As I mentioned in my previous posts, I’ve been very busy the last few weeks. The result: two long (10 mile) runs and no other runs since Thanksgiving in preparation for this half marathon.
On top of all the other things going on right now, my grandpa passed away last weekend. He was 92, lived a wonderfully long life, had many grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and was healthy for most of it. In fact, he lived on his own until a few months ago. What more could I ask for?
My time in Minnesota for the funeral was actually great. I spent time with my cousins I rarely see. They’re all in their late thirties to forties and have children. I learned this week that it’s hard to feel somber when you are surrounded by a ton of happy kids who are playing non-stop.
I spent Thursday flying to Minnesota, attended the funeral on Friday, and then drove home (about 1000 miles) with Neil, Joey and my parents Friday through Saturday. My food over those few days was probably the unhealthiest I’ve eaten since college. Road trip across the Midwest = very few healthy food options. And very few ways to entertain yourself without torturing the dog.
When my alarm went off at 4:30 am this morning, I wasn’t sure how my legs would hold up for the half marathon after spending so much time sitting in the car. I picked up Victoria and Rachel and we drove together to Virginia – I’m pretty sure I would have slept in if I had gone to this race alone.
We actually managed to line up toward the front because it was such a small race. The race started and there were no issues with weaving or crowds.
I knew the course profile would make for positive splits. So I started out with a quick pace to take advantage of the down hills.
Around mile 4 my stomach started to really bother me. [This is what happens when you eat like crap for two days before a race]. I almost stopped at the portapotty but decided to push through. Then, at mile 5 or 6, my right shin and ankle started hurting a lot. I was very unhappy at this point.
Once I reached mile 7.5 or so, I knew I could finish the race and my mood took a turn for the better. My stomach never felt right – I couldn’t even take any Gus or solid fuel – but I was fairly certain I could make it without any emergency bathroom breaks or looking like this guy. After getting over the killer hills toward the end of the race I managed to pick it up a little bit for the last flat mile. I’m pretty happy with my time, especially considering how undertrained I am.
This race was very well-run. There were volunteers everywhere along the course directing traffic and runners. There was even a person directing runners around an icy patch in the middle of the street. There were water stops every 2 miles-ish (I carried my handheld so I’m not quite sure about that). The course never got crowded, even though it was essentially an out-and-back (it was more like a lollipop so there was no bottle-necking at the turnaround). The race registration was dirt cheap and we still got a long-sleeve technical shirt (and a finisher’s chip instead of a medal).
However, the race wasn’t very scenic. It was through a suburban neighborhood with nice houses mostly. The other con to this race is that it would be very, very hard to PR or negative split because of the elevation profile. Of all the races I’ve run, it had the toughest hills. Although having the big hill at miles 11-12.5 helped me to conquer it mentally because I knew I was almost done.
Even though the last couple weeks have been crazy I’m happy I dragged my ass out of bed this morning and went to this race. I had a great time with Victoria and Rachel and got a solid double-digit run in. And a hill workout that will probably leave me very sore tomorrow.