Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Aramco Houston Half Marathon: “I double dare you …”

The Houston Chevron Half Marathon was on January 17, and although it came with its challenges it was totally awesome. I haven’t been able to write up a post race report until now as I just didn’t really know what to say.

55422-1756-013fOne of my kids got sick the day prior to the race and I spent the night before up taking care of him. I was exhausted to say the least when I met with some of the running club members early on the Sunday morning to catch a lift into Houston. My family weren’t going to come in to try to watch parts of the race anyway, having one sick just confirmed this for me. I was understanding, but a bit disappointed – but my husband has pointed out that my training had waned and that maybe I wasn’t that much into it anyway.

Some of the running club members were putting unrealistic expectations on me for this race. They were certain that I was going to run under two hours. My husband was right – my training had been non-existent for most of December and for the two weeks leading up to the race. There was always a chance that I could run under two, but I didn’t think so and told these people accordingly.

Lack of sleep didn’t take away from the excitement pre-race. I got to tweet up with some friends pre-race which was totally awesome. I also was able to get in a great position for the start – at the front of Wave 2. Based on how I was feeling I adjusted my race plan to go out at an 8.40 pace and try to maintain it for as long as I was physically able to. Discussions in the car on the way to the start confirmed that a 9.09 pace was all that was needed to hit the 2hr finish. Some of the other club members were aiming for that. I knew that I would tire out before the finish so I thought that if I went out strong and then just held the pace below a 9.30 I could finish with them.

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After the gun went off, I looked down at the garmin and saw that I had run the first half mile at a 7.50 pace. Stupid! I slowed it down and kept it in the targeted area for the next 9 miles, slowing only to GU at mile 4 and 9. At mile 10 I was tired but ecstatic – I was really thinking that somehow I would be able to run 2hrs!! I slowed a bit between mile 10 and 11 and hit mile 12 at 1hr50! I knew that it would be close but I thought if I could just hold in there I might be able to finish this thing off.

All of a sudden total exhaustion overtook me along with a nauseating sensation. I felt like I was going to throw up! I stopped to catch my breath and had to steady myself as I lost my sense of balance. I was staggering on the road not unlike a drunk. The feeling passed and I started up a jog slowly. Half a mile down the track the urge to throw up almost took over my senses. I stopped again and took a few deep breaths. Slowly but steadily I started running again intent on at least finishing this race. The time was not important – I had all but forgotten about the time; I just wanted to get the race over with so I could curl up and sleep.

Fighting the surge of emotions that were bubbling over making me want to cry, I finally crossed the finish line in a time of 2hrs 04 mins. A PR by 4 minutes and the third fastest time (I think) for our running club. I didn’t make the NYCM qualifying time (by a long shot) and I didn’t break 2 hours. But, what I demonstrated was that although I wasn’t physically prepared for this race (through lack of lead up training and sleep) I was ready to give it my all and not give up. I am glad that I dared to try..

Two hours smouwers! There will be another race. And, I know with total certainty that I will do it.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

VFF Cross Country Run

I got a pair of VFF Sprints last week! After months of thinking about it I was excited to see that the running store I shop actually stocked them. After I tried them on I just knew that I needed to have them….

VFF_RUN My first run in the VFF's happened yesterday after doing a Body Pump and Yoga class . When I got home I just didn’t think about it,  just threw them on and headed out the door. Didn't plan on going more than a mile in them - I have read that you are meant to start out slow to minimize any potential injury and allow you to get used to the different running gait . I am flat footed at the best of times and found that initially I was hitting hard on the heel. I decided to head a bit off track and down an area that has yet to be developed in my area.... people normally walk their dogs down there; it is fenced off and just a grass/sand/dirt trail around some storm water ways and ponds.

Once I hit the gravel, then the dirt I thought I was in heaven! I decided to run around this whole area instead of turning around at the 0.5mi mark. At about 1.5mi I stopped the watch and checked out my prints in the soft sand... almost as though I was running barefoot - you could see the imprint of the toes mixed in with the dogs and shoes of their owners. Deep breath, choking back tears of joy I continued my run reminiscing my school cross country days. Dang - if only VFF's were around back then, I hated running in shoes but you had to on my school's cross country course. As the trail turned and pointed me back to civilization I was running alongside an area of overgrown brush - curse the military for making me run in boots and breaking my feet.

Hitting the pavement again I found that my heel strike was a lot lighter. I was running easy. Got a few funny looks and backward glances from cars and walkers. Bliss! When can I do that again?

Split pace - 9.58 / 9.47 / 9.49

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