Sunday, February 19, 2012
Stonebridge Ranch Half Marathon Report
This is long and mostly uninteresting, but it's helpful for me to go back and read race details sometimes. The last paragraph is where it's at, so if you want to skip and go there, I'll never know.
I hadn't originally planned to run/race this half marathon. But, my training plan called for 13 miles and a friend was selling a voucher she bought for the race but wasn't going to redeem, so I bought that from her and decided to race. I ran part of the course with Shannon last weekend and I've run races on parts of this course... so I definitely knew it was hilly. When I bought the voucher and registered, there was only a 10% chance of rain for race day. As the week progressed and race day grew closer, the chance of rain was up to 80%. I've never been running in the rain, so I had zero rain gear. I searched online and asked for advice on Facebook. The only thing I needed to buy was a water resistant jacket. I found one I loved at the Nike outlet- purple and on sale.
The temperature was in the upper 40's on race morning. I'd read that you shouldn't dress any warmer for running in the rain, but my history of getting cold easily led me to believe that was advice for everyone else and I should still dress warmly. It turns out, I should follow the advice. I decided to wear a long sleeve top, my new jacket, a hat, gloves, full tights, and a skirt. Early in the race, when I was running hard, I was hot. If I had it to do over, I would wear short sleeves with the jacket and gloves and either just the skirt or the skirt with capris. It was only light rain to drizzle during the race, never a full on downpour. Other than the one time I stepped in a puddle (so didn't see it, and exclaimed "sh!t" in suprirse- police officer laughed at me) I kind of liked it.
Just before the race, Jake spotted Victoria. We lined up next to each other, at the back of the pack (small race with only 233 finishers I believe). I went into this race with the idea of setting a PR, despite it being a tough course. So when we crossed the start line, I took off. After 15 minutes of climbing the biggest inclines of the course, I was sucking wind and hurting. I took my first walk break and decided to switch to the 4:1 ratio I'd been playing with. I kept my running pace in the 8's to accommodate for my walk breaks and still keep my pace in PR range. It worked for a few miles, but everything was hurting. I remember my right shoulder and neck feeling incredibly tight and my back and legs aching. Victoria passed me at about 55 minutes. A long and straight stretch of the race was on El Dorado. That beat me down. Looking at the elevation chart, it appears to be downhill. There's no way! I nearly got hit by a car that turned onto El Dorado and picked the runner's lane instead of the car lane. I hopped onto a curb and the driver figured out she was wrong. The police officer at that intersection apologized for the car, which was nice. I was really surprised that much of the course was on the road instead of sidewalks. There was a ton of police and volunteer presence. But by this point, the runners were spreading thin. I could usually see somebody ahead of me and behind me. I saw Jake while I was on El Dorado and he took a couple pictures of me. I saw him again around mile 10. Somewhere in the middle of that I ran with Robin for a little bit. In the 9-10 mile range my calves started to cramp. It slowed me to a walk. I tried stretching. Nothing was working. I'd try to run a little, but that hurt more, so I was back to walking. Getting to the 12 mile marker was a big mental boost, as I knew I could make it another mile to the finish. Through all of the walking, I'd been passed and passed. I could no longer see anyone behind me and convinced myself I was DFL (dead fu**ing last) (Thank you for the term, Libby). I picked it up to a slow jog for a half mile or so, walked a little, then picked up the jog again. I was freezing and ready to be done, so I just tried to put the pain out of my head and concentrate on moving toward the finish line. I finally made it- in 2:34:46. It turns out I wasn't last, there were 27 people behind me. It also turns out that was my second fastest half marathon time. In looking at my splits, I'm surprised that my walking miles weren't slower, though I think I could have finished a good 10 minutes faster had I been able to run instead of walk.
By the end of the race I was cold, miserable, and beat down by my performance. I questioned why I had just registered for Rock n Roll Dallas, why I thought a sub-2 half was anywhere within reach, why I was running a 203 mile relay with a great group of girls, and why I thought I could run a marathon. I felt like a bad runner, one who has no business tackling crazy things like these. I've done some soul searching since then and come to a conclusion. I'm breaking up with Speed. My relationship with Speed is verbally abusive. Speed is physically abusive to me. He played a big role in my stress fracture. Goodbye Speed and our abusive relationship. I'm going to hang out with Distance. I enjoy our time together and he doesn't hurt me the way you do. Our dates last longer because I don't obsess over pace and I take walk breaks, but he's the one I really love, so more time is fine. No, it's great. Next weekend I'll embrace Distance with 15 miles, my longest run so far.