3M Half Marathon Recap

It’s taken me a week and a half, but I finally have my race recap of the 3M Half Marathon. This race was a different experience to me in more ways than one. I had a lot of factors, some on my own terms, that made this weekend a challenge. But for once, my emotions and my personal experience had no impact on my overall thought of the race. In fact, it was quite the opposite.

Before I dive in, let me catch you up. I was in Austin Friday through Sunday, and I promise a post of my visit will appear soon. During this time I was lucky enough to have a bit of the flu. So. Much. Fun. And my training? Non existent.

Sunday morning was race day, and since the race started at 6:45, wake up was at 5:00am. I was sharing a hotel room with Courtney and Luke, and somehow we had a pretty smooth morning. Nerves weren’t too much of an issue, but I was starving. We were out the door by 5:30 and headed downtown to find a parking spot. There was some wind and the temperature had dropped 20 degrees from the previous day. Coming from Ohio, 40 degrees in January isn’t bad, especially considering it’s in the single digits now! We were thankful that it wasn’t raining. All week there was a good chance we’d be running in pouring rain.

We got in line at the port-a-pots, dropped off our bag and made our way to the start. We were part of the few crazy people wearing shorts, everyone else was bundled up in cold weather gear. I won’t lie, this made me feel tough, or maybe completely stupid.

Right before bag drop.

Right before bag drop.

Courtney and Luke were way up front. I stood by the 2:10 pacers knowing it wouldn’t be a fast day. Just before we started, my stomach turned. I already knew it’d be an interesting race, but my new race plan was to make it through without embarrassing myself.

The first mile was rough, we ran straight into the wind and everyone was still pretty close together. Once we got closer to the second mile, things started opening up and it was a little brighter out. There were a lot of water stops along the way, probably every 1.5 miles, which was perfect because that meant a lot of bathroom stops. My stomach held up pretty well, but I kept myself at a slower pace. I was averaging 9:58 pace per mile. I knew that if I kept it slow I had a better chance of making the entire distance. My goal was just to finish the race now that I had been able to start it.

I made it to mile 5 without any problems, I had been drinking a sip of water every couple of minutes and I hadn’t felt hungry enough to use any Sport Beans yet. At this point, I made a precautionary stop at the bathroom. And then I spent 10 minutes waiting in line. 10 minutes! Any chance of a good time was now gone. I then made the smartest decision of my entire race. I would no longer check my watch and I was just going to enjoy the experience.

My favorite thing about running new or out of town races is that I have no idea where I am, I just follow the course, check in at the mile marks and take in what’s around me. Austin is the perfect place to do this. We ran through industrial areas, housing developments and shopping areas. Each section was unique in it’s own way, something I saw throughout the weekend visit.

I managed to keep a decent pace going until mile 8. I started to do the walk jog thing, running more than walking. The course was pretty easy, and mostly down hill. Even a small incline was nothing and I kept my feet going in the right direction. Around mile 10 I started to get really hungry, and realized I hadn’t snacked all race. I started popping Sport Beans and was quickly back up to my normal self. I was even greeted with some Lemon Lime cup of Heaven shortly after this, which gave me a sign that I could do this. I only had three miles left. What I didn’t realize is that these three miles had hills.

All downhill, until the end

All downhill, until the end

It happened to be move in weekend and the University of Texas, so instead of running through the campus we ran around it. Which wouldn’t have been bad if there hadn’t been hills with false summits. This also caused us to hit a strong head wind right at the finish. But instead of letting that ruin my finish, I went with it. It was tough, but what race doesn’t make you work.

I finished those last couple of miles with heart and gratitude. I looked around and saw the most beautiful views of Austin (still kicking myself for not taking a picture). I was finishing my 10th half marathon in under two years and running in my third state. I had run the race without checking my Garmin every two seconds, I wasn’t stressing about my splits, and I wasn’t nervous if I’d miss my PR. I was happy that the friends I had running on the course were doing amazing things. I was enjoying the 40 degree, beautiful Sunny weather. I was running, something I had separated myself from for the past couple of weeks. I was back doing what I loved.

Lucky number 10

Lucky number 10

Official Results:

Time: 2:36:27

A hard earned medal

A hard earned medal

I finished far from my PR and breaking 2:00, but I was ok with that. I had an amazing experience that I couldn’t have enjoyed more. Not every race is going to be perfect or even good. You encounter those tough courses, race plans, and injuries to make yourself stronger. I’ve run 10 half marathons and at least three other 13 mile runs during my marathon training. That distance can bring something different each and every time.

