An Object in Motion Tends to Stay in Motion

“An object in motion tends to stay in motion,”  those words stuck in my head from about mile 4 of the Red Nose Half Marathon on January 4th and were a game changer.

Leading up to the Red Nose Half, I had just completed week 11 of my 20 week marathon plan, and the long run for week 11 was 20 miles.  I had finished that 20 mile run with ease and was riding a huge high going into week 12 of training.  Here’s my 20 miler which became 21 miles:  http://connect.garmin.com/activity/420791032.  The next battle that ensued within me from about Tuesday of that week was whether or not I should actually race the Red Nose Half on the following Saturday or just use it as a training run.  After all, my plan called for a 10 miler or a 10k race both of which would be MUCH less taxing on my body than a half marathon at race pace.  I had signed up for the Red Nose Half in Columbus, GA prior to deciding I was going to run a marathon, and the Red Nose was the half I planned to try to PR since I had missed a PR in Savannah.  It is a free race, so I could have just decided not to go, but about 15 people were going from our local running club, so it was going to be a fun race.  Honestly, I went back and forth on what I was going to do several times a day leading up to Saturday, and I did everything I could possibly do to derail any thoughts of racing the half including but not limited to running 7 miles the day before the half, eating the wrong type of food for dinner, staying up late Friday night, not bringing water with me for the night before or morning of, and neglecting to really hydrate at all for the race.  I was hoping that early on in the race my legs would be heavy, and I’d be able to make the call at mile 3 or 4 to NOT race it.  Jeneen and I had sent numerous text back and forth all week about whether we were going to race it or not, and just when we thought we had decided we weren’t going to, the other one would bail on the decision or throw out some reason why it really might be OK.  Even at dinner Friday night, the conversation of pros and cons continued.

Early Saturday morning at 6:55 AM, I got a tweet from Jeneen asking me, “what is it woman?  Imma say it.  RACE DAY.”

To which I replied, “It is what it is.  Depends on how I feel around mile 2 or 3.”

Our group had decided to meet at 7:10 in the hotel lobby to walk to the start of the race, so we gathered in the lobby and headed over.  We met up with a couple of other MRTT chapters for a quick photo at 7:30, grabbed pins for our bibs, and used the restroom, then it was start time.

MRTT chapters at Red Nose Half

MRTT chapters at Red Nose Half

I was still wavering in my decision and hoping my legs would tell me not to race it early on due to my attempts at sabotage, but if I was going to race it, then I wanted to be on pace for a 2:15 PR!  I lined myself up with the 2:15 pacer just in case.  As the start gun fired, we took off, and the group pacer was quickly leaving me.  In my mind, I was already starting to think that it was going to just be a training run.

rednose group

As I hit the 1 mile marker, my watch showed 10:10 which truly scared me.  I’ve never started long runs at that fast of a pace.  The 2:15 pacer was out of my sight already at this point, and I realized he was going much too fast for that time goal.  I decided to slow down.  I missed my time for mile 2, but I felt like I was struggling at the pace I was at.  After the race, I realized I had slowed down to 10:27, and I think if I had seen that at mile 2 with how I was feeling I might have thrown in the towel on racing it, but by the time I reached the mile 3 marker, my lap time was 9:58, so I attributed the way I felt to starting too fast, so I slowed down again.  Mile 4 was too slow, but it brought me to an overall average which was almost right on target of a 10:18 mm to reach my 2:15 goal.  This was the time to commit or not.  I needed to decide if I was going to go for it.  My legs weren’t feeling great, but they weren’t really struggling either.  I had my doubts still as to whether I could hold the pace for 9 more miles after the 7 mile run the day before, but I had a pretty good start, so I decided to go for it, and if I crashed at mile 10 (really thought I would), then I just crash.

So, back to that little quote…..

