I guess I’ve mulled this over and put it off long enough, so it’s time to recap Albany.

I went into the marathon after taking 2 1/2 weeks totally off of running due to pain.  My last run that I tried prior to Albany was supposed to be a 5 mile run, and I made it about 2 1/2 before having to bail out due to the pain in my hip and calf.  During those last few runs, I had also had some inner knee/upper shin pain, but it was secondary to the calf and hip pain, so I really hadn’t paid it any attention.  In retrospect, I shouldn’t have even tried the Albany marathon, but after training for essentially 6 months since I went straight from half training and continued into full training, I wasn’t about to throw it all away.  Call it stupidity or stubbornness or a little of both, but I wasn’t backing out, and even now, knowing what happened, I know that I should have, but I can still tell you that I wouldn’t have.

Dani picked me up on Friday around 2:30PM.  We picked up Bonnie after that, and we all headed down to Albany.  When we arrived, we headed straight to the expo to grab our packets.  Dani got injured early on in training, and wisely decided to take time off and not try Albany, so she was just along on this trip to cheer a few of us on.  Bonnie had just decided to run the half and signed up within the past week.  We all got in and out of the expo with our packets in less than 15 minutes or so.  It was well organized and easy to get in and out of.

After the expo, we headed to our hotel that was about 15 minutes away to quickly check in to our room prior to meeting our group for dinner at Villa Gargano.  You’d think that the Italian restaurants in town would know that this race happens every year, and they would anticipate the influx of runners coming to their restaurants for pasta, but I guess it slipped their minds.  We had figured we’d have to wait a bit to get seated, so one of us had arrived early to put our name in for a table.  The wait was longer than they said, but no more than I had expected on a Friday night in a small town with thousands of extra people.  After we were seated, we were hoping the food would be fairly quick.  The dining room didn’t seat many, so you wouldn’t think the kitchen would be crazy busy, but I guess it was due to the take out orders.  I have to say, the service was pretty bad.  Three of us ordered chicken parmigiano which was supposed to come with pasta.  We were all missing the pasta.  😦  I’m not sure how you plate that and leave off the pasta which was supposed to be underneath, but it is what it is, so we asked for the pasta, and they brought it out on the side.  We kind of needed the pasta since that was why we came to an Italian restaurant the night before our marathon.  Other items were also forgotten as well, but the food tasted GREAT!  So, if you visit, just make sure you have plenty of patience.  😉

After dinner, we headed back to the hotel, prepped for the morning, and hit the hay.  Saturday morning, we all met downstairs at 5:30AM and headed to the race.  A friend from our running club was set up at the start line with his RV, and he made a fire for us and allowed us to use his facilities, no porta-potties needed, SCORE!

As race time approached, we all went our own way as we lined up.  There were no official waves or corrals since there were only about 2000 runners total, but they had pace groups, so everyone lined up close to the pace for which they were shooting.  All my training runs had me on target to finish around 4:40-4:45 prior to getting hurt, and I like to start slower and build, so I figured the 5 hour group would probably be around the pace I needed to start, 11:3o-ish per mile.

At 7AM, the gun fired.  Off we went, 26.2 miles to go.  My calves and hips were tight immediately, and I started faster than I should, so I slowed up a bit hoping my hips and calves would loosen up.  Other than those two things, I felt pretty good.  No pain really, so I was hoping things were going to go my way.  Around mile 5, my calves finally loosened up, and there was no pain.  Hallelujah!  My hips were still tight, but no pain.  At this point, the tightness in my hips had me concerned even though they weren’t hurting.  They were definitely tighter than they had ever been in the past, but I continued, and I started picking up the pace since my calves had loosened up.

I felt good for about the next 3 miles.  Around mile 9 or 10, I started feeling more tightness in my hips, and a little bit of the knee pain that I had felt several weeks back.  That same knee pain that hadn’t ever really been an issue because it was always secondary to the calf and hip pain.  At this point, I really didn’t think much of that pain.  I was more concerned about the tightness in my hips that wasn’t loosening up and seemed to be getting worse.  At this point, I decided to ease back up on the pace some, and see if that helped.  It was time to throw the thoughts about the negative splits I can usually manage out the window, and just I’d just shoot for consistency.  An 11:30 pace would bring me in around the 5 hour mark.

