Monday, May 21, 2012

Divas Half Marathon

The lack of posts pretty much summarizes what I've been up to lately... nothing!  On Tuesday, out of nowhere, I had terrible muscle spasms in my neck, shoulder, and upper back.  I could barely move my head, let alone exercise.  After a few days of rest, prescriptions for ibuprofen and muscle relaxers, and a massage, it was still sore but I at least had some range of motion in my neck.  Friday morning I decided to do a test run to see if there was any hope of running the half marathon on Sunday as planned, and Jeannelle joined me for an easy 4 miles.  The first quarter mile was pretty painful and I didn't think I'd make it, but fortunately everything loosened up a bit and I actually felt better at the end of the run than I had at the beginning.  I still wasn't sure how well "racing" would work out, but I was determined to give it a shot.

A few weeks ago, I was able to snag a free entry into the Diva's Half Marathon North Myrtle Beach through  I figured I would be running that day anyway and am not one to turn down an excuse to go to the beach, so I added it to my already overbooked race schedule thinking at the very least it would be a quality long run.  Saturday we drove down to Myrtle Beach, picked up my packet, and then just relaxed at the hotel because it was cool, overcast, and windy outside.

Between my usual insomnia, being in a hotel, and my neck pain (I didn't want to take anything that would make me sluggish for the race), I did not sleep well at all.  But after having done very little all week, physically I was well rested at the very least.  Went through the usual morning routine and headed out around 6, arriving a little after 6:30. The weather was in the low- and mid-60s and mostly sunny.  Earlier in the week the forecast called for race temps in the mid-70s and on Friday they were predicting 60s and rain.  So I really lucked out, avoiding both the high temperatures and the rain.

Being an all-women's race, previous results under 1:45 were given seeded numbers and entry into the front corral.  The front of the corral was sparsely populated, despite the race having sold out at 3,600.  No one seemed to want to be in the front, so I wandered up to the line. I chatted with two women next to me (I found out later that one of them was former 5K world record holder, Olympian, and eventual winner Zola Budd) and felt a little strange since I am not used to being that close to the starting line!  Where were all the fast people?!

Being up front made it really tempting to go out fast, so I had to make a concerted effort to keep a pace that I could sustain for 13.1 miles.  I ran the Tobacco Road half in March in 1:37:33 so I decided to shoot for sub-1:37 and just try to hold even splits between 7:20-7:25.

The course was not particularly scenic, and it was fairly lonely for a while from miles 2-4, especially in comparison to the huge races I ran in Europe last month.  There was a fairly substantial headwind and a couple of unexpected hills, and I worried that it was going to be a very long race.  Somewhere in the 4th mile I found myself running with two other women and we chatted through miles 5-10, which made it go by much more quickly.  At mile 10, Jennifer said she was going to pick it up to try to come in under 1:36, Jacilyn decided to stay at the pace we had settled into, and I decided to go for something in between so I was back on my own.  The last 5K went through a golf course, onto 17, and then back to Ocean Blvd.  I focused on catching one woman who had passed us around mile 6, and made a move on her with about a mile to go.  There was really good crowd support coming down the stretch.  The noise was great, but I didn't hear the runner sprinting up on me and had no idea she was there until I saw her shadow with only maybe 100 meters to go.  I picked it up and edged her out at the finish but she had started behind me so she won in the end, knocking me out of the overall top 10!  I really could have gone faster and am a bit mad that I didn't push myself more, but lesson learned... I will not let that happen again if I can help it!  Crossed the line in 1:36:51 and won my age group.   Not a PR, but a PR for this year, and considering the intermittent training lately I am really pleased.