I had been yo-yo-ing back and forth with several runners since I use a 3:1 run:walk.  I was passing two ladies in particular every single time I ran, and they’d pass me as I broke to a walk.  I think this had been going on for about a mile, so I’m sure they were getting annoyed because it was getting on my nerves as well, but as one of my favorite sayings go, “it is what it is.”  As we came down a slight incline just before a hill around mile 4, I ran up behind them and heard one saying, “an object in motion tends to stay in motion.”  Now, I have no clue if this was directed at me or not, but I felt like it was.  These two ladies had been running separately, but they had just paired up before I passed them, and this is the conversation that ensues?  Ok, ok, yeah, I know.  It still could have been some totally random conversation, but if it lights a fire under your butt, just go with it, right?  So, I did.  From that point on, kicking their butts became my mission because yes, “an object in motion tends to stay in motion,” but this girl is going to crush you even with walk breaks!  The Galloway method works!

rednose

Are those eyes really a look that you want to mess with?

The next few miles gradually sped up, and just before mile 7 I got my first glimpse of the 2:15 pacer again.  YIPEE!!!!!  I was quickly reeling him in, maybe too quickly.  I soon caught and passed him just before the turn around, but I still had about 5 miles to go, and I needed to wait a little longer before I really started pushing myself.  I think mile 8 was probably the last time I looked at my lap time because it was 9:45 and freaked me out, once again, to be at that pace that early.  I decided that if I didn’t look at my pace, then maybe I’d stop over thinking it and just run, so the rest of the race was just a mind game of trying to run by feel and telling myself, “just 3 minutes until another break.”  As I passed mile 10, I told myself, “it’s just a 5k left, 3.1 miles.”  I wanted to maintain my pace and try to pick it up a little if I could, but I still didn’t want to look at my watch.  Over the next 3 miles, I managed to keep my eyes off my watch almost the entire time.  I did catch a glimpse of an instant pace that was rather shocking, but I did my best to quickly put it out of my mind and not think about it.

As I turned the last corner of the race, and headed up the hill, I saw the 2:10 pacer crossing the finish line.  Holy COW is what was going through my mind, and yes, I looked at my watch at this point.  I was going to finish well under my 2:15 goal.  I crossed the finish line at 2:11:15, and my last 5k of the race….well, it was within 20 seconds of my 5K PR.  Here’s my Garmin info:  http://connect.garmin.com/activity/424428183

Oh, and as for those two ladies, they finished sometime after the 2:15 pacer, so yes, Galloway’s method may not be their preferred way, but maybe they should give it a try.  😉

finish

Got to love race photos.

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Road to a marathon?

As I said before, I was waiting until after the Rome 30k to officially make the decision as to whether I’d run one this spring or not, and I survived the 30k, so I guess it’s time to commit.  I will say yes.  I’m running a marathon, and it will be in Albany…..unless I get too harassed by my running friends about it, and then I may disappear and run one the week before or after just to sneak it in.  Yep, that’s right, I’ve already checked into back up choices.  Just a fair warning to all of you who run with me and are reading this.

So, why a 30K?  To me, it just seemed like the next logical progression, and according to my training plan, I’d have had 18 miles to run that day anyway, so why not?  Oh yeah, yes, I’ve been following a marathon plan even though I haven’t admitted to everyone out there that I was planning to do a marathon.  I’m actually in week 9 of the plan that I picked up after Savannah.  So far, the running load seems pretty well suited to the level I’m at.  I still may do some tweaking to my plan towards the end, but the Rome 30K actually fit well into my plan despite opinions of some of the naysayers out there.  The plan was originally supposed to go to 26 miles, but I have no desire to hit that mileage prior to my full, so I changed it up to hit 22 miles, so I’m actually spending at least a couple of weeks at each distance as it increases.  I think I prefer this to continually hitting a new distance every other week, and I’ve yet to accept a plan exactly as it is written, so I always follow a “Stephanie” plan, so why change now.  Here’s my plan: marathon plan