I honestly have no complaints about this race. It could have very well been the perfect race. The start went smooth, water stops were plentiful and the spectators along the course were wonderful. The grab bag was packed with great items, the t-shirt was unique and the medal was neat. This is a great race to PR and I would completely recommend this race to any runner looking for something fun. I plan on coming back down someday to run 3M again. And there is no doubt that I will be breaking 2:00 on those same streets of Austin.

13.1 on 1.13

13.1 on 1.13

 

 

 

 

MDI Week One

In just 16 weeks I’ll be up in Maine, enjoying the coast, checking out lighthouses, eating lots of seafood and running my second out of state half marathon. I’m so excited for this race, not only because it’s in Maine, but because it goes through Acadia National Park, right where my favorite lighthouse is. This is seriously a dream race, so I had to get it done in the first year of the 25 challenge. The Mount Desert Island YMCA Half Marathon has been a race I’ve had my eye on for the past year. It’s limited to 400 people, park limit, and has been closed out for months. Unfortunately MDI training will be overshadowed by marathon training after the first month, so this is my time to really put in the miles and get ready for what fall brings.

After taking a week off post Cleveland, I was certainly ready to get back into my shoes. Mentally and physically I feel better, I’m ready for my next training cycle. I had plans to rack up the miles this week, but I had to scale it back a bit. I’m still a bit nervous my knee will start to ache if I run too much too quickly. Luckily, I was able to break in my Asics 1140. The first couple days I tried them after Colorado I had major shin pains. This time around, the pain only lasted a few feet, sounds like a solid start to me!

 

Monday: Rest Day

Tuesday: 2 Miles

Wednesday: 3 Miles

Thursday: 6 Miles

Friday: Rest Day

Saturday: 3 Miles

Sunday: Rest Day

So what do I expect for the month of June? I’m hoping to get a lot of miles in, ramp up my training and prepare myself for those long runs that are right around the corner. I don’t have as many races on the schedule, but I’m hoping the half later on this month will be my best one yet.

This week I’ll be in Wisconsin for work, so getting miles in may be a bit tricky. I already have a packed schedule, and will be on the move constantly. Here’s to a new training cycle and some marathon prep!

 

Columbus, let’s play!

For the next couple of weekends, I’ll be leaving the beautiful shores of Lake Erie to head to Columbus. All of which, I’m looking forward to, knowing they’ll lead up to my big trip to North Carolina!

First, I’ve completed my list of the 25 half marathons I’m going to be doing! The next challenge comes with organizing when I’m going to run these. April and October are full months, so I know these will have to be done each year. Other than that I have no schedule, except for a few races I’d like to do next year. 2012 race tab will be up soon!

Second, the Tour de Cure comes to Columbus this weekend! I’m not riding because I have a a final in the morning, but Darren’s sister (Nicole) is riding the 100 mile century ride. Yep, 100 miles. I’ve give her so much credit for doing this, and for a great cause.

Third, the class of 2011 graduates from the Ohio State University Sunday. Not only is Nicole riding in the Tour de Cure this weekend, but she is graduating from OSU on Sunday. Big weekend for her!

So this weekend will be busy, but fun. And I’m hoping to get some runs in at new places. As well as a congrats to all 2011 graduates 🙂

Weekend Update

After work Friday I headed to Second Sole to pick up my race packet for the Girls with Sole 5k. I wasn’t expecting anything big, just a shirt and probably some info about the race. I was impressed with all that was included. We got a huge recyclable bag, candy, massage oil, coupons to some great restaurants around the area, and the shirt, which was a light cotton and true to its size. Other small things were included, but they weren’t as fun. I also may or may not have picked up a few small things for myself and future races.

Ralphie not included

D and I also decided on more states for my 25 Challenge, mostly places that we know someone so we’d have a free place to stay. I’m looking forward to starting it next year. This year is all about Ohio and the beautiful state I call home 🙂  Saturday was the usual four hour morning class, followed by the new tradition of going to Fat Heads Brewery in North Olmsted. I’m obsessed with their Blueberry Ale, seriously so good. While we were there I kept seeing runners come in, drenched with sweat. Not so appetizing. The bartender told us that they do this each Saturday during the summer. A group of runners start downtown or near Cleveland and run from bar to bar, eating and drinking during their workout. How fun, right? Made me feel guilty that I hadn’t run yet, and was already planning on a nap once I got home.

