Dog Days Half Marathon and Recovery Weekend:)
Monday, July 29, 2013
Welp, I completed my third half marathon on Saturday! Yay!!!
So let's see... on Friday I left early from work after filing a 7-page motion on behalf of one of my clients. I headed home, packed up my stuff (hoping not to forget anything!) then packed up my dog. I took Buffy to Pet Smart to board her for the night, which she was not happy about, and then I headed back home to double check I had everything. When J finished with work and got home, I drove over to his house, left my car there, and then we made the almost 2 hour drive north to Westminster, Colorado. There was a lot of traffic, so it was not a good drive, but we still made it in about two hours. We arrived at the Residence Inn by Marriott, and after waiting like 5 minutes for someone to appear at the front desk, we were told there was a glitch in their system and they couldnt accommodate us, but they had transferred our reservation to the Hampton Inn just next door, and it was on them. So we headed next door, got checked in, and then decided to head out to dinner. By now it was a little after 7 pm. We were both so hungry, and needed to get to sleep early since I had to be at packet pick-up at 6am the next morning.
We went to BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse for dinner. I didnt realize we had one in C. Springs also, but I went to one a few times when I lived in Phoenix and I like that they have a big selection of foods. Also, I had a Facebook offer for a free "snack" (think appetizer, but smaller). It took quite a while for us to get our food, but it was delicious. I got the chicken teriyaki - figured chicken for protein, rice for carbs. It was yummy. I didnt eat it all though - only about 1/2. After dinner we headed back to our hotel and literally went to sleep as soon as we got back. Well, tried to anyway. I just couldnt sleep. I dont think it was nerves or anything, I was jsut having a really difficult time sleeping, and felt like I just never got any sleep all night. I remember looking at the clock and it said 3am and then I looked over again and it said 4am. The alarm was set to go off at 5:15, so I reached over to check my phone, and my phone only saiud 3am. Turns out the clock was off by an hour (no biggie because my phone alarm was set - not the clock alarm), but it just meant that I had been up since 2am, not 3. I think I did finally fall asleep for about 30 minutes before the alarm went off. Yeah, really tired :(
But I got myself out of bed after hitting "snooze" once, and then got myself dressed and ready for the race. While J was showering, I ate a sandwich thin with a little bit of peanut butter to hopefully hold me over. During my training runs, I havent been eating before hand, but I usually just wake up and am out the door running within a half hour. This time I was going to have almost 2 hours before I started running, so I figured I should eat something. The park that the race was being held in was only 2.5 miles away from our hotel, but we drove there because it was kind of an inconvenient walking direction - across a highway I think.
We arrived just around 6am and the parking lot was starting to fill up, but we still got a decent parking spot. I knew it would be a pretty small race, and I had already started psyching myself out, thinking I would be the slowest person, etc., and everyone already there seemed to be these gazelle-like runners, wearing "marathon" shirts, and I felt intimidated. But while I was waiting online for packet pickup, other more normal looking runners were also showing up. I just didnt know if they were there for the 5k, 10k, or half marathon. Needless to say, I was feeling rather intimidated, to the point of a little bit of nausea!
While I was waiting on line, J was getting his bike off his car bike rack. I didnt really ask him about bringing the bike because I knew he was a little bit annoyed about having to come, because he would be bored while I was running, and he was driving to Tuscon later that day to visit his family (which is like a 14-hour drive, and if he wasnt coming with me, he could have left earlier). While I was standing around waiting with J, I saw a paralegal that I used to work with. She was with one of her friends, and they were there to run the 10k. They are trying to build up to a half marathon. Her and I used to run together at PT - I am a bit faster than her, but she has improved a lot since I first met her a year ago!
At around 6:35, they called the half marathoners to get together for a short "warm-up" which I thought was fine. Mostly just jumping jacks, squats, things like that to get the body waking up. I thought it was nice. Then they started getting everyone lined up. Since it was a small race (only 218 half marathoners), there were no corrals. I headed towards the back so that I could take my time - my training runs had been around 12 min/miles and I wasnt sure what my pace was going to be during a race. Almost exactly at 7am, the race started!
I started off doing really well, I felt comfortable, and though I felt like I was moving pretty slowly, my Garmin was telling me that I was running around a 10 min/mile pace. I knew I needed to slow down or I would never keep that up for 13 miles! I finally settled around 10:45ish for the first mile. I was pretty focused on my form and breathing, and trying to get around people who were a little slower than me, and I looked over and saw J riding his bike along the path! I was kind of surprised! I figured he would go off and ride his bike so that he wasnt bored, but I was surprised to see him riding along the race trail! The race took place at a public park, and nothing was blocked off, so along the course there were lots of other runners not participating in the race, walkers, and bikers. It was so nice to see J kind of biking along with me!
The first water stop was at the 1 mile mark, and I stopped to walk through it. Since it was about 55 degrees at the race start, I opted to go without the water bottle belt because there would be 10 water stops along the route, and I think that worked out fine, though there were times where I was coming up to a water stop and just felt "thank god theres water finally!".
