Tacky Light Run

IMG_20131215_154957_703Kurt and I had been pretty excited about this race for a while. It’s a 6K run through a neighborhood all decked out with tacky Christmas lights. Participants are encouraged to wear tacky holiday attire. The more lights, jingle and just plain tackiness, the better.

Kurt had ordered all kinds of lighted things for us to wear, and we’d made a trip to Goodwill to pick up tacky red and green outfits. We were all set for a festive, fun evening.

Then we checked the weather. A week out, they were calling for rain. But the forecast is never right, especially so far out.

For a while it looked like we would get the bulk of the rain in the morning, and it would taper off in time for the race.

The day of the race, the forecast changed. Now they were calling for light rain in the morning, changing to a more steady rain in the afternoon and evening hours, and tapering off by midnight.

The race was scheduled for 6pm rain, snow or shine.

It was raining pretty hard as we drove to Richmond. We parked at the community college, changed clothes in the car, opened our umbrellas and made a dash for the shuttle bus.

My feet were soaked by the time we got to the bus. Without my coat, I was freezing.

It was a short (warm and delightful) bus ride to the event site. Once we arrived, I didn’t want to get off the bus.

IMG_20131214_163903_132But Santa was there to greet us.

We made our way over to packet pick-up and got our numbers. Each participant was also given a couple of glow sticks and a light-up bracelet.

We then needed to attach our race numbers to our shirts, which was impossible to do holding umbrellas. We looked around for a place out of the rain, but there wasn’t a public tent. We eventually found a vendor tent without anybody in it, and ducked in there. The vendor came back after a few minutes, but he was very nice and told us to stay as long as we needed to. Another lady came by and told us that we should get some pre-race cookies and Starbucks coffee. We found the cookies, (and each ate one) but didn’t see the coffee. We did find a vendor selling coffee, though. I bought a cup to warm me up.

We soon realized that we’d arrived too early. There wasn’t anything to do but walk around to try to stay as warm as possible.

A lot of work had been put into the event site. The lights and decorations were pretty spectacular. There were a lot of great photo spots. I tried to take pictures, but I had to keep taking my gloves off, and it was hard to keep my phone dry.  All the pictures came out blurry.

If it wasn’t raining, it would have been a lot of fun. Even in the rain, it was still cool to see everybody decked out in gaudy Christmas costumes and lights.

tackylightrun2013One group of participants had made a sleigh. They were all dressed as the reindeer pulling the sleigh, and a dummy dressed as grandma was sticking out from underneath. It was really creative and cool! I thought it was something the race directors had put together. I didn’t realize until later that it was just a costume. Those reindeer definitely should have won a prize!

IMG_20131214_173850_921Sorry about the blurry picture. If you look closely you can sort of see grandma’s feet hanging out from the back of the sleigh.

As we lined up for the race start, I was also impressed with how many people had come out to run in pretty much the worst possible weather conditions.

Once we started running, I was even more impressed by all the neighborhood people who were outside cheering for all the runners. There were so many lights and people lining the streets playing Christmas music and cheering. Lots of kids were holding their hands out for high-fives from the runners.

It was such a cool experience to run through the streets in the dark and to look ahead and see hundreds of runners all lit up, and house after house with awesome lights and decorations.

I soon discovered that it’s really hard to run in a wig that kept sliding off my head, and about 8 strands of lights and beads around my neck that kept bouncing.

There was a cookie and water stop during the race. It was the first cookie I’d ever tried to eat during a run. It was yummy, but not very easy to eat.

We stopped for a picture in front of a stretch of particularly brightly lit houses. Unfortunately, none of my pictures came out very good.

IMG_20131214_182413_585I had taken my wig and sunglasses off during the run, so we stopped again a little before the finish to put them back on. There was a long, lit-up chute everybody got to run through in the final stretch.

IMG_20131214_172801_524Santa was standing at the finish giving all the runners a high-five as they finished.

IMG_20131214_184835_101The medals were gingerbread houses.

IMG_20131215_155243_046They make great tree ornaments.

