Woohoo! I survived and gained another medal to add to my collection. (Is this real gold? Bite!)
Overall I did a good job sticking to my race plan and working on my Charleston Half Marathon Goals.
It was cold this morning, 40something degrees, and while I don’t mind running in weather like that standing around for 30 minutes and waiting in it stinks. It took me longer that I thought to get ready because I was trying to find extra warm throw away clothes. Luckily, I forgot how small this race is compared to many larger marathons. We left T’s (my training buddy) at 7:30 and still made it to the 8:00 race start with over 20 minutes to spare. No traffic at all and tons of parking right across from the start line.
What they lacked in car traffic they mad up for in port-a-potty traffic as it took us almost all of those 20 minutes to get through line. We made it out just in time to strip off our throw away clothes and begin.
There are no corrals for the race so everyone begins at once. We spent the first mile doing a lot of weaving, but nothing too terrible. When that mile one split hit I looked down at my Polar and it said 10:30. Not bad, but not quite the 10:00 even I was really hoping I could push myself to hit. I just settled in, enjoyed talking to T (when we are together we don’t run with music), and enjoyed the pretty views on the harbor.
I was shocked then when all of our next miles started coming in between 9:50 and 10:05 until T reminded me that that first mile took us longer with all the weaving. I was hitting my goal of 10:00 minute miles and a 2:10 marathon was suddenly in my sights (my PR on this course is 1:58:27), but I was very happy with a 2:10 possibility.
After about 4-5 miles of pretty downtown views we began to run the rest of the race straight up through the ghetto: abandoned buildings, railroad tracks, and weeds. Oh Charleston, you do not plan a scenic marathon well. However, it is a super flat and fast course so people tolerate it.
We fell in with the 2:15 pace group who were actually on track for a 2:10 pace. The pace leader complemented how good my stride looked coming back from injury and I felt like a million bucks. At this point I started working on convincing T to leave me. When I am 100% she is faster than me, but yet still slows down to train and run with me. However, right now she is heads and tails above me and I knew that she was sabotaging her own time staying with me. She is also the kindest running partner ever so I am sure she would come up with a million reasons why she did it, but I knew she needed to turn the wheels on and take off. I was totally ready for this because I was planning on sticking with the really nice pace group and having them carry me through to my 2:10 finish.
However, around mile 7, her hamstring was bugging her a bit and I mentioned that my injured leg was really pulling. We talked about it, decided this was just a training run, we weren’t setting PRs anyway, so why not be smart – around mile 7.5 we hoped off the course and stretched for 2-3 minutes. I knew this meant that unless I could cut my last six miles at 9:30 instead of 10:00 I no longer had a chance at my 2:10. However, I was fine with it because my top priority was to finish the race without aggravating my leg anymore so as hard as it was to see that goal go out the window it was the right thing to do.
Around mile 9 T asked if she could go for it and I wished her luck and a quick finish. I later found out that after already running 9 miles she really sped up and ran all 4 of her last ones in at an even 8:00 mile pace. I wonder how disgustingly quick she could be if she didn’t train and run with my slow butt, but I thank heavens she does!
I could see the 2:15 pacing group ahead of me, but I just couldn’t quite catch up to them. I popped in some music finally and took off. Mile 9 went well on my own. I held my pace and was happy, during mile 10 I realized I was passing tons of people and got so excited I cut it in at 9:30 and thought maybe, just maybe. However, suddenly mile 11 hit and I hit a wall. My side started cramping like crazy and it hurt so bad to push through. I was so upset, my body was saying, “No!” I didn’t train right for this, I’d only been running 5 weeks, I had not run this many miles in about 5 months, and recently I had never run this fast. That wall sucked, mile 11 was a solid 11-12 minutes, but I didn’t stop and by the time I started to hit my 12 the crazy cramp was gone and I was back on pace.
My beautiful and kind friend C (she had somewhere to be today, but insisted on coming to cheer us on even thought it made her late because “you’re more important”) snapped this picture as I was about to cross the finish line. After everything I have been through over the past year with injures, physical therapy, and numerous race deferments – It felt good to be able to RUN across that line and I didn’t even care about the time, my watch read 2:14:17 for the record.
Then, in pure Abby fashion, I stopped running and bent down to remove my timing chip to drop in the buckets. At that exact moment I started dry heaving right above the bucket, the volunteer who was holding the bucket looked terrified, the entire time I am thinking, “Don’t puke, don’t puke, you didn’t run fast enough to puke, pull it together!” as I try to get it together and get myself away from people fast! Luckily my wave of nausea ended quickly and I was able to grab a water and find some friends at the finish.
As I evaluate my Charleston Half Marathon goals I am pretty proud:
- Top Priority – Cross the finish line smiling and without hurting my leg any more since it is still recovering. This is my first race in over a year – the victory is in being able to run again.
Check. I took my time, didn’t push it too hard (I did push it a bit though), and realized that I am finally getting healthier and 13 in 2013 is a really possibility.
- Smooth Sailing – Try to come in close to 10:00 minute miles (which are a big push for me right now)around 2:10ish total if all is going very well.
While I didn’t finish in a 2:10 like I wanted to every mile was at or below a 10:00 pace except for that crowded first mile and mile evil mile 11. Overall, I consider that a victory.
- Oh, Crap – If it is going badly I will be smart- I will stop, stretch, walk, whatever it takes to not aggravate this injury. I need to get better not worse.
I never used to stop during runs and especially not during races. It was hard for me to know that stopping and stretching would cost me minutes, but my leg is happier because of it. Maybe this injury will turn me into a smarter runner yet.
- Best Day, EVER – I will prance through mile 5.5 while they sprinkle jelly beans down upon me like raindrops. I am a sweet addict and jelly beans are my kryptonite. I pray they rain from the heavens and land happily in my mouth. (Best aid station for sure. F-Gatorade, bring on the beans!)
Pretty sure all I talked about the first 5 miles was these jelly beans. RIP OFF! There were none! I was so ready to scream, “Make it rain!” as I ran by and then to shower myself with these babies. While I was super disappointed I was more worried about the people who planned on getting fuel at the race and not just scampering through jelly beans. I will admit I don’t fuel during half marathons – none of my usual Stinger fruit chews and no eating on the course; however, they listed not only jelly beans, but also bananas, as being available and they were not. I hope nobody was relying on that.
Did you work out today? If so what did you do?