When I originally signed up for the Rome 30k, Jeneen signed up to run it too, then about a month ago, Jessica signed up to run it with us as well, so the 3 of us booked a room made plans about when we were leaving on Friday to head to Rome, GA.  Then, about 3 weeks ago, Jeneen was told she needed to take 2 weeks off due to an injury, so she had to bail since she wouldn’t be ready.  No problem, Jessica was going.  I was good.  I still had some company, but wait, the week of Thanksgiving Jessica started having some pain in her Achilles, but she seemed to be dealing with it ok.  On November 29th, I got a text from my BRF Dani telling me that she had registered for the Rome 30K.  She’d wanted to go, but due to work couldn’t, and somehow the stars aligned, and she could now go.  Woo hoo!  The 3 of us were going to have a blast.  Ok, make that 2.  On December 3rd, I got the word that Jessica was having to bail due to a new pain in the hip.  WTH!  At this point, I was just hoping that I wasn’t the next one going down on the injured list.

I think that week was one of the longest yet since I started running, but luckily I had a huge ornament exchange that I was hosting on Monday night, and the rest of the week, I was finalizing plans for our running club’s Christmas Party, so I was slightly distracted.  I was confident that I could run the distance, but I kept going back in forth in my mind about my race plan.  I think I was still debating it Friday when I picked Dani up from work around 3:50 in Atlanta until I finally vocalized it to her on the ride to Rome.  I was planning to stick with her for the first 12 miles at a 12 minute/mile pace using our 3:1 run:walk ratio because that is my training pace for my full, then for the last 6+ miles, I was going to try to pick up the pace a little bit.  She took that time to make it very clear that she was not planning on picking up the pace with me, but I already knew that I told her, and I didn’t expect her to.  We somehow made it through traffic easily and barely had to stop on 75N which is amazing on a Friday afternoon in Atl.  I’m beginning to think that this 30K was meant for Dani and I to be running together from the beginning, and honestly, if I wasn’t running it with her, then I probably would have goofed it up.  She helps me stick to my plans.

When we arrived in Rome, we were able to swing by the local running store and grab our packets.  I had remembered my water belt, but I had forgotten my water bottles on the counter before I left the house, so I decided to buy a set of replacement ones, mine leaked anyway.  I’ve gotten in the habit of bringing my own water even though races provide it.  Perhaps it’s a bit of a control issue(most likely), but I like having my water to take my Gu when I want rather than having to wait for a water stop.  As we were checking out, we asked where to eat dinner, and they recommended Bella Roma.  On the way, we passed our hotel and the starting line for the race….check, we won’t have to figure that out after dinner.  The restaurant was an Italian restaurant, and it offered pasta, pizza, calzones, etc. Some of the pastas sounded delicious, but due to my allergies which are still unknown (even after allergy testing), I thought I’d better stick to something simple that I felt pretty safe about, so I ordered pizza, and Dani had a calzone.  I also had my traditional 2 beers the night before a long race, and then we were headed back to the hotel to check in.

dani

Dani after dinner

As we were waiting to check in, the lady in front of us asked for a late check out, and she was told the latest that the Days Inn could do was 12:30PM.  She was thrilled and said that’d be PLENTY of time.  I looked at Dani and we had a bit of a chuckle because that was going to be cutting it close for us, but we’d take what we could get, and that was as late as they’d allow.  I think we got to the room and settled in around 7:00PM, but it felt like it was 10PM.  We talked some more about the game plan for the next day, we planned to leave the hotel at 6:45AM since we were a 1/2 mile from the start/finish and the race would start at 8AM.  I told her that I was going to walk back to the hotel after the race and let her drive my car back since we were a 1/2 mile from the start/finish.  That way, I could already be showered by the time she made it to the hotel since we were on a tight schedule.

