Platte River Race Recap

Yesterday’s post explained my love affair with Denver. Today I’m excited to share my first experience of an out of state race. To catch you up to speed, I had a minor set back on Saturday when I had the joy of feeling full altitude sickness. We drove into the mountains, and a combination of curvy roads, altitude change, and dehydration caused me to be out of commission for 2-3 hours. I still wasn’t feeling up to par by Saturday evening, but I knew if I stayed in bed all weekend, I would feel even worse.

This is where I started to panic. Weak as can be, I was somehow supposed to run a half marathon the next morning. How is this even going to happen? I honestly regretted the race and trip at this point. I was pretty sure I wasted time and money just for me to end up sick. Darren wasn’t going to let me waste any more time. So after driving all over to find me food and drinks I could keep down, I was finally able to get out of the hotel and we kept the night low key, and I made sure to over hydrate.

Sunday morning came, it was race day! Good morning to an early wake up call, nervous stomach, and over thinking. Luckily I was feeling better, at least I thought I was, I always feel like a train wreck race mornings, mostly due to the nerves. One less thing to stress about was the weather, it was perfect, almost too good to be true. A little bit of sun, a little bit of a chill, and not a drop of rain or snow in sight!

Perfect weather!

How could you not relax driving towards this on the way to the race?

We got to the race early, and I took my first steps in the parking lot. My pace was slow, but I wanted to shake my legs out. I decided to wait until race day to do any running. If I had a bad run on Saturday, I knew I would worry about it right until the start and even during the race. I took my spot in wave 3 (2:15 and above) I wanted to make sure I’d start with a comfortable pace and wouldn’t try any 8:30 miles.

Ready to go!

The race started off at a good pace, and I quickly found a comfortable spot. With every turn the mountains were in the background, almost surreal. There were many times in the first mile that I still couldn’t believe I was out in Denver running a half marathon. Am I crazy?

Quickly after mile one we headed to a paved path which immediately made for a very tight run, there was even one point where we were stopped and walking because there were so many people. Water stops were every two miles, which I made sure to take full advantage of. I was already thirsty before the first stop, and I knew staying hydrated would be key to making it to the finish line.

The first couple miles I spent figuring out my pace, checking over my body to see how I felt, and trying to find my place in the crowded path. I decided beforehand I would take some Gu at mile 4 and 8. Well, it must have helped because when I got to mile 5, I was at a 9:30 pace. Whoah! Slow down and don’t get ahead of yourself.

Miles 6 through 9 I kept a pretty even pace. I stopped at all the water stops and took my Gu at mile 8. At this point in the race I felt comfortable, my body felt good, my pace wasn’t too quick and I was just taking in the moment. The wind started to pick up, but I tried not to let it get to me, and I kept pushing on. I even passed people, something I have rarely done in a half. The course up to this point followed the Platte River and we had multiple bridges to run over and under. Including a few that shook and reminded me of running at Bur Oak. There was even a dirt path next to the pavement that gave provided some relief throughout the race.

Right around mile 10 the path opened up a bit and I could tell we were getting close to the finish and into the city. The sky also darkened at this point, and it became a race to get to the finish without getting caught in a storm. Lucky mile 11 came and I started to cramp. I knew by this point I was a little dehydrated and my pace started to slow. I started checking my Garmin about every ten seconds. Throughout the race I had been on pace to PR, and like always I knew it would come down to the last two miles.

Mile 12 finally showed up and it was the mile I had been dreading the entire race. There was a “small” hill right at the finish. This hill lasted what felt like a half mile and once everyone made it to the top, the wind took full force. I was blown around multiple times, I started to think I was going to get blown off the bridge and wouldn’t make it to the finish. Coming down the bridge, I knew I was close, and as we turned the corner I could see the balloons at the finish line. My first thought was, “OMG, it’s finally here! Just keep moving, and the cramps won’t kill you” I was so excited for this moment!

Fact: I never remember the finish to a race. I get into a weird sprint the last 50 feet and black out everything. But, I actually remembered this one, and I was thrilled to see Darren on the side, taking pictures, so of course I had to smile. I glanced at the clock and saw 2:16. I missed it. But….Garmin said 13.2, and by my calculations for a 13.1 race, I got a PR by a few seconds. WHAT!!