Little did I know, this was the start of my decline.  I was able to hold onto that pace for about 4 miles before the knee pain started bugging me more, and I slowly started falling off pace.  “No problem,” I told myself.  I knew things might no go completely smooth considering the last few weeks.  We’ll just shoot for a 12 mm.  Michelle & Jennifer were shooting for 5:30, so maybe I’ll get to finish it out with them.

By mile 15, the knee pain was the ONLY pain on my mind, and my pace fell even more.  I’m sure my hips were still tight, but I really don’t remember because I was in a mental battle at this point with myself about whether this was really a bad pain or if I was just being a wuss since my knee had not been the issue in training.  I tried to pick the pace back up to a 12mm, and that lasted briefly, but by mile 18, all hope of maintaining that was gone.  At this point, I was pissed off.  6 months of training down the drain is what I kept thinking, and I still had 8 miles to go.

For miles 18-21, I tried to change up the ratio and walk more with shorter stints of running hoping that I could finish by still running a little.  At this point, I was making around a 15-17mm, and I was wondering when I’d see Michelle & Jennifer knowing now that I couldn’t finish with them.  I no longer looked forward to seeing them, not because I wasn’t happy for them, but because I knew they were the 5:30 group which meant I was headed towards 6 hours.  Around mile 18, I had started calculating my finish time knowing I couldn’t do more than a 15 minute mile, and realistically, knowing that I would be closer to a 17-18 minute mile considering the pain I was in and it was getting worse.  Being mentally defeated, the quickest way to calculate time was to round it to 20mm, so as I reached the 20 mile mark, I knew I had about 2 hours still to go.  This was a VERY dark place for me, and I really wanted to sit down and quit.  One mile at a time is what my motto became.

I believe it was mile 22(honestly I don’t remember) when Jennifer and Michelle finally passed me.  They said hey and asked if I was ok.  I said yes, and off they went.  I broke down at this point in tears.  I have a high tolerance for pain, so the tears weren’t due to the pain.  They were due to anger.  Anger because this wasn’t how I wanted to remember my first marathon.  I wanted to enjoy it, but I was also too angry to give up and just say I’d try again.  All that training wasn’t going to be thrown away.  “Suck it up & keep moving” kept repeating over and over in my head.  Finishing is better than giving in even if it’s not a fun memory, and there’s always next time.  Around this point is when I started thinking about doing another marathon because I wasn’t going to have a marathon defeat me like this for my permanent memory of what one is like.  I think I was madder than I had been in years, and yet, there was nothing I could do about it to make myself feel better…..except FINISH!  If I finish, then it didn’t totally defeat me….yeah, I wasn’t really buying that.  I was still going to feel totally defeated, but finishing is still something.

Around mile 23, a golf cart of some sort that I guess was with the race also passed me.  The driver looked over, but I barely made eye contact and looked away quickly, so he kept going.  THANK YOU GOD!  I seriously think if he’d have asked me if I was ok, then I’d have broken down in tears again, and I probably would have taken a ride if offered.  Smiling at the cheering volunteers was difficult at this point, but I really didn’t want ANY of them asking if I was ok, so I did my best to grin and try to avoid limping too much in front of them.  It wasn’t going to take much for me to say no and give up.  This battle continued over the next 3 miles.  I remember looking at the curb and thinking about sitting down several times, but I knew I wouldn’t get back up.  Just one step in front of the other.  Continual forward progress.  You’ve made it this far, what’s another 3 miles!?!?!?

