Rock n Roll USA Half recap

There are some races where despite how well training goes, things just don’t come together on race day…this was one of those races for me.

Off to race

I was awake by 4:30 but forced myself to lay in bed until 5:30. I went through my usual routine and was off to catch the Metro by 6:30.  I then spent almost 1 1/2 hours trying to get to the race! I caught the first train fine, but when I got to Metro Center to change train lines, there were already too many runners standing on the platform…not a good sign. As we waited and waited the crowd grew, we were easily 8 deep. I chatted with others as the time continued to pass. Finally a train pulled in and it was fairly crowded but I and my newly formed crew made our way on. A mere 2 stops later the train had door issues and the next thing I knew they announced the train was going “out of service” and everyone had to get off – You’ve got to be kidding me! Back to waiting and trying not to freak out…a few of us started debating the likelihood of finding a cab when another train slowly rumbled towards us. Yep it was packed. But after 7+ years of living in NYC, I know how to work my way on to a crowded train! The group I was with made it on and the train lurched and sputtered its way through the next 5 stops. When we finally reached the Armory stop, it was this crazy scene of runners scaling the escalators and stairs to get to the street, then to the Armory for gear check.

I got my gear checked, opted for the indoor bathrooms and then headed for the corrals. We quickly shuffled to the start and were off. I was feeling pretty good as we crossed the 5k mat but unfortunately that didn’t last long. As I reached the 4 mile marker I was feeling overheated and a little light-headed…a headache was forming. I took a GU and more water and kept going. I spotted J & the boys around 5 and loved getting a high-five from my guys (unfortunately thanks to the efficiency of the Metro this was the only time I saw them). The next few miles are a bit of a blur, I just tried to focus on the sights, the crazy race outfits, the crowds, my  tunes and the occasional band along the route – anything to ignore the growing headache. By the time I crossed the 10k mat I knew I was a couple of minutes behind where I wanted to be. By mile 8 I had a brief moment where I wondered if I was going to have my first DNF – it was so frustrating because my legs were feeling pretty good!

But just then I spotted the 2:30 pacers. “Nope not stopping so pull it together girl!” I ignored my Garmin and just did what I could to stalk the pacers for as long as I could. The crowds really picked up in the final couple of miles and they were into it – a great boost! As I reached the final stretch I just started to smile – no there would be no PR today, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed….but I was about to cross the line of my 4th half marathon in less than a year and I hadn’t let a crappy headache or some moments of self-doubt from keeping me from pushing forward.

I happily collected my medal, posed for a Finisher’s photo and grabbed some much needed food and chocolate milk. I found my guys and took a little time to stretch out on the lawn before heading back on the lovely Metro to the hotel.

All-in-all I think the race was well-organized, from the expo to finishers area. And, the family had a great time in DC – in fact the kids asked me where we are going to race next 🙂


Pre-Race Randomness

So the family and I made it into DC yesterday. The boys’ desire for lunch (read whinning) had us arriving at the Expo later than I had hoped so I missed out on some blogger meetups…but we all know that when traveling with kids holding to a plan/schedule rarely happens 🙂

The boys did indulge me while I wandered the expo a bit — they got a kick out of Brooks’ carnival-like set up, especially playing skee ball, and made it their mission to collect stickers from as many vendors as possible! I got to check out a few new products, sample some Nuun flavors and chat with the KT Tape reps (got some samples of their new PRO tape I’m looking forward to trying!) before my guys announced they were done. We had a lazy evening and my oldest was thrilled to discover the hotel’s hot tub!

Today will be a delicate balance between sight-seeing and not being on me feet too much.

I’m feeling very antsy….I have been all week. I had a great final long run last Saturday and since then I’ve just been feeling on edge. On the whole, it’s been a pretty good training cycle, now I’m just eager to see what happens.

I know there are a number of big races happening this weekend so
I wish all of you running good luck, a strong tailwind and swift feet!


February Rewind

Good things for the month:
  • 81 miles – my second highest monthly total ever since I’ve started running!
  • Set a 10 mile PR!
  • One of the mildest February’s on record helped continue my outdoor running streak.
  • Left leg continues to feel good (Dr. Needles will be proud)!

Things I could do without:
  • Missed my goal mileage – while I missed a few runs due to the kids’ school vacation week, the bigger factor here is that I may not be a 5-day a week runner. I missed some runs for no other reason than my body needed the rest. I made sure to hit all my quality runs (long runs, tempo, speedwork) but punted on some of the recovery/easy runs.
  • Had no time to dedicate to making the switch to WordPress. Blogger continues to be twitchier and twitchier (yes that’s a technical term!), so I still want to make the change.

On the decks for March:

  • While I did incorporate more yoga in February I still haven’t made it to a Bikram class. Determined to get one in this month.
  • 100 miles.
  • More consistent core & strength work.
  • Rock ‘n’ Roll USA Half!

Thursday Thoughts – Pre-race edition

I actually have my first race of the year this weekend – the Wampanoag Old-fashioned 10 Miler and Fast 5K. I’m running the 10.

It’s funny  – I know absolutely nothing about this race except for the fact that the course is described as “a rolling course.” Gotta say the “rolling” part makes me nervous cause hills and I are not friends….we’re barely  civilized acquaintances.

So why in the world run it? Couple of reasons….
     1) I’m trying to face my fear… er intense dislike… um hill “issue” head on
     2) The timing of this race made it a good tune-up for the R’n’R USA Half which is just over 4 weeks away
     3) J is running it  – this will be his first time doing a double digit race and I wanted to support him

Up until now I haven’t given much thought to race goals or strategy. I’d like to run the final 5 faster than the first 5,  but I don’t have an overall time in mind. J and I are going to drive the course on Saturday so we’ll see just what “rolling” means and that might help me get my head around a race strategy.

Do you always go into a race with a strategy & goals? Do you run “tune-up” races?


Plugging back in

I have been delightfully unplugged the last few days – removed from my laptop and only the occasional text on my phone. After kicking off the Christmas weekend with a frigid 7 mile run on Saturday, I have over-indulged in food, wine, family and laughter and I am good with all of it.

After a few lazy days, it’s time time to plug back in. With R’n’R DC about 12 weeks away, I’m back on a  formal training plan.  Recently, while tweeting with a few runners about training plans, Bart Yasso weighed in (one of the many reasons I love social media!) and suggested that based on my time goals and history, that I needed to increase my weekly mileage to closer to 35 miles, with at least one speed work per week. So I’ve decided to stick with the combination of Smart Coach and Hal Higdon’s Intermediate plan, similar to what I did for the Philly half, while upping my overall mileage  — through a combination of more double digit LSDs and an additional easy run day.

It may sound crazy, but I feel much more settled when I’ve got a plan in place – for the last few weeks I’ve just kind of run on my own at whatever distance/pace I felt like. And while it was nice to have break, towards the end I was starting to feel like I was losing focus a bit.

Does a training plan help you to feel more focused or constrained?