I keep getting asked about my goals for this weekend’s race so here is the truth – I have no finish time goals for this weekend. It will be the first time I have run more than 10 miles since February, it will be HOT, and while I am working my way there I’m not really in racing shape yet.
So, no time goals.
However, I do have plans:
– completing back-to-back races for the first time (1 mile Sat. & half Sun.)
– finishing the half marathon with a smile on my face
– being proud of whatever times I accomplish
– getting not 1, not 2, but 3 new medals to add to my collection– meeting some online blogger friends in person
– checking out a new city
– enjoying the free Train concert on the beach
What fun plans do you have for this weekend?
One week from today:
– I will run more than 10 miles for the first time since February.
– I will attempt not to melt during an August half marathon (in the South).
– My toes will be dunked in the Atlantic Ocean post race.
– All three of the medals will be hanging around my neck.
– I will be so sick of pre and post-race car trips and not looking forward to the drive home.
– I will dream of being rich the entire drive back so I could fly to races all over.
– I will head back to work and once again become Abby the teacher instead of Abby the runner.
– There will be one more awesome race weekend for me to look back on.
What fun plans do you have coming up next weekend?
Any racing or running?
It has been over six months since I ran the full marathon in New Orleans, and after a long period of resting and letting my body heal I am slowly working my way back. This weekend I ran 10 miles, my first double digit run in 6 months and was so excited to ramp my mileage up a bit. I am currently focusing on half marathons and being able to run healthy and injury free.
My first of 5 planned half marathons will be the Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon this Labor Day weekend. I cannot believe it is coming up so quickly. I have no goals for this race except to finish and have fun. I am not setting a time goal because I know it will be HOT, and it is my first race back so I am going for pressure/stress free. That means that as I have been training my focus has been on slowly and safely adding the distance so as not to reinjure myself.
Because of this I really have no idea what kind of pace to expect out of myself at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon, but I am so glad to be slowly working my way back to some distance running.
Do your training runs yo-yo from good to bad like mine?
What is your favorite race distance?
* Don’t forget that if you want to run the Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon (or Rock ‘n’ Roll Savannah for that matter) you can use the code SQUAREZERO for $10 off your registration.
Now that my 2014 Fall/Winter Race Schedule is set up I am beginning to get really excited!
In particular I cannot wait to run the Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon and the Rock ‘n’ Roll Savannah Marathon & 1/2 Marathon because they are both brand new to me races that are happening in awesome locations.
If you want to know more about my reasons for picking these two races be sure to check out my blog posts on the RnR Virginia Beach Half Marathon and RnR Savannah Half Marathon. I promise more thought went into selecting them than just pictures of the gorgeous medals, but you know those don’t hurt either.
Now it is time for all sorts of fabulous people to join me in Virginia Beach and Savannah because I can never meet too many new running friends.
If you are registering for either race please be sure to use this code for $10 off (because saving money rocks). Also, please feel free to pass this discount code along if you have any friends who may be interested in running either race and want a Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon or Rock ‘n’ Roll Savannah Marathon & 1/2 Marathon discount code.
Do you Google discount codes before you buy online?
Are you a coupon cutter?
How about we call this the season of the half marathon?
All 5 races I have planned are 13.1 milers.
I am excited to up my distance a bit again, focusing on the half while my body heals and gets stronger. No full marathons for a while for me.
Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon
August 31, Sunday
travel (7-8 hours)
*Just for fun.
It will be crazy hot & humid still, and I don’t want to push my training, so if I am not quite ready for it yet I will run/walk.
Low Country Trail Half Marathon
October 11, Saturday
local (on John’s Island)
*My only goal for this one is to not trip over exposed tree roots and hurt myself, so I’ll take it nice and slow. Oh, and to not get lost, that is always important too!
Rock ‘n’ Roll Savannah Marathon & Half Marathon
November 8, Saturday
travel (2 hours)
*I would love to actually try to race this one, whatever I am capable at that time.
Sweet Tea Half Marathon
November 15, Saturday
local (in Summerville)
*If I am feeling good after Savannah I’d love to try this one, but take it easy.
