Last Saturday I ran my second half marathon. I've waited to blog about it for 2 reasons. One, I was hoping to put pictures with it, but I still don't have them from my mother-in-law's camera/phone, so I probably shouldn't keep waiting for them. Second, I didn't want to write about it too early, because if I had, all I would have done was whine and cry about how crappy I felt afterwards and how I wish I had been able to do better. You don't want to listen to me whine and cry ,so you will be happy to know I waited to write this post. But I will try to give you the lo-down of what happened and how it went.
The good part of the run was that I ran for the first time with my friend Heather and THAT part was amazing! I loved running with her and it was very fun to do it together. She was such a sweetheart. She can run faster than me, but she stayed with me the whole time and chatted. It was a good course and day as far as the hills and weather were concerned. But it was a little weird too because it didnt just go "out and back" once, as we originally thought. It went out and back TWICE, so once u realized you were only 1/4 done, when at first u thought u were 1/2 done, it was a bit hard to get over that mentally.
We started out really strong. We were consistently at 6.8-7.0 miles per hour which is between 8 1/2 and 9 1/4 minute miles. Pretty fast for me, since I usually do 9 1/2 min miles, but my goal is always to at least just do a 10 minute mile (6 miles per hour). We did that strong for the first 6 miles or so. Then we turned around to head out again, facing the wind again, and my pace started to slow. I kept waiting for the turn around and it seemed to take forever since on the second "out&back" we veered off onto a running trail that I was unfamiliar with so I had no idea where it ended and where we were in relation to the street markers. I struggled hard to get to the turn around, but I think we were still at over 6 miles per hour. We started heading back, at the turn around, and now the wind was at our backs. Mentally this was what I was waiting for... wind at my back, last home stretch, re-running something I've already run so I know where I am. Mentally I should have whipped it and been able to speed it up and get it in gear. But physically, by legs wouldn't go any faster. I was so bummed. I didn't have any problems with my right leg or my left calve (the soreness I'd had prior to the race didn't act up during the race,which was good), however, my body was just not prepared for the race so my hips weren't tight per se, but they were "heavy" and I couldn't seem to get them to move my legs faster. Its like my hips were the gears and they were stuck in mud, instead of gliding smoothly through oil, and my legs were fine, but since the gears (hips) were stuck, my legs weren't going any faster. It was sad. I was pretty bummed, because mentally I knew I could kick it in gear, and my legs should have done it, but my hips wouldn't listen to my brain and they just kept moving at the same pace instead of speeding up as I was willing them to do.
My first half marathon had been a 2:17, and I had really aimed for 2hrs, so this time I was hoping deep down I'd make 2hrs. At the start of the race it looked really good based on our pace. Even at 10-11 miles, it was almost attainable if I had kicked it in gear and finished at a 6.3 or 6.5 miles per hour. But I couldn't get my stupid legs to move faster. So as we approached the last mile, I knew I couldn't make 2hrs, BUT if I kicked it in gear I could at least make 2:05 or 2:07 and cut off 10 minutes from my time which would have been pretty nice. Now normally at the last mile marker, I can summon enough energy to kick it in gear and finish strong. Mentally I still wanted to, but physically I still couldn't get those hips to move those legs any faster and we simply coasted in at 6.0, thus finishing at 2hrs and 12 minutes. So yes, I did cut 5 minutes from my time, but I still didn't make my 2hr goal. The whole time I'm running this race I'm thinking to myself "WHY did I sign up for the marathon in Nov???? WHY in the world do I want to run 26.2 miles, when 13.1 is killing me???!!!"
I finished the race running the whole thing (except for walking on water breaks), but was completely miserable afterwards. My hips were killing me. My stomach felt like I might puke. My head was lightheaded. I was exhausted and just miserable. But Mandy, Heather, and Stephanie looked like they'd just taken a leisurely walk thru the park to smell the roses! They were in no pain and were not exhausted like me. My husband was at the finish line and said I look like I was dying crossing the finish line, while Heather looked like she hadn't even run. He was right. He also had another point... He said I really need to take training more seriously and ACTUALLY train for these long races. He's right. I've had a history over the past year of my running career of procrastinating and not really training for a race, but then going out and "Just Doing It". I've convinced myself that since I CAN finish these races WITHOUT training properly, that I don't NEED to train. The problem is, I feel like crap for two days afterwards, and I never reach the goal time I set for myself because my body isn't prepared for it. So, he's right. I need to actually train if I am going to run in a race. This Monday, I am starting my 26-week beginner's marathon training program to run my first marathon on Nov. 22, 2009. I am planning on sticking with it and actually training the whole time so that I can complete the marathon. After I cross that finish line, I never have to run another race again :)
Now, if you will look back over my past logs, you'll know that I had planned on training for this half marathon last week. Remember the "once a week long runs" I was trying to do? But the problem was that my leg began hurting about a month before the race so I lighted up on my running trying to give it a chance to heal. The problem was I didn't realize how little I was actually running before the race until I looked back at my workout log a few days ago... It had been a whole month since I'd done a "long run" and that had been 10 miles. Then it had been a full 12 days prior to the race that I had even run anything, and that was only 2 miles! Fourteen days before the race I had run 4.5 miles. But my goodness, what did I expect!? I hadn't run for almost 2 whole weeks before the race and then I'm wondering why my legs won't listen to my head and why my hips feel like they are stuck in mud?! How foolish can I be?! I definately need to take training more seriously. And I'm going to!
I feel back to normal now. On Monday I had pre-scheduled a massage appointment and she did some cupping on my quads which really alleviated the pain from the lactic acid that had built up in them. Prior to my massage I would practically fall down the stairs because my quads hurt so bad going downstairs. And if you think that's sad, u should have seen me try to sit on a toilet! It's like I'd half squat then fall backward onto the toilet because my quads were too sore and weak to sustain my weight and fully sit back like normal. Running shouldn't be like this. I need to train-OBVIOUSLY! There you have it-maybe I whined a little, but not nearly as much as I would have if I'd written this earlier. LOL