Race Day, Recap, Run!

Wine Country Half- Recap

Otherwise known as the tale of 8 seconds.

I registered for Wine Country knowing that it might not be the best idea given my recent hamstring issues.   But, it being the very first half marathon I ran,  I really do love this race, hills and all.   I wanted to run it partially because of that and partially because it was year number 5 for me and you can’t break that streak right?   That said, I was going into it with low expectations.   I had a rough week with troubles sleeping.  I pushed too hard on Thursday’s run and was feeling it in left leg.   Plus the weather was predicted to be hot and cloudy.  I was ok with the hot forecast but not so much with the cloudy.  Clouds = moisture = asthma.  So, very low expectations.   Which I was ok with as I have been having some thought battles with myself while running lately.  But more on that next time.

Saturday- So not a restful day before the race.  I worked in the morning and had a full afternoon of errands and tire rotations.   Lunch was mostly skipped due to that- smoothie for the win!  In fact I ate less on Friday and Saturday then I have in weeks, let alone leading up to a race.   I tried to catch part of the tennis team’s match but it was seriously over 90 and there was no shade at the courts so I only lasted 20 minutes.  I picked up my bib and swag and did manage to drive the course.  Yes, I know it well but I wanted to make sure there were no surprises.   The plan was to update my playlist and go to bed early that night.  Ha!  I have been having troubles with my phone and it crapped out on me.  It took me 2 hours to get it running again and by then it was late.   So no new playlist.   I ran to a mix of Fall Out Boy, Set It Off and Papa Roach.

Prior to the start
Prior to the start

Race morning came all to soon.  Since it was so close, I slept as long as possible before heading out.     The lane to the grass lot where we park always backs up so I briefly thought about parking in a little lot about 1/4 of mile from the start line.  I figured that wouldn’t be a horrible warm up but nah.   I parked in the grass lot and wound up a stones throw from the start line.  Literally, I could have thrown a rock and hit it.    I ate nothing prior to the race and when I could have gotten out and warmed up a bit I stayed in my warm car.   The morning had dawned a little cooler than expected.  I was just feeling meh.   It was kind of nice not being nervous.  🙂  While I had low expectations, I had told my mother I was aiming for 2:15, but really thought it would be more like 2:20.  The plan was to text her at mile 10.    I headed to the start about 3 minutes til.   I met up with H real quick to say hi and then we were off!

Smiles at the end.  :)
Smiles at the end. 🙂

Miles 1-3-  9:36, 9:13, 9:15

And I went out of the gate too fast, what else is new?   There is fairly large hill at the end of this race so I always intentionally positive split this race.   A slightly fast start is one thing but this was ridiculous.    There was no way I was maintaining that.   Annoyingly enough, I had to stop and tie my shoe during mile 1.  Ugh.   The hills start in mile 2.   I kept telling myself to slow down but my legs would just not listen.  I even went so far as to try and bottleneck myself.    I tried to intentionally run behind groups of people in an effort to slow down.   No luck, but first hill done.

Miles 4-6-   9:19, 9:27, 9:28

Still too fast.  I caught up to H around mile 3, it was a nice little check in.  I admitted that I was going way too fast for my current fitness but had decided to just go with it.   I figured I would hang on as long as I could but knew I was probably going to hit the wall hard at some point.   But I was enjoying the views, the vineyards and the clouds and the morning sun and was having fun so I decided to go with it.    My breathing was on point, so I figured why not?  Just past mile 4, we turn onto the airport road.   The road is Trashed.  It makes the pic I posted the other day look like a walk in the park.    After running this race so many times, I had a plan.  I hopped onto the dirt shoulder and ran there for the next 3 miles.    It was shale and slightly uneven but it was awesome.   I lost H around mile 5.   IMG_9747Miles 7-9-  9:25, 9:05, 9:03

Miles 6-9 are a series of rolling hills, I guess all my hills are finally paying off.  Where the heck did those splits come from?!  I was still feeling good but lost all math computing skills.   I hit mile 8 at 1:15.  Looking at my watch, I quickly did the math and knew that if I maintained a 10 minute pace I would hit the finish line around 2:07.  However that didn’t take into account the big hill at the end so my math told me there was no way I was PR’ing or beating last year’s course time.   I was really ok with that.  I felt great and was having fun running and rocking out to music and that was the point.   Do you see the problem with my math?

