Sunday, November 06, 2005

Somebody's Gotta Do It

Hey everybody!! I can safely say yesterday's half marathon was THE worst race I've ever run. However, I did set a new PR for myself at the half distance, so it wasn't THAT bad. I've had a really terrible week at work, so I wasn't exactly stress free going into this race. To be honest, I wasn't even that excited about it the day before. I was so exhausted from all the hours I'd worked last week, and the race STARTED at 7 am on the extreme north side of town (a 45 min drive for us). So, Fri night we went out and ate some pasta, came home and changed our mp3 running mixes around, and got all our gear together. By this point I had left crappy work behind and was starting to be a little excited about it. Brent was starting to get excited, too (about everything except our early morning wake up call!) We ended up having to get up at 4:45 am - ugh!! I told myself this was really like getting up at 5:45 a week before, so that helped a little. We ate our bagels (which I am getting REALLY sick of!!) and headed out. We got there about 30 or 40 minutes ahead of start, which was perfect for having plenty of time to get geared up and check out the race map. There was plenty of warning that this course had rolling hills. However, to me it really should have been called "enormous mountains". These were NO hills!! I think there was a language breakdown in the course description!!!! There ended up being around 230 runners - much smaller than my other half that had 17,000 at the start! So, off we went. First was a lap around the park. Starting out I was near this really loud woman who wouldn't shut up. I cranked my ipod but I could still hear her annoying Southern voice. Shouldn't she be saving some wind for the upcoming 13 miles???? So, I pushed a little harder than I should have to separate myself from her. After the first mile the course headed out onto a cinder trail. I'm not sure where they came from, since we don't have volcanic ash around here, but it was not the easiest thing to run on. I felt like I was having to work twice as hard as on normal pavement. Around mile 3 the side stitches started. It was really even worse than that - they started on the right side and spread all the way over to the left. I pressed on them, breathed deeply, drank some water, tried to steady my breathing, slowed down- everything I've ever heard you should do - and nothing was really working. I started to think about stopping, which I've never even considered before. If this was mile 3 how bad would mile 13 be?? Eventually, around mile 4, they stopped and we left the stupid cinder trail. Suddenly I felt awesome!! I was able to pick up the pace and even pass a few people on the first major hill. Around mile 5 we headed out of the beautiful neighborhood (with MASSIVE houses) and into some rural countryside. The scenery was beautiful - the leaves were vibrant and it just screamed fall. A lot of the residents were sitting out at the end of their driveways just watching us crazies go by. The course had a huge 4 mile loop, so right as we were heading toward mile 6, the course leaders were starting to come back and head in for the final 3 miles. I only saw the leader, and I tried to snap his pic but obviously we were BOTH moving too fast!! His overall winning pace was 5:38 per mile, amazing!! I can't even imagine, and especially on this super hilly course. For several mile, from 6-8 it was fairly flat. I had settled into a good pace and was with a small group of people for most of the race. Around mile 9 the killer hill hit. It was straight up and I swear it never ended. There wasn't much of a difference between walking up this hill and the weird running shuffle I did. It was so straight up that even once you got to the top you couldn't enjoy the downhill because you had to spend so much effort getting your breathing back in line. And the side stitched started again. Ugh. Mile 9 and 10 were fairly rough with the side stitches. One you got through 10 you were back on the repeat towards the finish line, so that perked me up and I thought a 2:05 finish might be within my reach. Then came mile 12. Straight up, back into the subdivision we had run through in the beginning. It wound up and up and up. I was feeling fine but as I tried to make it up this hill I had an overwhelming feeling that I absolutely had to puke. I've had stomach problems before while running but I've never felt like I was going to puke like this. And then I really did have to puke. I stopped in somebody's yard and puked three times. It just had to be done. I didn't puke up much of anything really, but I felt SO much better. I walked for a short bit - up the rest of that stupid hill - and then picked it up for a fairly decent ending, passing a lot of the people who had passed me during the minute and a half I stopped to puke. My official chip time was 2:08.18, a 9:48 pace. I ended up 8th in my division of 12, and 152nd overall. My watch time was 2:07.36, a 9:37 pace. Both Brent and I ended up with our watches saying we had gone 13.28 miles, so the course may have been slightly off. My watch also stops when I stop, so it subtracted some of my puke time.

