Sunday, April 21, 2013

RACE REPORT: Morris Broadband Dupont Half Marathon 2013... Running for Boston

Experimented with Lifeshotz and Greens Drink powder supplements from Thursday->Saturday morning.  Had granola bar pieces for breakfast, plus 1/2 a brownie and 2 chocolate-covered coffee beans.  Successful bathroom trips.

The Race:
Felt pretty good in the morning.  Weather was cold and perfect.  Decided to wear Boston gear for the race, to show support and to dedicate the run to them.  At the start of the race, I was so full of emotion that I felt like yelling "FOR BOSTON" as we charged out, but I didn't.  It was somber at the start, then things settled in.  There were some pretty decent hills throughout.  As usual, I passed on the downhills and got passed on the uphills.  I caught back up with a couple of people on the mountaintop airstrip at mile 5.5 and enjoyed the panoramic views.  It was cool up there, seeing all of the runners on the out-and-back part.  You could see where the competition was. 

From the start, the top 5 or so were maybe within 1/3 of a mile of each other.  Being able to pass a couple of people was a nice boost, and I charged on, taking advantage of those downhills.  I caught up with another girl after the turnaround, and that buoyed me even more.  Out-and-backs are fun, and it was fun to exchange encouragement with the other runners.  I usually do that on out-and-back races, but after what happened on Monday, I think it meant more than ever.  I had a second wind, I was excited about being in second place, and kept charging on.  I caught sight of #1 with a few miles to go, although my wheels fell off at mile 2.5.  I thought "uh oh", but I managed to hold off the people chasing me.

There was powerade and water on the course... 6 stops in all, which was great.  I even forgot to take my gel, until mile 11th when I was fading, which was too late to do anything about anyway.  The spectators were super-enthusiastic and awesome.   The course was extremely well-marked with cones, marshalls, and signs... I was impressed.  They also had a number of photographers at great photo-op spots. 

I finished in 1:41:09, 7:48 average.  The prizes were a pint glass, a nice trophy, and a $60 gift card for Diamond Brand outfitters.  The nice folks at Diamond Brand let me use it at their race tent, where I got some great stuff.  The swag bag was nice, too, with a 13.1 race magnet, a sticker, a Remember Boston sticker, a copy of TrailRunner magazine, a caribeaner from Morris Broadband, and the race shirt... one of the better HM race packets I've received! 

At the race, there was a collection jar for those impacted by Boston. 

It was a beautiful day to be among runners and to honor Boston.

Remembering Boston

I was shocked when I was at work, when a co-worker shared the news of the Boston Marathon bombings.  First, I went to Facebook to check that my friend, who was running her first, was ok.  I also saw that another dear friend who frequently did Boston was ok. 

It wasn't until that night that I saw the video of what happened, and hearing the blast and seeing what happened shook me.  Marathons are a happy place, and the images were just so incongruous.  Tears came, and it felt personal, because the Running family feels so much like a family.  Even strangers understand each other inimately, because we all run and have so many hours of the week revolved around running for many of the same reasons.  We all find solace, joy, communion with God, and vitality on the run.  Spectators, too, are like family.  They come to cheer on runners, standing in bad weather, which really takes more endurance than the act of running in the race, when conditions are bad.  They selflessly support their runners.  They cheer on everyone, and make you feel special, even when it's not necessarily you that they're cheering for.  They lift you out of dark places and give you energy from unknown sources.  Our own families come to watch sometimes, and every spectator is someone's dear family or friend or fellow running enthusiast.

I kept wondering, who would do this?  What kind of sick person does this?  But being able to witness the bravery and selflessness of the first responders, volunteers, and the running community far outweighed those questions.  It makes me proud to be an American, proud to be a runner, and ever more eager to make it to Boston in 2014 or 2015.  I want to run to honor Boston, our running family, and those who have been impacted by the tragedy.

April 1-19: Training for the Morris Broadband Dupont Half Marathon 2013

Training Post- Dupont 12K, Pre- Dupont HM

April 2, Tuesday:
Intervals, 2x mile repeats.  1 mi warmup in 8:18, 2x[6:59 for 1 mi,4:16 for 0.5 mi], 3:53 cooldown for 0.5 mi.

April 3, Wednesday:
1 hr strength session.

April 5, Friday:
4.0 progression run in 32:33, 8:08 ave.  Started off expecting to go for 7, but someone came in when I was @ mile 3 to use the treadmill, so I kept it short and made it fast to go as quickly as I could to get in max distance in the last mile.  Splits> 8:32, 8:29, 8:26, 7:04.