IMG_20131215_155430_079I didn’t wear my Garmin, and I don’t think the race was timed at all.

After we finished, we picked up our t-shirts, got some water, went to the post-race food tent (more cookies!), and took a spin around all the vendor booths again.

So, the food offered before the race? Cookies. During the race? Cookies. After the race? Cookies. I felt like we were in some crazy Christmas Land where everybody eats Christmas cookies (and nothing but Christmas cookies) all day long. Sort of like Buddy in the movie Elf.

We picked up our checked bags, which had been placed in plastic bags, but then set out on tables in the rain. The dry clothes we were planning to change into were not exactly dry.

We really wanted to stay for a while and maybe catch the awards ceremony, but we were both wet, cold and tired, so we headed back to the shuttle bus.

The Tacky Christmas Light Run was a fun holiday event. We can’t wait to do it next year, (hopefully NOT in the rain!).

Gallop and Gorge 8K

IMG_20131129_193631_163Running a Turkey Trot has officially become a Thanksgiving tradition. No matter where we are spending the holiday, Kurt and I make it a point to start the day with a race.

Thanksgiving this year was with my family in NC. I was happy to learn that EVERYBODY was on board for an early morning run.

My sister, her friend Tim, Kurt and I left early to run the 8k and my parents brought my niece and nephew a little later for the kid’s fun run.

It was a frigid 28 degrees (real feel 21 degrees) Thanksgiving morning.

We snapped a quick “before” photo in the parking garage before heading to the start.

IMG_20131128_073511_654Tim and Jen (my sister) had looked up their age-group winning times from previous years. Tim had a shot at placing in his age group. Jen said that with the super-fast field, she didn’t have a chance. Since Jen and I are in the same age-group, that meant that I most definitely wouldn’t be placing.

Not that I’d ever considered it.

My only goal was an 8K PR. I haven’t run many 8Ks, so my current 8K PR was at a slower pace than my current half marathon PR.  I was pretty confident I’d be leaving with a new PR.

It was kind of crowded at the beginning, but I love the fun, family oriented feel of Turkey Trots, so it didn’t bother me. As usual, there were people running in silly turkey hats and some brave people standing out in their driveways in the cold to cheer on the runners.

Other than the fact that I couldn’t feel my feet, I was feeling pretty good.

I hit mile 1 in 7:55.

Mile 2 was 7:38.

A guy dressed like Big Bird was shaking his tail feathers around mile 2. He was really getting into it, and it made me smile.

Mile 3 was 7:52.

The race photographer caught me right after I’d pulled my hat off my head.

2013gallopandgorge-175-(ZF-10720-35027-1-001)Even so, the picture didn’t come out too terrible, especially by race-picture standards.

After I passed the 4 mile mark (7:28 pace), it occurred to me that I didn’t know exactly how far 8K is. I knew it was about 5 miles, but I didn’t know if I had just a little more or just a little less than a mile to go.

My Garmin went off just before I reached the finish line (7:19 pace for mile 5) so I assumed that 8K is just over a mile.

But I assumed wrong. 8K is 4.97 miles.

Now I know.

I also have a new 8K PR (38:11).

Instead of t-shirts, all race participants got the red knit hat that Kurt is wearing. I wanted to get a picture of Jen, Tim, Kurt and I all wearing our hats, but it never happened.

1128130848aMom and Dad were at the finish line with my nephew, Owen and niece, Avery. I was happy to see that both kids were full of energy and grinning from ear to ear.

There was a patch of ice in the parking lot and all the kids were having the time of their lives playing on it.

Nobody in our little group won any prizes, but the run got us outside for some fresh air and exercise before the long day of cooking and eating, which in my opinion, is the reason to run a Turkey Trot, anyway.

It’s too bad that I’m way too slow to place in my age group though, because the prizes were beautiful hand-made pottery.

1128130850I would have loved one of those mugs!

I was thrilled to find the free hot coffee.