Couldn’t have done it without him

Here I am, in Colorado, running my first half of the year, and I ran a PR for 13.1 miles. I never even dreamed this would happen. Throughout the race I knew I had the chance of getting close, but after the last two miles, I gave up the idea of finishing strong and just wanted to finish. I don’t even know how it happened, but I felt great during the entire race. Even with cramps at the end, I couldn’t have asked for a better race. I was relaxed, and just let my legs lead the way. I was so excited to say that I finished and I had half number 5 under my belt. Half number two in the 25 challenge was in the books! I ended up placing 727/1421 of all the lady runners, and 64/110 in my age group. Not bad.

This race was exactly what I needed to jump start half marathon season. I fell in love with the distance all over again, and I can’t wait to enjoy so many more this year. Colorado, not only did you give me an amazing experience, but you’ve given me a whole new meaning to the words, I love running.

Love.

Up next is the Earth Day Challenge Half Marathon in Gambier, Ohio. Molly will be dominating the race, and I’ll be celebrating my birthday! (and running of course)

Hey Colorado!

Tomorrow I leave for the great state of Colorado! After 15.5 weeks I’m ready to take on 13.1 miles of high altitudes and a new adventure. I’ve been looking forward to this for months, as if my blog didn’t already show it. I’ve got my list of everything to pack, iPod is ready, and I’ve checked the weather about a hundred times.

I’ve had ups and downs in training, but I’ve come a long way. In no way am I expecting a PR on Sunday, but I don’t plan on just coasting through it. I’ll be running in altitudes that I can’t even imagine, and although the course is rumored to be flat, I guarantee it will be a challenge.

I’m excited to explore Denver and see this amazing city that so many people rave about. I’m even more excited to see things through a runner’s eye, find out why so many runners go out there to train. More importantly, how running in Denver will hopefully make running in Ohio much easier.

I’ve come so far, cutting down my mile pace by at least two minutes. I’ve used Gu on more than one occasion, and I’ve spent many nights with my foam roller. I’m back to the point in my running where I can just feel where a mile is. I’ve already run two PR’s this year and I haven’t even hit the peak of race season.

The greatest thing…

After running this weekend, I’ll be mentally ready to start training for my marathon. Every race this year is a challenge, and training for those wonderful 26.2 miles that await me in October.

I can tell myself to be cautious, to make sure I pace myself, drink lots of water and Nuun all weekend. But honestly, I’m going to enjoy it, soak up every single moment, and just do what feels right. I’m ready.

Platte River Training: Week 15

This is it! The final countdown. This time next week I will be in Colorado for the Platte River Half Marathon. Words can’t even describe how I feel right now, excited, nervous, scared, anxious…the list could go on. I felt pretty good this week, and by good, I mean 3 of my 4 runs were sub nine pace! Despite the ups and downs of pains, I think I’m in the best shape of my life, post college, and I’m ready to kick off half marathon season.

This week I kept the mileage short again, hoping to work out all aches and pains. I actually think I did better in the colder weather, so I was glad it wasn’t 70+ degrees. I even had a little 5k action to look forward to, so I knew I had to get some decent workouts in.

Monday: 3.61 Miles

Tuesday: 4.18 Miles

Wednesday: 2.21 Miles

Thursday: Rest

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 3.1 Miles-Go the Distance 5k

Sunday: Rest

The goal for this coming week is just to enjoy myself. I’ve got to prepare physically and mentally for the weekend. Here we go, final training week!

Platte River Training: Week 14

It all comes down to this. Week 14, which means now I’m counting down days to the race, not weeks. 14 days. I’ve come so far in the past weeks and months, but there is so much that can happen in the next 14 days. This is where I need to be careful about what I put in my body and how I treat it. Every single pain or twinge I need to think twice about. All liquids will now be water, so wine glasses, I’ll see you after a few weeks. And all pasta is welcome back in my body. I may be going to the extreme, but I’ve put so much time and effort into this race since December 26th. Outside of Maine and the marathon, this is one of the most important races of the year. Not to mention I’ll be running in altitudes I’m not used to at all.