This is a first year race, so I don’t know what to expect.
Kiawah Island Marathon
December 13, Saturday
local (on Kiawah Island)
* I would like to try and race this one too as I am familiar with the course which is flat and fast.
I hope to shoot for a time that is a bit faster than Savannah.
Do you have any fall/winter races scheduled?
If not what would be your dream race?
Last week I told you all I had won entry into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon and explained all the reasons why this race seemed like the perfect fit for me coming off of injury.
It will be a fun stress free race back – my only goal is to finish and have fun.
However, I knew that after a fun race back and some more training time I would actually want to try and race a half marathon to see where I am in the healing/training process and what I am capable of accomplishing.
Luckily, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Savannah Marathon & Half Marathon seemed like another perfect choice:
– Savannah is only about 2 hours away.
– It is a flat course. (Woohoo!)
– I am somewhat familiar with the city from playing rugby games there for years.
– It is November 8th which will be perfect Southern run weather.
– It gives me 10 weeks after Virginia Beach to train hard (but smart).
I have been blessed enough to be able to run both the Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon and the Rock ‘n’ Roll Savannah Marathon & Half Marathon with the wonderful people of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Competitor Series as a Rock ‘n’ Blogger.
What does this mean for you all?
1. If you register for either #RnRVB or #RnRSAV you can save $10 with my discount code SQUAREZERO. (Why not just register for both and save more? Join me.)
2. Race Swag – Be on the lookout for some great giveaways coming up on the blog before each race.
Are you running either race?
If you could choose to go to Virginia Beach or Savannah which would you pick?
Have you done a Rock ‘n’ Roll Series Race before? If so which one?
About a week ago, I won entry into the Rock’n’Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon from WeRunDisney. I am now officially registered for the race, which takes place over Labor Day Weekend.
It seems like a great race for me because:
1. Distance – Virginia Beach is driving distance from my house, well like seven something hours, but still closer that what I drove to get to MCM in DC or Country Music in Nashville.
2. Date – The race is held over Labor Day weekend which means I will have Monday off of school to drive home. (The race is Sunday so this gives me some time to relax afterwards.)
3. Location – This is somewhere I have never been before and I am a big believer races are the best way to explore.
4. Time Frame – It is over 10 weeks away which should hopefully be enough time to get me ready for a half marathon. Especially because I don’t really plan to race this (August is too hot), but just to run for fun and to start working on my distance again.
Don’t worry – getting healthy and being able to run injury free is still my number one goal.
That means if something happens and I am not ready for this in time I won’t push it and try to run.
I also promise I won’t run any full marathons this year. Instead I am focusing on getting stronger (hopefully a bit faster) and healthier while I stick to half marathons.
Running Virginia Beach? Know anyone who is?
Have you ever been to Virginia Beach? If so… What is there to do/see? Where should I eat?
What is your next race?
How cute is the medal? (FYI – It’s a bottle opener. Favorite beer?)
I opted to run the Charleston Marathon – the half distance as a taper run for my full in New Orleans two weeks from now. I signed up awhile ago when it was still a decent price, before all the increases, and figured it’d be more fun to do the race as a training run then to run on my own.
First, a bit about the race itself:
I will start off with a warning – this race is no frills. So, if you like the bells, whistles, etc. of large, big city races this is not the one for you. It is very low key, not many spectators to cheer you on and the water/aid stations are fewer and farther apart than at most races.
However, if you want a quick, simple race this one is for you. Packet pickup is a breeze, not a single line since the race had only about 5,000 participants. I pulled into my parking space 35 minutes before start time and was able to see the race start from where I parked. Nice and simple. You run the first 4 miles through beautiful downtown Charleston, amazing, but then the following miles straight up the very unattractive North Meeting Street.
The course is super flat though which leads to many strong race times. The finishers party in Park Circle is nice with shrimp & grits, mimosas, and beer for finishers if you would like.
My only wish is that this race would somehow find a way to incorporate more of the beauty of Charleston.
