Sunday, September 13, 2009
The organizers could not have wished for a more beautiful day. Last I had checked the weather, it was to be cool at 8 am---maybe mid-60s and partly sunny. What we got was a bit warmer with a beautiful clear, blue sky. Perfect for a 13-mile run.
The alarm went off at 4:45 and I jumped out and started to get ready. By 5:45, I was checked out of the hotel and on my way to the Waffle House for breakfast. I had packed bagels for breakfast, but I was craving some waffles. The restaurant was just about deserted--one guy who was finishing up and me. Breakfast was very leisurely, and I arrived at the race at 6:45, picked up my packet and headed straight for the bathrooms since there wasn't yet a line. A quick trip to the car to drop off the goodie bag--lots of candy bars, a t-shirt, and vanilla Myoplex. Then I did a little warm up run, some very light stretching, and in general, took in the scene. At 7:40, I was in line waiting for the start, when I looked down to check out what shoes people were wearing, and I realized I had forgotten to pick up my chip! Yikes, not a good omen. So, it was a fast jog back to the registration area.
The warm up run was mostly to check out the condition of my hip. It was back to hurting quite a bit. I tried a couple of different paces, swinging my arms differently, even changing where my foot struck, but nothing seemed to make a difference. I figured I'd do my best and see what happened. There was the bigger picture to take into consideration--if I ignored the pain and injured it, it would be a huge set back to the marathon training.
At 8:05, they got the race started. The first half mile was really jammed with runners and the path was narrow, so we had to walk a bit, then a very slow jog until it thinned out. Within minutes I was seriously considering a DNF and going home. Two things stopped me: (1) Brian36 and Dragonfly1974 were virtually running with me for awhile, and (2) I knew I could run the race using Galloway's plan to give my hip some rest. So I settled into an 8:2 interval. Between miles 3 & 4, the pain continued. We were doing a loop and would be close to where we started, so again I assessed my pain threshold. I was leaning heavily to leaving the race.
But then, right smack in front of me, is a guy wearing a bright orange shirt with "Death Before DNF" emblazoned in large letters. A coincidence? A sign? You bet!!! From that point on, I was determined to push it until I absolutely, positively could not take another step.
Somewhere between miles 5 & 6, the pain started to dissipate. It was merely a small annoyance. When I crossed mile 6, the pain was gone. I don't know if the hip was warmed up adequately or if the nerves simply couldn't send out any more pain messages, but I had relief.
My goal was ambitious--2 hours, 15 minutes for a 10:18 pace. At each mile marker, I was anywhere between 30 seconds to just over a minute off my pace--and this was with 2 minutes of walking after every 8 minutes. I was really astounded and several times became very emotional that it was going so well considering the start. Around mile 8, I noticed that I was passing runners, but they weren't passing me unless it was during my walk period. That was a great boost.
The coolest sign at the race was standing in a front yard with some young kids beside it: "Hurry Up!! We can't have lunch until the last runner crosses the finish line."
I started laughing and almost choked on the Sport Beans I was munching.
At mile 12, I got choked up again (gotta find a way to control those tears). I was going to make it and it had been a very good race. I just couldn't believe that 2 hours ago I had considered going home. I want to tell people, "Don't ever, ever give up." But that is not smart advice--people have had heart attacks, stress fractures, etc. with that attitude. So, my message is less dramatic--Give it your best every time.
My time: 2:16:20. Oh, sheesh, I'm tearing up again. A new PR. I bested the Cook Forest HM by 8 minutes, 32 seconds. I had doubts that I could set a PR using Galloway's method, but I am a true believer now.
Friday, September 11, 2009
The practice runs are done, bags are almost packed, the new play list has been downloaded to the ipod, the PaceTAT arrived yesterday, and lots of carbs are on the menu. Now I just have to give it my all and have a great time. I’m a bit concerned about my hip—it really hurt during Thursday’s run and this morning I was limping to accommodate the sharp pain. I sat with an ice pack wrapped around it most of the day. It’s not much better. And the hams are really, really tight. Hopefully another good night’s rest and some massaging will help. NO stretching—that seems to make it worse, but it’s hard to break old habits. Regardless, I’m running on Sunday.