So let’s take a look at the past week.

Monday: Rest Day

Tuesday: 3.22 Miles

Wednesday: 3.41 Miles

Thursday: Rest Day

Friday: Rest Day

Saturday: 6.19 Miles

Sunday: Rest Day

I let my legs decide on the mileage this week. I didn’t want to push myself too hard, or get down on myself if I didn’t make it to a certain mile. The first mile of my runs is probably the hardest now. My knee just doesn’t want to give in, and makes for a very uncomfortable couple of minutes. I’ll be picking up a brace for the next couple of weeks, hoping that will help by race day.

Speaking of race day, I didn’t run the Sole to Soul 5k. We had a change of plans and I ended up in Wooster for the weekend. I’ve quickly learned I need to have an alternate race schedule for when I’m not up in Cleveland. However, I did find a race for this coming Saturday down in Marion, so I’ll be able to get in one more race before the half!

How to train for Colorado running…

That’s the question I ask myself everyday. I have just under three weeks until I hit high altitudes and give my best shot at running in the mountains. To admit I’m nervous and scared to run is an understatement. I have no idea how my body will react, but I’m pretty sure I won’t be running a PR. So I need your help. What have you heard or what do you know about making sure I don’t drop out in the first mile?

This is actually happening…

I appreciate any advice, but if all you can think of is joining me, there’s still time to register here…

Also, any suggestions on what to do in Denver for a weekend?

Platte River Training: Week 13

Three weeks to go! The race is within a month and the nerves and excitement are knocking on the door. This past week I kept the miles short and easy. I didn’t plan it this way, but it appears that the pain in my arch has made its way up to my knee. It’s been a little sore since St. Malachi, and I don’t think it plans on leaving anytime soon. I’m hoping that as long as I take it easy this next week I can avoid doing any other damage.

I did however have a little fun this week when I took Elayna out for a 3 mile run. I was pretty proud of her for making it the whole way. I have a secret plan of making all of my non-runner friends into runners.

Runner in the making

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 3 Miles

Wednesday: 3 Miles

Thursday: Rest

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 3 Miles

Sunday: Rest

Plan for the next three weeks? Run at least 2 more long runs and just take the rest by how I feel. This Saturday is the Sole to Soul 5k in Avon, not sure how it will go, but I’m hoping for around 9 minute miles, hopefully a little quicker!

Platte River Training: Week 11

I must say that I can’t complain with this week of training. Week 10 ended with a tough long run, so I took this week as recovery and a way to regroup before I hit the 12 and 13 mile marks the next couple of weeks. I kept the mileage this week relatively low, and ran every other day. My legs were a little tight in the beginning of the week, but I think with the way I planned things, I was able to really benefit towards the end of the week.  Each run felt great, even my 4 miles on the treadmill. One of the best moments, was the run I did on Tuesday. Apparently I had my fast pants on because I saw a sub 8 number on my Garmin, haven’t seen that in a while!

Hello speedy!

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 2.5 Miles

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: 4 Miles

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 5 Miles-St. Malachi Race

Sunday: Rest

The week ended with St. Malachi, race recap to come tomorrow. This week I’ve got a 12 miler on the schedule for Sunday and need to decide on the Cleveland 10 Miler before race fees go up. But even more excited, only one month until Colorado!

Platte River Training: Week 7

I can’t believe it’s already week seven, I feel like I just started training and here it is flying by. I started the week with lower mileage because I was pretty tight from Sunday’s 10 miler. I had a massage on Wednesday at Revalations that I found for half off from Groupon. I was pumped to have a whole hour of relaxation, but even though it felt wonderful, I did leave a little disappointed. A majority of the time was focused on my back, and barely on my legs. Even more disappointing, my quads and hamstrings weren’t even touched and they needed the most attention. Major bummer 😦

Friday was the turning point of the week when I woke up with pain in my left arch. I had a few bad days within the past year with arch pain, but this was beyond normal, so I knew I was in trouble. I decided to take off for the rest of the week and let my foot recover. There are still two months until Colorado, so I’m not extremely nervous yet, but I don’t want to be in anymore pain than I already am.

