Weekly Recap and the Return of Humidity

I am so glad that I didn’t sign up for the Maryland Half Marathon, which was today. I haven’t felt at all like I was ready to race, and there was no reason to push it. Last year this race was on the first humid day of the season. The same went for today. After maybe 2-3 weeks of nice spring weather, I went outside  this morning to that all-too-familiar feeling of getting hit in the face with thick, humid air. The temp was about 66 degrees, but I started sweating immediately.

harborfromcanton 

I made it 11.5 miles and was super gross by the end. Do you know the feeling where your clothes weight 10 pounds more than when you put them on because they are soaked? That was what happened today.

run5.10.14

Looking back on this week, its nothing exciting because its pretty much what I planned out in my post on Sunday:

Sunday: Rest day

Monday: 4.21 miles (8:50 pace), core and glutes, Body pump in PM

Tuesday: 5.1 miles (9:10 pace), core and glutes

Wednesday: 25 min elliptical, Body Pump, CX Works. Hot Yoga in PM

Thursday: 5.5 miles: After a 10 min warm up, I alternated 4 minutes hard with 2 minutes easy, 5 times and then ran a 10 minute cool down (8:44 average pace)

Friday: 3.8 miles (9:08 pace), Yoga in PM

Saturday: 11.5 miles (9:03 pace)

Total: 30.11

As I said last week I haven’t been feeling 100% so I went for a consultation with a different chiropractor (more on that in another post). To help see my progress I am starting to track how I feel each day during/after my run. Hopefully I can see that the treatment I am getting/what I am doing is helping to make progress. Today I felt great until the last 2 miles, at which point my left leg gradually started to get tight. A few weeks ago it felt that way after 4 miles, so this is much better.

My goal at this point is to feel good enough to run the Baltimore 10 miler on June 14th. I know what to expect from the race because I have ran it twice (its hilly, and I know it will be hot in mid-June) but if I’m feeling good it will be an opportunity to see where I am speed-wise in a shorter distance race.

IMG_0150[1]Baltimore 10 miler 2012

So tell me, how was your week in running/training/working out?

Does it get really humid where you live?

Note: I just switched to self-hosting (but didn’t change any of my blog format yet). Please let know if you are having any issues getting to my blog!

My First “Thinking Out Loud” Post

I have been reading posts linked to ‘Thursdays are for Thinking Out Loud” hosted by Amanda at Running With Spoons but have never joined in. Since I have a bunch of random thoughts going on today, I thought it would be a great day to try it out!

1. I am trying to get back into doing more yoga- like going to real-life classes and doing more than 30 minutes at a time. I signed up for a 30 day membership at a nearby yoga studio, which means I can go as much as I want until May 29th. On Tuesday I took a 60 minute hot vinyasa class.  It felt really good to get in a deep stretch. I also noticed something amazing- my core felt way stronger than the last time I took yoga classes. (Note- I love the reflexion yoga classes that I have been doing, but they don’t challenge me as much as regular classes. And I tend to repeat the same videos, so of course its less challenging. It is really convenient, but lately I wanted something more.) So anyway, I was actually able to do crow pose!

Yoga Crow Pose

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It was crazy- I have never been able to do it before and on the first try it just kind of happened! And then something more amazing happened. I managed to pull off this pose (side crow):

source

So maybe all this core work is actually doing something?!

2. While the class was great and I felt like there were many good things happening, I felt really weird after. (Besides feeling like I was going to die because the room was so hot). I felt like I was all uneven walking home. I tried to explain this to my chiropractor last night, and he just looked at me like I was crazy and didn’t really address it. I think maybe I pulled something out of alignment when I was doing pigeon pose? Who knows. But my the next morning I felt fine. Maybe I just got such a deep stretch my body felt uneven because I had been living with such tight muscles for so long. I’m glad this is a “thinking out loud post”…it justifies the rambling that I just did.