As I approached the last section heading to the finish line, I saw my friends.  I honestly can’t tell you which ones were all there.  I know Dani was because she gave me a hug and walked next to me for a few minutes as I broke down in tears AGAIN!  I know I heard some strange guy yelling my name & cheering for me.  I realized it was Jeneen’s husband Jesse as I got closer, and after I crossed the finish line, I got hugs from Diane and Jeneen as well.  All my running buddies know I hate hugs, but that day, hugs were allowed and appreciated.

As soon as I was done, we headed to the car.  Dani offered to go get it & pick me up, but I was just ready to get to it & head to the hotel for a shower, so I slowly walked with her & Bonnie.  Bonnie handed me a goodie bag from Christine that had several goodies in it.  I never got to see her after the race, but I appreciated her sweet thoughtfulness.

We arrived at the hotel in about 10-15 minutes, and that was all it took for my knee to totally tighten up.  As I stepped out of the car, the pain was so bad that I really wished that I had crutches.  Kevin was in the lobby of the hotel and gave me another hug and caused more tears.  I’m not one to cry in front of family, much less in front of running buddies, and there were lots of tears that day that just couldn’t be stopped which was another thing that was making me mad.  I hobbled on up to the hotel room with Dani, and Bonnie walked in about 2 minutes later.  Bonnie asked if I wanted to shower first, and by this point, I was in too much pain to even want to walk much less stand in a shower, so I told her to go ahead, and that they were just going to have to deal with me because I was waiting until I got home, so I could take a bath & not be in a hurry.  Plus, by this point, I was no longer sweaty since I had walked the last several miles.

My knee still hurts 2 weeks later.  I’ll give you that update in a later blog.

My Garmin data:

Savannah Rock N Roll Race Recap

5 of us were to meet at Starbucks to leave for Savannah on Thursday afternoon, but life would throw us some curve balls leading up to our adventure.  One of my BRF’s Kelly started having neck pain and arm numbness earlier in the week.  We ran together Wednesday morning, and she was doing ok, but by Wednesday afternoon, she was in a lot of pain.  Her symptoms were eerily similar to my problem with my neck that kept me off my bike for a couple of months.  Wednesday evening, I got a text from her saying that she was going to the chiropractor and her doctor on Thursday morning, and she might not make it to meet us to leave at 1PM.

Thursday morning started off pretty crazy as it usually does when I’m going anywhere since I wait until the last minute to pack, but I managed to get my stuff together and triple check to make sure I had everything, and then check again.  I think I have some OCD tendencies, but somehow I still managed to forget my pillows.  I left the house with a couple of errands to run prior to picking up my BRF’s.  I filled the car up, and I headed to Dani’s house then Gem’s house to pick them up, and finally to Starbucks to grab Kelly who had called earlier and said she was going to make it.  When Kelly arrived, we could tell that she was in a lot of pain still, but we were all hopeful that she’d feel better the next day.  Natalie finally arrived about 20 minutes late, which is par for the course for her, but we love her anyway, and we tease the snot out of her about her lack of time management, but she seems to handle it all in stride.  We managed to fit all 5 of our luggage into the Suburban, and we were off.

The ride down was fairly uneventful, and we arrived in Savannah in about 3 1/2 hours.  We found our house, quickly unloaded the car, met Rachel at the house, and headed to the expo.

savannah expo

6 of our 8 housemates at the expo

The expo was huge as usual at the Rock N Roll events.  We all picked up our packets and several of us changed our corrals which was very easy to do.  You just had to ask at the corral change table, and they put a sticker on your bib with your new corral.  After changing corrals, we all wandered around for an hour or two, and I spent way too much money before we left.

We drove to Riverstreet, and actually found parking.  Parking on Thursday night isn’t too bad since most of the runners don’t arrive until Friday.  We found a restaurant called Barracuda Bob’s that had great food.  After dinner, we headed back to the house where we met our other 2 housemates for the weekend Kris & Jennifer.  The two of them didn’t know any of us before meeting us in Savannah, but they fit right in with our crew, and we all had a great weekend.

Friday morning, Kelly was still in a ton of pain, so she called someone to drive to Savannah to come pick her up.  It sucked, but for her, it was definitely the best thing since she is still in severe pain today.  She has already had an MRI, and it showed a couple of herniated disc.  She’s in a neck brace, and hopefully it will heal on it’s own.