Saturday night we headed to the Jake to hopefully see the Indians win. Unfortunately they didn’t, but we saw some of D’s friends and as well as made an enemy. You can’t go to an Indians game, claim them as your team, and then bash them the whole night. Needless to say, it was one against many in our section. But it was a good time besides for the heat, and seats right behind Grady are totally worth it.


Sunday was the big day. My first 5k in a year and a half. Woke up tired, and strangely nervous. Headed to Rocky River and was pleased with the current weather, about 65 and sunny. The set up was great. There were probably 10 vendors, real bathrooms, and a DJ. About 5 minutes to race time we listened to the goal behind the organization, followed by a song and national anthem. That’s when the heat came and after 10 minutes, I was already feeling exhausted. The race started and I planned to go out slow, I didn’t have a pace or even knew what time I wanted, I just wanted to do it. First mile 8:35. Not bad. Second mile I slowed so I could try to keep on pace the whole time….that didn’t go as planned. Second mile 18:40. What! I made a habit of not looking at my watch until mile markers so I had no idea I had slowed that much. There were some small inclines and a water stop in mile 2, but I had no idea how bad it was. I tried to be a little quicker for the last mile, but by this time, the humidity wasn’t helping. Finish 29:01. My slowest 5k ever. Ever. All I could think of was how disappointed I was in myself. This is not what I had wanted, I was thinking 27 minutes at the worst. I’ve never felt this let down before, and I knew the hot topic of friends would be “How’d you do?”

I spent the next couple hours laying on the couch, not feeling like I had even ran earlier. I was still upset and knew I should have ran faster. I’ve been running and putting in the mileage. Looking back now, I knew part of it was the humidity. And after finding the results online, I feel a little better. I was 6th out of 25 in my age group, and times overall for everyone seemed to be much slower than most 5ks. I refused to let this race get the best of me, so I ended up doing extra miles on the treadmill that night. Looking into the future, I need to do more speed work, I need to get my times down or else I’m going to feel defeated. A year and a half later I’m still struggling with the mind game college times versus post college times. I’ve accepted the fact that I will never get down to my PR, but I have to keep going. I’m putting it in the past and focusing on my next two races. Winking Lizard and Huntington Duathlon. From here out, I’m getting much more serious.

The 25 Challenge

Between my love for traveling and running, I’ve given myself a new goal, The 25 Challenge. This is not something I plan to do before I turn 25, I don’t think it would be possible, but something I plan to do over the next couple of years. One of my high school coaches had a goal of running a marathon in every state. She’s always been a big inspiration to me so I blame her for giving me the idea.  Scale it back to something I would want to do, run a half in half of the states. This isn’t a new concept, and I’m sure many people have tried or want to do this as well. I’m not setting a time limit, but I would like to average between 3-4 half marathons a year. Ran one and now I can’t stop. Yes, I could be crazy, but when I’m passionate about something, I tend to be an over achiever. This is where I need your help. I’m in need of 24 states to cover, and I only have a few in mind. So if you know of any races out of state that would be fun to run or states to see, let me know. I’m hoping to compile the list in the next couple of weeks. Here’s what I have so far, not much, but it’s a start!

1. Maine-Mount Desert Island YMCA Half Marathon

Reason: I have a slight obsession with lighthouses and my favorite (Bass Harbor Light) is actually in Acadia National Park located on Mount Desert Island. I’m doing this one next September.

2. Colorado-Need your help!

Reason: Within the next year or so I’ll be taking a trip to Colorado for some snowboarding and I need a half to run, anything between Jauary-March?

3. Arizona-Rock & Roll Arizona Half Marathon

Reason: When I went to Phoenix in April, I fell in love with the area. I’m already looking forward to going back in the fall.

4. Nevada-Red Rock Canyon Half Marathon

Reason: As if I’d need a reason to go to Vegas again!

5. California-13.1 Los Angeles

Reason:  One of my oldest and closest friends lives outside LA and runs marathons, so I might be able to convince him to run the half with me.

6. Washington-Seattle Half Marathon

Reason: I’m on a search for McDreamy, but since he’s leaving Grey’s 😦 I’ll just load up on Starbucks instead

7. Illinois-Chicago Spring Half Marathon

Reason: I love Chicago, I’ve never ventured into the city, but driven past it. I am determined to get there

8. Wisconsin-Cellcom Green Bay Half Marathon

Reason: Green Bay Packers, Start and finish at Lambeau Field. No other reasons needed.

Yes, these won’t all be accomplished within the next year, but it gives me something to look forward to and work towards. I appreciate any ideas of states and races. I love a good vacation, and when I can run, it makes it so much better!