Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Race Recap: Rock the Parkway Half Marathon

And man, am I still tired?

It may have been the two day expo that I worked for the race or it may have been the actual 13.1 miles,
but I was pooped.  I'm still pooped...and it's Wednesday.

I was really excited about this race, because it kicks off the Heartland 39.3 Series and my company PRA decided to be one of the sponsors, so unlike most races I had a gaggle of family and friends there running also.  

My goal for this race was to run it in under 2 hours.  Thinking that a sub 2-hour half would get the ball rolling for the spring in a big way.  I have been training relentlessly, and it was attainable.

My long-distance-long-distance Running Love!!  Pre-Race.
The Race started at 7:30, and it was kind of hectic.  As usual, I had planned on getting there earlier and it just didn't happen, so I ended up getting pretty stressed out.  Also, large groups of people are kind of annoying to me-a terrible phobia for someone who's addicted to road races.  I was suppose to have baller status parking, and we couldn't find the lot and we ended up trying to walk to the start and my shoes got all wet, and I whined a lot about it.

Anyway long story short, Megan and I got separated at the start but I met my dear friend Mary, who was running her first (!!!) half marathon.  The race was off and the humidity was really thick.  I hate it when you sweat, and it doesn't go anywhere, it just stays on your skin.  Sitting there...all wet...and hot. GRossss.

I decided to try and line up with a pace group, but turns out I am also not a fan of those. People get really weird about trying to stay near the pacer.  There were runners who were doing everything short of throwing elbows to get people out of their way.  It was really crammed and made me feel really anxious.  So I drew back and slowed so they could pass.

The first few miles were easy peasy, nice and slow but I still felt like I was going too fast.  By like mile 4, I started to notice that I was turning over my left foot in an odd way.  Like my shoe wasn't tied right or, the unlevel road was making me strike funny?  

Around Mile 6, I noticed a familiar pain in my left knee.  No doubt from the odd strike pattern in my left foot. I started to get really discouraged.  I started to think about not finishing the KC Marathon, and how crappy that felt.  

Around Mile 7, I slowed myself waaaay down.  I was exhausted, pretty much out of gas and starving.  I didn't eat or drink anything before the race, and only water so far during.  I am struggling with GI issues while running, and want to find a happy medium.  I switched to gatorade mid-race hoping that would help.

For the rest of the race, my pace was slower than anticipated and I knew I wasn't going to hit my goal.   I was pretty defeated, there's nothing like forcing yourself to finish when what you wanted to achieve is out of the question.  But running a half marathon is an achievement in itself, so I should be proud each and every time.  

I finished with a smile on my face, and that felt awkward.  Physically I could have done more, I just didn't have it in my knee or my energy to get the job done.  I ended up finishing 20 minutes over my goal. Ouch.

The course is beautiful.   Of course I am going to say it's an amazing race :)  I will be back. Hopefully faster.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Race ReCap: Brew to Brew 44 Mile Relay

what what

Yesterday, myself along with a good friend and six new ones ran KC's Brew to Brew Relay.

Brew to Brew is a 44 mile relay race from Kansas City's Boulevard Brewing Company to Lawrence, Kansas's Free State Brewing Company.  

44 Miles
10 Legs
8 runners
Lots of beer

We started at 06:30, and by we I mean Mark, our first runner.  Never the less, I still had to be up at 04:30.  Rough....seriously rough, especially when you were up until midnight because of the KU game.

I didn't drink coffee because I thought for sure I would nap in the car as we drove through the exchanges.  That's a newb mistake.  Silly, silly.  The car ride from exchange to exchange was where all the fun was at:
Blaring Meatloaf, Justin Bieber and others
Squirting water guns
Cheering on the runners

I had legs 9 & 10, so yeah, I had to wait all day and build the excitement and anticipation.

By the time it was my turn to run it was about noon, almost 90 degrees and pretty darn humid.  I was really stoked to run, so I took off pretty quick but also quickly slowed myself.  Leg 9 was pretty wicked.  Long hills, just constant up and down.  I do enough hill training that it wasn't so bad, but it's pretty discouraging when you see EVERYONE walking up a hill a half mile ahead of you.  Also it was on gravel, I hate running on gravel.  It kinda sucked.  But leg 9 whirred by, it was 4.2 miles.

Leg 10 is where things got a little frustrating.  I arrived at the exchange point, grabbed some water.  I couldn't see where to go next, so I asked some guy and he said "yeah, just keep going!" so I took off.  I was pretty exhausted.  I am just trucking along, it was weird that there wasn't anyone ahead of me, but I shrugged it off.  Finally, I heard someone yelling "hey...hey!!"  It was a paramedic on a bike, who told me I was going the wrong way and that the guy who told me to go this way was joking.  AWESOME!! I had ran a mile and a half in the wrong direction.  I turned around and went back, adding three miles on to this leg.  
yeah! One of the legs has a boat crossing! 

I was livid.  By the time I got back on track, I was along a levee's small gravel trail in full sun.  My first leg went by so quickly because the length wasn't visible, but on the levee I could see for miles.  And miles down the levee relayers were still running.  It was kind of daunting.  I had no gauge as to how far I needed to go because I had ran three miles already and my head was spinning from heat and dehydration.  

I asked several runners how much was left and everyone said "oh about two miles..." well I heard that like six different times for 10 minutes.  Longest 2 miles of my life.  I stopped sweating in those "2 miles" and got chills.  It was pretty miserable.  Leg 10 was suppose to be 4.7 miles, but I ran 7.8.

Finishing was the best feeling in the world, but I was super intensely mad about the three extra miles I ran.  Ya'll know I love to run, but there's something to say about being mentally prepared.  When you think you're gonna run 9 miles, you mentally gear up for that.  If you feel good enough to run more that's great, but that's probably not gonna happen when it's 90 degrees and the sun is in full force.
That's me in the back at the finish, notice the look of despair on my face
Team Life Equals finished in just under 8 hours.  Not bad for running extra miles in the heat and sun! I ran my legs in just under 2 hours, 12 not too bad!

This was my first relay race, and I am definitely wanting to do more!!

Finish line photos are the best.

Have you ever ran a relay race?
What was the distance of your leg(s)?
Do you want to do one again?