Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Cleveland 1/2 Marathon - Race Report - May 17, 2009

Thrilled, overjoyed, amazed, shocked, proud... It’s going to be difficult to thoroughly explain how I feel about my performance this past Sunday. Not only did I finish my third ever half marathon, I also destroyed almost every goal I had set for myself. I’ll get back to the “almost” part later.

First of all, I drove downtown, found a place to park, and walked to the starting line all by myself. At a race this big, I think that was an accomplishment for me. :-) I even ventured into the scary bus station to use their flushing toilets – a tip I got from my brother last year - no lines and warm running water for hand washing.

Once onto 9th street, I made my way through the crowd, looking for any familiar faces and looking for the pacers. I was a little disappointed to not find anyone I knew. There were so many people I knew running, but in a crowd this big, it’s not a surprise to miss them all. I did locate the pacers easily with their signs and balloons. I went past the 4:30 group and positioned myself just behind the 4:15 pacers. At this point I had about 10 minutes until the start. This gave me time to consume one of my GU packs, drink some water, and debate if I dressed okay for the weather. I went with the “new” capris and two light long sleep running tops, plus an ugly sweatshirt that I knew I’d throw away after a mile or two and some of Matt’s old socks to keep my hands warm for a couple of miles - which was good since it was only in the mid 40s. I also turned on my MP3 player, which for the first time ever I decided to use in a race since they were allowed. I was very happy to have my own music several places along the course.

The race began, and a few minutes later I was crossing the starting line. I was quite surprised at how quickly the 4:15 pacers were pulling away. There were so many people packed together so tightly, that I had a difficult time dodging between people in order to keep up. I was a bit discouraged that I couldn’t see them, but I did my best to keep going.

Mile 1 – 9:53

I’m not familiar with the names of the streets, so I don’t know where I was at each of the mile markers, but early on we crossed a bridge that seemed to go uphill for 90% of the time. It was a very pretty site, with all the runners and the decoration on the sides, but I really wanted to get to the top and start going back down.

Mile 2 – 9:46

Wow, I ran not one, but two miles under 10 minutes each. This had me on track to finish around 2:10 – something I didn’t really think I could do, but it sure would be nice! I knew there was a long way to go though. Somewhere in here I threw off my warm-up sweatshirt.

Mile 3 – 9:22

I don’t remember looking down and seeing that time. It would have shocked me if I had. I finished the first 3 miles in 29:01. Three years ago I ran some whole 5k races slower than that! I think I kept the sock on my hands until this point. They really did help.

Mile 4 - ?

I never saw this mile marker. I guess I was really focused on running around this point.

Mile 4 and 5 – 18:37

Did I really run miles 3, 4 and 5 all under 9 ½ minutes each?? WOW! Unfortunately, around mile 5 I felt a blister starting on the arch of my right foot. I stopped and tightened my laces, hoping there would be less friction. It seemed to help, and I kept going strong.

Mile 6 – 9:38

At this point I took my second GU with some water from the water station. I was feeling a little slower, and really hoped the GU would help.

Mile 7 – 9:43

I knew we were going to turn right and head towards Lake Erie, and then quickly turn right again and head back towards downtown. To me that meant we were that much closer to finishing!

Mile 8 – 9:55

Clearly miles 6, 7, and 8 were slower, but I was still running less than 10 minute miles. WOW again!

Mile 9 – 10:01

I was bummed to see the 10 by 2 dumb seconds.

Mile 10 – 9:31

That’s better. My thoughts were, “Three miles to go. I can do this!”

Mile 11 – 10:50

Ugh – and I could still see more uphill ahead. I was really worried this part of the race was going to ruin my goal time. I had worked so hard to stay with 10 minute miles.
Somewhere around here I spotted a red shirt that looked like the back of a CTC top. I got up close and realized it was someone I knew. The first person all day that I recognized. Thanks Phil – you helped me keep moving!

Mile 12 – 10:06

We got to the top of the uphill portion, and made it back to downtown. Somewhere around here I spotted Erin on the sidewalk. I wanted to finish hard and took off the best I could.

Mile 13.1 – 9:48

Finish Time – 2:07:17
Pace – 9:42

I did it! I really did it! I beat my time at Akron (2:15) AND I beat my goal of 2:10. WOW! I didn’t know I could really do this. I had NO idea I could run for 13 miles and keep going at a pace of under 10 minutes per mile.

Sunday evening my right knee began to hurt. I can’t seem to straighten it all the way so I’m icing it several times a day. I took off from working out yesterday, and it looks like I’m doing the same again today. This is the only goal I didn’t meet – being injury free. Bummer. I’m so glad I ran hard though! It’s nice to know I had it in me.