April 6, Saturday:
11.1 in the grass.  Blister.  I had purchased the New Balance 858s because they were on sale, but they're pretty rigid, so I only use them for my runs on grass at the park.  I've never gone this far in them, so I got a big blister that made it difficult to even walk for a couple of days.  I made the mistake of cutting off the top layer of the blister skin... should've just drained the blister and left everything else as-is.  Lesson learned.

(Just what you wanted to see, huh?)

April 7, Sunday:
4.3 mi of Treadmill hills.  1 mi warmup in 8:41 @ 3 degrees, 3/4 mi in 6:26 @ 5 degrees (7:19 effort), 1/4 mi in 2:07 @ 3 dgrees (7:51 effort), 1/2 mi in 4:16 @ 7 degrees (6:53 effort), 1/2 mi in 2:10 @ 3 degrees (7:51 effort), 1/4 mi in 2:18 @ 9 degrees (6:31 effort), 1/2 mi in 1:58 @ 3 degrees (7:51 effort), 1/2 mi in 4:15 @ 7 degrees (6:53 effort), 1/4 mi in 2:08 @ 3 degrees (7:51 effort), 0.3 mi cooldown in 2:24 @ 3 degrees... most of the workout was at 7mph.

April 8, Monday:
2 mi warmup (could only manage that much), followed by 40 min of plyometrics, strength, and form drills.  Needed rest day the next day.

April 10, Wednesday:
50 min of biking.  The recumbent bike is no longer broken!

April 11, Thursday:
4.0 of Intervals.  A great session.  0.5 mi of warmup in 4:09, 3x[3/4 mi @ 9mph (5:00), 1/4 mi @ 7.5mph (2:00), 0.5 cooldown in 3:49.

April 13, Saturday:
6.0 on the grass in 51:22, 8:30 average, in my new Salomon Mission shoes.  Super cushiony... maybe even too much.  Decent shoes, though.  The special laces migh've loosened a bit during the run, and I got a small blister.  We'll see how things go in future runs.

April 14, Sunday:
4.0 of treadmill hills, alternating 3 and 5 degrees of incline at 8:42 pace, = 7:43 effort.

April 15, Monday:
55 min of biking.

April 16, Tuesday:
1 hr of strength session exercises.

April 17, Wednesday:
Last run before the 2-day complete rest taper.  3.8 @ 7:59 pace.

Becoming a Trail Runner

I've gotten into trail running lately.  That's my new focus because I feel like I've plateaued in the 5K and HM distances.  There is more potential there, since I can do a 5:48 mile, but I'm ready to mix things up a bit.  My marathon also has a lot of room for improvement (3:36ish can potentially become 3:23ish), but after hovering in the same range for 3 marathons and missing out on a BQ again in November, it's been good to take a bit of a break from the rigid schedule of marathon training.  Also, I've been thinking more about getting into ultras.  I purchased the Unbreakable DVD, which tells the story of the 2010 Western States 100.  I was also mesmerized and inspired by the TalkUltra podcast's description of the Comrades Marathon in South Africa (a ~55 miler).  Plus, I have a huge crush on Killian Jornet.

I used to be all about PRing and finding the fastest legit (non-downhill) courses.  But after plateauing, it's been fun to mix it up with races where it's solely about tactics and beating the competition.  It's a completely different mindset... a completely different take on the sport.  It's intriguing, too.  There's psychology, reading people, and reading yourself.  When do you go at your own pace?  Do you put in a surge when passing competition?  Do you push the pace a bit in order to catch up to someone up ahead, or gradually reel them in, or just hope that they blow up?  Do you look back to see how close the people behind you are, or do you resist the temptation in order to show that you're confident?  Do you take an opportunity to draft, or do you go at the pace that feels most natural and lose the draft effect?

My first trail race was the Camp Croft Half Marathon in 2011.  I finished in about 1:45, and I was completely spent at the end of it.  I really like the feeling of being emptied out like that.  It's weird, but true.  At times when I'm not running, I sometimes crave that feeling.  You bring your heart rate up and work your muscles up to the max.  Your heart's pumping, and at that point, you feel the most alive. 

My Trail Runnnig cycle this time started with the Dupont Forest 12K on March 30th.  The goal race would be a new 30K in the Blue Ridge mountains.  I figured that I'd do pretty well there, with my base endurance as a marathoner.  18 miles is a lot, and  I haven't run that much in about 5 months, so I'd need something close to a marathon buildup for it.  I wouldn't train as seriously for it as I would a marathon, but I'd try to get my LRs up a big higher.  In between, I found the Dupont Half Marathon... that was a nice progression... 7.4 mi, 13.1 mi, and 18-ish miles.  So, we'll see how it all goes!  It will be fun to try this trail running thing, and at the very least, I'll build up hill strength, which was a weakness at the Philly marathon.