Flying Pig Marathon 2015 – part 2

I had a horrible time trying to sleep. I always expect that the night before a race, but that was a bit excessive. I woke up around 3am to some sirens outside. Soon, one of my crew members sent me a random text (I had to miss a squad shift for the race). And my alarm went off at 03:30am…. I wasn’t necessarily rested, but I was awake.

I got up and did my usual pre-race thing… Food, coffee, pee about a thousand times. I decided on a sleeveless top and shorts for the race because it was going to be chilly at the start and close to 80 degrees by the time I finished. I finally headed downstairs around 5:15am, tired of waiting around. I neglected to grab a heat blanket and pretty much froze for the next hour waiting to start.

They had the half marathoners and the full marathoners start together in the same corrals because we would run the first 9ish miles together. That got old real fast because, nothing against half marathon runners (I am happy to run those too!), but it’s become the “everyone can do it” distance and so you’re surrounded by people that don’t know race etiquette or how to seed themselves…

Anyway. They took their time starting each corral with fireworks (which was kind of cool), and I finally passed over the start line around 6:40am. I was trying out a new running belt (the FlipBelt) and was surprised I didn’t need to adjust it constantly for the start of the run (more on that later).

The first mile was, as any race is, energizing as there were tons of people cheering. We soon went across a bridge into Kentucky and completed a few miles there before returning to Ohio. Then we hit the hills. OMG. I had heard about the hills, but I was not prepared for them. These were STEEP hills, ones I could barely walk up. I didn’t even try to run them.

Soon, my left foot was throbbing. I had never had problems with it before, and I was starting to wonder if I would be able to finish. Walking breaks helped, but I couldn’t run for very long without the pain returning.

I don’t remember much about the middle part, other than getting bored. There were some pretty areas, but nothing terribly special. Around mile 18, the sun was fully out and it became extremely hot, with no shade available. I stopped sweated and just kept thinking “I’m so hot. I’m so hot.” I was so hyponatremic that my hands were too swollen to make a fist. Gatorade wasn’t helping and was downright sickening. 

I had been pacing earlier to PR, but I crashed and burned. Not so much from hitting the wall, although I kept bouncing against it, but I just felt dejected. Unprepared, undertrained, overweight, unenthusiastic (about things beyond running), and just really, really hot… The last couple of miles, my Garmin died, and I lost all knowledge of my pace. The mile marker for 25 finally passed, and then… More hills. Seriously. I cursed the race course makers and trudged up them. I told myself that once I could see the finish line, I would just keep running, no matter how slowly. But man, that final half mile or so felt longer than the rest of the race. 

I passed over the finish line and into the dirty (seriously, it was so gross) finisher’s chute, waving away anyone who wanted to take a picture. I never buy them anyway, and I certainly didn’t want a reminder of this race. I finally made it to water and food and plopped down near the river…  

I had the “coveted” Flying Pig medal, and a tired body. I was glad I did it, but I was also really glad to restart a training cycle. I’ve got some plans and ideas, which I’ll explain soon.

Overall, I think it was a good race, but not the “amazing” race other people have called it. Richmond has it totally beat on crowd support. Seriously. Richmond is the best. Run it, thank me later.

Flying Pig Marathon 2015 – part 1

This past weekend I drove (yes, drove… 8 hours one way!) to Cincinnati, Ohio for the famed Flying Pig Marathon. I opted to drive over flying because it was going to take almost as long to fly there from Richmond as it would to drive there (not an easy airport to get to!), but cost close to $400, versus a few tanks of gas. Plus, driving let me see parts of the country I hadn’t seen before.  

I got there Friday evening and checked into my hotel and went looking for dinner.   

While I know there were tons of restaurants to try, I headed to Panera to try to keep my costs low (are you sensing a theme here?). I soon plopped into bed, exhausted from the past few weeks.

The next day, I started my day off with a quick swim (my first triathlon is in August!) in the hotel’s teensy saltwater pool:  

Once little kids came in, I jumped out and showered before going to the race expo and exploring the city.

The expo was pretty small to me, but I’m used to the massive ones we have in Virginia. Lots of flying pigs… Apparently that’s a thing year round here.   

 

I’m as creeped out as you are. 😳

The expo as seemed a big disorganized – they had bibs sorted by names, but not matching the signs they had posted, and then got mad at me for being in the wrong line. People were also kind of pushy. So much for nice Midwesterners… I found the shirt boring, the poster useless, but I might use the backpack as a gym bag.

I then went off to explore the city a little more and figure out how long it would take me to walk to the starting area the next day. It was pretty, but quite warm, and I soon found myself overrun by runners from the 5K and 10K that was held that day.   

I also found an observation tower where you could view the city from 49 floors up! 
   

I knew from past experience not to wear myself out walking all day because I would suffer during the race, but I also didn’t want to regret not doing something just because of the race. I tried to balance fun with rest, and eventually turned in early since my alarm was set for 3:30am (the race started at 6:30am).

Coming soon… My race recap!

So I’m a slacker…

Sorry, y’all… Real life has kept me pretty busy lately. Let’s recap really fast, eh?

Love Rox Half Marathon 2015

This winter sucked and it actually snowed the day before this race. We ended up having to dodge several icy patches and an entire road was flooded at one point because it’s Richmond and it was in the 50s by the end of the race. Final time was 2:22:17 – pretty damn slow for me, but I’ll be honest, I really didn’t train over the winter like I should have. Not a bad medal, though, and thankfully they made them different for each length race instead of the combined medal they did last year (it matters!).  