IMG_20131128_091542_053I was extra impressed that it was locally roasted, organic and fair-trade, but at the time, I would have been excited about anything hot and brownish in color.

Apparently the soft pretzel sticks were pretty spectacular, too. Kurt was still talking about them three days later.

The kid’s race was after the awards ceremony. I wasn’t surprised that not very many people had stayed that long.

It was the adults who were cold, though. The kids were having so much fun, they didn’t seem to even notice.

IMG_20131128_093730_526I hope you had a nice Thanksgiving!

Amnesty International Valentines Couples 5k

IMG_20130211_092259_779This race is held at the Old Trail Golf club in Crozet. It takes place around Valentines Day each year. The setting is beautiful, the course is challenging and everybody runs with a partner. You don’t have to actually run together, but your times are combined to determine your placement within your division. They have male/male, female/female, male/female, husband/wife and parent/child divisions.

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We arrived early, because that’s just what we do. It was freezing cold with a biting wind, so we were very grateful that packet pick-up was held inside the club. We stood in line for a few minutes, until we were all informed that they were only taking race-day registrations, and that everybody who had pre-registered would have to wait.

We went and sat down for a while, then at about 7:30, got back in line. We waited and waited. Some people were getting impatient, but I figured the later we started, the warmer it would be. I wasn’t looking forward to going back outside.

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Finally, at just about 8:00 (the time the race was supposed to start) the person with the race numbers finally arrived (this had been the hold-up). By 8:10 we’d picked up our numbers (no t-shirts for us, as we’d registered too late) and used the restrooms one last time.

We headed out for a warm-up. We jogged a little less than a mile and half, then made our way to the starting line. We were pretty far back when Kurt said “we always line up too far back”. I agreed, so we made our way closer to the front.

I took off at a pretty fast pace, but it was downhill and I was hoping to get a pretty decent time. This is a partner race, so my time would be added to Kurt’s time and I didn’t want to drag him down too much. It was cold and windy, but sunny. I took my hat off just before mile one.

My first mile split was 7:25. I wanted to hit mile two by 15:00. I got there at about 15:04. Mile 3 was strange. I’m still not very good at pacing myself in short races. I managed to keep my pace pretty quick, though. Running as part of a team helped me push harder than I usually do. I guess I’m willing to push a little harder when somebody else is depending on me. I could see the clock in the final stretch and was surprised to see it roll over from 22:59 to 23:00. I was definitely going to set a PR. I crossed the finish line in 23:08, shaving 43 seconds off my PR. Not bad for a hilly course on a windy day.

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With a combined time of 45:22, we came in second place in the Husband/Wife division. We won two Ragged Mountain hooded sweatshirts, which we have to pick up at the shop.

IMG_20130209_092820_641Happy Valentines Day!

New Year’s Day 5k

IMG_20130106_135619_944The forecast for New Year’s day was calling for a wintry mix of precipitation. It was only overcast, though, and not terribly cold, when we arrived at Free Union and did our mile warm-up. I had done a 17 mile run two days before, and was planning to run as fast as I could without pushing too hard. I knew I wouldn’t be setting a PR, but I was expecting a better time than I’d managed for my last several races.

I thought I lined up in the middle of the pack, but when the gun went off, because of the narrow road, I found myself stuck behind several people who were barely jogging. I spent the first quarter-mile just trying to get out in the open.

I felt pretty good for the first mile. Around mile 2, I found myself behind a man dressed in Carhart pants and coat and work boots. I really hoped I’d be able to pass him.

He ended up beating me by a few seconds.

I’d say I put about the same effort into this race that I’d put into the Briargate Turkey Trot. I pushed, but not as hard as I could have. Strangely, though, I expected better results. Isn’t that the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing, but expecting different results? I did have a better time for this race, but Briargate was hillier and at elevation, so really, I’d call it a draw.

Kurt was waiting for me at the finish line. He had set a new PR. That’s a pretty good way to start the new year. We jogged another mile together, talking about what a beautiful spot it was for a race, and how nice the weather had turned out to be. The race seemed to have set a positive tone for the new year.