This particular morning was rough. Last weekend it was 60 degrees by the time I headed out for my final 20 miler at 8am; however, that was not the case this time. It was only 34 degrees at the start of the race, and the wind was so horrible it felt way colder. I can actually count on one hand the number of times I have heard the phrase “wind chill” in my 10 years living here and I am pretty sure they were almost all last night and this morning.
I told myself I would be running not racing, because this was just a training run, but the truth is there is very little racing in my life lately. That is one of the many reasons I am taking a break from scheduled races for a few months after the New Orleans Marathon, my body needs it. 3 years ago, pre-injury, I cut a sub two hour marathon on this course and felt amazing (still my PR). A month ago, I pushed hard at the Kiawah Half, gave it my all, and was pleased that I came in right under 2:15. Today my goal was to run a 10:40 pace in order to see what that would feel like. That would put me finishing the half at 2:20 and hopefully seeing if there was a chance for me to run with the 4:40 pace group in New Orleans. The truth is I am not sure if I’ll be able to hang with the 4:40 group. It is really just going to depend on my body that day. A month ago at Kiawah I felt good, 2 weeks ago my 18 was AMAZING! I am praying for runs like those. However, last week my 20 was ugly and I rolled my ankle at one point. It has been bothering my on and off all week. It was fine until about mile 6 and then it got ugly, the ankle I rolled really kicked up and started bothering me. I couldn’t keep up the 10:40 pace and was in a lot of pain. It was ridiculously windy and I am sure that did not help either, especially since many of the miles were straight into the wind. I kept pushing through even though it was not pleasant and managed to finish in 2:22:24. (How cool would it have been if I could have shaved 2 more seconds off that time?) Now I am resting, relaxing, and icing my ankle in hopes it heals quickly.
In the past few weeks I have had some amazing runs, some horribly slow runs, and some painful runs. I feel I never know what my body has in store for me. I am praying that two weeks from now in New Orleans it gives me a good day, and I will reward it with lots of rest and recovery afterward so that I can begin to heal and finally run injury free.
What you do this weekend?
Faces on the medal (above) – yea or nay?
I vote no. They look a bit creepy. Zombie runners? A mob? Hmmm…..not sure what they are.
I had a shorter weekend run on my marathon training schedule this past weekend, a 12 stuck right before I get hit with an 18 and 20, so I decided to take advantage of it and run the Kiawah Island Marathon. I opted for the half, though they do have a full option, and was able to use a deferred entry from last year when I was injured. I did the offsite, early, packet pickup downtown last weekend after the Reindeer Run 5K and some time shopping at the holiday farmers’ market and it was a breeze. I walked right in, no line, grabbed my stuff and was done in no time. The shirt is really nice – a long sleeved, light blue tech with a nice Live Oak/Spanish Moss graphic. It looks super clean and simple compared to most race tees because Kiawah has no sponsors, they can afford to go without all those extra logos – it is a very private, gated, EXPENSIVE, island community. The morning of the race I arrived a hour and a half early as the race organizers suggested so I would have time to park and be shuttled on to the race course. The shuttle line looked long, but shuttle after shuttle pulled up to take us to the start so it moved really fast. Kiawah didn’t mess around, they were very quick and efficient when it came to getting everyone parked and to the start.
I arrived at the start with a bit more than a hour before the race so I stretched out and used the restroom. Can you believe this was the Porta-Pottie line less than a hour before the race? I guess running on a ritzy island has its perks… like so many toilets nobody ever had to wait. I did a few last ankle stretches as my sports med chiro suggested and sat down on the curb to have a final snack before the race started. I then pushed my way through the start line chaos. (Only way I would suggest improving Kiawah – start corrals or better signs. People were lined up like crazy with really no logic to who started at the front and back.) I found the 4:30 marathon pacer and planned to stick with that group. The half splits at mile 11.5 so they focus on having pacers for the full marathon and half runners just so that last little bit alone, which I was fine with. I wanted to try and see what racing a 4:30 pace felt like because I want to run the New Orleans full with a pace group, but I am torn as to which one to join.
