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What a difference a year makes

Sunday, May 19, 2013

One year ago I ran the Inaugural Rock n' Roll Portland Half Marathon. Actually, I ran, walked, stumbled, slogged the whole thing, and it is pretty amazing that I forced myself across the finish line. I had planned out all the places on the route where I could drop out and get to my BF at that time's apartment. I had 3 places where I knew I could quit if I couldn't run it all. By the time I finished, I was in tears, my posterior tibial tendon was screaming at me loud enough to make me think I had done some serious damage, and my friend Kate hauled me to the medics who wrapped my ankle in ice packs. My finish time was actually a not too shabby 3:07:03, considering the pain I was in for the final 5 miles!

Fast forward one year.
It's been a year, quite a year! I ran my fastest 5k time ever in January. Within a week of that, I was sitting in an orthopedic's office waiting to hear how much damage I'd done to myself...this time though it was my arm. I'd run in a night time fun run, and found the one dip in the road...and fractured my elbow attempting to break my fall. My next 8 weeks of Marathon training was done with the walking group. When I was finally able to go out without a 2.5 lb splint on my arm in late March, I began attempting a run/walk with the training group, and slowly ran my mid week short runs, SLOWLY.
Mostly on the trails.
Because it's easier on my legs, and I HAVE to run slowly.
Amazingly, I've managed to do more running than walking on my long Sunday runs with the group, and ran almost all of our 18 miler, even though it was beastly hot! Anything over 70 degrees counts for beastly around here.

When the opportunity arose to purchase a bib from a woman who wasn't going to run it (shhh...don't tell Rock n' Roll), I figured I would take it; if only to see how I could do in an actual competitive group setting.
The woman I purchased the bib from was expecting to finish in less than 2 hours. I doubt I'll ever be able to accomplish that! Anyway, her bib had her in Corral 6. I knew if I started there, I'd have several thousand angry runners being forced to work their way around me. There are always corral jumpers in races, those people who put themselves in a pace group they have no right to be in...I wasn't going to be one of them.
I started looking for the pacers with their red lizards (it's a flag in the shape of a lizard, red of course, with the pace runner's expected finish time). I found the 2:45 pacer, never saw a 3:00 pacer, so placed myself 2 corrals back from the 2:45, hoping I could keep up.
20 minutes after the gun, corral 17 finally crossed the starting mat, and I kept the pace for the first 4 miles. I am sure I pushed myself a bit too hard on the first two, my splits were 11:37 and 11:53, but I felt good. Not sure when exactly I passed the Red Lizard, but I never saw her again.
Around mile 4 I saw a friend from last years training group, and I did a run-walk with her. She runs much faster than I, but with a 4 minute run and a 2 minute walk, I kept up just fine. when we reached the hilly portion of Hawthorne Blvd, 596 foot gain over that mile, I left her behind as I've found I have to run up the hills, walking just slows me down too much and doesn't help me recover from the hills any better.

Between mile 10 and 11 I finally allowed myself to glance at my garmin to see where I was, and I realized that even if I walked the rest of the race, I would come in under 3 hours. When L asked me how long I expected it to take, I told him I was hoping for between 2 and 3/4 hours, and 3...but as long as I finished in under 3 hours, I'd be happy.
Over mile's 11 and 12, we had more hills to deal with, right when I was beginning to feel the rise in the temp. I was wondering if I'd pushed myself too hard, but still ran up all three of the short hills, then allowed myself a short walk break on the Steel Bridge. From the Bridge to the 13 mile marker I kept a steady 12-12:20 pace, and the last .15 to the finish I had enough left in me to push it up to a 10:45 pace! Shocking (thrilling) for the little amount of running I've been doing and how slow it has been.
My fastest Half Marathon previous to today was 2:49:57 way back in 2009. My next fastest was 2:58:29 in 2010. It has all been downhill from there...until today. Official ( I believe) finish time 2:43:10!!! I was hopeful and would have been perfectly happy with between 2:53 and 3, but instead I did even better than what I'd told my BF would be my best finish time for the day.

This makes me feel a whole lot better over the idea of running my Marathon next month! But first, next week's 20 miler.
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