3. Running lately has been mostly great. Since the marathon, I have taken it easy and there have been good days and not so good days. I try to just enjoy the good ones and stay positive when they aren’t good. Each week more of my runs have been good, so I feel like that shows progress.

brooks and pro (1)

I have also been doing more body pump classes and using the elliptical one day a week. I found that if I put it on a high resistance and high incline, and go backwards, it REALLY works my glutes. Strong glutes=a strong runner so I’ll do what I have to do.

4. I signed up for the Philadelphia Marathon!

Photo

I decided to sign up last night because the price went up today. I still have a long time to figure it all out, so I’m not gonna think about it for now. I figure if I want to do another 16 week training cycle, I would start training on August 2nd.

Other than that, I still haven’t signed up for other races, but I’m starting to get the urge to do something. I am trying to wait until I REALLY want to do another race so that I don’t burn out of and get sick of running.

5. I don’t know how it rained as much as it did this week. Like, where does it all come from?! Yesterday it poured ALL day.There were flash flood warnings for about 6 hours and some roads were closed due to flooding.

IMG_2494[1] part of the harbor was flooded this morning

There was even a sinkhole in Baltimore city!

Street 3

source

6. Thank you guys for the feedback about my blog! I think my plan will be to keep everything the same but just move to self-hosted. I appreciate everyone who offered their help- I may need it! I am trying to get a sense of what I am doing before I begin the process.

7. My resistance bands keep breaking. I talked about how I am trying to work on my glute strength, and there are several exercises that I am supposed to do 5 times a day. Well I have gone through about 5 bands now and its really frustrating!

IMG_1749[1]

Does anyone know of an awesome band (the small kind that fits around your ankles) that won’t break?

8. I know I said I rarely talk about wine on this blog. Well I am about to have some tonight, so I thought I would bring it up. We have about 10 bottles of red in our apartment because that is what we have been drinking all winter. I stopped on my way home from work and picked up two bottles of white (sauvignon blanc) to keep in the fridge. Now that the weather is warming up, I’ve been craving white more. So, the question is, on this warm but rainy evening, do we drink red or white?

Rob just came home and told me red, so that guess that’s what it will be!

Thinking-Out-Loud2

Thanks, Amanda, for hosting the link up!

Do you take yoga classes at a studio? Can you do crow pose, and if so, how long did it take you to learn?

What races are you doing in the next few months?

Have you ever seen a sinkhole in real life? I haven’t, but the pictures look pretty scary!

I’ll ask again- any resistance band recommendations?

Wine preference- red, white, or both? For me, its both, but when its hot out I prefer white.

My First “Thinking Out Loud” Post

I have been reading posts linked to ‘Thursdays are for Thinking Out Loud” hosted by Amanda at Running With Spoons but have never joined in. Since I have a bunch of random thoughts going on today, I thought it would be a great day to try it out!

1. I am trying to get back into doing more yoga- like going to real-life classes and doing more than 30 minutes at a time. I signed up for a 30 day membership at a nearby yoga studio, which means I can go as much as I want until May 29th. On Tuesday I took a 60 minute hot vinyasa class.  It felt really good to get in a deep stretch. I also noticed something amazing- my core felt way stronger than the last time I took yoga classes. (Note- I love the reflexion yoga classes that I have been doing, but they don’t challenge me as much as regular classes. And I tend to repeat the same videos, so of course its less challenging. It is really convenient, but lately I wanted something more.) So anyway, I was actually able to do crow pose!

Yoga Crow Pose

source

It was crazy- I have never been able to do it before and on the first try it just kind of happened! And then something more amazing happened. I managed to pull off this pose (side crow):

source

So maybe all this core work is actually doing something?!

2. While the class was great and I felt like there were many good things happening, I felt really weird after. (Besides feeling like I was going to die because the room was so hot). I felt like I was all uneven walking home. I tried to explain this to my chiropractor last night, and he just looked at me like I was crazy and didn’t really address it. I think maybe I pulled something out of alignment when I was doing pigeon pose? Who knows. But my the next morning I felt fine. Maybe I just got such a deep stretch my body felt uneven because I had been living with such tight muscles for so long. I’m glad this is a “thinking out loud post”…it justifies the rambling that I just did.