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I finished in 24:31, which was good enough for third place in my age group. I’m not sure what I won, though. They were using a new timing system and hadn’t worked the kinks out. We were told to check the online results for age group awards, and then to pick up our prizes at Ragged Mountain Running Shop. I haven’t claimed my prize yet.

They said that they could at least announce the top 3 over-all finishers. First place went to Racheal Ward. I love it when a woman wins over-all.  When they announced the second place winner, somebody else said “wait a minute, I came in second”.  Some more discussion ensued, and it was announced that all results would be posted online.

It was pretty funny.

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Happy running in 2013!

YMCA Turkey Trot 2012

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis Turkey Trot takes place Thanksgiving morning in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It’s been our tradition to spend Thanksgiving with Kurt’s sister, Carolyn and her family in Larkspur, and drive down to “The Springs” Thanksgiving morning for the race. Unfortunately, this was the first time since 2008 that we’ve been able to make the trip to Colorado for Thanksgiving. We were extremely happy that we were able to make the trip this year, and also excited when Carolyn said that she wanted to do the race!

I usually run/walk this race with my niece Mackenzie, but she was pretty sore from being bucked off a horse the previous day, so she was planning a slow walk with her parents.

Kurt and Brandon (our nephew) usually run together. I followed them to the starting line, but stopped at the 10 minute per mile pace group, as they made their way closer to the front. Kurt and I had gone for a run the day before and I kept getting really sharp pains in my left hip. I am finding all my aches and pains very annoying, but I think they are truly driving my husband crazy.

Anyway, I figured I would try to run, but if it hurt too bad, I’d stop and walk. It hurt, but instead of the short, sharp pains I’d experienced the day before, it was more of a constant ache. It didn’t feel like anything serious, so I kept running.

There is an out and back around the one mile mark, and I saw Kurt and Brandon on their way back. They were smiling, and looked like they were taking it pretty easy, so I figured I could probably catch them. I picked up the pace a little. On my way back, I saw Carolyn, Steve and Mackenzie. Mackenzie didn’t look like she was having much fun, and I hoped that she was doing okay. I missed my running partner!

Every time I caught a glimpse of Kurt and Brandon, it seemed like they were even further ahead of me. A little after the 2 mile mark, I realized that I wasn’t going to catch them. I probably wasn’t running as fast as I could, but I was running as fast as I wanted to. I just wanted to feel like I put in a solid effort. That always tends to make a big eating event more enjoyable.

My finish time was 26:07, which is just barely faster than my 4th of July 5k time, but I felt much better this time, and my splits (although not fast) were at least close to negative.

turkey trot 1 2012

Kurt and Brandon after the race.

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Mackenzie and crew slowly making their way to the finish line (with those beautiful Rocky mountains in the background).

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All of the Turkey Trotters, except for Steve. We needed a photographer.

Some shots from previous years:

2006:

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2007:

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P1030028

P1030090

2008:

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Steamtown Marathon (October 7, 2012)

I wanted to try to qualify for the Boston Marathon this fall. I had been feeling sluggish and out of shape, so I knew I would need as much time as possible to get in Boston-qualifying shape. I was looking at Rehoboth Beach Marathon and Three Bridges Marathon, primarily because they are both the first week in December, and would allow ample time for training.

Kurt was planning to run Steamtown again. I was torn. If we were already driving up to Pennsylvania and paying for a hotel, I really wanted to run it this year, too. Well, what I really wished was that Steamtown had a half marathon too, but it doesn’t. I had gone the past two years to cheer Kurt on, but the first year I was in my walking cast, and the second year I still hadn’t recovered enough to train for a marathon. So, If I was going back for a third time, and would be physically capable of running, I definitely wanted to run.

I told Kurt to go ahead and sign me up. At the time, I was thinking that I would just jog it nice and easy, and use it as a training run for my goal marathon. I was overestimating my restraint, and forgetting that “easy” and “marathon” do not belong in the same sentence, regardless of pace.

