Iron Horse Half Marathon Race Recap

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*Charlotte and I getting ready to cross the mat.*

Because of how much everyone emphasizes the beauty of this race I really wanted to take a ton of pictures of the course. However, due to how badly I undertrained and how frequently I thought about giving up and turning back, I figured stopping at all would be detrimental to my progress. As in I wouldn’t be able to keep going. This is a badass course, don’t let anyone tell you differently. But it was insanely beautiful. Like horses trotting up to you while you run by beautiful. Rolling country hillside beautiful, emphasis on the hills.

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I don’t think the hills were as much my downfall as the distance. I knew it would be mental, and I knew it would be difficult, but I didn’t know how much so. Plus where I was running alone it really started to get at me once I hit those super lonely last few miles. But let’s start from the beginning, shall we?

As a rookie will do, I started out way too fast. I started slowing down and slowing down and pretty soon I was only surrounded by a few people, most of them walkers. Which was discouraging because I can’t walk that fast, and I thought surely there would be people slower than me. And while there were, it was pretty much all old people, which was pretty discouraging too. I know I’m being too hard on myself and the point is that I finished, but when this sport is at least 50% mental, that shit starts to weigh on you.

About mile 2.5 was when people started to pass me in the other direction. The course is two out and backs, so I knew I would see the front runners, I just didn’t think I would see them that soon. (The winner finished in 1:16 by the way.) So we get out to the first turn around and it was already way further than I thought it would feel. But the volunteers were so friendly and encouraging I didn’t feel like much of a slow poke as I was.

It wasn’t until mile 6 or 7 that I had to start walking. At that point my notifications on my app had stopped, well, notifying so I was running blind at that point which was infuriating. But I was ahead of the cut off pacer so I guess that’s all that mattered. Anyway, so I started walking and it was really hard to start running again. It was like my body forgot how to work. My legs and knees felt weird and off kilter. I felt like I was lopsided and was going to fall over. I didn’t, but still.

It wasn’t until about mile 8 or 9 that I started walking more consistently and prolonged. But I just wanted be finished so badly. I started jogging again at the second turn around and kept saying, “I can’t be last, I can’t be last.” About mile 12 my calf seized up and I almost started crying. I was just so tired and beat that I wanted to sit down, call Joel and tell him to pick me up on the way home. I told myself I couldn’t cry because I had to conserve what little hydration I had left, and I knew that I had just done 11 miles and could do a couple more.

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*Sierra and Ellery coming down the pike with me. If I ever questioned whether or not I was a heel striker, I’m pretty sure this answers the question. *

Once I turned the final curve and saw the finish line it was like a dream come true. All the self doubt and worry were gone as I saw my family waiting to run in with me. I was so relieved that I didn’t have to be alone anymore! Which I had been for three hours, other than the middle stretch where Joel hung out with me for a few yards, which was also fantastic. I don’t want to do these things alone anymore. It is so mentally challenging on its own, let alone if you have to fight those thoughts by yourself.

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My final, and I think official time was 3:11:18. No where to go but down right?

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Oh yeah, that’s Jeff Galloway, no big deal.

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xoxo

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Undertraining the Day Away

My doormat, which signifies taking the first step out the door. Even though I go through the garage.

My doormat, which signifies taking the first step out the door. Even though I go through the garage.

I’m on track to post about once a month, so I better make this good, right? Mmmkay. I had a loosely sketched out, bare bones plan to get “ready” for this race on Sunday. The culmination of which should have been yesterday’s 10 mile run. That’s right. 10 miles just 7 days prior to the 13.1 mile race. Taper be dammed. Well don’t worry, it didn’t go down like that. Last weekend we painted all weekend, so needless to say I didn’t feel like making training a priority. So the furthest I’ve run is ~7 miles. Yup. 7 miles, give or take, as training prior to a half marathon. Foolish? Maybe. But it’s what I’ve got.

I also found the hole where Christopher Lloyd comes through to terrorize Dennis the Menace's town. True life.

I also found the hole where Christopher Lloyd comes through to terrorize Dennis the Menace’s town. True life.

When discussing this with some friends who have a few races under their belts, I didn’t feel so bad. “Life happens,” they said. Sometimes it’s injury. Sometimes it’s a new job. Sometimes it’s a family emergency. Either way, you aren’t as prepared as you wanted to be, but you’re still healthy enough to at least attempt your goal. Even if you won’t PR. But let’s be real, this is my first race ever, so it’s going to be a PR so long as I finish. Boom. The only thing standing in my way, other than rolling hills and a finnicky heel, is the 7 mile cut off. In order to finish the race in the designated area and along the planned course, you have to keep at least a 14 minute mile for the first 7 miles. I’m 95% sure that I can do that. All of my training that I’ve done since I found that out was to try to keep my miles under 14 minutes. Which is fine, as long as I don’t have to take any prolonged walk breaks. I’ve been averaging about 12-13 minute miles, but I’m not sweating it if I hang out around 13:45-13:55 because I only need 14. And that’s only in the first 7 miles! So I’m good right? I’m good. I’m slow, but I’m good.

Don't mind my headphone cord...

Don’t mind my headphone cord…

Skinny Runner said to take the first half of the race slower than you planned if you undertrained, just to suss yourself out and give yourself time to acclimate. So I was thinking I would aim for 13:00 instead of 12:00 for the first half, but my concern with that is that by the second half of the race I’ll be too tired to try for the 12:00. Eh. I don’t know. Either way I just want to finish. And finishing will give me a PR, so it’s a win win.

This guy has a new PR every week for hours slept during the day.

This guy has a new PR every week for hours slept during the day.

Let’s go back to the ~7 miles I ran today. They weren’t that great. I think because I went for a quick run yesterday, and I never run on consecutive days. But yesterday felt super awesome. I took off a little too fast and thought to myself, “man I better slow down because I can’t maintain this,” but then I thought about it for another couple of seconds and was all, “wait a second – yes I can! I can keep this up for a mile and then who cares? THIS WILL BE MY FASTEST MILE EVER!” and it was!! Hahah, and then I was gassed and had to walk for a bit. And then it started raining at my turn around so I jogged back home, tired and happy, accomplished and beat. It’s the little victories folks, and mine is a 10:47 mile.

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So that’s my running life for now. Maybe I’ll be able to update after the race – hopefully I’ll be alive! xoxo

Almost Zen Like

WHEW! How did I work out while working full time before?? Yikes. Working 8 hours a day is one thing, but two, 12-hour shifts back to back made it difficult to move away from the couch for anything other than a shower. Anyone else work 12 hour (or more) days? How do you fit in your workouts? Or do you just work out on days that you’re not making money? Not to mention if you work a different shift than days – man that would be tough. One of the nurses mentioned that they used to run 40+ miles a week so I’ll be asking her how she fit that in with shift work.

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Nagging Calves and Cold Weather

Could I BE wearing any more colors? Haha, I also had on hot pink shoes with lime green socks.

Could I BE wearing any more colors? Haha, I also had on hot pink shoes with lime green socks.

BRRRRRR!! It was BRISK this morning! Haha, I dressed for the temperature that was on my clock (it has a probe outside) but I think it was in the sun or something because it was much colder in real life than on the screen. Yeesh. But I got my 2 miles in, and I was a little quicker today. I think if anything the cold increases my speed because I just want to go inside!! Took a slightly different route to incorporate more hills and felt really good. Continue reading