Shamrock Marathon

UGH! I hated this race last year and only did it again this year because I thought last year’s weather was why it sucked (wind chill in the 30s). Nope, just a boring race with little crowd support. Gorgeous weather, though… But not doing this one again unless I drunkenly sign up. Surprisingly I never hit the wall during the race, but I was just tired the entire time… 4:57:17 (ouch!).

  
Monument Avenue 10K

This was 6 days after Shamrock and I was still wiped… My legs cramped up early and I was just tired… Not my best 10K time at 1:02:42 and it was freezing outside! But they did medals this year which I loved! 

Hopefully my next marathon next weekend will go a little better. I’m looking forward to starting over on marathon training and building a better base. Plus, training for my first triathlon!

More to come, just had to bring this up to speed.

 

On skipping races

So I was supposed to head out to Virginia Beach today for the Surf ‘n’ Santa 5 Miler. The race was supposed to start at 4:30p, so I was going to leave Richmond around noon and head back after the race.

However, I was exhausted when I woke up this morning. I planned to run a few miles this morning just to work out some kinks before making the trip. But every step felt like it took so much work, I couldn’t imagine racing with this complete lack of energy. Plus, I was starting to dread spending 4-5 hours in the car for what would be about 45 minutes of running.

The only reason I really wanted to do this race was because it was in the evening, so you could run under the Christmas lights on the boardwalk. I decided that it wasn’t worth the trip, seeing as the drive would stress me out and I mentally wasn’t in the mood to race.

It was also cold as heck today, and the wind is way worse on the boardwalk.

Having seen some pictures from the race posted on Facebook, I think I made the right decision. It wasn’t even dark, so the lights weren’t as impressive. And everyone looked really cold…

I made the decision some time ago that traveling for a race had to be a half marathon or greater for me to stay in a hotel; anything else had to involve friends and/or a day trip. I think it’s served me well.

I ended up skipping three races this year. Nothing over a 10K, so I didn’t lose too much in race fees. But I feel like sometimes you have to just give up.

So I guess that’s all the more racing I’ll be doing until February. Time to get my groove back and let my body recover a bit. With work and holiday things and squad stuff, I’ve been burning the candle at both ends and in the middle at the same time. I am exhausted and I am soooo glad that after Monday and Tuesday, I do not have to go to work until the Monday after New Year’s. I still have a random PRN shift and a squad shift in there, but for the most part… Just me and my dog and my pillow and my sneakers…

I’ll try to start posting about more than just running. Or, you know, posting with some regularity…

2014 Richmond Marathon

Ooooh Richmond… You will forever be my favorite marathon…

But it was soooo cold this year! It was in the 20s at the start and that was the coldest for this race in 15 years! Why do I never get “good” race weather?

After twisting my ankle a few weeks before the race and then having the triumphant return of my knee pain, i debated pulling out of the race. But I didn’t want to waste all the training, so I decided to go for it anyway, knowing that I wouldn’t push myself.

I started out by stressing about my phone not picking up Pandora, and spent the first couple of miles trying to warm up and get into my groove. On the plus side, my legs were so cold I couldn’t feel any shin splints!

I knew my biggest problem at races is not fueling like I trained, so I tend to bonk. I actually did pretty well fueling every three miles and just tried to keep from running too fast.

Overall, I felt like the race was flying by. I remembered the course pretty well from last year, and I think that definitely helped. Unfortunately, around mile 22, I just got soooooo tired that I wanted to take a nap on the side of the road. I couldn’t run more than a few minutes without getting exhausted again.

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Not my best photo! But that was around mile 25 and I was clearly tired.

Finally, I got to the last half mile or so which is all downhill. I found out I still had a little steam left and started passing people and finally crossed the finish at 04:41:51.

My slowest marathon yet, but I also know I was trying not push it. I’m disappointed, but I’m hoping to reevaluate my training (and my rest days!) and have a great year next year. I just have two short, fun, Christmas-themed races next month and I am looking forward to them!

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Richmond Marathon Expo

I went to the race expo for the Richmond Marathon today after work. Thankfully, I got there right as they opened, so I was in and out pretty fast. I actually don’t like expos that much. I’m usually stressed out already over travel and race day logistics, and I just want to runnnnn. I don’t need ten thousand expensive gadgets and five different things with the race name on it, especially if it ends up being a race I’d rather forget.

But I found a non-dated item that I fell in love with:

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And since I ran it last year, it’s more about the race as a whole than any specific year… Especially since this is probably going to be bad on Saturday. It’s going to be COLD. And my training has really suffered lately. Plus, a recent ankle sprain and then sporadic knee pain aaaaand Aunt Flo visiting? Yeah, I just want to cross the finish line in one piece.

Guess we’ll see. I still have to get through another rough day at work tomorrow (I still love my job. Just some crazy politics going on right now)…

Hershey Half Marathon

This was up in Pennsylvania. I grew up near Hershey, so I stayed at my parents’ house.

Chilly!! Barely 40 degrees at the start. The course wove through Hersheypark, the Milton S. Hershey school, and some of the farms in the area. And hilly!! So many hills!

I went into this race just wanting to have fun. My training has been spotty and I knew the course would be rough. And it was so fun! The race benefited the Children’s Miracle Network and there were a bunch of kids out on the course cheering us on. I totally want to do it again and again! Plus tons of chocolate and other Hershey products in the swag bag and post-race lunchbox (yes, they hand you a massive lunchbox packed with food afterwards).

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Well.

I got my PR for the half – 2:11:32 despite the hills!! I still wanted to break 2 hours this year, but it just wasn’t meant to be… Some day, some day…