Early in the summer, Kurt and I both signed up for Mark Lorenzoni’s marathon training program. I had told Mark that I wanted Rehoboth to be my goal race, but that I wanted to run Steamtown as a training run. He only wrote my program leading up to Steamtown. He told me that if I wanted to use Steamtown as a training run, I should only run the first 20 miles. I was pretty sure I couldn’t do that, but didn’t tell him that. I was still thinking I would just jog the whole thing, nice and easy.

As the training progressed, and the days got cooler, I started to feel better. I was nailing the shorter fast runs, and the long, slow runs, but was struggling and not able to maintain the paces I was supposed to be hitting on the workouts that were supposed to be long and fast.

As Steamtown approached, I stopped in to talk to Mark about what he thought I should do. He looked at my training log and came to the same conclusion that I had. It didn’t look like I was quite ready to maintain the pace I would need to qualify for Boston. His advice was to try for a pace I’d be happy with, but if I was struggling in the final miles, to stop and try again at Rehoboth. He said if I ran the whole thing and was really struggling at the end, I wouldn’t be able to recover in time to run another solid effort two months later.

The week before the marathon I felt like I was coming down with a cold. I had a slight sore throat, and was having trouble getting in a deep, full breath. A combination of carbo-loading and PMS conspired to leave me with an insatiable appetite and some major water retention. I made it a point not to go near a scale, but I was pretty sure I’d gained a couple more pounds on top of the five or so I’d gained over the summer.

Packet pick-up was kind of exciting, because I was actually going to run this year. The weather, however, was not looking good at all. Forty degrees and rain. I was surprisingly calm the night before, and slept really well.

Race Morning:

I was breathing a little better, until I put on my sports bra. It felt like it had shrunk several sizes. When we stepped outside, we were happy to see that it wasn’t raining, and it didn’t feel terribly cold.

It did, however, feel terribly cold on the 45 minute bus ride to the start. I pulled up the hood of my raincoat on top of the winter hat I was wearing and tried to keep from shivering.

As we got off the bus, high school volunteers greeted us with bottles of water and good luck ribbons. I had my empty coffee cup in my hand and was eyeing a trash can by the front door of the school. I made a bee-line to the trashcan and proceeded to throw my coffee cup and newly acquired good-luck ribbon into the receptacle. As soon as I did it, I realized what I’d done. It did not feel like a good sign.

All runners are allowed to sit inside the school to wait for the start of the race. There were volunteers everywhere, directing runners, and handing out water and snacks and coffee. Kurt and I found a spot on the gym floor and waited for the start. I’d decided the night before that I would run the first half at about a 9 minute/mile pace and then, if I was feeling good, I would pick up the pace from there.

Early miles:

It was cold waiting for the race to start. It felt like we were in the middle of nowhere, so I was surprised how many spectators were lining the streets as soon as we left the school parking lot. I was also surprised at how slowly everybody around me was running. It’s always hard for me to judge pace in the first few miles of a marathon. Adrenaline makes me feel like I’m running slower than I am.

As I passed the first mile marker, though, I saw that we really were running at a fairly relaxed pace. My first mile was actually a little slower than my 9 minute goal pace (9:10). Mile 2 (9:09) was as well.  After that, I slowly picked up speed. I was having a lot of fun running through all the little towns with people lining the streets, cheering us on. In one town, there were people in church clothes and a priest in full robes, standing out in front a church cheering on all the runners. That made me smile. A “Big Bird Loves You” sign in another town gave me a good laugh. At one point, somebody was playing “Footloose”. The song really pumped me up, and I wished I could take the entire soundtrack with me. I knew it would come in handy later.

At mile 8, I was feeling really good, except for an occasional pain in my hip flexor, and wondering when it would start to get hard. At mile 13, I was thinking the same thing. Except by this point, some muscle on the side of my hip (gluteus medius?) was burning. I’d never had muscles burn in a marathon, and was curious how long a person could run with burning muscles.