As soon as I tried to go to sleep, the feeling of being tired left.  I think I woke up about every 30 minutes throughout the night thinking about everything including my race plan, the Christmas Party that night, what I was wearing for the race, how many Gu’s I had planned to take, etc.  I finally gave up on sleep just before 4AM and grabbed my phone for something to do until Dani was awake.  I read through all the post on Facebook wishing us good luck from after we went to bed, and I even had some well wishes already coming in from that morning as well.  Dani always gets up ridiculously early for races, so she was awake around 4:45 I think, so I could start getting ready.  Yep, I think I was dressed and ready by 5:30AM.  If the race could have started at 6AM, I would have been good with that at this point.  I really just wanted to get started, so I could have it done.  We killed some more time and then headed out at 6:45AM.

I wasn’t expecting it to be so cold.  The winds were around 10mph, and I hadn’t paid attention to the forecast for the winds, so what I had planned to wear wasn’t quite enough.  Luckily, I had my Brooks jacket with me that I had bought in Savannah at the expo, but it was thin, so we sat in the car for about 30 minutes after we arrived since the crowd seemed pretty thin.  Finally, we got out to head over to the porta potties where there was no line still at 7:20ish.  As we left the porta potties, we ran into Stephanie and Keri from our local running club on our way to the starting line area.

rome30k

L-R Me, Keri, Dani, & Stephanie freezing

The Rome 30K was a very small race, so there was no corrals or wave start.  They counted down, fired the gun, and we were off.  We had driven the first few miles on the way to the restaurant last night, so we knew what those miles were like, but that was the ONLY thing we knew about the course other than the promises that it was flat other than a hill around mile 3 and that same hill again around mile 14.  In my experience, race directors’ opinions of flat usually don’t agree with mine, so I definitely had my concerns as to what would lie ahead, so Dani and I started off around the 12m/m pace that we had planned, and we hit the road for another training run.  The first couple of miles were very flat until around mile 3 where we started hitting some very small inclines and the decent hill of which they had warned, but it wasn’t anything crazy.  The plan was to Gu about every 3.5 miles since that would be about every 40 minutes, but since that wouldn’t fall at a water stop I’d need water.  I had decided to skip wearing my water belt, but instead I had put one of the water bottles in my skirt pocket.  I figured I’d refill it when it started running low, and it would cover me between water stops.  It worked really well and kept me from having to wear the belt which was nice, so I think I’ll do this again for my marathon.  Around mile 6 we passed the first of the transitions for the relay teams.  By the time we had reached it, I think only 2-3 relay teams were still waiting.  Shortly after we passed this area, a police car started following us with its lights flashing.  I looked at Dani, and asked, “what happened to everyone behind us?”  Neither of us could see the others, and we both KNEW we had 10 people at least behind us.  I was beginning to wonder if they’d quit, but I knew Keri was back there, and I didn’t think she’d quit plus it was still pretty early for that many people to drop out.  There was a guy in the first mile who seemed to be wheezing probably due to the cold, so maybe he dropped out, but surely there weren’t that many who’d thrown in the towel.  We’d also passed a porta pottie somewhere around mile 4 maybe, but I didn’t “really” have to go, so I skipped it, but of course, now that there’s a cop on our tails and no porta potties I was starting to think about it.  We passed some rural areas with patches of woods that I wanted to duck into, but I figured that wouldn’t be the best choice right in front of the police.  I didn’t know if they’d give me a ticket for that or not, and I certainly wasn’t in the mood to find out during a race, so I just tried to stop thinking about it, and I hoped that my body would reabsorb the fluids.  Yeah, I know that’s crazy, but for some reason, the urge usually disappears during a race if I can put it off long enough.  The course remained relatively flat, so we could see runners in front of us most of the time, and we were starting to gain on a couple of runners even though we were sticking to our 12 m/m pace.

We had passed a few runners by the time we completed mile 9, and I had sped up about 10 seconds on that mile probably due to having people in sight, so we slowed back down a little for mile 10, and somewhere in mile 11 I looked back and Dani was starting to fall behind.  I’d already started to pick up my pace and pull away without realizing it.  I’d planned on it being around mile 12, so I wasn’t too far ahead of plan, and Dani waved to me, so I waved back which was our way of telling each other, “see you at the finish.”