The weather will be ideal—cool and partly sunny—and the route is mostly flat and scenic. I’ll try out my new Nathan water bottle holder that slips over the palm so that it doesn’t have to be gripped. It has a pocket to hold keys and maybe some sports beans. It should be less cumbersome than the Camelbak. There are water stops about every 3 miles, so the Gatorade I’m carrying will just be an insurance policy. I bought wrist sweat bands, too. They seem so 80s, but many times I’ve wished I had them to wipe sweat from my eyes.
I’ve been thinking about this race a lot—Will it be as much fun as my first half marathon? Can I run it faster? Will I be disappointed when there’s no one I know to celebrate with when I cross the finish line? Will the 90-minute drive home be torture?
Despite the questions and the hip problem, I’m excited and ready to go. The plan: Saturday night—load up on carbs at Romano’s Macaroni Grill, return to the hotel and lay out my clothes and gear, set the alarm for 5:30 a.m., go to bed early and dream of crossing the finish line with a new PR. No nightmares this time. (Before my last HM, I dreamt that I arrived at the race site the morning AFTER the race .)
Sunday--Get up at 5:30, eat breakfast, and arrive by 7 a.m., do some warm up runs, make 3-4 trips to the bathroom, start out slow, and run my own race paying attention to how the hip and hams feel. With good planning and some good luck, I can kick a$$ the last several miles.
There’s a field of about 25 in my age group (50-54). This HM will be different than the first. There was the excitement of it being a “first.” I was meeting a Spark Friend, Brian36, for the first time. DH and Daisy were waiting for me at the finish line. And DH provided chauffeur service for the long ride home. I will especially miss having DH there.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
On Labor Day, a group of friends tested their mettle in canoe races on the Susquehanna River in Harrisburg. Registration was just five bucks and we could enter as many races as we wanted as long as we met the qualifications (i.e., age, gender). We got cool Tshirts, too.
There was a good turnout and we had a great time. I know nothing about paddling technique other than put it in the water and pull, so I took the power position in front and my friend took the steering position back.
Our first entry was into the 2-woman canoe class. We came in 5th and that was our best showing for the day. The next two races were for novices and "never placed" at the Kipona Races. There were several heats in each race and 8 canoes abreast. We got penned in by other canoes--we looked like "bumper" canoes. Then, in the "never placed" race we missed the buoy turnaround and had to backtrack to keep from disqualifying.
The last race was the "war canoe." War Canoe!!! That sounded like my kind of race--anything goes. A canoe is in your way??? Just give them a shove, tip them over, cut them off, whatever it takes!! It's a good thing my friends set me straight--it just means a full boat--4 paddlers. We were the only all female team and had a good time with that.
The races were great fun--women are competing against men, mixed teams, teenagers, young adults, so there isn't much parity. We'll be back!!
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
A friend sent this to me and it's so true, I'd thought I'd share. Sorry I don't know who the author is. No doubt a very wise woman.
GIRLS IN MY CIRCLE
When I was little,
I used to believe in the concept of one best friend,
And then I started to become a woman.
And then I found out that if you allow your heart to open up,
God would show you the best in many friends.
One friend is needed when you're going through things with your man.
Another friend is needed when you're going through things with your mom.
Another will sit beside you in the bleachers as you delight in your children and their activities.
Another when you want to shop, share, heal, hurt, joke, or just be.
One friend will say, 'Let's cry together,'
Another , 'Let's fight together,'
Another , 'Let's walk away together.'
One friend will meet your spiritual need,
Another your shoe fetish,
Another your love for movies,
Another will be with you in your season of confusion,
Another will be your clarifier,
Another the wind beneath your wings.
But whatever their assignment in your life,
On whatever the occasion,
On whatever the day,
Or wherever you need them to meet you with their gym shoes on and hair pulled back,
Or to hold you back from making a complete fool of yourself ..
Those are your best friends.
It may all be wrapped up in one woman, But for many, it's wrapped up in several..
One from 7th grade,
One from high school,
Several from the college years,
A couple from old jobs,
On some days your mother,
On some days your neighbor,
On others, your sisters,
And on some days, your daughters.
To all my friends, thanks for being in my circle.
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