Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Flower City Half Marathon Race Report

After last fall's disaster half marathon, I told Brian that I would NEVER run a half again.  But then as I got back into running in the winter and started feeling stronger and faster, I thought that maybe a half was possible.  And I needed redemption.

The Thursday previous to the race, I headed to the local Fleet Feet store and picked up my packet because the race is pretty small and there was no expo.  In fact this is only the second year this race has been held.  I wasn't really nervous which was a surprise to me because I usually get pretty nervous before races, but this time I just trusted in my training.  I felt like I was ready.

Sunday morning, I was up at 5:30am and eat my usual cinnamon and sugar oatmeal, with water and a little bit of coffee.  I picked up Brian shortly after 6am and we headed to the race start.  I met up with three of my friends from the running group and we planned to run together and stay together for as long as we could.

After a quick warm up we headed to the start line which was packed with people.  We weaved our way up to the 1:40 pace group and waited for the start.  It was a tad bit chilly but I was dressed in shorts and a t-shirt because I knew I would warm up quick.  I had been designated pacer for our little group and I was in charge of making sure we didn't start off the race too fast.

Soon we were off and running and the 1:40 pacer was way out in front of us.  So much for running with him.  Thankfully not much weaving around slower runners was needed and we were running at a good pace which felt easy.

Just after the two mile mark we turned the corner and saw Brian and our Coach.  We were staying steady at just under a 7:40 pace and everyone looked happy to be out and running.


The miles ticked by - the first 6 miles of the course were pretty flat and we maintained our pace (~7:38 according to garmin) throughout that section.  There were a lot of spectators which helped make the time go quickly and I tried not to think about the hilly section coming in miles 6 - 9.

As we passed the 10k mark I could see the first big hill looming in front of us.  The three of us (the three girls in maroon) has been running together and at this hill one girl feel back and couldn't keep the pace.  The other girl and I continued on up and up and up.  Finally we reached the downhill and flew through mile 7 and into the cemetery.  This is where we saw Brian and Coach for the second time.  This is also the part where I began to run alone.  


We entered the cemetery with a huge but short uphill and then another uphill and then another.  I didn't know the exact course and I was beginning to lose it mentally.  I was tired and I didn't think I could continue to hold my pace for another 5 miles.  But then the course evened out and there were no more uphills and I got myself back together and felt strong.

My left leg was hurting me through out this portion.  My hamstring, upper hip, shin and foot all felt uncomfortable but surprisingly my pace wasn't suffering yet.  After what seemed like forever I finally exited the cemetery, passed the 10 mile marker and pushed on.  It was like I had a second wind and my legs were just pumping along.  The rest of the course was mainly flat with only one small uphill after mile 12.  I knew I was close to reaching my secret goal of sub 1:40 and I hoped I could hold on to it.

As I approached mile 11, I was still maintaining my pace but my left leg was seriously hurting and as I continued towards the mile 12 marker my pace started to slow down.  I had a lot of thoughts during that mile which included -
  • Why am I doing this? This hurts.
  • How do people run this fast for 26.2 miles?
Finally I turned onto the final stretch and knew I had just under a mile to go.  I was hurting...a lot.  Every time my left foot hit the ground I felt pain followed by pain every time I tried to lift my leg to step.  I don't know how I managed to run a sub 8 minute mile for that final mile but somehow I did.  With about a half mile to go I spotted my Coach again and I heard Brian's whistle before I saw him.  Brian was snapping pictures as I passed.




The finish was finally in sight and although I wanted to sprint to the finish my legs would not go.  I knew my sub 1:40 goal was gone but a PR was definitely there.  As I crossed the finish line I was happy to have finished and be done running.  My left leg was in a lot of pain but I could pretty much walk ok.

After the race, I waited for the rest of the girls to finish and see how they did.  I was still having trouble walking with my left leg but I was finally able to get to the car and drive home.  My left leg was in extreme pain for the rest of the day and if I sat for any extended period of time it only made it worse.  Stairs were tough and I just hoped that I wouldn't wake up Monday morning even more sore than I already was.  Monday morning rolled around and I was surprised to find I was much better.  My left IT band was a mess but only my left quad and hamstring were sore - my right leg felt completely fine.  I decided a complete rest day (instead of yoga) was the best bet.

To sum it up, in Brian's words -

"This was the race that you actually looked good every time I saw you - you didn't look like death." 

He is so kind.  Thanks for reading!


Official Time - 1:41:05
Age Group: 9/136
Female: 36/1033
Overall: 209/1861

32 comments:

Linda said...