Well, it was instantly a huge cluster of people as soon as we started. I spent the first 2-3 miles weaving in and out of people and trying to pass some walkers who had started way up front. The 4:30 pace bunny took off like crazy. Her sign said 4:30/10:18 pace, but I was running all my early miles between 10:00-10:10 and I never saw her after mile 4 or 5. They were speeding!
I made the decision not to try to keep up with the pace group and the speedy leader’s sub 10minute/miles and to run my own pace. I still wanted to stay below that 10:18 pace just to get an idea of what it felt like, and if that was even a possibility for the full. I pushed very hard to keep that pace up. It never felt easy, I was working the whole time. However, I kept telling myself just keep this pace up until the next mile, then it was the next and the next. It was rough, but it didn’t feel impossible – I felt like I could keep pushing it.
The miles started to tick away and around mile 7 I ran into a buddy I hadn’t seen in a while. She was running her first full and was pretty close to my pace. We ran with each other until a little past mile 10, when she stopped for a bathroom break. Having a friend to run with took my mind off how hard I was working and how tired I was.
Mile 11 was tough. I know my pace slowed down a bit. I couldn’t keep it up the way I wanted to, but instead of focusing on my time and staring at my Garmin I focused on moving forward as best as I could. I played a little game for a mile. For each person that I passed I added 1, each person that passed me I lost 3. It gave me something to focus on, helped me to move forward, and encouraged me to speed it up a bit and try to pass people. I ended up plus over 40 points. Whatever works right?
When I saw the sign for mile 12 I felt myself speed back up a bit, I was back on pace and happy about it, then suddenly – BOOM – we were all stopped on the course. An ambulance had to come through and we had to wait. I said a little prayer for whoever was being taking to the hospital and then as soon as they released us took off like a mad woman. We had only been stopped for about a minute, but I knew that I was so very close to being on pace and running a sub 2:15 half and I was worried that one minute stop would put me over my goal.
I ran that last half mile faster than I have ever run a 12th mile in my entire life. Check out the pictures from the final stretch below. Yikes! You can tell I am pushing it hard. I will not be purchasing these bad boys, scary race face for sure, but I can look at these and see how hard I tried. I pushed hard this entire race, none of it was confortable or easy, and I think I need to make myself do that more often in order to become a better runner. When I finally crossed the finish line I was exhausted, but so proud of the effort I had put in. I waited to have my medal put around my neck and headed to the food and beverage tents.I didn’t remember to stop my Garmin until I had gotten my medal and was almost to the food tents. It was so close to being under 2:15 (and well below my 10:18 pace), that I was sure if I had stopped it at the finish line I would have meet my goal.I had to wait for the official results to come in to find out that I made it, my official time was a 2:14:39. I met my goal, barely, and even though it is over 15 minutes slower than my sub2 PR, I am still very proud of it because I pushed my hardest and this is my fastest half in a while (stupid injuries).
I checked out the food situation post race – Wow! Tons of free beverages and beer along with pretty fancy food. No bagels and apples here, this was a catered affair. Did I mention I liked this ritzy island race? The pasta salads, soups, huge homemade muffins, and gooey brownies looked amazing, but I held out. While I wanted a big, huge cornbread muffin so much I could taste it, I stuck to my gluten free guns and grabbed some orange slices and half a banana to go with my water. I sat down and chilled for a bit before taking the shuttle ride back.
Mostly I pondered as I sat –
It had been tough keeping that pace for 13 miles, could I do it for 26?
I bonked at mile 11 and couldn’t hold on to pace anymore, what if that happened in the marathon?
was there any way at all I could run that hard for twice as long?
The truth is I fought to keep that pace for the half and I allowed myself to realize that maybe I am not ready for a 4:30 marathon. Do I want a 4:30? HECK YES! However, if the time comes and I have to settle for running with the 4:45 pace group I will still be proud. 4:45 would still be a 12 minute PR and a pace I will have to push to keep up for 26.2 miles.
What are your thoughts on pace groups?
Do you ever play little running games with yourself?
(Seriously, counting people I was passing really helped me.)