Monday, June 20, 2011

My (Fake) 13.1 Race Report

When I last rambled on in a post I mentioned that the arrival of my second child was imminent  Last Monday we were told to expect the little one any day, of course here we are a week later, and no baby .  So instead of going to Vancouver to run my first half-marathon, I stayed home so that I could be at the ready when it was time to go.   However, I did run 13.1 miles, it just isn't official or anything like that.   So without further ado, my fake half marathon.

Friday evening I planned out a couple of routes to run 13.1 miles, an out and back in the park along the river, and a romp through my neighborhood, figuring I would just pick one Saturday morning based on how I felt.   Then I checked the weather to see what the hourly forecast would be, the low 60s and cloudy, with rain to come after I planned to be finished.   Perfect.   I was prepared, I got my clothes and gear all set up and ready so all I had to do was get going first thing in the morning.

Saturday, the alarm went off just before 6, and I snooze it a couple of times just because I can, thinking to myself, I can totally turn this off and sleep in for a little bit longer.   I get up a few minutes later and get dressed and ready to run.   I get a water bottle ready and a couple gel packs and at 6:30 I hit the road, 13.1 miles here I come.

The first 3 miles are pretty good.  The first mile is out of my neighborhood down to a paved path, which I can only do 2.5 miles on going out due to construction on the parallel road.   The first 3 miles are good, I am at a 8:20m/m pace and fell pretty confident that I can hold this for while.   Just after mile 3, I get to the stop light that indicates my turn-around back towards the neighborhood.   At mile 4, I slow down to take in the first gel, and am averaging 8:30 m/m.   I come off the path and turn up one of the major roads in my area an keep on pushing towards mile 5.

Somewhere between miles 4 and 6 I must have mistepped, or hit a curb funny along the sidewalk, because I now have a throbbing pain in my left calf and hamstring.   I don't remember doing anything to it, but I am now very sore.   This stretch also has a couple of hills, so between the ailing leg and the hills, I slow down, walking a bit to try to work out the tightness in the leg.   Finally, around mile 6 I ease back into a reasonable pace and my phone chimes at me to indicate that I am at 9 m/m pace.   Fine I think, I can pick this back up and keep going, I could still get through this under 2 hours.

But, instead of working through the pain, the leg gets more tight.   Between miles 7 and 8, I truly think about heading back to the house and icing up as it has now started to rain a little .   I push on, two thoughts keep me going, first, just run three more miles, a 5k then reevaluate, the second, your training partner is going to run this thing tomorrow, how will you feel if he finishes and you didn't even get to mile 8.  I push it, running/walking to ease the pain a bit.   I get to mile 9 taking the other gel hoping that a shot of energy will really help.   The whole time I am visualizing the path I am going to take, trying to calculate the distances of each segment until I can get to 13 miles.

I push past mile 10 at the bottom of my traditional 2 mile loop, thinking, just round this little section twice to get to 11 then back to the top of the hill and around that loop twice and a short jaunt downhill to get to 13.  Just 3 more miles, let's hit some milestones.   I complete the two mini-loops and reach 11 miles as I head up the hill, thinking it won't take long to get to 12.  But it did, it felt like it was going to take an eternity for the phone to beep out that 12th mile.   I check to see where I am, 11.4, Let's go, run this thing out.   So I do, no more walking breaks just pushing as much as I can go .   I run the last two miles under 8:45m/m, and finally coast to a stop at 13.1 finishing with a 9:33 m/m pace and 2:05:05.  I am sore, disappointed, and tired.  I walk home, just a couple minutes and stretch out .

I have to be honest, I am of course disappointed that I didn't get to go to Vancouver and run this race.   I truly think that I would have run it at about 1:50, but the mental shift from running a race and running a glorified long run is remarkable.   My mind is also a little preoccupied with the impending birth, so I wasn't focused on running as much as normally would have been.  Plus I should have taken the flat asphalt path in the park instead of the ever changing sidewalks in the neighborhood.  But, it was important that I get out and run this, to show that I could.   I have another one on the schedule in three months, and my friend who did get to run in Vancouver is talking about another one next month.   There are tons of opportunities to run.

So there you go readers, the race that wasn't, the almost injury that was, and the mental ability to push through it.   On the leg, compression socks Saturday night helped ease the pain in the calf muscle and by Sunday no pain there at all.   Wrapped the upper leg in an ace bandage Sunday to help diminish that pain.   I should be back out for an easy 3 tomorrow or Wednesday.  I need to take some pictures of my "course" and get them up here.   Have a great week guys .

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