We were going to drive to Kroger, but as we walked out the back door of the house to go to the car, I saw a big brick building that I recognized from last year.  Yep, that’s right.  Kroger was literally across the street from our house.  We all made a quick trip to Kroger for dinner items, and then we all walked around Savannah to check out the sites and to see where the start and finish lines were.  As we stepped out our front door and walked down the steps, we could see a tent set up at Forsyth Park for the race already.  We were just over a block from the street with the finish line, so we walked to Forsyth Park, and headed towards the start from there.  We were about a mile from the start line which would be about a 15-20 minute walk on Saturday morning.  While on Bay St., we decided to try Tondee’s Tavern for lunch, another GREAT restaurant.  I’ve always stuck to the rule of nothing new to eat the night before a race, so for dinner, we were cooking pasta in the house, and for lunch at Tondee’s I stuck with ribs.  I’ve eaten ribs hundreds of times before, and they’ve never caused an upset stomach in the past, plus it’s lunch, so I should be good, right?  WRONG!  They didn’t bother my stomach, but if you’ve been following my blog, then you know that I had a pretty bad allergic reaction last month while in Florida.  Well, guess what?  That’s right, 38 years of my life and I’ve only had one allergic reaction a month ago, so it only makes since that I’d have another one the night before my half.  My head had started itching an hour or so after lunch, but I didn’t think much about it, but as the evening went on, I started itching more, and then I realized I had hives popping up, not tiny hives either.  I was in denial and hoping it was just something on my skin, so I headed to the shower only to discover how many I had all over me.  After my shower, I walked to Kroger to purchase Benadryl and Pepcid, but by this time, I was getting nervous and itching like crazy.  I took the medicine, and over the next hour, the reaction just continued to get worse, so I admitted that I needed to go to Urgent Care.  I’m not sure if it was anxiety or if the reaction was affecting my breathing, but my chest did feel tight.  Dani rode with me to UC.  She’s a nurse, so I was in good hands.  I walked in, and the nurse working called the dr on call.  He gave orders over the phone to give me a shot of Benadryl, Zantac, and a steroid, and he would be there shortly.  When he arrived, he listened to my breathing, and asked if I was having any trouble breathing, and I told him my chest felt a little tight, but I wasn’t sure if it was the reaction or anxiety, and he said I wasn’t breathing in all the way.  He proceeded to look at me and ask if I was running the race in the morning, to which I replied, “yes.”  He then said, “you know there are other races, right?”  Ummmm…. no!  I told him, “yes, but I trained for this one.”  He then asked what time the race started.  It started at 7AM, and that facility didn’t open until 8AM, so he wanted me to come in to the other Urgent Care that is 24 hours in the morning before the race to do a breathing treatment.  Ugh, our house is less than 2 blocks from the finish line, and we’re surrounded by the course.  Some roads are already closed.  Yeah, that wasn’t going to happen and me make it to the start in time, so back to the house I went feeling kind of out of it from the Benadryl and not really knowing if I’d be able to run the race in the AM.

I didn’t sleep well that night, apparently the steroid counteracted any sleepiness that could have been induced by the Benadryl.  I woke up every hour at least looking at my watch to see if it was time to get up yet.  Dani said the steroid (dex-something) was a lot stronger steroid than what I probably had the first time.  Finally, around 4-something, the house started to stir, and we were all up and about.  All the hives were actually gone!  It took days last time, so it must have been a stronger steroid, and I didn’t wait as long to go to the dr this time either.  I felt back to normal, so I was hopeful that I could PR my half.  Since we were so close to the start, we decided to wait until 6:15 to head to the start line for the 7:00 start.  One last potty trip, and we were all out the door.  The weather had been up in the air, but it ended up being a pretty nice temperature.  It was a little chilly, but not too cold.  I headed out in a short sleeve shirt, hat, ear cover, gloves, a skirt, and arm sleeves.  On the way to the start, we passed a set of porta-potties, so we stopped one last time since we were about 2 blocks from the start, and we got to Bay St. right around 6:55.  We snapped a quick group photo and headed to our corrals.

