Sunday, February 8, 2009

Race Report: Melbourne Beaches and Music 1/2 Marathon

The running family (by namwodahs) I now have my 2nd 1/2 marathon under my belt, and I'm paying dearly for it (more on that later), but I had a great time. Before I delve into the full report, below is a summary of what you really want to know, and for the lazy who do not want to read the full race report.

Official Results
  • chip time: 2:42:11
  • pace: 12:23
  • clock time: 2:42:57
  • age group: 39/49
  • overall: 605/735
  • Dad's chip time: 2:11:04 (10:01 pace) - He beat me by 30+ minutes and he is almost twice my age!
  • Mom's 5k clock time: 35:25 (11:24 pace) - She's coming awfully close to my PR. I gotta step it up!
Now onto the full race report ...

Race Eve

We drove to my parent's house Saturday afternoon to catch a ride to Melbourne and our hotel in Cocoa. We drove straight to the Expo and got our race packets. The goodie bags were tote bags, which pleases me greatly and feeds my current tote bag addiction. The race shirt is really cute with stick figures running across a cartoon version of the scary bridge we'll have to tackle during the race--twice! The expo itself was rather small, but I think I am spoiled since the only other expo I've ever seen was the one for the Disney Marathon.

We then drove to Cocoa, checked into our hotel, and began getting our gear ready for the next morning. Mainly I had to put the chip on my shoe and the bib on the racing belt I bought Jason for his triathlon, which I decided to try out for this race. I loved it and plan to buy one of my own. During the course of the evening as we discussed our racing strategy and setup all kinds of excuses in case we did poorly, I learned that this would be Dad's first 1/2 marathon. He has run 3 marathons (Disney + NYCx2), but this would be his 1st 1/2 and longest run in 7+ years. I was thrilled to get to share this with him.

Race Morning

We woke up at 5 am, after tossing and turning most of the night, to begin getting ready for the race. I think Jason was the only one who slept through the night. The fact that he was the only one who was not racing may have contributed to that, but he rarely has difficulty sleeping regardless of the circumstances. Once we took care of business and bundled up for the chilly morning, we were off to the start line -- about 35 minutes away. We found parking, I shed some my extra layers, gave them to Jason and lined up to wait for the start, which took forever. I think we started at least 15 minutes late. It started out pretty cold, but we had perfect racing weather. Once we got moving, I wasn't really cold and eventually shed the arm warmers, gloves and heandbadn, yet I never really got hot either.

Race Start

Kitzzy at Sunrise (by namwodahs) We were finally off and spotted Jason taking pics as we crossed the start line. Dad and I started together, bit it took less than 1/2 mile before I completely lost site of him. That was ok because I needed to run my own race and try to avoid aggravating my knee. It wasn't long before Jason came biking along. Running along the coast line was gorgeous and Jason got some nice shots of me running as the sun was rising. He did not get any shots of dad during the race because we did not realize he was THAT far ahead. hee hee.

1st 5k & Course Entertainment/Support

Melbourne Half Marathon (by namwodahs) Before I knew it, I had already run the 1st 5k in 39:06--only 3 more and change to go! Thankfully, I found some girls from my galloway group somewhere around mile 2 or 3 and ran with them through mile 7. It was nice to have someone to talk to and help pass the time. We all felt we had not trained as well for this race, so we were all taking it easy. Around mile 4, the knee started to let me know it was there. I thought I'd have a few more miles before I had to deal with it, but it was having none of that.

Melbourne Half Marathon (by namwodahs)The course support and entertainment was great. They had water stops every 2 miles, or maybe even more often than that. They did have a few towards the end that seemed to run out of cups and were giving out fill bottles of water. I thought that was such a waste and opted to go without at one of the stops. They even had food at a few of the stations and I grabbed half a banana and an orange slice at the end.

There were bands and solo musicians throughout the course; their choice of music made me smile but I can't recall what they were now. One of the runners near me was the director of the Brevard Symphony Orchestra, one of the charities benefiting from this race. She was carrying a violin, and she would play it during her walk breaks.

1st Bridge & Halfway Point

Eau Gallie Causeway (by namwodahs) It wasn't long before we were upon the 1st bridge. We continued with our 2:1 intervals until we reached it, and then walked most of the way up and gingerly ran most of the way down. My knee did not like that too much, and I decided to try out the biofreeze sample we got in our goodie bags. It seemed to help quite a bit.

The end of the bridge meant we were more than half way done, and my watch said I finished the 1st half in 1:24. My pace was off if I was to beat my previous time, but I knew it was best to start slow and pick up the pace in the 2nd half. After mile 7, I decided to switch to 3:1 intervals and try to make up some time, which meant leaving my galloway group--but they were never too far behind me. The knee was doing ok, but it welcomed the walk breaks. Sometime after this Caleb joined Jason to bike the rest of the way and help cheer me on :)

Mile 10 -- 5k to go!

I reached Mile 10 in 2:05, and took comfort in knowing I only had 5k left. I also knew my PR was out of reach because there was no way I could run a sub-34 5K after running 10 miles with a nagging knee. I was determined to not let this deter me, and I did not give up! Just because a PR was out of reach was no reason to deny myself running the best race I could. I stepped it up to 4:1 for the last 5K, sometimes running a little more or less depending how the knee was feeling and trying to make up for the time I'd lose walking up the 2nd bridge. My galloway group caught up with me at the bridge, one of them having ran the whole way up, but I out paced her to the finish since she was still running 2:1 and I was running at least 3-5 minutes at a time. She finished 2 behind me, about 1 minute later.

