Wednesday, June 13, 2012

I Completed My 3rd Half Marathon!!

As you may have read I've been training for my 3rd half marathon.  My goal this time was not only to finish but to finish faster and stronger.  My past two half's weren't the best, and based on my training runs I knew I could have done better both times so it only left me disappointed to cross the finish line with a slow time.  Especially my 2nd one because I trained really hard to get faster only to end up with a random foot injury.

Most importantly I was running this race for a cause.  If you look over on the side bar you'll see my fundraising banner for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  I met my fundraising goal plus a little extra which is AWESOME!! This was definitely not something I could have done on my own.  I have to give huge thanks to my many friends and family that donated to my page or came out to one of my fund raisers, and to the team... the Team in Training program truly is a team effort, it takes a team to spread the word on why we run, train together, push each other through the runs and share tips on how to fund raise.  It was a great experience for me and I'm so glad that I was part of the LLS Team!

So back to the race...I know it's been a while since I blogged so I have a few things to catch up on.

Training runs.  Finding time for my training runs was a lot harder than I thought it would be this go round.  I normally run on Saturday mornings, but this spring I had to take a molecular and cellular biology course on that really threw a monkey wrench in the operations.  This class was TOUGH, it took up my entire Saturday and then some, I had to start using my vacation time to study for exams since I no longer had the weekends to study, they were spend sitting in a lecture for 3.5 hours and then a lab for another 3.5 hours.  It was like a second job.  I will never take a Saturday class again if there is any way I can avoid it.

So I was left to fit my training runs in at random times. I also had to switch up my runs to more flat runs because I was told that this course was mostly flat, so I thought training on flat runs I could definitely boost my speed.  Fortunately my spring break fell around the time I had to start doing my really long runs so I was able to fit my first ten mile run in and not after an exhausting day of class (If you're wondering why I wouldn't run on Sunday... I had soccer games... soccer es muy importante you don't mess with game day!).

Anyway, even though I had perfect timing (scheduling wise) for my long runs, after my first ten mile run I was not feeling so great.  In fact I had to stop a few times and try to and stretch out my hip... I had been having random pain in my right hip, but I thought it was a fluke.  After a few more training runs with the hip pain I decided it wasn't a fluke and went straight to the Doc. She told me I was developing piriformis syndrome--sounds scarier than it actually is but it wasn't something that would just go away with out treating.   So after a steriod injection, trigger point release (which is very VERY painful) and a running evaluation by a physical therapist, it turns out that I am simply mechanically deformed :).

My right tibia developed with a slight curve to it so that causes me to over pronate on my right foot to correct the problem, which in turn caused my right knee to turn in towards my left knee while I ran and voila piriformis problem. So to fix the issue all I needed were inserts for my shoes...

This brand to be exact: Superfeet!  Superfeet are super awesome and they completely fixed the piriformis issue...but the only problem was that the rest of me needed to readjust to changing my running gait.  When you get inserts or custom orthotics youi're supposed to drop your running mileage and build yourself back up.  Especially with custom orthotics you have to restart at zero.  My physical therapist told me to go with the super feet because I wouldn't have to start completely over.  But it was still a set back with less than a month to race day (and I still hadn't done a 12 mile run because of the hip pain) I needed to start my mileage back at 4 miles.

So I did 4 mile, 6 mile, and 8 mile runs leading up to the race and just had to hope for the best on race day.  So now it was time to travel with the Team for the big event!

Off to Sunny San Diego!!

Except it wasn't... wha whah!

Apparently early June is San Diego is what they call the June Gloom, so the weather was mostly over cast and slightly chilly...but hey no humidity, that still beats the east coast ANY day by my book.

But the sun did come out eventually and I spent a wonderful afternoon exploring the San Diego Zoo... I highly recommend the visit... go on be a kid again it's great! :)

I saw almost the entire zoo (it's huge it can take you a full day to go through the whole thing), and I saw a ton of animals, here's just a few...

Lazy pandas that sat and ate...and ate.... and ate...

a wise orangutan using a tool to retrieve food from an opening in the rock

a wild looking Jaguar right up against the edge of it's enclosure as I walked by

 (this was one of the younger ones)

nursing Jaguar cub!
and a wild gorilla escaped!!
This is from the Team in Training inspiration dinner.  It really got us pumped for race day.  I felt like it was the closest I would ever get to an Olympics opening ceremony, but that didn't matter this was my Olympics :)

As we entered the San Diego convention center tons of volunteers cheered the runners on from teams all around the country as we went into the hall for dinner.  It was such an exciting moment!!

At the inspiration dinner they had us write down our dream finish time (if all conditions were perfect and you ran your best) and our realistic finish time. I put down 2h15m on both times.  I was determined to make the time that eluded me during my second half.

So all we had to do was eat up then search for a convenience store to get Gatorade and oatmeal for breakfast and get to bed for a good nights sleep for race day... which started with us waking up at 3am to get on buses by 4am to get to the start line.  When you hear the expression Ass Crack of Dawn...this is the ass crack of dawn.  The only benefit is that I was there way early to drop my gear check bag off, snack, and use the port-a-pots as they were just opened (read: clean and unused) and there was no line.

So all we had to do was wait for our start.  I was in Corral 21 so there were 20 waves of people ahead of me waiting to start the race.  Finally we were off, I clicked my start button on my watch timer and set off running at a good pace.  I had gatorade in my camel back, and a gu pack in my butt pocket. 

By the 5k mark, I was on pace for 10 minute miles, 10k mark, still on pace.  We couldn't have asked for better June Gloom running conditions, over cast, mid 60's and not an ounce of humidity.  I took a gu pack around mile 8 (Let me tell you I have never used Gu before on a race day... they make a BIG difference, I am converted!), then again around mile 11.  I had 2.1 miles left to go at that point.  When I passed the 12 mile sign I looked at my watch time and I was at 2:04:.. and some odd seconds.  HOLY CRAP! My mind was racing, I could do this, I could pack this race in in another 10 and meet my goal time!!  There was no way I was going to slow down for that last mile.  I set off running as fast as I could while still trying to pace myself because after all, I still had a full mile to go to the finish line.
When I saw it on the horizon it still looked so far away, but finally it was there, right ahead of me... I took off sprinting (or at least in my mind I looked epic, I probably looked like a loping horse)
So there I am, eyes on the prize, that 2:15 finish time that I wanted so badly last fall was in my sights.  When I finally crossed the line I hit the stop button on my watch and there it was...2:15:30!!!!! Proof that I had met my goal.  I couldn't believe it, I had done it.  I had packed it in in 10.5 minute miles.  I couldn't stop smiling.  I even shelled out the $20 to have my official finish time (02:15:23) engraved on my medal.

Here's my full results:

Age: 30 (oh yea that happened this there's that) | Gender: F
  • Overall: 7286 out of 17603
  • Division: 764 out of 2157
  • Gender: 3551 out of 11221
  • 5 Km 30:56
  • 10 Km 1:03:57
  • 10 Mi 1:43:52
  • Pace 10:20
  • Chip Time 02:15:23
  • Clock Time 02:44:19
 Money Raised for the Luekemia and Lymphoma Society: $3,157.00

Goals can be accomplished but they won't get accomplished sitting around doing nothing.  Get out there and put in the work, and never ever stop believing in yourself!

p.s. I also got an A in my bio class (only 4 of us accomplished that out of the entire class *brushes shoulder off*)

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