Middle Miles:

Around mile 14, we hit the trail section. The trail is dirt/gravel and mostly flat and shady along the river. I love trails, and got a little bit of a mental lift here. Miles 14-17 were all at about an 8:30 pace. Around mile 17, there is a section that skirts some soccer fields. Kurt had told me that this section was mentally hard for him, so I hadn’t been looking forward to it. As I started this section, Kurt was just finishing. We were surprised to see each other, as the timing had to be just right. If either of us had been faster or slower by 10 seconds, we would have missed each other. He was about 3/4 of a mile ahead of me at that point.

Right after I saw him, the running started to get harder. I had planned to take a gu at every other water stop, but there were so many people out on the course handing out water that I couldn’t tell which ones were the official race water stops and I got off schedule. At mile 18, I’d only taken 3 of the 4 gu’s I had planned to take by this point.

Final Miles:

My pace was slowing. Mile 18 was 8:40. Mile 19 was 8:50. Mile 20 was 8:52. I told myself that all I had to do was run each of the remaining miles at a 9 minute/mile pace. No slower! That should be easy. Mile 21 was 8:58. Crap! Push! Mile 22 was 9:15. Right now is when I should stop if I want to run another marathon this fall. That isn’t happening. I really need to pick up the pace! Mile 23 was 9:21. Seriously?! Mile 24 was 9:24. Hang on!!! Ok, 9:17 for mile 25. From looking at the profile map, I was expecting mile 26 to be 1/2 mile uphill, then 1/2 mile downhill. It was more of 1/2 mile up, 1/4 mile sort-of up and 1/4 mile down. I don’t know exactly what my final split was, because I pushed the wrong button on my Garmin at the finish, and didn’t realize it until I hit the refreshment tent.

I finished in 3:52:36 (the clock shows gun time, not chip time). A new PR by about 3 minutes. I was hurting enough to think I probably wouldn’t be running another marathon this fall. In fact, my muscles have never been so sore after a marathon. The food didn’t even look appetizing. I’ve never not had an appetite after a marathon. I grabbed a half a banana and a couple of orange slices, but didn’t eat anything. I went to look for Kurt.

I was really hobbling. It took a great effort to step up and down from the curb. I circled around for a few minutes before I found him. He told me he’d been hit with calf cramps in the last few miles, and ended up finishing only about a minute ahead of me. We both had PR’ed, but were still somewhat disappointed with our performances. Kurt had, admittedly, been running  quite a bit faster than me for the past few months. He felt like he was capable of running a faster time. Still, he’d shaved 7 minutes from his PR.

I was feeling like my 3 minute PR probably wasn’t worth giving up the chance to try to qualify for Boston this season. But stopping at mile 20,  just because I wasn’t running quite as fast as I’d hoped, didn’t feel right. It felt like quitting. I ran the best race I could on that particular day, and I’m ok with that.

It was really damp and cold when we stopped running. I was shaking uncontrollably as I tried to hobble back to the car. We ducked into the mall and found a Starbucks. I ordered a pumpkin spice latte and Kurt got a hot chocolate. Warmed up, and with some sugar in us, it was much easier to make our way back to the car.

Splits: (1) 9:10 (2) 9:09 (3) 8:51 (4) 8:18 (5) 8:22 (6) 8:18 (7) 8:51 (8) 8:20 (9) 8:38       (10) 8:28 (11) 8:43 (12) 8:46 (13) 8:47 (14) 8:35 (15) 8:39 (16) 8:36 (17) 8:31                 (18) 8:40 (19) 8:50 (20) 8:52 (21) 8:59 (22) 9:15 (23) 9:21 (24) 9:34 (25) 9:17 (26) ??

Course:  B
I like that the course is point-to-point, and that it goes through so many little towns. I also love the rails-to-trails section. I really do not like all the down-hill running.

Organization: A-
This would have been an A++ if it weren’t for the scarcity of port-o-johns near the finish line. The race is really well organized, and the volunteers are amazing. The assistant race director’s weekly e-mails are awesome. It’s worth running the marathon just to get those e-mails.

