Saturday, September 25, 2010

half marathon and less than 100 days!

So, I ran the half marathon last weekend, on day 261. It was a beautiful morning and I had a running buddy, but it was a tough course! I was a little scared leading up to it. I had not really run more than 8.5 miles most of the year. And most days, I have been staying right at 5-6 miles. Also, I usually take four days off before a race day, and with my goal for this year, that wasn't possible. I also REALLY wanted to beat my last half marathon time (2.08) and was hoping to be right at 2 hours. So, there was a lot going into it that I had to overcome, at least in my mind. I also knew if I didn't do it, I would be mad at myself. So, I made the decision on the Monday of that week. I ran regular runs (4.8 on Monday and 5.5 on Tuesday) but then on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday I ran the neighborhood 5k really slowly and really easily. It was quite boring, but I was trying to build up some reserves. I ate a gigantic bowl of pasta the night before and went to bed early. The race was to start at 7:30 (yuck!). I couldn't sleep very well. I was all anxious and I kept thinking my alarm wasn't going to go off and I would over sleep... it wasn't so great. I did get up in time to have a little coffee (being a severe addict!) and take care of business and the like. I met Harlan, my running buddy, at a few minutes after 7. We jogged about a quarter mile up to the race start line and waited, with all 1500 other half marathon runners. That waiting in a huge group before the race starts is my least favorite part. You just wanna go already. While we were waiting, there was a lot of talk about how hilly and hard this course was. There was particular mention of the worst, longest hill being near the end of the race. I should have tried to shut them out. Running is such a mind game, and I was determined to kill this run. And I was for the first 8.5 miles. I was feeling great and keeping an awesome pace, close to 8.75 minute miles. I
felt like I could run like this all day. Then we headed up behind UNCA, an area I am vaguely familiar with from riding my bike back there... and it was then that I realized what hill we had to go up. And unfortunately, I let my mind have too much control over that. I was dreading the hill! It went up and up and curved and you could see runners way up top and could tell it just kept going and going, ugh. So, my time decreased dramatically and I had a VERY hard time keeping myself moving on that hill. It was almost a mile long. When I got to the top I had to use the bathroom and there was a port a potty, and a line of women, of course. Fortunately, no one wanted to take their time so the line moved fast, but still it cut down on my time. So, I finished the worse hill and felt worse for the wear. It was at that point that I really started to struggle and had to count my steps and try to stay focused. I managed to finish the run, even though at a few points I wanted to quit. My time was 2 hours and 2 minutes. I am happy that I beat my last time, but bummed that I didn't finish as well as I started. But, it will give me a goal for next year. Sunday, after the race, well let's just say it was a pretty ugly run. It wasn't as hard to go as I would have thought, but it didn't feel so great, until after. I think it was helpful to my body to have worked out my muscles. My two middle toes are bruised, I may end up losing the toenails on them, I'm not really sure why. I guess from the downhill? Anyhow, the rest of the week I've done some easy, fun runs. Tomorrow I will do a nice 6 miler... and then go and attack the hill that took me down next week.... oh, and I have 96 days left to go! Awesome!

Friday, September 3, 2010

119 days to go!

I really wish I would run on Friday mornings instead of wait until the afternoon. It's just not always possible. But there is something about Friday afternoons where I just want to kick off my shoes after work and chill... but I can't if I didn't run earlier in the day. The cooler evening air has been a god send and I have been really enjoying running around 5:30 or 6:00. Earlier in the week, I did a fun 45 minute run with Jacob that kicked my butt. Then I ran a six miler up into N. Asheville in the early evening that was divine (day 244). Some of the leaves are starting to change and you can feel the imminence of fall, my favorite season. I also am getting closer and closer to my goal. I am proud of myself and somewhat surprised that I've kept with it. I was sure there would be something that would come up that I could use as an excuse to stop, but so far... nothing (knock on wood!). So, today, Friday (day 246), I had one of those opportunities to go running without leaving my kids unattended (which I prefer) and so I took it. It was probably good I had that motivation because I really wanted to sit on my porch with a cocktail and do nothing. But now that my five mile run is done, I can do just that. And it is sort of funny how quickly the year is going...I'm almost surprised it's almost fall. Crazy.