Nice Job!!!

Amy said...

Wow! What a great time!

And, I don't know how people run as fast as you did for 13.1 miles! Sheesh! :)

Congrats!

Allison said...

Congratulations! That's a great time! I hope that your leg is feeling better soon.

Molly said...

Holy cow! Fabulous run!!!! You sure redeemed yourself, hope your leg is feeling better, Congrats!

Morgan said...

Holy smokes girl you rocked it out there! Way to destroy your last Half and get total redemption! Take care of that ITB and feel better!!!

Marlene said...

YEAH! Way to run a STRONG race. All of that hard training clearly paid off. So frustrating that the leg issue slowed you down a little bit, but you fought for it and still smashed that PR. Congratulations!!! You have an sub-1:40 in you for sure!

Aneta said...

wow that is an awesome half marathon. congrats on the PR. fantastic.

Amy said...

Yay! Congratulations on a great race and PR!

Vanessa @ Gourmet Runner said...

Great job, that is one speedy half! I hope your leg heals up soon--good call on the rest day!
:)

Sarah said...

Great job! That's a great time!

Laura said...

Well done! And I second Amy's comment I don't think I could hold that pace for a 10k let alone a half!

Running to Music said...

Wow that's fast! Holy cow. I can't walk a mile in that time!

Do you know what was causing the pain in your leg?? Was it just because of your IT band? Hope it gets better!

Indi said...

Greta job despite the leg pain. Hope its feeling better today!

Tricia said...

congrats!

Amber (Girl with the red hair) said...

My god you are SO SPEEDY! That is like my 15K time. Haha.

I'm sorry that you had to run through pain. I know how defeating that can be. Good job pushing through. I hope your injury heals ASAP!!

Lauren @ Sassy Molassy said...

Awesome work! I can definitely see that left leg pain in those last few miles on your face. That feeling is never fun. You just want to be done. Hope you're recovering well!

kilax said...

Awesome! Congrats on the new amazing PR!

You ran this race so strong - a very strong first half, a struggle, then you pushed yourself! You are really growing as a runner!

Do you think your leg started bothering you because of the hills? Had you had left leg issues before? I hope it goes away!

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Nice work! You ran a strong race and should be really proud of yourself! Well done, J!!

Megan said...

I've been following you for a while now-- through this training cycle for the half. You have had a great plan and it paid off! Great race. My goal is also a sub- 1:40 half, and my current PR is 1:42:43. I am so glad you stuck it out; you built not just endurance but mental toughness :)

Nicole said...

Strong race from beginning to end! My brian would say something like that too! :) Great job gf! you did awesome!

Jamie said...

You did great! Congrats!!!

marathonmaiden said...

your training was so strong so duh you ran well. great job.

and those two thoughts? yeah they happen every. single. race. for me.

Zaneta said...

GREAT race!!! Congrats on the PR!!

Lacey Nicole said...

lol on Brian's comment. :)

you really ran through the pain and crossed that finish line with a huge PR. i hope things improve with your leg!!! i can't think of anything more distracting and depressing (other than my stomach issues) than having constant pain while running.

chris mcpeake said...

Well done
congrats

mealsformiles said...

congrats on a really strong race and PR! I hope the pain isn't so bad anymore and that you're recovering well :)

Steel Springs said...

Congratulations! That's a nice PR! I hope your left leg is feeling better. Take care of that ITB!

Amanda - RunToTheFinish said...

bummer on the ITB, but you are so right we all have thoughts like WHY am i out here :). way to go on gutting it out and so glad you didn't look like death :)

Teamarcia said...

Wow fantastic time especially with your leg hurting like it was. Those last miles are so tough physically and mentally. Congrats!

Rebecca said...

I am SOOO happy for you!! I know you wanted this really badly; you went after it and did it!! Still can't believe you talked me into joining running club, but its really nice to have buddies to run with. Running together on Sunday was lots of fun... hopefully next time I'll be able to keep up with you, speedy! How about that sub-1:40 half? Are you going to try again this year!? (I somehow thought you might have a secret wish to run under 1:40.)

P.S. - That photo and my facial expression is priceless, haha. I have no idea why I look so happy/surprised.

Suzy said...

WAY TO GO!!! I am sorry your leg was hurting (is it better?), but you certainly didn't look it in the pictures. Congrats!

FruitFly said...

Congratulations, speedy lady!! That is awesome. Sorry your leg started to hurt -I will totally empathize with you. My left leg seems to have felt the same way with my last two races this month. But at least we heal and go on to do it again!

Way to go!!