T-Shirt: A- 
A long sleeve, technical t-shirt. At first I was a little disappointed about the blaze-orange color, but than I realized that it will make a spectacular don’t-shoot-me shirt to wear for trail running during hunting season.

Finishers Medal/Schwag: A-
I thought the medal was really cool. There wasn’t much in the way of free stuff in our packets, but the race has so many little perks that seem more important than free granola bar samples and coupons to stores that I’ll never be able to visit, that I’m giving it a high score anyway.

Food: A
There was pizza. It looked like it was the Old Forge style so famous in that part of Pennsylvania, which I thought was very cool.  I just wish I’d been able to eat it. There was also soup (perfect for the cold morning) and some pretty yummy looking cookies, fruit and whole wheat pretzels. I think there might have even been coffee.

Essex 1/2 marathon (July 29, 2012)

A little more than a week before the race, the bottom of my left foot started hurting. I took a day off, then ran 8 miles on Ridge Road. My foot did not seem to hurt any worse as my run progressed, but as soon as I stopped running, I could really feel it. It was quite sore for the rest of the day. When I woke up the next morning, it was still sore. I was up all night that night worried that I had a stress fracture and wouldn’t be able to run the 1/2 marathon, or climb Mt. Marcy, or do pretty much anything we were planning to do on vacation. I didn’t run for three days. I was scared to run again, but knew that I should probably test my foot out on a short run, instead of waiting to find out while running the race. So, Thursday after work I ran three miles on the treadmill and my foot felt fine. We drove to Danbury, Connecticut on Friday. I ran three more miles on the hotel treadmill and my foot still felt fine. I love it when my injuries are really in my head. Ever since I hurt my foot two years ago and couldn’t run for six months, I am absolutely paranoid that every little pain is going to turn into something major, that will keep me from running.

We didn’t sleep too well Saturday night, as we were in a lean-to at Little River State Park and neglected to drag our foam mattress out of the car, so we were essentially sleeping on a hard board. We were planning to leave the campground at about 6:45, so that we could stop at a bagel/coffee shop in Waterbury for breakfast, but we were both awake and ready to go by 5:30 (long before the bagel shop would open), so we got breakfast in a gas station, instead.

I was happy to find some instant oatmeal with freeze-dried fruit and no added sugar. I paired it with a gigantic butter-and-sugar-laden locally made granola bar and a cup of Green Mountain Coffee (which is roasted less than 1/2 a mile from the gas station where I purchased it).

I was not feeling at all energetic as we stood around waiting for the race to start. It was a late (8:30) start, and I could already feel the heat from the sun. Things did not improve once I started running. The first couple of miles weren’t completely miserable. My legs felt heavy, but my foot and knee felt fine and I thought I might start feeling better once I was warmed up.

I never did. After mile three, we started climbing and I just started feeling worse and worse. After the turn around at about mile 7.5, it was down hill for a little while. Mentally, I was having a hard time. I was hot, exhausted and frustrated. I considered stopping several times. I couldn’t imagine running any slower and my pride was keeping me from slowing down. Eventually, exhaustion overtook pride and I slowed down. After slowing down, I had bouts of not feeling like death. Around mile 11, there was a long, shaded down hill stretch. I actually passed somebody. That didn’t come close to making up for the dozens of people who had been passing me for the last 6 miles, but hey, it was something.

I could see one person in front of me. For the last three miles, I was trying not to let him get further ahead of me. I was just willing myself to keep moving, and not slow down too much. As I turned from the road back into the high school parking lot, I thought I was almost there. I looked at my Garmin and realized that I still had almost a half mile to go. I also realized that it was very unlikely that I would break two hours. The race finished with a lap around the track. It was miserable. I did not feel at all proud of my performance, and I didn’t like everybody seeing me struggle. Blechhh!

I was really frustrated and disappointed. My only goal for the race was to break two hours, but I never really imagined that I wouldn’t be able to do it. It just seems like if my problem is that I got out of shape, I should be seeing some improvement now that I am running consistently again, but I just seem to be doing worse.

Time: 2:01:04