Splits: 7:14-7:22-7:22-7:25-7:17-7:31-7:22-7:31-7:25-7:32-7:31-7:24-7:20-7:21-7:13-0:59 (.16)
Finish: 11th female / 3,043; 1st 30-34 / 532

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Cary Park 5K and Weekly Recap

Last Saturday I made a last minute decision to run the Cary Park 5K.  I ran the race last year, it was only a $20 registration fee, and I remembered having good food post-race in 2011, so when I got an email from them I figured why not?  Well, it was in the mid-70s at the start, humid, and sunny, so that should have been the reason why not!  I haven't really run in heat or humidity this year, and wasn't sure how much I should slow from the pace I expected I could run in perfect conditions.  So I just went for it.  Big mistake!  First mile in 6:42, right around my predicted 5K pace, but it was not easy.  Around half way into mile 2, the woman running with me made a move and I realized there was no way I was going to hold that pace.  With no other women close to us, I just lost it mentally and decided to shift down to tempo rather than race pace.  Mile 2: 7:14.  The third mile had 2 really big hills, and sadly my pace slowed to what felt like a crawl.  I thought about everyone who had just run Boston.. 26.2 miles with even higher temps.  Wow, did I feel like a wuss.  But my legs just would not go, and I finished in 22:36 - a full minute slower than last year.  It was pretty miserable and very disappointing, but I did hold on for 3rd and won a $25 gift card to Omega (yay for small local races!), had a smoothie, and 3 (yes, 3) fresh baked bagels.  So I guess there was an upside... Plus I realized how much work I need to do if I'm finally going to break 21 in a 5k, so it was a good learning experience.

Saturday: AM - Cary Park 5K, 8M bike home; PM - Attempted an open water swim at Jordan Lake with Dawn.  Swimming is HARD.
Sunday: AM - 10M with Sarah, Ellen, and Allie on the ATT (1:20:24), TRX, 10M easy bike ride; PM - Yoga
Monday: Sync Cycling
Tuesday: AM - Swim lesson with One Step Beyond Coaching (very helpful!); PM - Speedwork at the Duke Track with Jessalyn (another reminder than I am not very fast)
Wednesday: Total Body Circuit, 6M with Ellen and Shuwen (50:42)
Thursday: AM - TRX; PM - Sync Cycling, Tempo run with Ellen (4M total with 3 at 7:15)
Friday: Sync Cycling
Saturday: AM - Run to Sync (2.25M, 18:22), Sync Cycling, run home (2.25M, 18:20); PM Brick with Dawn, Ken, and Tim (31.25M, 1:43:56, 18mph + 2.65M, 22:14)

It was a pretty good week training volume-wise, but I am really feeling pathetic in the water, slow on the bike, and even a bit discouraged with my running.  Thankfully I have 3 months until my first Olympic distance triathlon, 4 until my half iron, and 6 until the NYC marathon (my "A" race for this year).  I am sure it won't get easier, but here's hoping it will get better!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Neither here nor there

I can't remember the last time I haven't been on some sort of training plan.  It seems like there has always been a key race on the horizon, so after a big race I would take a few days to regroup and then start training for the next event.  But with Paris behind me, my next major "A" race is the New York City Marathon on November 4 and I have some time before starting a 16-week marathon training plan.  In the meantime, I am planning on a few half marathons, some sprint triathlons, my first Olympic tri in August and a half Iron in September.  Of course I would like to do well in those and hopefully be competitive in my age group, but I am largely looking at triathlon training as a fun way to get in some cross training and maintain fitness over the summer.  That being said, I have no idea what I'm doing right now!

After getting back from the trip, I had decent runs for three days (despite some achilles/lower calf pain) before heading to the Outer Banks for a wedding and doing no exercise whatsoever over the weekend.  We came back to 90 degree temps all week and I really didn't feel like running.  I got out there a few times just for the sake of it but it was pretty pathetic.  Fortunately I had my early am Sync classes and a decent bike ride, so the week wasn't a total loss.  

Wednesday: Total Body Circuit and 10 mile run on the ATT with Lora (1:22:38)
Thursday: Same 10 mile run on the ATT... first 7 with Josh, Jason, and Dan around 7:30 pace before slowing down to run the last 3 solo (1:19:11)
Friday: Sync Cycling, 7 miles around Duke with Lane and Allie (59:00)
Saturday: Chicken biscuits, donuts, 7 cupcakes and a bottle of wine.  Yes, seriously.

Monday: AM - Cycling and strength training at Sync; PM - 3M including 10x150m hill sprints
Tuesday: AM - Sync cycling; PM - 4M easy run and Sync cycling
Wednesday: AM - Total Body Circuit; PM - 6M run on the Raleigh Greenways with the Trysports run club
Thursday: AM - TRX; PM - Team on Draft group ride in RTP (17.5M)

Have a good weekend, everyone!