Just one of the on course spectators.  (taken Saturday)
Just one of the on course spectators. (taken Saturday)

Miles 10-12-  9:44, 10:09, 9:34

Oh hello wall, nice of you to join me.  My breathing had gone from nice and easy to labored.  My left leg was feeling tighter as well.  Both in my hamstring and my IT band.  I took a walk break, texted my mother, and used my inhaler and then pushed on.  I also used that walk break to restart a particular song.  I have developed a weird fascination with Why Worry by Set It Off, I deliberately started the race with it and used that break to start it over.   Guess it helped because look at mile 12.

Mile 13-  11:01

Damn hill.  I walk this hill every year.  If my math is right (ha!) the hill has an elevation grade of 10+%.  It kicks my ass just walking.  My heart rate usually increases so I end up walking more at the top too.  But I know that going in so seeing an 11 minute split was fine by me.   A girl ran past me on the way up, telling me not to give up and just keep running.  Nope, I knew what I was doing worked for me.    She started walking about 10 feet later.  See, the hill is just a beast.  I started running again but I was tired and it was so much harder than before.  I pushed on though because I was so close to the finish.   I really should have paid more attention to my watch.  It didn’t occur to me until I was crossing the line what time it was.  I crossed the finish line at 2:06:05.

Just a little tired.
Just a little tired.

Are you FREAKIN’ kidding me?!  My PR is 2:05:57.  8 seconds.  8 seconds.

This race gives you a medal and a wine glass and a bottle of water at the finish.  I always feel like I am going to drop something.  My mother usually ends up rescuing the wine glass.   🙂   I had seen H a little ways behind me during the tiny out and back so I knew she wasn’t too far behind me, so we waited for her to cross.   After chatting a bit, she headed off to find her co-workers and I headed off to stretch in the grass.  IMG_9737I can think of 2-3 places where I could have shaved off 8 seconds.  My math had been so off from mile 8 on and I just didn’t pay enough attention to my watch after that to know how close I was to my PR.  Partly because I hadn’t thought I had a shot in hell of getting anywhere near that time.  It honestly hadn’t occurred to me.   That said, I am damn proud of how I ran this race.   Yes, I started too fast but for the most part, I managed to maintain that.  I ran the hills smart and I think running in the dirt for so long was a huge help.  I also finally ran the freaking tangents!  Which for the windy part meant running along the center yellow line.  I just had to dodge a car every now and again.   🙂

Hills, hills, and more hills, I still love this race.    Great set up, great views and always a good crowd.  Did I mention that the male/ female winner gets their weight in wine?  I will be back for another Wine Country.

Run!, Slacker

Feeling the Need…To be Stupid

I stopped speed work a few weeks ago when I started feeling tightness in my hamstring.   After some slower weeks, and more stretching, I figured I would give it a shot.  The plan called for 6-8 400 repeats with a 200 m recovery jog in between.  Followed by 3 200m strides with a 200 recovery in between, all sandwiched between a 15 minute warmup and 15 minute cool down.  That sounded like too much of a push so I adapted it some- you know Slacker Style.   🙂IMG_9632My warm up turned into just over 16 minutes as I ran through a horde of gnats.  I then ran while flailing my arms around my face trying to disperse them.  Yuck!!    Oh well, the people in the playground area probably had a good laugh.    Since I was running the intervals at the lake path I figured I would run the intervals on the back side of the lake and take a longer recovery on the front side when running through the parking lot and playground area.  I completed 4 400m intervals and 3 200m strides.  Except the lake path isn’t the track and I don’t know how to program that into my Garmin so it was actually 4 1/4 mile repeats and 3 .12 mile strides.   That is what my brain was capable of computing.  🙂

So for my 1/4 mile intervals I hit 2:04, 2:08, 2:16, 1:59– 8:00-8:24 pace.

My strides (.11-.13 miles) came in at :49, :59, :59—7:32-7:58 pace.

