Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Saints and Sinners Half Marathon Race Report

I had a really great race and I hope I remember to write down everything...

I slept pretty good the night before the race. The baby only woke up once to eat and then she went right back to sleep.  I got out of bed at 5:15am to make coffee and eat breakfast.

For breakfast I ate a peanut butter sandwich (peanut butter, white toast with a little bit of regular butter), and a banana. I also drank a cup of coffee. I was glad that I wasn't feeling super nervous. Sometimes if I am really nervous eating before a big race is difficult. 

I left my house around 6:15am and I arrived at the race site at 7:00am. I'm glad parking was free and I'm glad I arrived early. I hung out in my car and listened to music on my phone.  I had about 1/2 of a Cliff mojo bar while I was waiting in the car.About twenty minutes before the start I went for a quick jog to the port-a-potties and then I headed to the start line.  The temperatures were nice and mild so I ditched my gloves and beanie hat at the last minute.

I lined up a few rows back from the front. My strategy was to hold back in the early miles and try to run a negative split race. The gun went off and we were treated to a screaming downhill. I felt like I was holding back but my Garmin was reading 7:00 pace.  I was supposed to hit 7:45 for the first mile....

Mile 1- 7:08

I tried to slow down some and I also tried to not pay attention to all of the people that went flying by me in the early miles. I kept telling myself to not worry about everyone else.  The real race happens later.

Mile 2- 7:20

The downhill continued and we were going over a long stretch of pavement that was concrete, more runners kept flying by.

Mile 3-7:15

I kind of gave up on reigning myself in.  I just tried to stay as "in-control" as possible while flying downhill. Two girls in tutu's passed me, and I got kinda irritated.

Mile 4-  7:17
We hit a stretch of uphill and I threw it into another gear and flew up the hilly climb. I passed a bunch of the runners that flew by me during the early miles.  I felt like a badass here.  I was also treated to some sweet views of Lake Mead

Mile 5- 7:06
After the hilly climb we went rocketing back down the hill. The runners had become more spread out, I kept looking for female runners to spot on and to try to reel them in. I had no idea what place I was overall.  I was able to pick off a few runners here.

Mile 6-7:11
While passing an aid station I took in a cup of Gatorade. I began to worry because I didn't see any fruit or food on the course as promised on the website.  I didn't bring any gels with me because I didn't have any pockets and I didn't want to carry anything in my hands while running.

Mile 7- 7:35
My calves were starting to burn quite a bit, and I was grateful  to get off of the pavement onto some soft dirt trail. I felt like I was running strong.  I started to freak out a little bit when I saw my pace drop down to 7:50 per mile.  I told myself to just run by feel and to keep my composure.

*****Miles 8-10***** These miles are a bit off because we had to run through 5 train tunnels and then there was a turn around point where we went through the 5 tunnels again.  My Garmin messured the half as only 12.87 miles but, I know my Garmin cut out a few times becuause my stats were really funky. 

Mile 8-7:53

I stopped looking at my Garmin because I didn't want it to mess with my head.  I knew my pace was dropping but, I just tried to focus on catching runners ahead of me.  By this time the lead male runners were coming back from the turn around point.

Mile 9-7:58

The train tunnels are amazing!! It's a surreal feeling to head into the tunnel and be in pitch black and then come out through the other side.  There are a total of 5 tunnels and there is a turn around point and you run back through the tunnels.  The female lead runners started coming back from the turn around point.  I realised that I was probably in the top 15 women overall. When I got to the turn around point I felt good and I told myself.  "Everyone in front of you has a target on their back, Go GET THEM NOW!!!"  I passed several runners going back through the tunnels.
This photo is not from the race. 
I just wanted to show you
the tunnels

Mile 10-7:45 

I remember looking down at my watch and seeing it read 1:13:XX and I tried to do math in my head to figure out what my finish time would be.   I gave up and just tried to run by feel.  We passed the final aid station and I called out for fruit or gel.  There wasn't any fruit or gels but, I snagged a few gummy bears and a cup of Gatorade.

Mile 11-7:40

We were back on the pavement now and the runners had spread out and I only had two guys in front of me.  The wheels were starting to come off of the wagon and I just wanted to finish the race.   I was able to pick off the last two guys in front of me.

Mile 12-7:29

The course continued on a downhill and my legs are dead. Everything hurts!!

Mile 12.87- 6:28 (7:25 average pace)

With a mile to go. I tried to run this as fast as possible.  I was so drained and I knew that I had depleted my glycogen stores.  I turned the final corner and I sprinted to the finish. I remember yelling out loud. I don't know if they were cries of pain or happiness or both.

