Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Marla Runyan Half Marathon 2012

Remember how I wasn't going into this race with any expectations? This was mostly because my expectations tend to lead to disappointments and disappointments tend to lead to eating too many cookies so I took the "let's just see what happens" route.

The Marla Runyan Half-Marathon took place on Sunday October 21, 2012. This was an inaugural event so quite honestly I wasn't sure what to expect. Since I was out of town Saturday during the packet pick-up I had to plan on getting to race early to pick up my race bib.

It was a breeze picking up my goodie bag, race bib, and timing chip. After I downed 2 bottles of water and hit the glorious port-a-potty I headed to the start line.

We actually started on time! It was scheduled to start at 7AM and I think we took off around 7:03AM. For an inaugural small event this was a major plus in my book.

I'd guess there were only a couple hundred runners at most. I could see the front and back of the group from where I started in the race. Maybe it's just me, but I like the smaller races. There's a lot more breathing room especially near the beginning. In the Disney Half I was weaving through people for at least a few miles since it was so congested.

I swore that I was going to see how long I could last without music this race. I swore that I didn't need music. I swore I'd last at least a few miles without it.

Turns out I'm a wimp and had the ipod on about half a mile in. The first mile flew by but I knew I was starting out way too fast, of course. The announcer even reminded everyone minutes before that at the start, "pace yourself!"

The start of races can be so tricky sometimes because your trying to find your pace but you almost can't help but pace with those around you. Anyone else fall into this trap? Maybe it's just me.

Oddly enough, mile 4 was my slowest mile in this race. Usually this is where I pick it up but I think it might have had to do with the incline during this part of the race. You don't really see it, but you feel it. Or, maybe I really am just a wimp again and prefer to run only music filled, easy, flat courses. Either way, it kicked my butt.

The middle was unscenic and kind of boring but I kept trucking along. Felt pretty strong miles 5-8. I actually passed people. Usually people pass me by this point. Then at 9 my legs were starting to feel that incline and by 10 I felt pretty tanked. I kept going though, even talking to myself (out loud at times):

Don't you dare give up

You made it this far, keep going

Come on, do you want this or not?

Please tell me I'm not the only one who talks to herself out loud when it gets tough in a race! When it becomes more of a mental race I tend to pick a song and stick with it, even repeat it a few times just to keep myself going. It's always a song I least expect too! This race it was "Hall of Fame" by The Script.

Even though I felt pretty tanked, I finished up at 2:05 which was a 5 minute PR for me! I haven't run that strong (for me) in months! My last few races were in the 2:11-2:16 range.

Since this was my 5th half-marathon, I finally feel like I have a better handle on what I need to do to stay healthy while slowly improving. Drastic improvements aren't worth it to me because when I run too hard, I get injured. I'd rather slowly increase my pace, be able to run more miles and keep the chance of injury at bay.

Recovery wise...
I'm taking 2 days off of running and see how my body feels on Wednesday. If it feels good I'll probably do some recovery miles. Definitely no speed work just yet. I'm feeling sore but its symmetrical. Always note whether your soreness is felt the same on both sides of your body. It's obviously not fool proof but that's just a tip when noting whether you have an injury or not.

I received a bunch of questions about speed work so I'll do my best to put together some tips for you this week!

Also, thank you to those of you who recommended I switch to Hammer gels. They were so much easier on my stomach! 

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