The first 5k was an out and back in one direction, and I felt really great after those first 3 miles. I was making really good time, and felt strong and comfortable. The next 10 miles were an out and back in the opposite direction - the turn around was at mile 8. I remember checking the elevation map on the race website and seeing that it would be down hill towards mile 8 and a gradual uphill on the way back to the finish, but it really felt like all the way to mile 8 was uphill, too! I was still keeping a really great pace, but around mile 4 my stomach started to hurt. I passed a porta-potty and didnt stop because I figured it was nothing. But it only continued to get worse. Also, around this time, the race participants were really spread apart. So most of the time you felt like you were running alone - there would be like one person 200ft ahead of you, and then another person 200ft ahead of that person. It was really nice to still see J following along, though! When I got to mile 7, I really didnt know if I was going to make it - I needed to stop and use a bathroom, but I still hadnt seen another porta-potty. Finally at the water station at around 7.3 miles, there were two porta-potties, and I ran into one. I was having the worst stomach problems. It hurt and I felt like I was in the bathroom for 10 minutes (Garmin said I was stopped for only 5 minutes). When I finally emerged, J checked on me to make sure I was ok, but I was determined to keep going, and it seemed like my stomach problems had eased up. My 8 mile pace dropped down to like 15 minutes / mile because of the bathroom break, but I was able to get it back to where It was prior to that. I still felt strong when I got to the turn around point, and just kept going!
And then I finished Mile 10. And I hit the dreaded wall. I've never hit the wall before - not in my previous half marathons, and not in training runs. But I felt like I just could not go on. My legs felt like they wanted to give up. My brain wanted to shut down. It was a miserable, hopeless feeling. My pace gradually slowed down over the next 3 miles. I wanted to give up, but even if I had, I would still have to get back to the finish line anyway, so that was silly. I just had to keep telling myself to pick up my legs and keep going. I definitely looked over my shoulder more than once, just for confirmation that J was still with me, and that seriously really helped, knowing he was there. Up until that point, I only stopped to walk through the water stops, but now, I was just doing whatever I could to finish - walking, running, etc. At the 11 mile water stop I got some gatorade and that set my stomach off again but I was going to make it to the finish without another bathroom break. At mile 12.5 there was a water station and I grabbed some water, and then just ran to the finish line. I picked up some speed, too.
My goal had been to finish in 2:40. Even with the bathroom breaks, and hitting the wall, I finished according to my Garmin at 2:29:22. According to the official race results, 2:30:03. When I crossed the finish line, I got my medal, a bottle of water, and they also handed out hand towels that had the race name printed on it, soaked in ice water. That felt wonderful! I headed over to J and I was hurting, but he told me I had to keep walking so I didnt stiffen up, so I walked with him back to the car. While he racked his bike, I stretched a lot, and then the paralegal and her friend came by and chatted. I drank that entire bottle of water probably in less than 5 minutes. We said our goodbyes, and then J and I drove back to the hotel room.
When we got back to the hotel, I went to take a shower, and my horrible stomach pains came back :( Once I finished showering, I was packing things up and more stomach pains. I must have looked pretty bad because J wanted to take me to the hospital (I declined). After we loaded up the car and checked out, we stopped at Subway so I could get some food in me, and I also picked up a powerade to help replenish electrolytes. I started to feel a little bit better, and I survived the drive home without needing a bathroom break. I left J's house and he headed out to Tucson to visit his family. I picked up some Pepto and that seemed to help.
Around 3:30pm I headed out to pick up Buffy, and now that my stomach was feeling better, I treated myself to Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner. Yum! I pretty much relaxed all day/evening on my couch. My right knee was twinging a little bit and I was a bit worried, so I was icing and elevating. My calves were really sore, so I put compression sleeves on them for a few hours, and that helped a ton! I also took some advil.
When I woke up on Sunday I was not nearly as sore as I had expected I would be. My knee wasnt hurting and I felt pretty ok. I treated myself to Ihop for breakfast (alone) and then went to Massage Envy and got an hour long massage. It felt great! Then did some grocery shopping, and spent the day lounging and cooking. I did pull some weeds too. I also picked up a glucosamine supplement while I was out because I thought it might help with my knee. I guess we shall see. By 4pm I wasnt in any sort of pain or soreness at all. That was kind of amazing!
All in all it was a pretty good weekend!
These are my Garmin stats:
Avg Pace: 11:23 min/mile
Elevation Gain: 225ft
Calories Burned: 1390
1 - 10:42
2 - 11:07
3 - 11:13
4 - 10:43
5 - 10:37
6 - 10:45
7 - 10:31
8 - 15:21
9 - 10:48
10 - 10:36
11 - 11:39
12 - 12:02
13 - 12:06
.12 - 1:15 (10:24 pace)
Running a small race was different for me. My previous half marathons had lots of people along the race course, but for this one you were pretty much left alone. Which is why having J riding his bike along with me was so nice. We didnt even talk to each other - it was just really nice knowing he was there with me.
I'm still not sure what caused my stomach problems, but I am fine now. It could have been the fact that I had eaten something befor the race, it could have been the dinner I ate the previous night. I dont know. I ate cliff shot blocks during the race, but I eat them on my training runs too, and that has never happened. Go figure, I guess.
All in all, I have now completed my third half marathon, and I am still able to walk and I am ready to get back out and run some more! I have a short recovery run planned for this afternoon, and it's back to the training for the full marathon in October!
(I dont have any pictures, but there was a photographer on parts of the course, and they are expected to have the photos posted by tomorrow, so if there are any of me, I will share - they are free!)