Here are my splits:
Mile 1 - 8.49 (TOO fast!)
Mile 2 - 8.52 (still too fast)
Mile 3 - 9.28 (much better, but hello side stitches)
Mile 4 - 10.10 (thanks side stitches... and hello first big hill)
Mile 5 - 9.30 (feeling good - this was my goal pace)
Mile 6 - 9.11 (feeling v good)
Mile 7 - 9.31 (feeling v good)
Mile 8 - 9.35 (v good)
Mile 9 - 10.20 (MAJOR hill + side stitches)
Mile 10 - 9.51 (thanks side stitches but at least we're almost done)
Mile 11 - 9.27 (feeling v good and come on finish line!!)
Mile 12 - 9.49 (starting to not feel so great and hello final hills...)
Mile 13 - 10.38 (add some puking time and a major hill here - this time does include some walking)
Mile .28 - 8.35 pace - I felt great after I got rid of some of that lactic acid - wish I had done it sooner!!

Brent finished great (of course he'll have to tell you about that!) and when he asked how I did and I told him about MY mile 12 and he's been very apologetic about the race since then. Honestly, someone always pukes at every race and this time it was my turn. If that means I don't puke at the half in Memphis or the full in Miami then I'm glad I got it over with!! I've had a terrible week so I knew this wouldn't be my best race ever - and I'm really happy that I shaved several minutes off my April half time (2.15.01). My dream goal for yesterday was 2.05, and if the course was flatter and my body had been rested I think I could have totally made that goal - so now I'm super excited about Memphis in a few weeks.

The race goodies were awesome! We got very nice tote bags, and nice white Mizuno tech shirt with the race logo on it and finisher medals. The finisher medals are really keychains on a ribbon - but hey - I earned that sucker and wore it proudly! They even had spaghetti available after the race - but at 10 in the morning I was just not having it. It was a fun race, all in all, and I think I would do it next year but spend a LOT more time hill training and resting before hand. We don't do nearly enough hill training, so this was a good lesson for both of us to spend more time on it.

This has been an absolutely beautiful weekend here in Nashville (high 70's and tons of sunshine) so I'm looking forward to spending more of it outside today! Have a great rest of the weekend and good luck to everyone in NYC!!


At 10:04 AM, Blogger BuckeyeRunner said...

Congrats on your PR! Not bad for a race in which puke was involved! Whenever I throw up, I just want to lay down and die, so you are a stud in my eyes!!

At 11:19 AM, Blogger plods said...

Well done!! I'm sorry you felt sick though!

At 12:49 PM, Blogger ShoreTurtle said...

Great recap! Reading it--I felt your pain. The mountains sounded nasty. Way to perservere! Congrats on the PR! That's awesome considering how tough the course was and that you got sick! I liked the photo of you with the big guy in John Deere tractor. It looks like he's eating a plate of spagetti!

At 1:07 PM, Blogger Cassie (TIGGS) said...

wow rae, if I had puked I think I would have ended up walking it in. way to stay tough and congrats on that well earned PR!

At 1:49 PM, Blogger Darren said...

good run. here is an article on side stitches. this is the same thing they told us in the Army.

At 2:30 PM, Blogger David said...

I guess that speedy start was the cause of the stitches. At least you had some normal pace miles in there and it all balanced out to be a PR.
Don't worry about mountains in Miami. All we have are causeway bridges to cope with. We should meet up for a carbo load beforehand. When do you arrive?

At 8:18 PM, Blogger D said...

Nice job. Congrats on the PR on what seemed to be a tough course!

BTW, my daughter did one year of cross country (to stay in shape for soccer) but no longer runs. She absolutely won't run w/me because she says I'm too fast for her. I tell her I'll let her set the pace - she won't do it! :(

At 3:58 AM, Blogger CJ said...

Good race Rae, puking aside, sounds like it was tough with those hills. Don't you love some race descriptions - when they talk about undulating be warned, they mean mountains!

At 1:50 PM, Blogger Steffany said...

What an excellent recap of what sounds like a thrilling race! (Though you could have done without the puking, I'm sure. I'm sorry...) I really, really enjoy reading about Nashville through your (and Brent)'s runner's eyes. I have to say, I loved the finish photo of you holding your medal, standing by the log fence with the John Deere tractor/mower in the background! Cute. :)

At 3:59 PM, Anonymous Doug said...

FYI-The course was certified by Jim Ziegler, the certification number is TN05035DJR. I'm glad you enjoyed the race. Hope to see you there next year.

At 3:59 PM, Anonymous Doug said...

FYI-The course was certified by Jim Ziegler, the certification number is TN05035DJR. I'm glad you enjoyed the race. Hope to see you there next year.

At 6:32 PM, Blogger D said...

Your Halloween Profile Photo cracks me up! :)


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