Tuesday, May 6, 2014

500 Festival Mini-Marathon Recap... Perspective

I had pizza and Diet Coke as my pre-race dinner Friday night...

Yup, training manual went totally out the window for this one. Karma was not with me. It's been said that what really matters is what you eat and how you sleep 2 nights before your race - that would be Thursday night.

I was suppose to work 5 pm to 2 am. Well, so much for good sleep. I slept in on Thursday morning, then planned to at least have a nice pasta dinner before going to work. I was standing in the grocery store at 3 pm picking up supplies for dinner, thinking I could rush home, fix dinner for everyone and be out the door by 4 pm so I could be at work by 5 pm. Cell phone rings and the ED number pops up. That's never a good thing. "Do you know you're suppose to work today?" It's our ED coordinator calling. "Ummm... yeah... at 5 pm." Nope. I was suppose to be there at 2:30 pm. I had read my schedule wrong. Crap.

I flew home, threw everything in the refrigerator, made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to take with me, and went to work. Showed up at 4:15; only 1:45 late, apologizing profusely to the guy that had to stay over since, when you're an ED doc, you can't just leave until the next person shows up. On the plus side, I got off at midnight. On the negative side, I couldn't get to sleep when I got home and ended up staying up til 2 am anyway.

So... no good sleep or meal on Thursday. My foot still hurts. I've only run 3 times since the Derby. This race had disaster written all over it. Why not just keep going down that spiral... I had fun at the Expo on Friday but stayed too long. Didn't get to take myself out for the nice lunch at Noodles & Co. like I had planned though since I ran out of time and the kids would be coming home. Got home and decided it was too much trouble to make dinner. Pizza Hut and Diet Coke it was. Dairy. Grease. Carbonated beverage. All the stuff I usually avoid 3 days pre-race. I took my Imodium and Gas-X and prayed for no bad results.

What's 13 miles anyway? I've done training runs way longer than 13 miles this year. I didn't do any really special prep for any of those runs. What's the big deal? Except... I want to run fast.

Saturday morning was the usual pre-race ritual. Up at 4 am. Sitting in my favorite parking garage by 5:30 am eating my peanut butter sandwich, banana, and Gatorade. 900 trips to the port-a-potty just outside the garage...

Finally, it was race time. For some reason our corral this year was so crowded. I almost didn't get into the corral but ended up worming my way in. The start was the usual congestion and I did my usual freak-out-and-run-too-fast mile...

Mile 1 - 8:11
Mile 2 - 8:30
Mile 3 - 8:48

I knew I started too fast so I backed off. Then, when I tried to speed it back up, I realized I really didn't have that much gas in my legs. I was going to try and average 8:20 miles but figured out right away that that wasn't going to happen.

Mile 4 - 8:32
Mile 5 - 8:36

So now I'm feeling a little better and I'm waffling between trying to keep my pace around 8:40 or 9:00. I'm worried though because I'm breathing a bit hard and that's never a good sign when you're only 5 miles into a half marathon.

Ate my Espresso HammerGel before entering the Motor Speedway. Broke another rule - never eat something new on race day. I wanted to get PowerGels at Blue Mile on Friday but they were all out. Some guy had come through and bought out everything the store had the day before. I should have gone to another store but I didn't feel like it. I asked what the next thinnest gel they had was, then bought one.

Mile 6 - 8:41
Mile 7 - 8:49

I ran 8:37 pace when I did 1:53 at Mill Race last September. I was going to try and at least beat that but now I'm thinking that's not going to happen either. Well, I'll run under 2:00 today. Do I just bring it on in under 2:00 today or should I try and beat last year's time?

Mile 8 - 8:57
Mile 9 - 9:09

Oh crap, if I don't get my act together I may not even make 2:00. I know 2:00 is right around 9 minute pace. I'm horrible at runner's math. I just know I need to speed up.

Oh... and then I almost puked up my gel remains. That came out of nowhere. The feeling went away as suddenly as it had appeared (thank goodness)!

Mile 10 - 8:50
Mile 11 - 8:55
Mile 12 - 8:43

I'm looking at my watch at this point... I ran 1:55-something last year. It's going to be really close. Can I beat my time from last year at least?

Mile 13 - 8:47
last 0.1 - 2:16

I ran one second faster than last year.
Overall Place: 4601 out of 25,524
Gender Place: 1171 out of 13,509
Division (F 45-49) Place: 79 out of 1325

Post-race photo with speedy Trena

As bad as my race prep was, I'm happy it went as well as it did.

I think it's all about perspective. Last year, I was ecstatic with my time. I ran better than I had hoped. This year, I was hoping for more.

Like I wrote earlier, it's funny how things can change over time. During my race I was thinking how just about a month ago, I ran 10 miles at 8:32 pace with an 8:15 tenth mile and felt great. Now I was struggling to keep it under 9:00 during a race.

I think there are peaks and valleys in training. A month ago I was at a peak. Now I'm down in a valley...

I have thought about trying to qualify for Boston 2015 again this summer. I actually found a marathon in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan on August 30th. Labor Day weekend. Then I nixed that idea. I want to try and go white water rafting with my family that weekend.

When I got back to my car after my race on Saturday, there was another race flyer on my windshield. Last Chance BQ.2 Marathon, September 13, 2014, Chicagoland. Flat course. Pace teams 4 minutes below each Boston qualifying standard...

September 13th minus 18 weeks would be... May 11th. Next week. No, I'm not ready to tackle another training program. I am done with marathons until November.

Other than my foot hurting, my body feels good. But, I think I am just mentally exhausted on training plans and obligatory running. I haven't run since Saturday. I feel like I can feel my fitness slipping away. I really haven't had a "real" training week for at least 3 weeks. Part of me is panicking but the other part just wants to let it go for awhile. My problem with running though is, the longer I don't run, the easier it gets to not run.

All my "serious" Spring running is done for now. I'll start training for the Monumental Marathon on July 1st - the day after I get home from Western States.



  1. Congrats! You amaze me! I am in awe of your dedication! WOW!

  2. Pizza and Diet Coke seem to work for you! Great job!