3. Running lately has been mostly great. Since the marathon, I have taken it easy and there have been good days and not so good days. I try to just enjoy the good ones and stay positive when they aren’t good. Each week more of my runs have been good, so I feel like that shows progress.

brooks and pro (1)

I have also been doing more body pump classes and using the elliptical one day a week. I found that if I put it on a high resistance and high incline, and go backwards, it REALLY works my glutes. Strong glutes=a strong runner so I’ll do what I have to do.

4. I signed up for the Philadelphia Marathon!

Photo

I decided to sign up last night because the price went up today. I still have a long time to figure it all out, so I’m not gonna think about it for now. I figure if I want to do another 16 week training cycle, I would start training on August 2nd.

Other than that, I still haven’t signed up for other races, but I’m starting to get the urge to do something. I am trying to wait until I REALLY want to do another race so that I don’t burn out of and get sick of running.

5. I don’t know how it rained as much as it did this week. Like, where does it all come from?! Yesterday it poured ALL day.There were flash flood warnings for about 6 hours and some roads were closed due to flooding.

IMG_2494[1] part of the harbor was flooded this morning

There was even a sinkhole in Baltimore city!

Street 3

source

6. Thank you guys for the feedback about my blog! I think my plan will be to keep everything the same but just move to self-hosted. I appreciate everyone who offered their help- I may need it! I am trying to get a sense of what I am doing before I begin the process.

7. My resistance bands keep breaking. I talked about how I am trying to work on my glute strength, and there are several exercises that I am supposed to do 5 times a day. Well I have gone through about 5 bands now and its really frustrating!

IMG_1749[1]

Does anyone know of an awesome band (the small kind that fits around your ankles) that won’t break?

8. I know I said I rarely talk about wine on this blog. Well I am about to have some tonight, so I thought I would bring it up. We have about 10 bottles of red in our apartment because that is what we have been drinking all winter. I stopped on my way home from work and picked up two bottles of white (sauvignon blanc) to keep in the fridge. Now that the weather is warming up, I’ve been craving white more. So, the question is, on this warm but rainy evening, do we drink red or white?

Rob just came home and told me red, so that guess that’s what it will be!

Thinking-Out-Loud2

Thanks, Amanda, for hosting the link up!

Do you take yoga classes at a studio? Can you do crow pose, and if so, how long did it take you to learn?

What races are you doing in the next few months?

Have you ever seen a sinkhole in real life? I haven’t, but the pictures look pretty scary!

I’ll ask again- any resistance band recommendations?

Wine preference- red, white, or both? For me, its both, but when its hot out I prefer white.

Race Recovery and Running Plans

It’s been 10 days since the marathon, and I have “felt” recovered for the past 7. However, even though I don’t feel “sore” it is likely that my body is still recovering from the race, so I have been taking it easy. After a few days off and a few days of cross training, I started adding some easy, short runs back into my routine. Since I don’t have any races planned at this point, there is no pressure to get back into training so I feel like I can really take it slow and make sure I am feeling good.

This is how the week and a half after the race has looked:

Monday 4/14: REST…we few back to Baltimore and my legs were definitely sore. I wore compression tights under my jeans for the flight and I think they helped a lot.

Tuesday 4/15: REST (and a really easy 20 minutes of yoga that evening) I was still a little sore but MUCH better than Monday. I wanted to do something to start loosening up my muscles so I pulled up short yoga routine from Reflexion Yoga and followed it up with some foam rolling. This was also the first day I started adding in my glute exercises again…I do them everyday but I don’t make a note of it in my recaps.

Wednesday 4/16: 30 minutes elliptical, 30 minutes CX works class (a core class at my gym through Les Mills) I didn’t feel any soreness anymore by this point.