savannah group

Our group at the start

Dani and I headed to corral 11 to start together just before the corrals all started to move.  As I started in mile 1, I knew my pace was a little fast as the course starts with a slight downhill, so I quickly slowed down, and ended up right where I needed to be for my average over the first mile.  The next 2 miles were pretty much flat and right on my target pace.  I’m not sure what happened in mile 4, but somehow, I ended up at an 11:10 average which was definitely slower than I needed to be, but I quickly got back on target and was starting to hit negative splits, and all was going well until around mile 10 when my pace went back up to 10:31, and I felt like I was struggling to breathe some.  I kept debating if it was all in my head or if my chest was really starting to tighten up, and then I started hearing myself wheeze some.  I’m still not sure if it was from the allergic reaction, or if I just got in my head, but miles 10, 11, & 12 were a struggle, and I finally felt like I caught my breath again around the end of mile 12.  I knew I was going to be close to my PR, but I wasn’t sure as to how close because I thought my PR was 2:17:23, but that was my Garmin time, not my official PR.  I hadn’t entered it into my Garmin page, so I was going off the wrong time.  My real PR was 2:17:42.  I wish I’d have known, and I keep kicking myself for not knowing it.  I question if I could have pushed just a little harder in that last mile if I’d known if was that close.  Mile 13 came in at 10:03, and I felt I had lost my PR, so I wonder if I didn’t push as hard as I might have in the last 2/10ths.  When I finished I thought I’d missed my PR by about 30 seconds, but later I found out my real PR, and my official finish time was 2:17:54.  12 seconds, 12 freaking seconds!  Was it that I didn’t know my PR?  Was it the allergic reaction?  Was I just not back to where I was before injuries?  I don’t know, but January 4th is the Red Nose Half Marathon in Columbus, GA.  It’s a free certified half marathon, and I WILL PR it.

As for now, I have allergy testing on December 4th to try to figure out what I’m allergic to, and on December 7th, I’m running my longest race to date of 30K(18.6miles) in Rome, GA.  I’m feeling pretty good about it.  I have a 16 mile run next weekend, then the race will be my next long run.  I’m hoping to gain some confidence in myself by running this 30K, and we’ll see what the future holds.

My Garmin data

MRTTsavannah ASR savannah

Peachtree City Classic 15k

Let me start by saying that I did survive adding on the additional mileage, and I completed my longest run ever of 15 miles in conjunction with this race.  Sorry I left all of you hanging.  I know you were at the edge of your seat waiting to hear if I did it or not.  😉

I have to say that this race is close to the top on my list of favorite races so far.  I was buying someone else’s bib, so I missed out on the communication from the race directly, but my friends seemed to be well informed of everything dealing with the race.  I drove over to PTC on Friday evening to meet the lady I was buying the bib from, so I could have it transferred into my name.  Yes, transferred people!  That alone is a huge bonus since it seems that most races won’t transfer bibs these days.  The process was actually really simple and quick as well.  The lady picked up the bib, and I walked back up to the pick up area with her, filled out a waiver, and they wrote the bib # on my form.  Done.  That was all it took, and the entire thing took maybe 5 minutes.  They don’t give you your shirt until you finish, so I’d get it the next day.   On the way out, I had some questions about parking and the shuttle, so I stopped to ask the person who was standing at the entrance to direct people and answer questions.  She was very helpful and showed me on the large map of the course where the Kmart was where the shuttle could pick us up if we arrived after 6AM.  To park near the start, you had to arrive by 6AM, so since we were planning to arrive around 7:40, we’d need to take the shuttle or walk to the start.  As I left, I drove from the start to the Kmart to clock the distance since I was planning on adding miles.  It was a little over 1.5 miles, so taking the shuttle, walking, or running are all options to get to the start.

