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.  😉

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 http://connect.garmin.com/activity/403210069

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!

How big is my heart?

It’s a long story as to how I’m running the PTC 15K, but tomorrow morning I am.  For the first time in a LONG time, I’m actually a little nervous.  However, my nerves aren’t about the race.  I’m only using the race as a training run, so there’s no reason to be nervous about that.

I’m nervous because I plan to run 15 miles tomorrow by adding 3 miles before and 3 miles after.  This will be my longest run ever, and honestly, I keep doubting myself and whether I’ll be dying at the end of the 15K and just flake out on the extra 3 after.  My mind is playing tricks with me and making me ask myself if it’s too much too soon?  Will my hip be ok?  Is it too many miles before Savannah?  Will it affect my race there in 3 weeks?  But then, I look at training plan after training plan, and a 2 mile jump is normal.  An increase week, followed by a drop back week, and then another of an increase week by a couple of miles is par for the course.  If I was training for a marathon, then the next step after a half marathon would be 15 miles on Higdon’s Novice 1 plan, so it’s not an abnormal progression, so why am I nervous that I won’t do it?  Notice, I didn’t say that I was nervous because I “can’t” do it.  I guess that’s my answer.  I’m doubting my desire, my heart, my determination.

So, tomorrow is another step for me in answering that question of whether or not I have what it takes in my head & heart to work towards running a marathon in Albany.  I know that I can complete a marathon.  It’s just a matter of if I desire to.

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

Excitement is off the charts….

….for my upcoming race schedule that is!

After my injection in my neck last week, most of the numbness in my arm seems to be gone.  I’ve only had mild numbness once or twice since the day after the injection.  I still haven’t attempted to get back on my bike, but my focus has now moved onto my upcoming running race schedule.

This Sunday, I will be running the Allstate 13.1 in Atlanta, but it is simply a training run for the Savannah Rock N Roll Half which I want to try to PR.  My plan for Allstate is to run part of it as a tempo run.  I’m thinking 8-9 miles. I then have the Monster Dash on Oct. 20th before the Savannah RnR on November 9th.

My current PR for a half is 2:17:07.  I’m still using the run:walk method, but I’m optimistic that I may be able to PR using it at Savannah. I just need to either speed up my walk or change up my ratio.  Yesterday, I was able to average a leisurely 11 minutes a mile on a 7.7 mile run using a 2:1 ratio.  When I got home and looked at my Garmin numbers, my run pace was usually around the low 9’s or high 8’s, but my walk was really slow, so I’m hoping to work on this over the next 4 weeks, and see if I can get my overall pace down for Savannah.  I’ve really been enjoying using the run:walk method, and I feel like my recovery time from day to day is much better.  I am no longer reaching the end of my long run feeling exhausted like I couldn’t run any further.

My Garmin data from Sunday

After Savannah, my race schedule is going to get a little crazy!  I have the Serenbe Hill Country 15K on Nov. 23rd.  I ran it last year the week after my very first half, and it KICKED my butt!  I’m hoping for some redemption this year.  It’s an awesome race, but it’s a trail run, and I haven’t ran many trails.  My biggest concern is whether I need to stick with the 15K or drop to the 5K because after Serenbe, I just registered for the Rome 30K on December 7th because of peer pressure and due to being temporarily insane.  I’ll be running it with one of my BRF’s Jeneen.  It’s a big jump to try 30K for me, but I need to test the waters of farther distances.  Right now, I just want to finish the 30K and not die at the end. 😉  If the 30K goes well, then I will be moving up my timeline on my first marathon to run Albany on March 1st, but no commitments yet!

For next year, I am registered for the Red Nose Half, Albany, Publix, and the Ragnar Trail Relay in Conyers, GA.  I’m looking forward to getting a Ragnar Relay, marathon, and Half Ironman checked off my running bucket list sometime in the next year provided I can stay injury free, so stay tuned for updates on my journey towards these goals!