I don't know if a full marathon will ever be in my future. My knee doesn't seem to like running too far at once. For now I think I'm going to focus on speed at shorter distances. If I can run 13 miles at a 9:42 pace, I must be able to run shorter distances faster than I have been. Once my knee feels better, I'll start setting some new goals. :-)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Goals for Cleveland 1/2 Marathon

The current forecast for Sunday is mostly cloudy with a low of 46 degrees and a high of 54 degrees. There's only a 10% chance of rain. I'd have to say, that's pretty good. Unlike the 10 Miler a few weeks ago, we don't have to worry about being too hot! However I'm left with the dilemma of what to wear. We start at 7 AM, and I hope to be done by about 9:15 (part of the goal.) So, it will probably only be about 50 degrees during most of my running time. I'm leaning towards capris and a light weight long sleeve running top. I'm most comfortable in running shorts and a tank top, but there's no way I can do that. The capris are new, and I've only run in them once, so I'm worried that after 10 miles they might not be as comfortable as I'd like. ?? My under armour would be too hot though. Hmmmm.

Anyhow, back to my goals...

I've run two 1/2 marathons - both were last fall. At Akron I finished in 2:15:18, and at the Stomp the Grapes I finished in 2:30:07.

Of course I want to be under 2:30, and I would REALLY like to be under 2:15. A finish time of 2:13 would be nice (10:10 pace.) I would LOVE to finish at 2:10 (9:55 pace.)

I don't really know what to expect. A BIG goal is to finish without any injuries or bad pains. My first outdoor tri of the year is in just THREE weeks. I've signed up, paid, and prepared to beat last year's time on that one. :-) I'd hate to push it too hard this weekend and jepordize all of my summer triathlons. The tris are more important to me than a fast 1/2 marathon. BUT - I'd also hate to not try hard on Sunday. I'm torn. How hard I end up running on Sunday will probably be left to how I'm feeling.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Silver Springs Biathlon - May 3, 2009

First of all, I'm very happy to say that I met my biking AND running goals for today!! I didn't set a goal for my transition time, but maybe I should have. I didn't expect for it to be twice as slow as last year. :-) I still finished the entire race in 1:08:19 (on my watch), which is about 4 minutes faster than last year!

The transition area was moved to a different parking area at the park, but otherwise, the course was the exact same as last year. It might have been a touch warmer and slightly less windy today. Overall, it was a pretty nice day for a race!

Only one woman was in the duathlon, the rest of us (8 ladies, I think) took part in the biathlon. The biathlon and the duathlon began at the same time, with the bikes all up front slowly rolling. The bike course had two identical loops of about 5.75 miles through some rolling streets here in Stow. The run course followed some local roads for the first two miles, and then looped back to the park on a bike path.

One lady and I stayed together for the majority of the bike part. We took several turns passing each other at various points of the race. She entered transition just before me (in 2nd place overall), which put me in 3rd at this point. Sandy (another racer) entered transition as I was leaving on the run. Within a half mile she caught and passed me, leaving me in 4th. She clearly had a strong run, and I knew I wouldn't be catching back up. So, this left me trying to catch the woman who came out of transition just before me. I had a hard time on mile one of the run today, but felt pretty strong during the second mile. I slowly caught up to the runner in front of me, and then passed her at the mile 2 marker. With one mile to go, I was now in 3rd. I felt pretty good, and I knew I'd better run hard to keep my place. I ran miles 1 & 2 in 20:07. I then ran the last mile in 8:37 - and felt really good. :-) I finished in 3rd overall for the women, which is exactly how I placed last year, but against different women.

Stats (on my watch and bike computer):

11.4 mile bike - 38:24 - Average 18.1 MPH

Transition - 1:10

5K run - 28:44

Total time - 1:08:19

Friday, May 1, 2009

Race goals - May 1, 2009

In two days I'll be biking and running in the Silver Springs Biathlon here in Stow. This will be one of the first times that I'm getting a chance to race on a course for a second time! I competed in tris and 5Ks for a year in Dayton, and then we moved up here to NE Ohio. So, I didn't get to try to improve my times on any of those courses. I'm excited (and nervous) to be getting the opportunity this summer to see how my times will compare to last year's times in several races - the first one being this Sunday.
The biathlon is 11.6 miles on the bike and then a 5K run. Last year my bike time was 41:43 (17 mph avg), my run time was 29:52 (9:36), and my transition was 28 seconds.
My transition time was fine, but I want to improve on the bike and the run. I'll be happy with anything better than last year's times, but I'd really like to see at least a 17.5 avg on the bike (18 would be even better, but I don't know if I can do that on this course and this early in the summer), and I'd like to run at least a 29 minute 5K (again, 28 would be better, but I haven't practiced too many bricks lately, so I don't know how my legs will be when I try to run off the bike.)
We shall see. :-)