Saturday morning, I arrived at 7:40AM and met Gem, so we could run 3 miles before the run.  She needed 12 miles for the day, and I needed 15.  Her sister and our friend Michelle also rode with her, and they both took the shuttle to the start.  I think they had to wait for the 3rd shuttle after they arrived, but the shuttles came fairly quickly.  Gem and I headed out while they were waiting.  There was probably a shorter path along the cart paths of PTC, but since Gem and I weren’t familiar with how to go, we stuck to the roads.  Since rain seems to love me, rain was in the forecast and started as soon as we began our run.  It was pretty light to begin with, but slowly got worse, and Gem and I were pretty well soaked by the time we got to the start area.  It was a little chilly, so I continued to run until 5 minutes before the race started.  I figured I might as well get in as many of my extra miles as possible before the race, so I’d have less to do after.  I ended up with 4.2 miles before race start.

As I came to the start line, I quickly found Gem and Michelle just before the gun went off.  The race started, and we were off.  The first bit of the race was on a main road, but it soon turned into a neighborhood.  As we ran past one house, there was an older lady (probably in her 80’s) standing behind her clear glass storm door in pants, and nothing on top except a purple bra.  I’m not sure if she was confused by the race or maybe she just liked her purple bra and wanted to show it off, either way, several runners on the course were quite surprised, but it was entertaining.  Towards the back of the subdivision, we headed onto the cart paths.  The cart paths were covered with lots of shade, went through tunnels, through the woods, and around a lake.  The course was marked well, and they had lots of volunteers.  Someone was calling out the time at every mile marker as well.  Towards the end of the course, you exit the cart path and are back on the road for just a short bit.

As we crossed the finish line, I kept running, but since the shirt pick up was after the race, I had to run into the amphitheater, down the steps, get my shirt, then head back up the steps to run some more.  Walking up the steps around mile 14 for me kind of sucked, but it wasn’t that bad.  I had told Gem and Michelle along the course that I would just run back to the car while they took the shuttle since it was about a mile & a half, so off I went towards my car.  I hit 15 miles about 8/10ths of a mile from my car, so I walked the remaining part, and it seemed the further that I walked, the slower my legs got, but I made it to the car.

And off to Mellow Mushroom for pizza and beer we went!

Allstate 13.1

Early Sunday morning, I met my running peeps from Moms Run This Town and Atlanta Southside Runners at Walmart to carpool to Brookhaven for the Allstate 13.1.  We arrived a little before 6AM with our crew which gave us plenty of time to meet up with some people who were meeting us there and to hit the porta potties, take photos, check bags, and just hang out with each other for a little while.  Everyone seemed overly relaxed for this race.  For many, it was a training run in preparation for their upcoming full marathons, and for me, it was a training run for my upcoming half in Savannah, which would hopefully translate into a great race for everyone.  Not having the pressure of a time looming over my head is often when I run my best races.

Around 6:50AM, we headed to our starting corrals.  A few people with us were in the A, B, & C corrals which were the only actual corrals.  The rest of us lined up by the pace team signs in one huge corral, but since it was a smaller race, this wasn’t an issue.  My plan was not to PR this race since I still haven’t worked up to running over 10 miles since my injuries, so I headed towards the 2:20 finish time with Dani, Jeneen, and Keri.  On the way, Jeneen was questioning whether she needed to line up at 2:20 or 2:15 because she wanted to PR, but she sometimes underestimates herself, so she was thinking 2:20 would be a PR (which it would be), but 2:20 for a PR for her was aiming pretty low considering how she’s been running lately, so I piped up and told her she had to beat my PR which was 2:17, so she had to get in the 2:15 corral.  I had all the confidence in the world that she’d have no problem crushing it.  A quick fist bump, and we left her at 2:15.

