Sunday, October 14, 2012

Nike Race Report

1:52:49 PR. 782nd place (out of ~20,000!) and 97/2677 in my division. The end.

Just kidding! I have plenty more to say.

Woke up at 5 am, and Matt was driving me to the race at 6 am. (Thanks Matt!) Arrived at my fairly empty corral around 6:25. Was amazed as always by the sea of humanity at the starting line. Seeing 25,000 people lined up in the streets of San Francisco is an amazing sight. The race started at 7 and I crossed the line only 6 minutes later to my surprise.

The first 2-3 miles, and really kind of the whole race, were a maze of trying to pass other people including walkers. I had started in a corral too slow for me because I estimated my time way back in the beginning of the year,before my last PR in March. I tried to mentally calm myself down and stop getting annoyed with all the slow people that should have started behind me. I ran into a friend in the first mile or so and slowed down to chat with her for awhile. I never saw anyone else I knew the whole race, except Matt cheering at mile 10, a former teammate turned coach at mile 11, and my cycle teammate at the finish. And then of course some more TNTers at the tent at the end.

But back to mile 3. The first small hills come near Ghiradelli Square. There are two of them before the also fairly small Fort Mason hill. Perhaps because I am faster now, I did not hear as many out of towners complaining about the hills as when I ran in 2009, but on the second tiny one, I did hear someone ask how many more of these there are. Well let me tell you, there are two more much more significant hills after Fort Mason, beginning at mile 6. About half way up that hill, I concluded that there was no way I could PR because the hill was slowing me so much. Fog + my lungs + hills = wheezing,which I try to limit as much as possible. Speaking of fog, it was so socked in but kind of warm, that I took off my long sleeves before the end of the first mile and was dripping sweat the entire race. It was disgusting. I even gave Matt my hat at mile 10 because my head was starting to get hot in the humidity pressure kind of way I cannot describe.

Anyhow, after the two big hills, the second of which was not so bad, and after a lovely downhill that dropped my pace, I passed the timer at mile 11 and realized it said 1:42. I was 6 minutes off gun time,which meant I had 20 minutes left to run 2.1 miles and PR. This math confused me for awhile. First I thought I had to maintain an 8 minute mile which I knew I could not do,and then I concluded it was 9 minutes which I could pull off if I tried. I am pretty positive now it was actually 10 minutes which would have been easy, but luckily this confusion led me to push my pace and motivated me toward the finish. My legs were quite ready to be done, my foot hurt, and I was a bit hungry, having only eaten 100 calories during the race. But I plowed through and made a fairly significant PR.

I do enjoy running half marathons for the fun of it, but I especially love a good accomplishment! However my two races this year that resulted in PRs were both completed with very little run-specific training, which might be teaching me a bad lesson. Or maybe I have just figured out how to still run without hurting myself - by severely limiting my mileage and replacing it with other activities. With that said, I hope I can train without injury for my first full marathon in March.

Thanks to Matt for his support of my endeavors, as per usual! And thanks to my teammates who were out there or at the finish!


I should also mention how I spent my pre-race day. It involved a trip to wine country with my parents; wine tasting, beer drinking, and hiking up a super steep hill. All things one is supposed to do before a race, right? I did however eat an awful lot of carbs, and despite what some people think, I firmly believe carbs make a difference for me, even if it is placebo!

I also went out Thursday morning for my race-pace run, had a terrible time of it, and called it quits after only 3 miles to avoid freaking myself out. Luckily I totally forgot about that experience and therefore it didn't affect me.

Finally, I kind of wonder how much of my new found ability to PR is due to the fact that I was diagnosed with anemia last fall and now take iron. Nothing like some PEDs, right?

Monday, October 8, 2012

Countdown to Nike

In 2009, I received a piece of direct mail, attended an information meeting, and registered to train for my first ever half-marathon. The rest, as they say, is history.

This weekend, I'm back for the 2012 reprisal of the Nike Women's (Half) Marathon. This will be my 10th half marathon, and I'm getting excited! This race benefits the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and there will be thousands of TNTers dressed in purple out on the course, and of course milling about the City. Thursday evening I'll head to Union Square to pick up my packet at the Expo and volunteer at the TNT lounge at Macy's. Sunday morning I'll line up in the corrals amidst a sea of purple.

Similar to my very first season, I sprained my ankle part-way through, making 8 miles the farthest I have run this training season. Unlike the first season, I haven't been diligently spending every evening at the gym on a bike or elliptical, but I'm hoping my base fitness will carry me through for a finish time faster than my 2009 Nike time of 2:25:47, but presumably nowhere near my half-marathon PR of 1:56:20.

I've been looking back at my blog for accounts of my first training season and was surprised to note that I said hardly anything about it. I blogged plenty during that time, but for other reasons. It seems that over the years, this blog has turned into my training and race blog, as Team in Training has taken over my life. Perhaps I should strive for more balance. But perhaps I'm right where I should be.

Though I'm not part of the Team for this event, having focused on cycle this season, I just might wear purple so people will cheer me on.