Thursday 4/17: 50 minutes elliptical

Friday 4/18: 20 minutes elliptical, Body Pump, 30 minutes run/walk on the treadmill

body pump

Saturday 4/19: 30 minutes elliptical (at my parent’s house, they just bought one!), 3 mile hill run, T25, and a circuit workout. I was at my parents with my family and in-laws, and this workout just kind of came together. After I had done the elliptical and run my sister and sister-in-law talked me into trying T25 with them. After we did it they wanted to do a little more so we put together a circuit that took us about 20 minutes. I guess instead of a long run, this will do!

hillsNo hills in Baltimore city, but plenty in Howard County! 

sistersworkout

Sunday 4/20: 60 minute elliptical with strength circuits mixed in

Monday 4/21: 3.55 miles easy

Tuesday 4/22: 4 miles easy in AM, 30 minutes yoga in PM

harborsunriseTuesday’s sunrise run 

Wednesday 4/23: 20 minutes elliptical, Body Pump, CX works

I have been trying to include more strength training and cross training since I am not running as much. Unfortunately, I feel like spin classes aggravate my quad so I haven’t been doing that. Our gym pool opens May 1st, so maybe once it gets warm enough I will add swimming into my routine. (I am a terrible swimmer!)

So, what’s next?

I have nothing on my race calendar at this point, although I am trying to come up with some race plans. I would like to do 2-3 more half marathons this year, one more marathon (try to get that sub-4!), and several shorter distances. My priority is staying healthy, so I haven been trying to make sure my leg is 100% before signing up for anything and then pressuring myself into running more than I should.

It’s hard to tell if my leg is better, because I have been running so little. I think as I start to add some more running in I will have a better idea of how its going. I do have a few races on the horizon:

Marathon:

I think I am going to plan to run the Philadelphia Marathon on November 23rd. This was my first marathon in 2011, and it is a great course at a great time of the year. Rob already signed up for it, so if I do a fall marathon, this will be it. The price goes up after April 30th, so I hope to decide by then.

marathon

Philadelphia Marathon, 2011- having way too much fun running 26.2 miles! 

Half-marathons:

For the past two years I have run in the Maryland Half Marathon, which is really close to where my parents live. Its a very hill course, and each time I cross the finish line I swear I will never run it again. This year its on May 10th, which is the day before Mother’s Day, so I will probably be at my parent’s that weekend anyway. I won’t particularly “train” for it, but I will use it as a great way to practice running on hills. I will probably wait until it gets closer to sign up, since I don’t need to make travel plans or anything.

md half lisa and rob

Maryland Half Marathon, 2012

I will also probably suck it up and run in the Baltimore Half Marathon on October 18th. I have done this race twice (plus when I ran in the full it covered most of the half course) and its another hilly one. It also comes at a good time if I run the Philadelphia Marathon in November. I also live super close to the course which makes it really convenient.

DSC02131

Baltimore Half Marathon, 2011 

Other shorter distances:

I don’t feel like I am at a point where I could PR at a 5k or 10k any time soon. I would like to do some shorter races just for fun, especially over the summer when its too hot for longer races. I am also eyeing the Charles St 12 on August 9th. Last year was the inaugural race and I missed it because I was on vacation. I’m sure it will be really hot, but it will be an automatic PR since I have never run a 12 mile race before!

The overall goal is, more importantly, to get stronger and stay healthy.

I am also excited to attend the RCCA training in June and then turn my focus to helping others run better!

How do you usually recover from a race? Do you wait a certain number of days before running again?

How far in advance do you sign up for races?

Also- if you are thinking about planning some of your own future races, you should check out Megan’s blog post!: How To Choose Your Next Race

Rock N Roll Raleigh: Race Review and Performance Reflections

This is my last post about this race, but I wanted to note some things that went well and did not go so well about it. This includes race logistics and my own personal race experience.

Rock N Roll Raleigh Marathon: The Pros

Very organized! I thought everything went smoothly, from the expo to the start, throughout the race, the finish, and after party. I loved that the start and finish were close by but not in the same spot.