Final Time 1:36:01

I finished 8th woman overall and 5th in my age group (30-39).  I was also the 30th overall finisher out of a total of 424 finishers.

I'm really pleased with how I ran. If I could have done anything different, I would have carried a gel in my shorts or hat. I also wouldn't have charged up the hilly climb.  I think I wasted some energy there.  But, overall this was an A++ day for me.  I definitely want to do this race again next year.

*** The photos from the race were complimentary!!***

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Saints and Sinners Half Marathon is this Weekend- My Race Strategy and Goals

As I sit here writing this post, I am feeling so many different emotions.  I am so excited that the half marathon is actually going to happen and I feel like I am ready to run a really solid race. This will be my first half marathon in over 18 months and I feel like everything has fallen into place with my training.  I also feel super jittery and anxious because of the taper. I'm worried that I will get sick or stub a toe in the next 72 hours.  I couldn't imagine trying to do a one month marathon taper right now.

The Saints and Sinner course is a down hill course that is very PR friendly.

I don't think I will be able to break my old PR  but, I know that I am in better shape than I was when I ran my last half. I have lost almost all of my baby weight from both pregnancies and I worked a lot on my upper body and core strength during this training cycle. 

This will be my first half marathon that I will be racing with a Garmin.  In the past I would use a regular running watch and I would wear a pace band with split times written on it to check to see if I was on pace or not.


Having a Garmin has really helped me keep my paces in check during low key track club workouts and has also helped me keep on pace during tempo workouts.

 My Race Strategy and Goals

I plan on doing a very minimal warm up, maybe a mile of  jogging to stay warm. For  the first mile I plan on running around 7:45 pace to warm up and then I hope to drop down to 7:30 for the next few miles (2-6). Then I want to drop down to 7:15 pace for miles 7-10.  For the last 5k of the course I want to run in the low 7 minute range. 

C goal- Run a true progression half marathon where each mile  is faster than the last.  If I take off too fast, I will blow up during the last few miles.  There is no such thing as banking time during a full or half marathon. That strategy will always result in me crashing and burning during the final miles.

B goal -is to run a sub 1:40 half.  I think with the downhill course I should be able to accomplish this. I will be very disappointed if I don't break 1:40

A goal- is to get as close to 1:35 as possible.

1 0:07:45 0:07:45
2 0:07:30 0:15:15
3 0:07:30 0:22:45
4 0:07:30 0:30:15
5 0:07:30 0:37:45
6 0:07:30 0:45:15
7 0:07:15 0:52:30
8 0:07:15 0:59:45
9 0:07:15 1:07:00
10 0:07:15 1:14:15
11 0:07:00 1:21:15
12 0:07:00 1:28:15
13 0:07:00 1:35:15
0.01 0:00:50 1:36:05

I really need to remember my C goal during the whole race. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

An 11 mile dress rehearsal

I ran 11 miles on Friday after work. I wanted this run to be a dress rehearsal and final tune up before the half marathon.

On Thursday night after dinner I indulged in a few treats because I knew I would be running hard the next day. I had a chocolate chip mini muffin and some graham crackers before bed. 

On Friday morning I ate a pretty large breakfast and I snacked in the morning. It kinda messed up my appetite for lunch.  I didn't want to eat too much before my afternoon run.  Here's what I ate:

Friday Breakfast 530 am
Yogurt with cereal mixed in
Coffee with cream
Chocolate chip mini muffin
2 eggs scrambled

Friday Snack at Work 900am
1 bag of Funyuns chips
1/4 of a huge Danish

Lunch 130pm
String cheese
a few pretzels

The weather was a perfect 70 degrees when I took off at 3pm.  I didn't take any water or fuel with me.  I didn't think I would need water because it wasn't hot, and I didn't think to take any gels or gummy candy with me.

The route I chose was along the Pittman Wash Bike Trail. This trail is about 4 miles long and it's great because there is no traffic and no traffic lights to stop me. I had to run about a 2 miles to get to the start of the trail.  The route I ran was 5.5 miles out, then 5.5 miles back in.
I took this picture a few weeks ago.

My plan for the first half was to run this route comfortably hard. I tried not to look at my Garmin too much I wanted the paces to be between 8:05-7:45 per mile.

Mile 1- 8:03
Mile 2- 7:50
Mile 3- 8:07
Mile 4- 8:05
Mile 5- 7:59

I wanted this route to be as flat as possible but, I still ended up climbing 421 feet on the way out.  I felt like I was holding back during the first half.  When I hit the turn around point I picked it up a bit.

