Friday, May 11, 2007

Country Music Half Marathon Race Report: Love and Pain are One and the Same

Yeah, I know - this has taken forever. And there are SO many things I need to post about, and post pics of, but like everything else it all takes time. This has taken forever to post because I log in and save when I can and there's just not a lot of logging in time lately. So here it is, my "worst ever" race report.

When I parted with the gang I headed to my spot in Corral 5. I had no business being in Corral 5 this year. That's where the 1:45 pacer was, which was my original goal after last year's 1:50:22. Of course one would have to train to hit that, and the entire month of April up until that date (the 28th) I'd run a whopping 8 miles total. That's it. When I say I was undertrained, I MEANT it. My plan was to start strong and gradually slow down. Basically I ended up starting WAY too strong and flopping, hard.

The gun went off and about six minutes later my corral was released to start. I love the start of a big race with choppers overhead and people everywhere. I waved to everyone and their mom and headed out. Brent was right where he said he would be to snap my pic - by far the happiest pic of me that day!! I felt good but had trouble figuring out how fast I should run, since it felt like ages since I'd last run. I had no clue how to pace myself - I wanted to move faster than I did at the Georgia marathon a month earlier but I was clueless how it should feel. We made our way down West End and curved back up the massive Music Row hill and towards our first viewing of the Necked Statues. I hate that hill - it's only fun to run DOWN. I was so out of breath by the top but I tried to keep plugging, and people were passing me right and left. My first mile clicked off at 8:32 - WAY too fast. I tried to slow myself down and get my HR in line with where I felt comfy. My legs were already burning as we went up and down the hills (it's a hilly course but they're all fairly short). I wasn't sure if I was pushing too hard, if I was still tired from Georgia, if I was just out of shape, if I was exhausted from the remodel - I just wasn't loving it. We've also been eating very differently since we demolished our kitchen the first of April. When you've just got a grill, wok, steamer, toaster oven and electric skillet to cook with a lot of things - like boiling pasta - just aren't possible. So, our diet has also certainly changed, and we normally eat quite a bit of carbs. The first few miles were brutal for me mentally and physically as we made our way through Music Row and over towards Belmont. I normally love running through there and making up lyrics to all the signs congratulating the country artists for their hits, but not that day.

Around the 4th mile I started looking for Barb's parents but I never could find them! With participation way up spectators were way up, too! Most of the entire race course had people out cheering, which is awesome. We curved around Hillsboro Village and the first wheelchair athlete and the first elites starting making their way back on the other side. Yay!! The head elite pack was still a big group of 8 or so guys, looking strong. Around here I started feeling better thanks to some kicking tunes on my Ipod. I had slowed myself down so I was just singing along to my tunes from 4-6. I thought I was at a pace that I could keep, my HR felt good, I took the hills slow and easy and just enjoyed the neighborhood and all its spirited residents giving out oranges and other goodies. That's always one of my fave portions of the race - there's just something cool about running through neighborhoods.

Right as we came out of the neighborhoods and were right by Belmont headed back towards downtown I had the worst side stitch EVER. I tried breathing, slowing down, drinking water. Nothing. I stopped and walked for a minute and kept pressing and as soon as I'd start running again it was back. Ugh. The sun was also glaring down at this point and really wasn't helping any. What had happened to cloudy with scattered rain?? I was even having to walk some downhills it hurt so much. My main goal was to just get to where Brent was waiting at Mile 9. I'd run and walk and gradually the side stitch was going away, but I knew at that point I had zero chance at coming in under two hours and I was so disappointed. I think if I had just started more conservatively my whole race would've been different. When I saw Brent at Mile 9 I just stopped and started walking with him and told him how awful a race I was having and how I just wanted to be a spectator. That I was so tired and didn't have a clue how I'd make it to Mile 13. He ran and walked with me for a good half a mile until he had me feeling better and I had to make him go back because he was really getting pretty far from his car! He told me he'd tried to catch me at the finish and I kept on trucking, ever so slow.

From Miles 10-13 I'd run most everything, maybe walk a hill or two and walk through the waterstops. The heat was really getting to me, I still think I hadn't acclimated to it. We ran around the State Capital and Bicentennial Mall and were finally headed back towards the stadium. When I hit the 12 mile mark I told myself NO more walking, give it all you've got..We headed back over the Woodland St Bridge towards the coliseum. Right at the top of the bridge a guy had collapsed - fainted - and was being given oxygen by the paramedics. NOT something I wanted to see! I pushed as hard as I could and I swear that finish line kept feeling further and further. Finally, I was done. 2:11. A near personal worst, and 21 minutes slower than last year. I had looked down at my watch around Mile 11-something and the time was the exact time I finished last year. Such a shame.