I also didn’t check what pace I should have been doing so there was less pressure on me.   Which was a good thing because for a 1:59:00 half I should have been hitting 1:30 for each 400, ouch.   And when I plug in my last half, I should have been hitting 1:46.  Double ouch.   Whatever, the paces I hit were still faster paces than I have been hitting lately.  Bonus was that my hamstring never complained while running or later that evening.    I wasn’t all out sprinting ever, I made sure to keep my breathing fairly steady and I didn’t want to aggravate my left leg.  So I am happy with how my return to speed work went.  I was super excited that I finally hit 5 miles at 49:30, I was under 50 minutes for the first time in months, but I hit lap instead of stop on my Garmin.  Boo!!!

On to Thursday
On to Thursday
Stupid!!
Stupid!!

Thursday was supposed to be an easy run.  I was looking forward to both the easy pace and that I had a half day so I was able to head to the river path to get in a run.    It was a little warm but there was a pretty good breeze.   I really do like that path, it has black top, concrete and dirt.  It’s a good mix.  There are more than a few intersections (housing tracks) to cross but most of the cars always let me cross first.  Even when I would like the break.  🙂     I had a problem with the easy part though.   Stupid, stupid, stupid.  I should have been aiming for a 10:45 average this close to a race.   What do I do?  Run an 8:26 mile.  Seriously!?  Yes, I know I should have slowed down but once I was part way through, I wanted to finish it.   Stupid.   What was I thinking?

So, yeah, I was a little sore today.   I made sure to stretch and ice a bit.  I wore compression socks inside my boots as well- pinstripe dress and argyle compressions socks.  I’m so stylish.    Then again who dressed me for Thursday’s run-

Not even close!
Not even close!

Stupidity aside, I am looking forward to the race.  I am not treating it like a race but a long run.    Just with a couple hundred friends and aid stations along the way.   I love this race and I say this knowing the hill at the end will kick my ass, just like it has before.     I like to call it the death hill, partly because of its’ incline and partly because it’s at mile 12.       It’s time to add a new wine glass to my collection, too bad I don’t drink.    🙂   I just wish I didn’t have such a busy day tomorrow.   With work and errands and packet pick up, I already feel short on time.  Crap- I need to go to sleep!

For reasons why I am so nostalgic about Wine Country, read here and here.

Who else is racing this weekend? If you’re in CA, it’s gonna be a hot one!

Ever done the exact wrong thing on your last workout before a race?

Did you ever notice that average pace on the splits screen is different than that on the main screen?  The main screen has Thursday’s average pace at 10:18 but above says 10:47. 

Run!, Slacker

Slow and Easy

While Saturday’s easy run had gone fairly well I was still nervous about my long run.  How were my legs going to handle it?   I knew the planned progression wasn’t going to happen but I was hoping to run long-ish and easy.

An old friend was coming to town for the weekend and we had been messaging about running together.  We have tried this before but never made it work.    We always seem to miss each other.  She ran SLO the year before I did, I ran City to the Sea the year before she did.   We did run into each other at my first Super Fun Run but she was running the 10k and I was running the 5K.   She’s running Wine Country next weekend and was aiming for 8-11 miles.   I said I would be slow but hang on if that was ok with her.  coldrunSeriously, there’s a reason I don’t run in the mornings.  It’s freakin’ cold!!   Yes, I realize that high 30’s, low 40’s is a heat wave to everyone outside of California.  Again let me state that I am a big baby in the cold!  For a variety of reasons we both had rough nights and there were more messages going back and forth on Sunday morning.   🙂  But we stuck it out and met up to run.   I planned the route and figured that my habit of running in circles up hills probably wouldn’t be the best idea.  So I mapped out a very lopsided figure 8 that led us across town and back for a little over 8 miles.  If we were feeling good I had ways to add on miles.    IMG_9458I was stiff and had to take numerous walking breaks.  My stomach has also been an asshat since Saturday night so that slowed me down as well.  I felt so bad for slowing her down.    Other than those 2 things I felt pretty good though which was cool considering how much I had not wanted to get out of bed.   If I am thinking optimistically then it’s not all my fault that we were slower than hoped for.  I live in a small town, proven by the fact that an 8 mile route can take me across town and back.  However, within that route we had 8 traffic light stops.  8.    That said, I wouldn’t mind running that route again.

We finished our run and chatted for a bit before heading our separate ways.   It was nice running with someone.  I so very rarely do that.  It does a little more energy to talk and run at the sametime- it should count as crosstraining- ha!   Maybe we can try that the next time she is in town.   Also, I would not have run in the morning had I not been meeting her.  I am so not a morning person.  I don’t think I ever will be.  Races are my extent of early mornings.