Mile 6- 7:39
Mile 7- 7:38
Mile 8- 7:22
Mile 9- 7:24
Mile 10-7:36
Mile 11-7:33

Final Time

I started to "bonk" around mile 9.  I'm glad that I forgot to bring an energy gel with me.  The last two miles were hard but, I'm glad that I was able to practice pushing myself out of my comfort zone.

To run a 1:40:00 half marathon I will need to average a 7:38 per mile pace.  I think I have a really good chance at breaking 1:40.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

A few more workouts and then it's taper time

I have about 10 more days of training before I go into my taper for the half marathon.  In my last post I mentioned that the race may be cancelled due to the national parks being closed.  I contacted the race organizers and they are working on an alternate route if the park is still closed.  The race will go on as planned.

Here are my workouts since my last post:

Thursday- Rest day

Friday- 10 miles

It was a windy afternoon but, I had a really great run. I ran 10 hilly miles near my work.  I love running this route.  It is 5 miles of rolling hilly climb  (698 feet) then I hit the turn around point and have 5 miles of rolling hilly downhill.  I used to run this route a few times a month before I had my babies. Now I only get to run it once in  awhile.  Here are my mile splits.

Mile 1-8:26
Mile 2-9:06
Mile 3-8:19
Mile 4-8:32
Mile 5-8:53
Mile 6-8:13
Mile 7-8:10
Mile 8-8:05
Mile 9-7:59
Mile 10-8:25

This run was a total confidence booster for me.  I feel that I held back during the first 5 miles and I tried to pick up the pace on the way back in.

Saturday - Rest day

Sunday- 10K (1 mile warm up with 5 miles at Tempo pace)  It was a wonderful chilly morning. It's crazy how fast the weather can shift. It was 55 degrees when I left the house, that's down right chilly compared to the 85 degree mornings of July and August.  I ran the first mile easy and then I eased into a faster pace. Here are my mile splits:
Mile 1-8:45
Mile 2-7:51
Mile 3-7:40
Mile 4-7:28
Mile 5-7:40
Mile 6 -7:43
.28-2:07 (7:33 pace)

Can you hurry up and come back already?!
Monday- 3 miles at recovery pace (9:10 avg pace).  My legs felt like Jello.

Tuesday- I did circuit training/strength training

Today- 4 miles. I ran a one mile warm up, then 3 miles Tempo
Mile 1-8:23
Mile 2-7:26
Mile 3 7:09
Mile 4 7:28

On Friday I have an 11 miler planned. I'm going to try to find a route that isn't as hilly as last weeks 10 miler. I want to try to focus on even pacing with some negative splits for the final miles. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Half marathon is less than a month away -I'm keeping my fingers crossed

I am getting nervous and excited about the half marathon that I'm running later on this month.  This will be my first big race in 18 months and I really want to run a good race.

My workouts since my last post: 

Tuesday 9/24 - I went for a run before work and I planned only running 4 miles but, I cut through a park for a "shortcut" and I ended up getting turned around and I couldn't cut through the park so I ended up running 5 miles. It was a progression run/tempo run.

Wednesday 9/25- I got off of work early and I went for a run after work. The temps were in the 80's and it was super windy. I ran 7 miles and it felt good. This was my farthest run since my calf injury.

Thursday 9/26-Rest day

Friday 9/27 5 miles tempo (7:53 average pace)

Saturday 9/28 -Rest

Sunday 9/29 - I ran 6 miles.  My parents came to visit for the weekend and I wanted to hurry back home to hang out with everyone.  My stomach was also feeling off so I felt tired and had less energy than normal (8:50 average pace)

Monday 9/30 5 miles at a comfortable pace. So comfortable I took a picture.

Tuesday 10/1- Core work and upper body strength training

Today-  I went for a quick 4 mile tempo run here are my split times (7:59, 7:35, 7:53, 7:12)

I plan on doing a 10 miler on Friday afternoon.  The weather is cooling off in Las Vegas. I am so happy that my days of treadmill 10 milers are over. 

My fingers are crossed that the Lake Mead Recreation area will be open later on this month. Due to the government shut down our National Parks are closed.  I know that there are more important issues to deal with but, I will be so disappointed if the half marathon gets canceled because half of the course and finish line goes through  the Lake Mead Recreation area.  I don't have a back up race planned and Rock n Roll Las Vegas is way too expensive for me to register for.