The location of everything was awesome. As I said above, the start and finish line were close by but about one block apart. There were two hotels available within this vicinity (The Sheraton, where I stayed, and the Marriott). There were also plenty of places to eat right there. Just past the finish line there were places for people to sit and hang out outside. The area was never too crowded and with the sunny day we had many people took advantage and hung out outside.

The start line was spread out really well. It actually looped around the block so some of the corrals were pretty far back. I started in the back of corral 4, and there was no bottlenecking or anything that I experienced. I can’t speak for anyone who started in the later corrals but I haven’t heard any complaints.

The time of the year of the race was ideal for a marathon. Well it should be ideal but due to a rough winter I know many runners could not train how they would have liked. I wouldn’t want to plan a race later than April because by then it is usually really hot. Any earlier and you have to train through the holidays which is tough. So I feel like mid-April should be an ideal time, but as we have seen some years will just make it much harder to train.

-I loved the hotel that we stayed in: The Sheraton Raleigh. I’m sure we could have saved money by staying farther from the start line, but after staying a mile away from the start when we ran the Houston marathon we learned our lesson. (Walking a mile home soaking wet from running in the rain while it was freezing cold out was not fun!) It was so nice to be right there, close to the expo, start, and finish. I also mentioned before that we had access to the club lounge. This meant 24/7 access to bottled water. We didn’t have a fridge in our room, so this was perfect.

Crowd support. I expected there to be good crowd support downtown, but I didn’t know what to expect when we ran the long out and back. I felt like there were people at every mile cheering. It helped to have the bands, too.

image

Doesn’t the course kind of look like a guitar?!

As much as I was dreading the out and back, it was nice to be able to see others on the course. I think I saw the first elite males heading back when I was at mile 13 and they  were at mile 19. So after that point, there were people going in the opposite direction of me most of the time I was running.

Post race snacks- It was nice and spread out at the end! At the Baltimore Marathon, the full and half marathoners finished together (the half marathoners start 2 hours after the full and merge with them at mile 16 or so) so it was soooo crowded at the finish line. I didn’t even get free food because I stood in line for 30 minutes and gave up. At Raleigh I was able to take my time getting water, gatorade, chocolate milk, and a power bar. They also had pizza and cookies (and probably other stuff I didn’t see). Since my stomach was feeling funny from all the gel I ate I preferred liquid calories, but also munched on the power bar. It was also nice that the event staff let me wait at the finish line for Rob so I could take his picture! (They just asked that I stood to the side until I saw him coming).

Rock N Roll Raleigh Marathon: The Cons

-HILLS. You knew this was coming, right?

image

Honestly I don’t feel like this picture does the course justice, and some of you (Michael!)will probably laugh at all of my complaining after seeing this. This just wasn’t what I expected, and was certainly not what I was used to. I feel like I handled it better than I usually handle hills because I did make a point to include them in my training on some of my long runs. Running in the Rock N Roll USA half marathon in DC helped because there was a big hill in that race, and I was able to remember that mentally and tell myself none of these hills were as hard as that one!

There was one part of the race that I think we went 3 miles without water, and this was a part when we really needed it. I think is was around mile 18 and by then it was so hot. I felt ok because I had my camelbak, but I heard many other runners wishing there was water during this part of the race.

It was a long walk to the beer tent. I think it was like 3 blocks from the finish. It was nice that it was spread out from everything else, but I thought it was asking a lot of runners to walk that far after a race:)

medalandbeer

 

My Personal Race Experience: What I Did Right:

Pacing. For a hilly course, I felt like I did well with this. In the Baltimore Marathon, I ran the first half of the race wayyy faster than the second. I hit the wall at mile 16 and couldn’t recover. In this race I was able to keep about the same pace consistently, and even got a little faster at the end.

Fluid and fuel intake. I think I made the right choice to bring my camelbak (which held 50 oz of water and 2 nuun tablets). I also took advantage of the cold water along the course, and drank a little bit of water frequently, so I never felt dehydrated. I also ended up taking a gel every 3.5-4 miles (way more often than in past races) but I think this worked well for me.

camelbak

-Positive self-talk. I was able to keep a positive mindset throughout this race even when it got really hard. In several of my past races recently I have really struggled with the mental side of racing, so I was really happy that I was able to do this.