Running before made this seem a little less indulgent.
Running before made this seem a little less indulgent.

I am still on the fence about Wine Country.  I actually felt ok after Sunday’s run.   I stretched really well and rolled a little.    It’s probably just me using it wrong but my roller has not been helping.    I have a feeling I am going to put off the decision-making as long as possible.  On a random note- my Garmin shows 2 different average paces for the same run?!

What is your favorite time to run?

How many traffic lights do you usually have to deal with?

Can you run and hold a conversation at the same time?

Run!, Slacker

So This is Tight

I’m currently riding the line between denial and hypochondria.

I’ve been running for almost 5 years now, reading running magazines about the same amount of time, and running blogs for about 2.    I have probably read a hundred or so posts about people feeling tight and achy.  Achy, I understood.  Tight?  I would sympathize with the runner but honestly, I had no real idea of what tight was.     I can no longer claim that ignorance.FullSizeRender (3)I felt pretty good after my long run on Saturday but I know I didn’t stretch enough right after as I headed off to the movies fairly soon.  I was able to put my feet up while there and I stretched and rolled that night but Sunday was rough.    My hamstrings felt so tight and my left ankle was hurting.    I was torn between heading out for my easy run and taking another rest day.   The number hog in me really wanted the 5 miles, my ankle did not.   This week was scheduled as a recovery week- I could take an extra day off if I felt I needed it.   I finally decided to move that extra day to last week and I took Sunday off.  I spent the evening with an ice pack on my ankle.     IMG_9377I headed out on Tuesday for the easy 3 from work again.  I thought it would be better to push my speed work to the second run of the week.   Special me forgot to use my inhaler before setting out, so I had to take a break 1.5 mile in.  Ugh, butphoto op right?   Heading back turned into a pain fest.  My calves were so tight, my Achilles’s were (was?) hurting and my left hamstring was pissed.  No!    I made it back to my car and stretched before heading home and then stretching more and rolling.

And this is in my new book- I knew I hated that damn swinging pony tail!
And this is in my new book- I knew I hated that damn swinging pony tail!

I am beginning to worry.  I have a race in 2 weeks and SLO in 58 days.   Wednesday was a normal rest day and I made sure to roll and stretch really well.  I also completed week 1- workout 1 of my new Strength for Runners book.  I had a tempo/ mile repeats on tap for tonight and decided that would just be stupid.   I can feel my hamstring throughout the day every day.  Not necessarily pain but it’s not happy.   I have a pretty good pain tolerance though so I could be misjudging that as well.IMG_9403I headed to the lake tonight for some more easy miles.  I knew I was going to run out of daylight so I figured I may only get in 2 miles or so.  The plan was to run until something hurt or until I could no longer see out of my sunglasses.  I figured that would be a good way to measure the darkness.  😛    I felt achy at the start but felt better as I warmed up.  I pushed on for 3.25 miles.  I probably should have skipped the last lap of the lake.  It was pretty dark.    I stopped my watch .25 from my car and walked it back.    More stretching and rolling followed tonight.IMG_9400I am less worried about my ankle than I am the tightness.   I roll my ankles on a pretty much daily basis so I am used to that.  This tightness needs to go away.    Sometimes I feel like a sharp pull and I fear I might hear a snap.   I can’t decide which side to swing to- denial that it might be something or hypochondria and I am making a mountain out of a mole hill.   I know I sometimes have issues with my left leg.   Could this be more of the same?    And sadly even the comfy chair has betrayed me.  All tv watching, blogging, reading and attempts at crocheting this past week have happened while sitting on the floor.    Oddly enough, cross-legged on the floor is only comfortable position.

I haven’t actually registered for the half in two weeks.  I want to run it because it’s a race I love and this would be my 5th year running it.  I just can’t decide what to do.    I also feel super lazy that I have now skipped one easy run, shortened another and turned a 6 mile speed run into a 3 mile easy run.   This weekend calls for a 90 minute progression run and it makes me nervous.

So, thoughts?  Is it all in my head?

Have any other stretching or rolling ideas?  I have a foam roller, a stick and a tennis ball.

Would you run the half in 2 weeks?