Monday, April 30, 2012

Country Music Half Marathon: The Recap

I should probably have titled this "Country Music Half Marathon: Honky Tonkin' Disaster."

Because that pretty much sums it up: it was a disaster.

I did everything right that I could - the right gear, sleep, hydration, fueling. Got to the start line almost an hour and half early - plenty of time to get ready. The start line was nice - Centennial Park is beautiful. The bathroom lines were horrifically long though.

Wishing it would just start an hour early

So by the time the race started it was already about 70 degrees. I was in Corral 2, which was all pretty fast people. They let us us go about 45 seconds after the first corral (although my chip somehow picked up the sensor 30 seconds early, but whatever). We take off and I felt good. The first 3 miles had a pretty good net downhill. I don't own a Garmin, but I do use a the Runmeter iPhone GPS app, but I had it set to give me my average pace every mile. I was shooting for a sub 1:45 half, so I was trying for like a 7:50 pace.

My earphones come on at mile 1 - 7:03 pace.

Yikes. I thought to myself I needed to dial it back. So I swear it felt like I did. Mile 2: 7:00 pace. WTF?

Mile 3: 7:11 <--- this is now officially my fastest 5K ever. Not exactly what I should be doing in a half marathon. But I felt so good!

4: 8:06
5: 8:24
6: 8:00
7: 8:13
8: 8:41

OH BUT WAIT. I had studied the race course elevation map before the race, but I swear it was incorrect. I assumed that I would get a long downhill after mile 7 or so and it didn't happen. Relentless hills. By mile 8 it was probably about 80 degrees and I just wilted somewhere around the 15K point. There was little to no shade either. I had to give in and walk.

I grew up in the deep South, and for most of the past decade have lived and run in very warm places - South Carolina, Hawaii, San Diego. I guess living through one New England winter is enough to become totally unaclimated to the heat. Around mile 10 or so was the closest I've ever felt to heat exhaustion - dizzy and disoriented. I managed to run for maybe a half mile at a time before I had to give in and walk. I felt like such a loser. And all I could think of was all that time, energy, and money I'd spent on this race and I just watched all of it drift farther and farther away. I was so angry with myself.

9: 9:42
10: 9:25
11: 10:03
12: 10:17

My final time was 1:54:46 - well, by my watch. The final time listed for the race was over 1:55, but I know it is incorrect because my husband and I took off at the exact same time and his start time is listed to be 30 seconds after mine. The told us to walk right up to the sensor, and we were in the front of the corral, so I think my sensor must have started too soon. Whatever, it doesn't really matter, I guess.

I am just SO ANGRY about this and I can't let it go. This was my 8th half, and officially my second worst half (my first half was about 1:57).

I will say the course was well equipped with plenty of aid stations and the crowds were pretty good. Everyone was really nice - something I forgot I missed. Several times after mile 10, I would feel someone pat me on the back and encourage me to keep going, or ask me if I was okay. I think I was so frustrated because I was mentally prepared to kill that race but I couldn't make my body do it. My final verdict on this race: I won't do it again, not unless they change it to be in like, February.

I am somewhat sore, not too bad, I've definitively been worse. I bought a travel sized foam roller at the expo, which turned out to be awesome (and it fits in my backpack). What's odd is my chest hurts - on the left side, when I inhale. I am slightly concerned I did some damage to myself. I think I will allow myself to rest today and jump back into things tomorrow.

And now I want race revenge like something awful. I have already found another race to do - and thank God this one is here in Boston - I am done with traveling to races for a while. So in 4 weeks, hopefully I will finally get that race I was hoping for. At first I declared I was going to run my own 13.1 this coming weekend but I decided against it. I don't want to hurt myself.

So now I think I am also going to start doing more long runs. I think every weekend needs to have a double digit run. Also, I am thinking of a Garmin (or some other GPS watch). I think I really should know my real-time pace, so I pace myself correctly. While I love my current app, there is no GPS app that can accurately give real-time pace. I hesitate because Garmins are SO pricey. I have already spent a small fortune on all my other gear; I am unsure I want to invest in another.

On a positive note, I just submitted my last grad school assignment ever, so that felt pretty good. Now, I think I will nap!

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