Saturday, October 13, 2012

RACE REPORT: iRecycle Half Marathon 2012

Training this week:

Monday, rest day to recover from the 5K race on Saturday and the 20 miler on Sunday.

Tuesday, Oct 9:
6.2 in 51:10, 8:15 ave.  Tired and kinda unintentionally tried to nap during the run.  I don't try to nap while I run often, maybe only a few times per year, but normally, it's kind of intentional, and I close my eyes and try to rest a bit.  This time, I'd naturally close my eyes for moments to try to sleep.  Night-time calls for work (after the usual work+ day).   It makes you appreciate nights where you don't have to continue to work after work.

Wendesday, Oct 10:
Another night call.  Thought I'd just have to miss the workout.  My legs were kinda recovering anyway.  I figured I'd get it in the next day.  While I was taking out the trash, though, I noticed that the gym hadn't been locked up, so I did a bike session, 60 min, at midnight.

Thursday and Friday, planned rest days.  I skipped this week's strength session because I wanted this to be a somewhat tapered race.  No speedwork or hills, either.  The only non-taper factor was the 20 miler.

Night before:
Trouble sleeping, because I had a decent amount the night before.  Continued to fuel.  Glad that I didn't overfuel.  Eventually, got about 4.5 hours.

Morning of:
Most of a Cool Mint Clif bar, several cups of decaf.  Warmup shower.  Packed the morning of (didn't work well last time, but it was fine this time).

Drove out to S-burg.  They have one of the nicer race packets, with a drawstring bag and mini-face towel from Academy Sports, plus a long-sleeve cotton shirt whose logo looks like a race number.  Pinned my number to my sports bra.  Mid 50s were expected, and sunny.  Sunrise was only 30 min before the race, though, so sun wasn't too big of a factor.  Went to the bathroom 3x - nice.  1 hour pre-run, I had one choc-covered expresso bean, and I had a second about 30 min pre-run. I wanted an extra boost, so I had a caffeinated Powerbar gel 15 min before the start, too.  12 min before start, ran a wee, wee bit, and super-quick dynamic stretching.   I put off the warmup this time, because it was a longer race.  Just wanted to make sure my muscles were loosened up a bit. 

Chilly at the start, but that's perfect.  The start would be a big downhill.  Miss SC started us off, and out we went.  For the first 0.1, I was second (among women).  Over the next mile, I was passed by another 5 women.  The top-three spot was slipping away so quickly!  The runners in this race all looked really fit.  I hung at around that spot for a while as we did some up and downhills.

(Photo credit: iRecycle)

There was Powerade and water every 2-ish miles, which was nice.  I tended to want to alternate between the two.  Powerade for blasts of energy, and water when I just wanted a bit of hydration.  This race allows me to practice and figure out what works for race day in Philly.  The only difference would be the pace, most likely.  My legs felt a bit sapped/dulled even in mile 2, and I figured that it was leftover from the 20.

At about mile 4, I realized that about 4 women were strung out across about 1.5 blocks ahead of me, and I seemed to be gaining ground bit by bit, which was encouraging.  We still had 8 miles to go, so there was still time to pac-man through.  It took about 4 miles to work through 3 of them.   Then, it was about 4 miles of leap-frogging on the hills with one fit girl.  I'd think that I had her, then she'd be right there.  We were gaining on the guys ahead of us, too, so we weren't slowing down, either.   I think we had put up a gap on the others, so that provided some piece of mind as the miles ticked down and we continued to battle it out.  I started wondering a bit if I'd be able to hand, or if I'd blow up at some point, because I had put in a faster mile at one point when I was feeling good and warmed up and starting to pass people (at about mile 5-6).  Could've just been faster from an elevation change benefit, though.  Dunno.  If I wondered what it felt like for elites to race side-by-side in the Olympics or big city marathons, I figured that this was something similar.  Running alongside your competition, who also kind of became a friend in the process.

Anyway, at about mile 10, wondered if I could hang in there.  I figured that if the others had slowed already, then the gap would protect me if I started slowing myself.  Mile 11, and still chugging along.  Mile 12, and I was feeling strong, maybe stronger than ever, since I still had a good chunk left in the tank, and now I could feel free to spend it!  Passed a couple of guys in the final mile.  Then, the final 0.3 was a big downhill followed by a big uphill, as a grand finale, haha.  During the hills, I had shuffled up to conserve energy, and I seem to have the advantage on downhills.  I knew that I'd have to put up a gap towards the end if I wanted to make sure I wasn't overtaken on the last uphill.  I was still feeling strong, though, so I was able to turn on the burners for the last half-mile of the race.  I finished in 1:35:43, about a 17s PR!  On a hilly course, 1 week after a 20!  Good stuff.  Weather was perfect.  On-course support from the marshalls, townspeople, and fuel stations were great.  My new friend wasn't too far behind, and we exchanged congratulations afterwards.

(Photo credit: iRecycle)

(Photo credit: iRecycle)

 (Photo credit: iRecycle)

Extra story:
When I was picking up my number early in the morning, I must've had a strange expression on my face, and maybe the volunteer wondered what was wrong.  But it's because the number seemed very familiar...

Haha, it turned out to be the exact same one from last year!  Even having duplicates from different races would've been special, but I had a feeling that the prior 85 was from this race.  I think it was coincidental.  But maybe, like the Comrades marathon, they retire your number and permanently allocate it for you if you place, haha.  Not.  But it's a funny coincidence.

Actually, I ended up getting the same place both years, too.  (2nd).  $150 instead of $75 this time, though!  Sweet :)

Also kind of funny, last night, while I was not sleeping, I was kind of hoping for the rare chance that they would have a rectangle-shaped medal, instead of a duplicate of last year's circular one, just to have something different.  And it turned out to be just that!

(yes, my apartment is messy)

The mens' winners were wearing Boston jackets.  I hope to join them officially soon. 

I want this kind of dog (a running kind):

Memorable finishes:
A woman was finishing on the big uphill, and her son ran about 10 yards out to her from the finish line to where his mom was.  They were both so happy as she scooped him up and continued towards the line.  Then, her daughter, who had been handing out medals, ran out to her, too, to finish with her mom, clutching a medal in her hand.  It made everyone go "awww". 

There was also this dad, and his kids were all there at the 0.3-to-go turning point, screaming "run, Dad, run!".  And the dad, who was probably pretty tired at this point, chuckled "I am running!" and his kids ran to the finish next to him as he finished.  So sweet.

1 comment:

lindsay said...

man! raking in the bucks :) impressive! congrats on the PR and 2nd place!