Monday: 3 Miles

Tuesday: Rest Day

Wednesday: Massage

Thursday: 3 Miles

Friday: Rest Day

Saturday: Rest Day

Sunday: Rest Day

I’m a little bummed out this week, 6 miles is definitely on the low end of where I wanted to be.

Regardless I have to focus on the big picture, which is why I was so excited to see this come on Friday!

I may have two months until the first half, but I have eight months until the real test. Every moment of training is crucial, and sometimes you have to be patient.

Training times four

After six weeks of preparation for the Platte River Half, I’m finally to the point in my schedule where I’m training for four half marathons at once. My main focus has been on my Colorado trip, only because this is the first half of the year. But, I’ve been keeping the rest of the races in the back of my mind. Besides, none of them would be possible without any of this preparation. So here are my training schedules for the next three half marathons after Colorado, all of which are a continuation of Platte River training.

Earth Day Half Marathon-April 22nd

Week Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
(April 16) 4 Miles Easy Rest 3 Miles Easy 4 Miles Easy Rest 2 Miles Easy 13.1

I’m really excited for this race for two reasons. It’s one week post Colorado, so after running in crazy altitude I should be in excellent shape 🙂 And it also happens to be on my birthday, my favorite day of the year! I’ve been looking forward to racing on my birthday since summer. To me the perfect way to celebrate my birthday is running 13.1 miles!

Cleveland Half Marathon-May 20th

Week Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
(April 23) 5 Miles Easy Rest 5 Miles Speed 4 Miles Easy Rest 10 M Rest
(April 30) 5 Miles Easy Rest 5 Miles Tempo 4 Miles Easy Rest 9 Miles Long Rest
(May 7) 5 Miles Easy Rest 6 Miles Tempo 4 Miles Easy Rest 9 Miles Long Rest
(May 14) Rest 3 Miles Easy 3 Miles Easy 4 Miles Easy Rest 2 Miles Easy 13.1

Just like many local runners I’ll be participating in the Cleveland Half again this year. I’m looking forward to enjoying the race instead of being a giant ball of nerves. Plus I’m running for Team JDRF, supporting the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. I’m not running this race for me, I’m running it for those affected by Diabetes.

Sunburst Half Marathon-June 2nd

Week Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
(May 21) 4 Miles Easy Rest 5 Miles Easy 4 Miles Easy Rest 8 Miles Long Rest
(May 28) Rest 3 Miles Easy 4 Miles Easy Rest 2 Miles Easy 13.1 Rest

My second out of state half and it will be on the beautiful grounds of the University of Notre Dame. Unfortunately the finish has been changed from ending inside the stadium. I still think this will be a good, flat race, and I’m excited to explore South Bend.

Compared to last year, it’s weird to think I’m training for four half marathons at once, all within a few weeks of each other. And even two weeks from now, I’ll be training for a fifth half. Knowing I’ll have a big race every couple of weekends can be a little overwhelming, and possibly tiring, but I know it will just make things go well in October for the full!

Platte River Training: Week 6

I am so pleased with how this week of training went. It was the only  time during traveling that I was able to get all my workouts in. Even better, my legs felt great the entire time. A majority of my week was spent in Dallas, humidity and warmth included, but it was a nice change from the Cleveland “winter.” Unfortunately I didn’t get to run outside. The location of our hotel didn’t allow for a safe route in the heart of downtown. But, the workout room made up for it with a beautiful view of the pool and the skyline of the city.

Downtown Dallas

Monday: Rest Day

Tuesday: 5 Miles

Wednesday: 3 Miles

Thursday: Rest Day

Friday: 4 Miles

Saturday: Rest Day

Sunday: 10 Miles

This week’s biggest accomplishment? That 10 miler up there. I somehow pulled off PR pace and ran it in 1:33, which would give me a 2:04 half! Despite some ups and downs in the past few weeks, I’m doing better than last year 🙂 Bring on Colorado!