MRTT McDonough/Stockbridge

Left to right
Keri, Dani, Me, Jeneen, & Joy

The corrals started to move, and Dani and I started walking forward.  We were about 1/10th of a mile from the start and everyone was starting to run, but I didn’t want any added distance since I was already worried about hitting the wall at mile 10, so I walked to the start.  At the end of mile 1, Dani told me we were ahead of our planned pace, and we were, so we slowed down, but that lasted until about the end of mile 2 for me.  At that point, I got tired of trying to “watch” my watch, so I just decided to run a comfortable pace for me.  I was still using the run:walk method that I’ve been using, and I kept it at the 2:30 run to 1:00 walk that I’ve trained with, but I ran the speed I felt like running.  This might not have been the best plan for a “training” run, but I had initially thought I’d try to run 8 miles or so at tempo, so just running what was comfortable was a good gauge for me to determine where I was in my quest for a PR in Savannah.  Looking back at my splits, my flat, rolling hills, and downhill miles were pretty close to the pace I need in Savannah, but I definitely struggled on the long uphills.  Somewhere around mile 8 or 9, I decided to add an extra 10-15 seconds into my run portion of my interval, so I’d simply run while I continued to count to 10 or 15 after my watch beeped to start my walk.  By doing this,  it was also taking 10-15 seconds off of my walk break.  I did this for 3-4 miles other than around 10.5 miles where I had to walk a little extra up a hill.  The extra run time didn’t seem too difficult, and I have 4 weeks until Savannah, so I plan to play around a little with a 2:45 to :45 ratio between now and then.  My last 2 miles ended up being my fastest which seems to be a typical pattern for me.  I think when I get a certain distance from the finish adrenaline takes over, but by the time I reached the finish line after those last 2 miles, I was out of breath and felt slightly nauseated.  I think I can speed up the rest of my half, but I won’t have that much left in my tank at the end.  I had more reserves left for those last two miles than I’d want if I were trying for a PR.  It’d definitely make me wonder if I had really given my all if my last 2 miles at Savannah are that much faster.

My Garmin data from Allstate

I’m still liking the Galloway run:walk method, and I can honestly say that I don’t think I’d be doing as well coming back from injury if I was trying to just run the entire way.  I still feel some twinges in my hip when I do long distances, but the walk breaks seem to be just enough to keep the twinge at bay.  I’d probably have re-injured myself by now if I wasn’t using the run:walk method, so I plan to stick with it for a while.  Part of it is curiosity too I think.  I almost feel like I’m doing speed work using it, so I’m curious to see if I can continue to hold the running speeds that I’m hitting while gradually lowering my walk speed and/or time and increasing my run times.  It’s not something I’m planning to do quickly, and it would obviously start with only short runs, and maybe the last couple of miles of long runs, but it’s something that has peaked my interest to try.

Crossing the finish line

Crossing the finish line
Official time 2:22:58

Allstate 13.1

2 medals because I entered the Atl Challenge by completing the Allstate and Publix half marathons

Iron Horse 15K

Rocking the horns for Amber at the finish.

Rocking the horns for Amber at the finish.

There’s no better way to train and prep for a race than to forget that you registered for it.  Yes folks, that’s right, I forgot I registered for a 15K race.  About a month and a half ago my running buddy, Jeneen, asked me if I was still doing the Iron Horse 15K, and I told her that I never registered for it because of my injuries.  I even looked back at my old emails to see if I had a confirmation for it, but I couldn’t find one, so I went on my merry little way under the assumption that I didn’t register due to my recent injuries.

And then, Friday the 13th came.  A little after 8AM, I got an email informing me about packet pickup for the Iron Horse 15K.  Say what?  Time for panic to set in.  I had no clue what time the race was on Sunday or how I was going to get there.  I sent a quick text to Jeneen in a bit of a panic.  She said that she was sure someone would take the bib.  Uh, nope, not going to happen.  If I registered, then I’m going to run it.  I had 9 miles on the books for Sunday anyway, so I’d just make it a training run.  Jeneen said she’d pick me up Sunday at 5:20AM, and she, Veronica, and I could all ride together to Kennesaw.  After getting travel arrangements made, I was still dumbfounded as to how I could have missed the email confirmation a month earlier, and honestly, I was still hoping that it was a mistake, and I hadn’t really registered, so I searched my email again.  This time, I found the email in my vacation folder instead of my running folder.  Oops, I really did register.