My Personal Race Experience: What I Did Wrong:

If I was better at math, maybe I would have known what I actually needed to get a sub-4. I don’t know if I would have been able to do it, but I was frustrated that I thought I had it but was a minute off.

Errors in training. If I could go back and re-do my training, there  are a few things I would have done differently. I do want to post at some point about my experience using the Hanson’s Marathon method, but for now I’ll just say that while I thought hitting 60 miles/week was good in some ways, I should have taken more step-back weeks. I think I reached a point 3 weeks before the race when after a great long run, everything started to hurt. Even though it was time for my taper and I took a bunch of days off, I think it was too late. This just added more stress leading up to the race. I don’t think my “injuries” really affected my race, but I think I could have run better if that wasn’t a factor.

Making a bathroom stop. This was the first time EVER that I have had to stop in a race. I usually go one last time right before I head out the door for a run, and never have to go while I am running. On race day I went right before we left the hotel room, but after standing around for 20 minutes I felt like I had to go before the race started, which is never good. I didn’t stop for long, but of course one of the things I thought to myself was that if I didn’t stop maybe I would have run under 4 hours. I don’t think I stopped for a minute and 6 seconds, but of course that sticks out in my mind as something that affected my race time.

As I was writing this post, I went to the Rock N Roll Raleigh website to look for a course map (instead I pulled it from my garmin) and it looks like they may be changing the course for 2015. I would be interested to see if it is less hilly. I don’t really feel the need to do this race again, because there are so many other places I would like to run. I do think it was a great race and if you are looking for  a spring race on the east coast you should definitely consider this one! (But maybe check the new course map so you know what you’re getting into).

I don’t have any more races that I am signed up for at this point, so I am taking it easy and getting my leg healthy. (However, watching the Boston Marathon today was so inspiring and made me want to sign up for everything right now!)

What is the next race you will be running?

Thoughts/comments on the Boston Marathon?!

What is most important to you when you are looking to sign up for a race?

Rock N Roll Raleigh Marathon Race Recap {Part 2}

In my last post I left off at the start line of the race.  I started the race feeling okay, thinking “maybe I will be able to do this thing, after all!”. I actually started with Rob (we usually don’t run together, but we were both hoping to run around a 3:50-4:00 so we started in the same corral). After standing around for 20 minutes I felt like I had to go to the bathroom again, but knew I didn’t have time. I hoped the feeling was just nerves and would go away once I started running.

earlyrace1

Miles 1-8: (9:06, 8:55, 9:06, 9:29, 9:19, 9:24, 9:52, 9:36)

My plan was to try to start out at around a 9:05 pace for the first 8 miles. That would be 20 seconds slower than marathon goal pace, so then the hope was to get down to 8:45 for the middle miles and pick up the pace for the last 8 miles. After my watch beeped at mile 1 I was really excited to see 9:06 which was exactly the pace I wanted to run.

For these miles we were in downtown Raleigh and there were alot of rolling hills. My watch was also going a little crazy- I think the satellites went in and out on some streets. Somewhere around mile 3 I realized my watch was ahead of the course. (Not sure if it was because I wasn’t running the tangents or because of the satellites.) It already felt hot, and so I tried not to worry too much about pace. I knew I was off of my plan but I wanted to run a strong race the whole time. I tried to keep a consistent effort between the uphill and downhills, and kept reminding myself not to go out too fast. I still had a loooong way to go!

Right around mile 6 I stopped for about 45 seconds to go to the bathroom (I knew I wouldn’t make it the whole race, plus I was drinking alot of water). There was no line so I ran right in and out. I had been running near Rob until that point. After I started running again we turned a corner and there was a huge hill. I tried not to look ahead because it was so intimidating. At mile 8 we split with the half marathoners, and I was definitely a little jealous at that point!

midrace

Miles 9-18: (8:59, 9:07, 9:09, 8:49, 9:02, 8:39, 9:09, 8:46, 9:20)

This was the part where I had planned to get down to 8:45. I knew my legs couldn’t handle that pace (plus a faster pace at the end) so I just did what I could. I met up with Rob again at this point because he had made a quick stop also, and I could tell he was sharing the same struggles as me. We were started the long out and back, and it was much quieter without the half marathoners. I was surprised at how much crowd support there was for this part of the race! I felt like there there were people cheering pretty much consistently throughout the whole course which was awesome.