Right as I was nearing the end, on MY bridge, the most appropriate My Chemical Romance song came up in my running mix. Here's a snapshot of what I finished to:

So give me all your poison
And give me all your pills
And give me all your hopeless hearts

And make me ill
You're running after something

That you'll never
If this is what you want
Then fire at will

You'll never make me leave
I wear this on my sleeve
You wanna follow something

Give me a better cause to lead
Just give me what I need
Give me a reason to believe

And that's sort of how I feel about CMM 2007 - a race I'll for sure wear on my sleeve for a long time to come. I know my time wasn't terrible - I was still in the top 30% or so, but it just wasn't me. But don't worry - Operation Get Rachel's Groove Back is in full swing and I plan to talk all about that soon. I've got my fall race calendar all penciled in and I've already run more this month than I did all of last month. But that's for a future post.

Once I made it through the finishers area and had my pic snapped I called Brent who was still searching for a spot at the Stadium. He finally got one and I headed over to drop my crap off. We stood on the bridge cheering for the marathoners and watching for Mike and Barb. We hadn't been there long at all until Mike spotted us and we jumped in and ran with him to the bottom of the hill. Then we went back to wait for Barb, who already sent us a text a few minutes earlier saying she was at Mile 10. We were busy cheering for a guy who had IKE written in electrical tape on his shirt - which he yelled back was really Mike, the M was lost somewhere - to which we yelled back that he was so fast he lost the M - that we almost missed Barb! We jumped in with her and ran with her towards the finish. They both did awesome.

The rest of the weekend was great, too. We had wonderful Mexican for lunch, I had a nap on the couch with Brent, Phog and Pippin while they went and visited family, and once the urinal emergency was contained we walked around downtown for a while enjoying the sounds of the honkeytonks. I had NO CLUE Mike was such a great line dancer. Amazing. They headed back to Chicago early Sunday morning and Pippin was genuinely bummed. He spent the rest of the day dead asleep or laying in front of the crate Phog had stayed in when we would leave. (Keep scrolling down for more fun weekend pics!)

So, that's the big Country Music Half Report, two weeks late. There's SO much to post about and so little time. I'll talk all about t
he kitchen remodel (OMG, what a mess) and my plan to get back in the shape I used to be in soon, hopefully!! Have a great weekend! My parents are coming up tomorrow to help out, since it is taking a village and more to get this kitchen ready for the cabinets that are now ALL OVER OUR HOUSE to be installed.


Splits, for those who like that stuff:

Mile 1: 8:32 - that was stupid
Mile 2: 9:00
Mile 3: 9:32

Mile 4: 9:22
Mile 5: 9:14
Mile 6: 9:18
Mile 7: 10:09 - start of side stitches

Mile 8: 10:23
Mile 9: 11:29 - walked with Brent
a lot on this mile, this is pretty much where I lost it
Mile 10: 10:02 - side stitches gone, feeling a little better
Mile 11: 10:22 Hot and tired of this crap
Mile 12: 10:51

Mile 13: 10:43
Final .34 (according to Garmin) at a 8:37 pace - I kicked it in for the

Phog and Pippin: BFF

Phog and I:

Barb and Pips:

Mike and Pips:

I love this one where Pippin is stalking in the background:


At 5:43 AM, Blogger Jess said...

Great race report -- congrats on your finish! Loved all the pics!

At 9:30 AM, Blogger Theoutofshapeguy said...

phog misses his friend, its sad

At 10:25 PM, Blogger Firefly's Running said...

Nice race report!

At 6:14 PM, Blogger David said...

Operation Get Rachel Groove Back - I know that one. It is very effective. Get it on!

At 12:33 AM, Blogger Jack said...

Better late then never, great pics! Finish your kitchen, get in shape, don't worry!!

At 6:18 AM, Blogger Running Jayhawk said...

Ooooh!!! Is the CDC penciled in on that race calendar of yours!? :D

It totally should be...cause you kids know you've got a crash pad. I can't wait to hear about this running plan of yours. :)

At 4:25 AM, Blogger Jon (was) in Michigan said...

Sorry the race wasn't what you wanted, Rae. Like you say, the time is still a nice time. You'll be back in the groove again soon (if you aren't already).

Nice report. Your race pics look great for someone who was suffering. :)

At 2:00 AM, Blogger E-Speed said...

love all the puppy pics! You did a great job, esp on no training. Hope you are able to get your running back on soon.

At 12:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great testimonial!!! I'm currently training to run my 1st 1/2 Marathon at the Rock and Roll VA Beach 1/2 Marathon in Sept! Keep on running!!!


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