Wow!!! The Savannah Rock n Roll Half Marathon was exactly the ticket I needed to pump up my adrenaline for the next phase of my winter training. So much happened in just a few days, I don't know what to talk about first!!!! This morning I thought I was going to talk about the race and the people I met there . . . and I will. But, something happened that changed my mind, my passion and my energy.
First, just a short recap of the race events. I ate too much of the wrong thing the night before the race! But, dang those homemade biscuits with honey butter were delicious!!!! However, at 2 a.m. they felt like a brick in my belly and I could not sleep for two hours. Somehow I still woke up feel refreshed and ready to run. Grrrrr . . . I want to include every detail of dinner out with some amazing women runners that I have been blessed to meet here on Sparkpeople and the hilarious moments with new roommates. They will have to be in another blog or you will not want to read 14 pages!!! I promise to get to all the good stuff.
Right now I just want to talk about running!!!! I felt good the morning of the race. The hotel we were at was just blocks from the starting line. After finding my corral, I hugged all my roommates and friends and wished them a good run. I then took a warm up jog back to the hotel to relax and use the facilities without having to stand in line in the dark outside a porta potty! On the jog back the streets are much more crowded as I waited until just 20 minutes 'til the start to head back out. My legs are feeling great and I'm rehearsing in my head what my starting pace should be and telling myself to stay focused on the run I have trained to run. I have rehearsed this run every Saturday for the past 12 weeks. I know my pace. I know my fueling needs. I know when I need to hang back and when I need to kick it. Some runners run for the social aspect, some run for the endorphin high, some run so that they can eat cupcakes . . . I run for the science of it. Yep, I am a science freak!
I love breaking down a training plan and finding out what works when and why it works that way. I love writing new training plans and cross training plans based on the newest and best science I know and understand. I love exercise physiology and exercise kinesiology! I love being a student of what my body needs to work at it's highest potential.
Still in a race there are many variables that science, practice, training, etc cannot anticipate . . . such as weather, tripping, or in my case accidentally stopping my Garmin in mile 4-5 and not noticing until I had ran another mile and a half.
I started out with a good pace, a little faster than I wanted to be in the first three miles. I was passing more people than I was being passed by. I kept seeing a gal in the cutest running skirt (pink of course) and she and I seemed to be running a similar pace as I would pass her and then in a little bit she would pass me. Since I had never seen a skirt like hers I ran up beside her to ask where she got it . . . only to find out that she is a Spark Friend!!! She recognized me and after she smiled, I recognized her beautiful face! I am surprised she recognized me, as I do not worry about hair or make up and in no way get 'done up' to do a race. These days I hardly even worry if my clothes match! Comfort is rule one. Matching and cute are bonus.
In mile 4-5 I pull off the long sleeve outer layer I am wearing to tie it around my waist, this is when I clicked off the Garmin pausing the time and distance. Grrrrrr! I had to use my best math (lacking in math, strong in science) to calculate my overall time. When I came to mile marker 7 is when I took a moment to figure out that my garmin was approx. 1.5 miles behind. Quick math on what my average pace per mile has been to get my best estimate of what my finish time could be to see if I'm on pace. The time clocks do me not good as well, since they are set to the official start time, not my chip time.
So, I just keep coaching myself to push the pace, run smart, and shoot for the best time possible. In the last four miles I feel like I don't have the energy to complete, I mean fuel delivery to the muscle energy. But, I have trained to push harder in the last three miles and that means even on tired legs and sore hamstrings it's time to kick it up.
I start coaching myself to push, push, push the pace. Take it up a notch. There ya go. That's it. Hold it. Hold it. The pace keeps slipping back and I keep coaching myself to push it. My last full training run (13.1) was 2:27:47. For the race I was pushing for the 2:20 - 2:25 window. Running 'blind' as it were not knowing my overall time or my exact distances that I usually push the pace to a sprint. I crossed the line, still not knowing my finish time, but feeling like I had ran my best race.
Later, after showering, having lunch and shopping a little, I found out that the results were online and I pulled out my iPad in the Five Guys Restaurant (caught me having cajun fries). Some of the other racers I had been talking to came over to ask me how I had done. I was grinning from ear to ear! 2:23:42. Just what I had trained for and worked for.
Today I went out for a short recovery run. The legs were feeling a little heavy and sore, but I figured the longer I put it off, the harder it would be. I was not expecting much, more like a torture session to be endured. I told myself not to worry about pace or distance. Just a short 2 miler, 3 if it feels okay.
I did a little warm up walk, clicked my Garmin on and started out on a low jog. I feel better running than I did on Saturday! There is no pain or tightness. I don't feel like I am running hard, it feels effortless. I check my Garmin . . . whoa, that is fast for me! I better scale it back or I'm going to burnout in the first mile. Trying to scale it back takes to much effort.. . so, I decided to let it go and run the pace my body wants to run. In mile two, I'm still running a pace that is 1 - 1.5 minutes faster per mile than my typical pace. That is huge! And I'm not 'trying', I'm just flowing through the run and feeling amazing! In the last .25 mile I decide to push it up and make the effort to go fast without taking it to a sprint.
What an amazing rush! I don't know why or how or when . . . but somewhere in the training, in the science, in the focus and the fuel, etc. . . somewhere in there I was transformed into a runner and today I ran just for the rush!