Wednesday, July 1, 2015

2015 Cap City Half Marathon recap....and a plan!

Better late than never for this race recap!

Cap City Half Marathon
May 2, 2015

So this race was to be my "Big Time PR." Training went better than in the fall (Megatron's health has drastically improved!).  I was getting my miles in though my pace wasn't real consistent.  Between alternating back and forth from outdoors pushing the run stroller and being on the treadmill, it was very difficult to gauge my actual pace and progress.  But I felt I was really within striking distance of beating my PR of 2:49:44.  And then the breathing issues kicked my a$$ race week.  Even though each day leading up to the race I was feeling better and better, my confidence was shaken. 

In order to focus on resting up before the race and then the race itself, I shipped Megatron off to stay with his grandparents.  The Pilot ended up being home so we had a date night/pasta party together before an early bedtime.  It was like a mini stay-cation without the kiddo around!

On race morning, I was awake freakishly early but I was glad to be up and getting ready to race. There is always a buzz on race morning so it makes it easier to get up.  I was more calm than I've been before most races.  I had already made peace that the day might not be my day to PR.  Between the breathing issues I had had and the fact that the weather was expected to be one of the warmest days of the season so far (no time to acclimate!), I knew even if I had a smart race, I couldn't control those things and their effect on me during the race. With that in mind, I was going to give it my all, but I also knew I was going out there to finish and enjoy the time with my friends.

With The Pilot acting as my sherpa and photographer, we met up with friends, including Katy, who would be running with me, before the race.  The Pilot watched our gear as we hit the porta-potties (have I mentioned how wonderful he always is on race day??).  Before we knew it, it was time to get in our corrals.

Love these ladies!  They have all been so supportive of all my running adventures as well as our liver drama.

I love the corrals.  Normally I hate crowds but something about lining up for a race, music blasting and the anticipation of the start is so much fun.  If felt like it took forever for our corral to be called up to the start line and naturally by the time it was our turn, I was convinced I had to go to the bathroom again.  Luckily, since this was half marathon #11, I also knew it was most likely nerves trying to trick me.  I told myself I would wait a mile before stopping.  And like I figured, one mile in, I didn't have to go.  Nerves lie!

Hanging in our corral, waiting to walk to the start line.

I told Katy in advance that I was going to just focus on my breathing for the first couple of miles to make sure that I found a good rhythm and that I wasn't having any breathing issues.  Not much talking going on!  Luckily it was still pretty crowded at that point so we just cruised along, finding our groove. I always know that it takes me a good 4 miles before I really start to feel good.  I was to remind myself of that anytime I'm running.  Seriously.  Even after all these years!  This day was no different exept that around mile 3, I was still feeling way more stiff than normal. 

One of our cheerleaders, Kim, took this picture.  Katy and I are in the neon green a couple rows back with a zillion people chasing us!

I tried to shake the negative thoughts. But then mile 4 hit.  Mile 4-5 was awful.  Like, I want to quit, this was a stupid idea, I'm never running again kind of awful.  I don't know what the problem was.  Everything was stiff, my right hip was hurting (even though its my LEFT hip that's been tight all season), it was suddenly VERY hot and we were facing the sun for a short portion.  I put my head down, tucked in behind Katy and willed myself to follow her. 

Luckily the course turned and was a gradual downhill for a couple miles.  There was some shade and I tried to regroup.  Our pace wasn't great but it wasn't so far off that we couldn't recover.  We finally started chatting since I realized my breathing was fine.  It was just the rest of me that didn't feel so great.

The miles ticked by.  We saw some familiar faces along the way.  Just past mile 8, I was ready to take a walk break and I told Katy that once we got up a slight incline and around a corner, I was going to walk.  As soon as we came around the corner though,  we saw our fan club, which included The Pilot.  I'm pretty sure I said something to the effect of "shit, now I have to keep running so they don't see me walking and start yelling at me."  So we kept running.  The Pilot snapped some pictures but then jumped out and ran next to me for a minute.  I told him that I wasn't feeling great but that I was still trying for "Big Time PR."  He just said to keep going and so we did.

