Saturday, November 15, 2014

Third half marathon in the books!

    This morning was the inaugural Longview half marathon. I registered for it long ago, primarily because... their logo design is so nice and I wanted the shirt and the medal. Umm... yeah... that might just be an artist thing. Anyhoo, it is fortunate that I am a cold-weather-running-lover, because it was in the mid-20s and dropping during the race, with icy gusts of wind periodically, and pretty flurries at the end. 
   But, what a nice sunrise. *Almost* makes it worth getting out of a nice, warm, cozy bed at 5:45 am. Blecch!
   I wore my fleece headband, silk neck gaiter, neon pink long-sleeved shirt, tights, and knee-high compression socks. And I am noting this so that next time I run in these temps, I will add gloves and a light jacket, because I was not quite warm enough. Most of the run I was fine, but I had a lot of trouble warming up afterwards. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Here are Rafael and I in the starting chute. Rafael's company sent him to KC from Rochester, NY for the week to work, and he extended his stay to Sunday so that he could run this with me. My favorite Spaniard!
   And here we are afterwards, all smiles since we both achieved PRs! I beat my goal pace of 2 hours by almost a full minute, and Rafael killed it with a time of 1:41! Here we are in our sexy mylar blankets and the pace sign we blew past, with our medals, by the finish line. YAYYY!
   The course was a lot of doubling back, which is not my preference; I like loops, so I don't have to repeat any ground. But, the doubling up means you can look for people you know, and I picked out Jen K and Delia B! It Jen was right with me the whole race, and Delia and Rafael were in perfect position for me to cheer her on... him ahead of me, her behind.
   I downloaded this pace chart to give me an idea of what I wanted to try for. But as I learned at packet pickup last night, I didn't need to keep track.
   KC Running Company arranged for pacers. I had never used a pacer before and didn't know how it worked. But I grabbed the 2 hour wristband and figured it was worth a try. I have to admit that I wondered if I could do it, since my current PR was 2:03, and I haven't been able to train hard, with a nasty bout of tendinitis affecting my arches and calves. Dr. Green gave me the okay to run, and has been administering laser treatments to stimulate cell growth, in addition to recommending two Aleve 2x/day and Biofreeze. He also had a great quote that stuck with me: "Those who don't train hard enough won't make it to the finish line. And those who train too hard won't make it to the start line." So I took all that very seriously, have only been running when I felt like it, and threw in a new pair of compression socks at packet pickup. And I think it all helped.
   I met our pacers, Herschel and Ashley, in the chute. Both were friendly, and both had personal PRs in the low 1:30s and lots of marathon (and even some Ironman) experience, so I knew I was in good hands. "Smart Pacing" meant that the pace is adjusted every mile based on the road conditions (incline/decline) and allows for walking through the aid stations every 2 miles to hydrate. Herschel explained that Ashley would run in the front of our pack, and would aim to finish the race about 30 seconds before the 2 hour mark. Herschel would run in the back, and aim to finish 10 seconds before 2 hours. So, as long as you were ahead of Herschel, you were guaranteed to finish at the goal time. 
   What this meant is that you met your 2-hour group right at the start, and ran with them the whole way—like your own, personal posse! A pack within the race. And there was also a race within the race, King of the Mountain:
   This was a mile-long uphill stretch that started at mile 2. There were timing mats at the base and the top, and special plaques were awarded to the top 15 men and women who ran it the fastest, regardless of their finish time. But, since charging this hill would pretty much blow our energy for the remaining 10.1 miles, our group took it easy. At least, we did until mile 10. I still had enough gas left in the tank to get more aggressive, so I took on that half-mile hill and kept pushing as we curved back downhill to 11. For mile 12, I ran ahead of Ashley, and for the remaining 1.1, I kicked it up to 8:35. My final time was 1:59:03.4, 409th place out of 1523 runners, and 33rd for my age group.
   It's funny how time seems to move in slow-motion after a big race. After lunch I came home to clean up, post a few photos, and do laundry. (And of course watch the premiere of Northpole!) My hips are a little sore as always, I'm a little sleepy, and my tummy isn't too happy, presumably from the Shot Blox (energy chews). But other than that, I'm all smiles!