my last race and found out yesterday that I qualified!

I qualified for the Neptune level since I had run 3 half marathons in the last 37 days. Crazy because the Neptune level is the first level and it gets increasing more difficult as you move up. I can't even imagine those that qualify for the higher!

In any case, I'm pretty psyched and happy to be part of the Half Fanatics as I've always wanted to qualify since I heard about the group. Who knew when I started training for my first half marathon last year that I'd end up running so many halfs? Crazy!

Happy Running,

Monday, June 6, 2011

Suzanne: In a Running Funk and Race Recap

I've been in a running funk since my last half marathon (5/21). I don't know why but I have not felt like running and up until my race yesterday I ran a total of 10 miles in those two weeks. I didn't stop working out - I did my core fitness workouts 2x a week - but I didn't run or feel like it. The timing surprised me as I had such a good race on 5/21 and didn't anticipate the "running-like blues" that followed. Every time I tried to go run I'd find an excuse not to.

So, naturally I was scared to death about running yesterday's half marathon. I had never not properly trained the weeks up to a race. Even though I knew that I had the endurance and training to run 13.1 (I had ran 13.1 in 3 of the last 6 weeks) I was pretty freaked out to say the least. The weather here has been really bad - lots of rain and cold - which is unusual for this time of year as usually we're worried about 100 degree temperatures.

Well, it was predicted to rain on race day. Of course, I wanted to find a way out of doing this race and thought maybe weather would be it. I also considered reducing from the half to do the 10k (sometimes thinking maybe 5k would be enough). In the end, I decided I would run in the rain - something I have never done - and try for the half. I'm lucky to have my running partner Judy who kept encouraging me and didn't let me get out of running. She said let's just treat this as a training run.

Come race day, it was pouring when I woke up. But I got dressed and met Judy at the starting area. We both knew this was going to be interesting and little did we know that this was much more of a trail race than we thought. Note that I have never done a trail race of any kind and never planned to.

So we started the race and I was OK. One thing I didn't expect was that I was going to get hot so quickly. Had to take off the jacket after a mile. It had stopped raining by that point as well. Mile 3 was when we hit the trails. Oh the muddy, yucky trails. They were a mess and you should know that I'm a little OCD about being dirty and messy things in general. My kids have to dye eggs at my mother's house because I can't bear the thought of the mess they will make (I realize that makes me look a little crazy).

Running through that mud was definitely a challenge. You had to really concentrate and it seemed to take a lot of energy as you had to think through each step. The mud was building up around my shoes and I felt like I was carrying 10 pounds on my feet as I lifted them up. I was scared to death of the possibility of slipping and falling and getting even more mud all over me. And then I started to feel and hear the squish of water in my socks (uggh!!). I called my mom and dad - while still running - during this part to complain how disgusting this was...I had to vent to someone as I was definitely outside my comfort zone in more ways than one. And I knew that I'd have to go through this muddy trail again as the course was two loops for the half.

During the trail was when I felt like the possibility of completing 13.1 may not be in the cards for me today. I was pretty close to convincing myself to just get to 6.2 and call it a day. It wasn't until mile 6 that I actually felt good - go figure it would take that long. I was comfortable and started to feel like completing the half might actually happen.

Judy and I kept checking in with one another and ultimately we kept going. It was just a crazy adventure really. There was also a lot of confusion for the runners on the course as many of us didn't know where the routes were (the maps were impossible to read the night before) and the race support people on the track didn't know as well. And, I was disappointed that none of the water stations had Gatorade or Cytomax as promised (and any other race I've gone to so far has had). I carry water and then drink the energy drink at the water stations to refuel. So that messed with my plan.

So in the end we finished...after my running funk, trying to get out of running the race and my freaking out. Without Judy's support and encouragement that probably wouldn't have been possible. I'm so proud of the fact that we finished and we did a trail race. Not sure if I'll do one again but we'll see. And I feel good today...expected some soreness.

My next race is mid-July. I'm hoping my running funk is over so I can continue running and start working on speed work. I want to try to work on my mile time to speed it up so I can reach my goal of a sub-2 hour half marathon time.

Photo #1 - Judy and my shoes after the they look pretty much sums up the race for me.

Photo #2 - Almost there....

Photo #3 - My husband and I (in the pouring rain if you can't tell) after the race

Happy Running,