I think my paces for these miles were a reflection of the long hills that we went up and down. Rather than the quick, rolling hills like in the beginning, now we were dealing with long, steady inclines. The sun was getting hotter and there was less shade than in the city. At mile 15 I passed Rob for the last time (and I had a feeling he was planning to slow down, because he said “good luck” as in “ill see you at the finish”). People everywhere were walking by now. Some people looked like they had heat exhaustion, and I’m not at all surprised. I kept checking in with myself to see how I was feeling, and slowed down as needed.

Miles 19-26.2 (9:41, 9:16, 9:04, 9:05, 8:55, 9:16, 8:50, 9:01, 7:29 for last .44)

There was a long climb at mile 19, but we could hear over speakers an announcer at mile 20 who was cheering on runners and calling out their numbers as they passed. She kept saying “you’re at mile 20, the hardest part is over!”. Hearing that gave me a mental boost and I was really happy to pass that 20 mile mark. However, it was far from over! We got back to downtown Raleigh and had to deal with more hills and it was hotter and sunnier (are you seeing the theme here?) I hardly saw anyone running consistently at this point. We joined back up with the half marathoners for the last 4 miles or so.

At mile 22 I started doing the math to see where I was with my time. I knew the 3:50 was not happening, but could I break 4 hours? I realized it was possible. At mile 23 I knew if I kept around a 9:00 pace I could do it. However: remember when I said that runner’s need to be good at math? All of those numbers got really confusing. I have no idea how I came up with that number but maybe it was because my watch was off, but who knows. Anyway, I kept trying to keep that 9:00 pace. I kept thinking about how bad I wanted that sub 4 and how close I was. finishturn

The hardest part of the whole race for me happened at the mile 25 mark. We had just gone up another rough hill, and I was so hot and my legs felt like they couldn’t move anymore. I knew I only had 1.2 miles to go and I really wanted to push it but I was really scared I might fall down. I tried to relax and run slower for a couple minutes until my heart rate came down. My watched beeped for mile 26 but I knew I had more than .2 to go because my watch was off. But I looked down sometime before the actual 26 mile mark and saw 3:55:40. (Spoiler: that’s not what it said). When we passed the 26.1 mark (I knew it was that distance because it the was half-marathoner’s mile 13) and looked at my watch again to see 4:00:xx……turns out my watch must have said 3:59 but I read the 9 as a 5. I was SO angry that I just sprinted to the finish and wanted to scream.

finish

finishline2 

I walked for a minute and got my medal, water, gatorade, and chocolate milk. Over the next few minutes I experienced so many different emotions. Once the frustration of not getting a sub 4 subsided, I realized what I had just accomplished- a 4 minute PR in really rough conditions, and felt proud of myself.

As I waited for Rob to finish I saw some finishers coming through and needing medical attention. I was so grateful to see Rob finish, since I was worried about how the heat could have affected him out on the course.

robfinish1

It wasn’t until much later that I learned that 2 guys in their 30s had passed away during the half-marathon. Its always so sad and scary to hear about those kinds of things happening at races. Especially hearing that they were young and healthy. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of those men.

Rob and I found a place to sit for about 15 minutes while we talked about the race. We headed over to the beer tent (which was like 4 blocks away from the finish!) and then headed back to the hotel (after having to walk up ANOTHER hill!). After showering, we went down the the hotel’s restaurant for food and more beer.

postracebeer

We didn’t do anything else all day- it would have been nice to see more of Raleigh but we figured we saw 26 miles of it during the race! I ended up getting 2 glasses of wine from the club lounge around 7pm and I think we were asleep by 9. We were exhausted!