Bright and early Sunday morning Jeneen showed up at my house, then we picked up Veronica at her house.  The ride to Kennesaw was a little under an hour, so it wasn’t a bad drive.  As we arrived, the packet pick up was well organized, so we got our packets quickly and stowed our stuff in the car.  About 7:00AM, the line for the porta potties was getting pretty long, so we briefly discussed driving to a gas station, but opted to stand in line.  With only a few minutes to spare, we finished our business and made it to the start.

Just before the gun fired, we found Joy, another running buddy, said hello, and then we were off.  I caught myself chatting with Jeneen for a minute and realized that I was starting too fast, but the course started downhill, and typically I run faster downhill.  I figured it’d probably even out quickly.  By the end of the first mile, I had settled in pretty well to my average pace, but I was still a little fast.  I lost Jeneen and Veronica around 4 minutes as I broke to a walk for my run:walk ratio of 4:1.  I knew I was going to be running the race by myself, but it’s hard to stick to your plan when you want to run with your friends.  I broke to my walk at 4 minutes knowing that if I didn’t I could be risking another injury, and I’d be dying by mile 3 if I tried to keep their pace.  They were aiming to finish in 1:30, and there’s no way I could hang with that.

The course was pretty neat for me since it took me back by my old stomping grounds.  There were lots of old memories as we ran by my Alma Mater, Kennesaw State University, and my old apartment complex.  I haven’t been back on campus in forever, so I hadn’t had a chance to see the new football stadium.  The course took us by the Home of the Owls on the way out and back, so I got a good view of it.  I knew the area by looking at the road names, but as I ran, I couldn’t actually recognize much of it at all due to the changes.  I guess a lot changes over 12 years.  Needless to say, I was pretty distracted by the sights.

The course was well marked.  Police were at all the intersections blocking traffic and letting cars through at some points around Town Center Mall, but they did a great job and never disrupted the runners to let the cars across.  At one point, there was a break between me and the girl ahead, and an officer tried to wave a car through.  The driver wasn’t watching, and the car finally noticed the officer.  He made the car wait because I was too close by then.  Just after I passed, he apparently tried to wave them across again, and the driver was once again not paying attention.  The officer yelled at the driver about not watching.  It provided me with a little giggle around mile 7.5 where I was struggling due to a rather long hill. The officer was not happy with that driver.

Mile 8-9 was my fastest mile at 10:05.  It was downhill which was a nice relief after the previous mile.  I knew I still had an uphill somewhere up ahead, but I couldn’t remember how far ahead.  Luckily, it was only the last 3/10ths of a mile on the course.  As I headed up the last hill, I saw Veronica and Jeneen standing on the side cheering for me to keep going, which sucked and was great at the same time because I really wanted to break to a walk by this point since I had skipped my last walk break trying to finish at a run.  There was no way I could break to a walk with them cheering for me though, so I topped the hill feeling like I was going to hurl as I turned the corner towards the photographer and finish line.  I really thought he was going to get a great photo there for a minute, but I regained my composure, smiled, and rocked the horns as I specifically thought about my friend & running buddy Amber who now lives in Kansas.  She always throws the horns at the camera, and for some reason she was on my mind, so I had to do it for her.  😉

They gave all the finishers a pretty cool medal as we crossed the finish line, and there were several sponsors with pasta, pizza, muscle milk, and other food in the finish area.  The race had great support, and it’s definitely one that I’d recommend to others.  My finish time was 1:42:08 on my Garmin which I’m happy with considering all that I’ve been dealing with injury wise lately.  My goal is to try to PR my half at the Savannah Rock n Roll, so I have to keep my eye on the prize and take it easy.

Next up, Allstate 13.1 will be another training run.  I’m sticking to the plan.

Post race with Jeneen & Veronica

Post race with Jeneen & Veronica