Now, it was time to test my plan.  Could I consistently pick up the pace slightly all the way to the end for negative splits?  My legs felt great at this point, so I thought I could, but I still had a long way to go, and the last 2.6 miles would be new waters for me, but here goes nothing.  Around mile 13, I caught a girl that I had seen early on and had hoped to catch later in the race because she seemed to just be taking random walk breaks rather than scheduled ones.  As I was coming up behind, she was walking next to a guy, and as soon as I approached, she looked back at me and took off running.  Ok, I’ll chalk that up as coincidence.  Now, my watch started to beep for my walk break, so I broke to a walk.  She was about 10 feet in front of me and did too.  Hmmm.  Now, I’m starting to think she’s messing with me.  Little does she know that I’m stronger now than I was at the beginning of the race when she passed me early on.  My legs weren’t loose yet then.  I’ll play your little game chick, and I’ll win!  GAME ON!!!!  As we passed mile 13, and my watch beeped for me to run again as she took off too, I decided to push the pace and see just how bad she wanted to stay ahead of me.  My run pace was in the mid 9’s, and mile 14 came in at 10:45, but I passed her.  BOOM!  Take that!  Ok, maybe it was just all in my head, and it was a coincidence that she was running and walking just when I would and speeding up as I did, but either way she was going down & she did.

After I passed her, I still had over 4 miles to go, so I slowed it back down a little and settled back into my plan to gradually increase until the end.  I had topped the last hill shortly after I passed my victim, so I was feeling pretty good about being able to get negative splits the rest of the way.  Around mile 16, we broke off to head through a park on a paved path.  We hadn’t run this on the way out, so I had no idea what this part was like.  It started to go downhill though, and we were running by a river.  That was all well and good, but I knew that meant that I had to climb back uphill at some point.  We ended up having a couple of short steep hills (granted they were only 20-30 feet long, but they’re still hills to me!) in that last mile with the final one coming as I made the turn for the last 200 yards to the finish, but I made it!!!!!!!!!!!!  Check out my Garmin here:  http://connect.garmin.com/activity/413209805

Official gun time was 3:38:43, and my Garmin time was 3:38:12.  For the most part, my splits were negative, and right now, I feel really good about a marathon in March.  I feel like my training is right where I’d like for it to be, and my goal for my marathon is to complete it in under 5 hours, but I’d be thrilled with under 4:45, so there you have it folks.  It’s in writing on the internet now Kevin.  I just put it out there for the world to see.  Not only did I commit to completing a marathon, but I just shared a time goal as well.  😉

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  https://www.facebook.com/groups/mcdonough.ga.mrtt/

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 http://connect.garmin.com/activity/386840209

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

The Big Day

Tomorrow morning at 9:50 I am scheduled for the steroid injection in my neck to help with the nerve the bone spur or disc is pressing on.  I found out at my last doctor’s appointment that I will be put under general anesthesia for the injection, and I’ve been having second thoughts ever since.  The numbness is annoying and at times it hurts, but is it worth going through with all this?  General anesthesia isn’t something to be taken lightly, so I’ve been mulling that question in my mind over and over again.

The numbness started back at the beginning of May and progressively got worse until I could no longer ride my bike because it was causing so much pain.  When I first quit riding, the pain & numbness stayed the same, but in the last month and a half, they have gotten less persistent.  Which makes me question if I should just wait it out.

I really want to get back on my bike though, and every time I think, “maybe it’s done being numb & hurting,” it somehow reminds me, and it did so last night while I sat on the bleachers watching my daughter at her practice, and it proceeded to remind me during my sleep last night as well, so I will be going ahead with the injection in the morning.

I’ve been told that it should improve pretty quickly, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I might be able to make the last evening group rides of the season next week, probably wishful thinking.  We shall see………….

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

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