This is when it REALLY started to warm up.  It was probably around 70 but it was a long, cold winter and we hadn't run in that warm of weather yet this year.  Katy and I were both feeling it.  We trudged a long.  The 2:40 pacer passed us awhile back but then the 2:50 pacer snuck up on us.  For about a half a block, I tried to stick with her but I knew I didn't have it in me.  I backed off and told Katy that I couldn't keep up.  She was relieved.  She was about to tell me to go on when she noticed my trying to stay with the pacer.  So we had a laugh that we were both in the same boat.  We had already talked before the race and agreed to let the other one go if one of us wasn't feeling it.  Yet there we were, neither of us had enough left to hang with that pacer.  And so that's when I knew Big Time PR wouldn't be happening that day.  Like I said earlier though, I had already made peace with the fact that the day might not be my day for a PR, so we were fine. 

The rest of the race was still realy tough even though we slowed down.  Everything ached.  I was dying for an aid station that had BioFreeze to rub on my hip but there wasn't anything towards the end.  Somewhere around mile 11 (??), two of our friends who ran TO the race, then ran the race must faster than us, came back out for us.  They were doing 20 some miles as a training day for a full marathon so it was no big deal to them to pop back out for a few more with us.  It was so nice to have them there to distract us from our misery.  Haha.  It was much more jovial than some of my other races at that point, even though I was in a lot of pain.  There was a lot of walking!

We finally made it to that last, evil tenth of a mile.  And I cried.  What??  I saw some friends from the local Moms Run This Town group cheering on the sidelines and I started to cry.  I think it was the pain, the relief that I could see the finish line, the thankfulness that I feel that I'm able to train and race still, and a million other things that just caused the tears to spill over a bit.  I pulled it together once I stepped over the finish line and got my medal...with a quick stop for some BioFreeze.  A race finish line might be the only place I feel comfortable enough to stick my hand down my pants...which I totally did as I rubbed BioFreeze on my burning hip. 

Finishers!  With the lovely Sarah and Meg who came back for us... no man left behind!
My finish time was 3:02:09.  Not a personal worst and it was faster than the half I did in October with very little training (and just 2 days after we returned home from Megatron's last surgery) and faster than the half I did when I was pregnant!  Haha...probably not good comparisons but faster is faster.

Even at the time I wasn't concerned with the fast first 2 miles.  It wasn't too fast and didn't feel like it then either so I don't really consider that to be a contributing factor to the lack of PR.  Can you tell when we realized we didn't have enough gas to keep going for that PR though?  Haha.

So, it wasn't my day to PR.  But not long after the race, I found another half marathon to sign up for (registration was only $12!!) so in October, I will make attempt #2 at Big Time PR. 

I've already made some changes that I think will help my performance.  I didn't cross training for Cap City.  I meant to, but I was struggling to balance life and my commitment to the 2,015 in 2015 Challenge.  Running that many miles isn't easy for me.  It takes effort and planning given my schedule.  Not an excuse, just my reality that I'm ok with. I know I'm running enough miles to be successful at finishing a half marathon (finishing faster is obviously yet to be proven).  But I made a commitment and I am going to run those miles!  I think the lack of cross/strength training really ended up wearing me down a lot faster than if my entire body would have been stronger though.  So I am making a much more concerted effort into working cross/strength training into my schedule.

Something else I'm taking an additional step towards is losing weight.  It's no secret that I've gained back all of the pregnancy weight I lost while on maternity leave.  Liver disease is an ugly thing.  Stress and stress eating are ugly.  And while I have lost weight since we came home after Megatron's transplant (which is when the weight piled on), I just haven't been able to keep it going.  Even though I'm working out regularly, it's not enough (nor would it ever be).   I know what I SHOULD do, I just lack the consistent willpower/motivation to stick with it.  I'm a stay at home mom and the kitchen is always open.  I don't necessarily eat junk all day, but I certainly eat too much of what I do eat. 

You know how I said I had already made peace if my PR at Cap City wasn't meant to be?  Another reason for that is in my head I knew I was the fittest I have ever been when I got my current PR.  I was the thinnest I had been in years.  This year at Cap City, while I knew I was well trained, I was carrying 30 pounds of weight that I wasn't carrying when I got that PR.  That's pretty significant.  So now I'm making more of an effort in that area as well.  I recently joined Weight Watchers.  I've never done anything like this and I've never been one to "diet."  Lifestyle changes have much more impact!  So far it's helping make me more aware of what I eat (instead of mindlessly eating) and how much I eat.  I've already seen progress in a short amount of time so that's good to see! I'll be sure to keep blogging about that progress.

So the goals are: lose weight, cross/strength train, run, and get that BIG TIME PR in October!

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