The Final Stretch

I took one last walking break and then began the final 1/2 mile stretch or so running to the finish. As I approached the final turn, I saw mom and dad and they began running with me to the finish. Dad had just finished 30 minutes earlier and his legs were still tired, so he had a hard time keeping up with me as I tried to give it all I had to cross the finish line. A huge smile adorned my face as soon as I heard the announcer call my full name and I gave him a thumbs up when he asked if he was pronouncing my name right. I think this is the first time I had the finish line all to myself (it was a small race), so it should make for a great finish photo. Hopefully the official photo shows mom and dad flanking me since they did not run across the finish line with me. I later learned the announcer interviewed them and commented on how nice it was for him to come back after finishing to run with me.

Here's a video of me crossing the finish line and fumbling with the medal:

Post Race

I was a little disoriented after I finish with people coming at me from all directions trying to cut off my timing chip, handing me the medal, and getting me to pose for a photo. I had a hard time getting the medal around my neck. All I wanted to do was keep moving and drink some water, so I am sure that photo was awful. I quickly spotted Jason and Caleb, then my parents. That's when we learned dad finished in 2:11 and apparently Jason and Caleb just missed seeing him cross the finish line.

After grabbing some cliff shots and looking at the posted results, we headed over to the free pancake breakfast. My knee was doing fine, but suddenly when we began to walk towards the posted results I felt a shooting pain in the bottom of my foot. Walking funny trying to avoid the pain in my foot I think irritated my knee and they've both been aching ever since. I hope RICE will make it all go away in a day or two.


Overall, I am extremely happy with my performance in this race. I met 4/6 of the goals I set on Friday: start, finish, run across finish line, sub-2:45. Not too bad! I forgot to set a goal to finish smiling, but I totally nailed that! :D I only missed a PR by a little over 3 minutes and I know I gave it my all. And there will be plenty of other races for me to run that sub-2:35.

I think I actually ran a better race. Other than the knee and foot pain, I felt fantastic, and the the time just flew by. The rest of my body wasn't even sore. Last time my calves were killing me as soon as I finished. Maybe is that the knee and foot were taking center stage and I didn't notice the soreness, but I did feel good and I had way more left in the bank for the sprint at the finish. I made up huge amounts of time in the 2nd half. Of course, today everything hurts, but that is to be expected.

What's Next?

I was contemplating the Georgia 1/2 marathon at the end of March, specially since the Marathon Relay is sold out, but now I am not so sure. I still have a few weeks to register, so I'll see how I recover before making a decision. If it sells out, then it was not meant to be. Other than that, I am taking a break from long distance racing until May/June and just plan to focus on improving my 5K and 10K times.

Thanks again for everyone's support and advice along the way. Keep on running! :)

Friday, February 6, 2009

Pre-race Jitters

I've been slacking on the blogging lately--except for race reports--and that is because I've been slacking on the running :( Ever since the 1st half marathon, my motivation has dwindled (burn out maybe?), and then vacation, illness, and moving for nearly a month further interrupted my running. Actually, I have plenty of motivation for racing, its the in between runs that have been the problem :) Not to mention that I am a wuss when it comes to cold weather, and I've been utterly exhausted and short on time because of moving. But really, I'm just making excuses now. *sigh*

My 2nd half marathon is on Sunday 2/9, and I am freaking out. I do not feel nearly as prepared as I did for the first one (because I'm not), and I fear my knee will betray me. Even though I've done this before, I've only run this distance once--twice if you count the training run before the first race--and never alone. The most I've run since OUC was 11 miles, 3 of which I had to walk because my stupid knee starting hurting, and that was almost a month ago. I've averaged 2-3 runs per week of 2-3 miles each since. It's pathetic.

Last Sunday I ran 5 miles, barely. I ran 2 miles to Cady Way, then 3 miles there before my knee started to hurt. It still hurt the next day and I've felt slight twinges on and off since. It feels mostly fine and perhaps what I think is a twinge is now all in my head, but I have not run all week for fear of injuring it and not being able to even make it to the start line. I am sure the lack of running is contributing to my anxiety and self doubt.

I know every race is different and I can't PR at every one, but this is only my 2nd half marathon and I was hoping to at least not do worse than the first. My dad is also running this race--it is his first 1/2 marathon since he started running again--and while I do not except we will run it together, I was hoping I could at least keep him in my sights and be able to push myself a bit. At this point, however, I just want to be able to finish running and not have the knee give out on my halfway through the race making me walk several miles in pain. With that in mind, I will begin slowly with 2:1 intervals and see how it goes. If I can run the entire race this way, great! If I feel good at the halfway point, I may step it up, but I'll listen to my body and do what it says.

Perhaps what is really freaking me out is that this is my first 1/2 marathon all over again because I am running it by myself. I won't have my Galloway group to pace me and encourage me, or keep myself going by encouraging them. It is entirely up to me to make it through this. Hopefully my Garmin won't abandon me this time. The most I've ever run on my own is 5 miles. I know there will be tons of people around me and I can draw energy from the crowd, but it's still not the same. I guess I'm not mentally ready and I need to fix that asap!

Ok, so my goals for this race are:
  • Start!
  • Finish!
  • Run--not walk--across the finish line.
  • Finish in sub-2:45
  • PR--if even by 1 second--from previous time of 2:38:56
  • Finish in sub-2:35 -- this was my original goal for this race, but now I am not so sure. I'm writing it down just in case, but I'm not holding my breath.
I think I've rambled long enough (sorry! But props to you if you made it this far). Feel free to leave your advice and words of encouragement. Looks like I need them. Thanks!

PS - Oh yeah, I found out yesterday that the Marathon Relay I planned to run with the fam is already sold out. So that really bummed me out and is not helping lift my spirits to get out of this funk :(
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