I am planning to write one more post about the race, which will include some more details about the actual logistics of the race, my personal race reflections, and plans moving forward. I’m sure by then you will be totally done with reading about this race:)

What was the hardest race you have ever ran?

Which do you think makes for a harder race: heat or hills?

Rock N Roll Raleigh Marathon Race Recap {Part 1}

Since I have a lot to say about the Raleigh Marathon, I decided to break it up into more than 1 post. I am going to start by backing up to the days leading to the race. I had left off 3 days before the race, talking about my efforts to stay positive.

On Friday I left work early to go to see my chiropractor for dry needling. I really felt intense muscle spasms/twitches from some of the needles, and apparently this is a good thing (meaning its relaxing the knots in the muscle…or something like that…).

dry needling

After this fun experience, he taped up my leg.  It felt weird after (kind of like I got punched in the leg and then someone put tape all over it).

tape

It was hard to tell if my leg felt better or not, but I hoped for the best. After I left the appointment I went home and packed for the race.

racepacking

We had to leave for the airport around 6am on Saturday, so I decided against doing a 2 mile shake out run. For my previous 3 marathons, I had run 2 easy miles the day before the race. I figured I didn’t need to worry myself more if I had a crappy 2 mile run, plus I could use the extra sleep.

We got into the Raleigh airport around 9:30, and took a cab to our hotel. We were staying at the Sheraton and it was right at the start and finish line. I have never been at a better location for a race. We were able to check into our room right away, and then headed over to the expo (which was at the convention center across the street).

expo

We moved through pretty quickly after getting our bibs and t-shirts. It was a little crowded but not too bad. We decided to get our free beer bracelets at the expo, so we wouldn’t have to worry about showing our IDs or waiting in line after the race.

expo2

We grabbed lunch and found a convenient store to buy some bananas and Gatorade before heading back to the hotel. By the way, our hotel had a club lounge type thing, with free bottled water all day, snacks/fruit all day, and free breakfast. They also had hors d’oeuvres out for a couple hours in the evening and you could purchase wine for $4. The food was more like a dinner- if we weren’t planning to go out for pasta we could have filled up on that stuff!

At this point I was feeling kind of negative about the race. We kept hearing about how hot it would be, plus I was doubting how my leg would hold up. I also had a headache and my low back was bothering me. (Turns out I was PMSing, so that’s never good the day before a race…) Not to mention I had started to see some of the hills of downtown Raleigh first hand.

We spent a few hours relaxing in our hotel room and then headed to an Italian restaurant, which was about 20 steps from our hotel, called La Volta. I had a house salad, and penne with meatballs. Rob had a Caesar salad and penne with Italian sausage- he might have ordered a second serving of it- but who’s judging? Once we were nice and carbo-loaded we went back to the room and got all our stuff ready for the race. I was asleep around 8:30.

raleigh view 1 view of convention center from our hotel room- if you look closely you can see the runners lined up for the porta potties

I woke up at 4:30am feeling optimistic. We had coffee and pre-race fuel (for me- a banana and bagel with peanut butter). After getting ready and warming up a little in the room we headed downstairs to the start line around 6:40.

(First we took some pictures since we had some extra time)

robprerace2

prerace3   

My phone said the temperature was 57, and it felt chilly standing around in a tank top and shorts. The start line was so close to the entrance of our hotel and we were lined up in corral 5 by 6:50. They announced that the race would start a few minutes late to give everyone time to line up. I think the gun went off at 7:10, and I crossed the start line at 7:15. 

racestart

I’ll be back in a day or two with the rest of the recap!

What is your favorite dinner before a race? Pasta with either grilled chicken or meatballs, and salad.

Do you usually eat in the morning before the race starts? I will usually have a bagel and banana with peanut butter at least 2 hours before a half or full marathon.

How long do you usually spend at expos? I always get excited for expos but once I am there I get overwhelmed and want to leave pretty quickly. I think we were there for 20 minutes.