Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Boulder Spring Half Mary

Such an exciting race weekend!!  Oceanside on Saturday and tracking athlete Peter to a 28 minute PR!!  And watching Beth and her pro debut as well as all the other great ladies that had their first pro race this week.  And Sunday, Galveston 70.3 and cheering for PIC from afar.  But there was a good reason for me to be 900 miles away from Galveston.  I had my own little race to do.  A half marathon.

My photographer for the day.  Thanks family for coming up and supporting mom!
Nerves started setting in for this race about the time I saw the heart rate plan from Dirk 3 weeks ago.  Umm really?  Are you sure you don't have me confused with someone else's heart rate?  That's been the "fun" part of working with Dirk.....exploring heart rates that I thought were no longer existent in my body.  But I saw that plan and talked to Coach.  What was I worried about he asked?  Well, clearly that I will blow up and die.  In typical Dirkinator fashion, he assured me I would not die.  And if I blew up?  Good lesson learned.  So for the last couple of weeks I really just tried to get my head around running for that long at that high a heart rate.

The last time I ran an open 1/2 marathon was back in 2009 - that's a long time!  And just for giggles, I went back and read that post!  Oh my, how things change and oh how they stay the same!!  But I wish I had my heart rate data from that race - see, I don't have my garmin files from way back when sooooooo I am just guessing what I was aiming for.  I do remember from that 2009 race pushing very hard at the end and not having much left at all......

Sunday morning came along and I had a bit of a nervous tummy but had plenty of time before the race.  I have been reading and cooking from the Feed Zone cookbook (love it!) and decided to eat a breakfast that should be easily digestible - scrambled eggs and white rice.  Yum.  And it worked, I actually needed a few more calories about an hour before start time so that was a good "experiment".  So here I was, in Boulder, running a half marathon.  It had been a long time but it was a beautiful day and I just soaked in the sunshine and kept my mental preparation of big time sufferfest.  I drank a bottle of EFS with a scoop of pre-race and I was absolutely jittery and needed to start running!
Getting that pre-race down and trying to look pumped up!
Anywho, I thought I had my plan all thought out until I heard from Dirk again on Saturday afternoon.  And he bumped up the heart rate again!!!  Yikes!  I was pretty much going to blow this off and then the effects of the pre-race muddled my thought process.  Why not try his plan?  What do I have to lose?  What do I have to gain?  It's going to hurt any way you look at it so maybe this plan will get me to the finish line sooner.  Hmmmm.   The gun goes off and I decide I'm going for it.  No gradual build up to a "sensible" heart rate.  Just go from the gun.  Yee haw.

The first couple of miles were good!  I felt relaxed.....I was passing people.....I felt like a runner!  This course is TOUGH!  Please remind me to sign up for a flat running race next time!  Hills.  I didn't realize that the first half of the race is basically uphill.  Mile 3 was flat and that was great.  But a left turn onto a paved road and it is a steady little climb.  Crap!  I'm watching my pace get slower.  Well, it's clearly not going to be my pie-in-the-sky PR today - I need flat for that one.  But there is still a chance for just a good 'ol PR.  Another turn, a little bit of flat.  Another turn, more of that uphill.  Jeez!  Can a girl get a break?  Pace was not where I wanted it to be but there was no question that I was working hard.  Gah.

The course is an out and back so in mile 5, I started seeing the fast runners coming at me (and a KE athlete Mark Hillers leading the race) and noticed there weren't that many females ahead of me.  Like maybe 10? But, remember, my race math sucks.  I can't even count!  I hit the turnaround and saw my family cheering me on and I may have lifted my hand in a weak attempt at a wave.  This hurt.  But the turnaround meant.....a DOWNHILL.....finally!!  I hammered that sucker.  I wanted to make up some time from all the uphill.  That was my 3rd fastest mile of the day.  But then my pace slowed a bit again but started seeing runners from the 10 mile race and that helped keep me motivated.  The turn at 10 miles was not good.  It turned into a bit of an uphill and at that moment I experienced some weakness.  Like, I wanted to vomit and walk.  But no no no no. Keep pushing!!!!  Let's see what I have under the hood!!  Bret was a welcome sight with 2.5 miles to go.  At this point my quads were getting sore (race isn't even over yet) and I just. wanted. to. finish.  1 mile to go and I check my watch.  OK, PR is still in play!!  And that was the only thing that seemed to keep me moving.  Those were the slowest miles and could possibly be called the crash and burn portion of the race.
2.5 miles to go....where's that finish line?  Thanks Bret for the photo!
Finally the finish line and a look at my watch.....PR!  I finally broke out of the 1:40s and into the "30's".  It took me a while to even want to walk but I finally got some water down.  My tummy was still flipping me the middle finger.  Thank goodness for Denice at Honey Milk - she took care of getting me some much needed calories:)  And then I waited in the results line.

And the shocker, not only a PR but a place on the podium!!  In a run race!!  Good day.  And now it's back to triathlon and my next 1/2 mary will be at the end of a swim and 56 mile bike in, oh, about 2.5 weeks.  It'll be a great race to test my fitness and see how my ironman prep is coming along.

KE representin' at the race!  Jason 1st in his age group and Mark won overall!  (next time off the phone for the picture Mark OK?)


goSonja said...

good job PIC! Great day for a PR! and on a tough course, whoop!

Beth said...

Woo-hoo!!!! Congrats on your PR AND podium!! Definitely a sign of great things to come!!! Nice running! :)

mtanner said...

Yay for the 1:30's! Great job!

Meredith said...

Great job Michelle. I need you to come to my next half marathon and pace me as I'm trying to get my race times back into the 1:30s. Nice hardware!

Jennifer Harrison said...

Running in the 1:30s on a tough course! AWESOME, so happy for you! :) I know how hard you work! CONGRATS!!!!

Unknown said...

Woot! Congrats on a great race!!