Baltimore Half Marathon Goals

When I returned from my European Adventures, I was surprised to find that I should have been in week 4 of my training plan for the Baltimore Half Marathon. Oops. Luckily, I stayed pretty active while I was gone so I didn’t feel like I was TOO out of shape for running.

Each race for me has a goal–my first races were all about getting to the finish line by running the whole way (actually, this is still my primary goal). I also do have tentative speed goals–more about beating a previous time than having any earthly idea of what a feasible time would be. I don’t go in saying “oh, I can shave three minutes off my PR” or whatever, it’s more that I just want to always go a little faster.

Baltimore is tricky–it was my first half marathon and also my slowest time 1:55. HOWEVER, it is by far the hilliest race I’ve run. So what to do?

Time Goal: Do I think I can beat 1:55 on this course? Yes. Do I think I can beat my 1:48 PR–probably not. So…my goal time is between 1:55 and 1:48 (told you I was bad at this).

Training Goals: Honestly, as much as I’m trying to ignore it, my mind is on the Shamrock Marathon in March. I have maaaaaybe looked at a couple of training plans already. Just peeked, really! But I’m trying to mentally prepare for those loooong runs and just build up my base. I don’t want to over train for the half and injure myself. I don’t want to under train and play catch up either.

Short Story: I really don’t have a goal other than to just get through this and have fun. I have a friend doing the full marathon and my roommates may come out to spectate again so it should be a good race.

Advertisements

August/September Round-Up

August was one hell of a ride–life wise and training wise. Since I spent 11 days in Europe, cycling and running almost every day there, I feel like the first half of the month was a success!

Coming back from Europe…a whole other story. I blame the ridiculous amounts of candy and chocolate I brought back.

I  found myself smack-dab in the middle of week four of half-marathon training. My mileage was fine, it’s everything else that was out of sorts. Being back in training means giving up my oh, I only feel like going out for five miles today (or three. Or just sleeping).  It means facing up to the race and figuring out what my goals for Baltimore will be (more on that later)

While I was on the boat, I also read Scott Jurek’s book Eat and Run, which I highly recommend. The parts about his running are fascinating. I’m not a vegan or even a vegetarian and certainly not an ultramarathoner but it was really interesting and overall a good story. I of course, totally thought I was an awesome runner while I was reading it and then came quickly back to reality while struggling through some hot and humid runs.

So overall…August was a good month for my general fitness and gave me some good food for thought. Which brings us to…

September

OMG FALL. That’s what I feel about September. I can’t WAIT for those cooler temps to start coming in and take my runs down from dripping dog sweaty to just regular sweaty.

#1 Food consumption: This is already going badly. But I did one of those calorie counter thingies and discovered I eat WAY too much food:

I am going over my daily allowance by about 300 calories–BEFORE I entered my chocolate and wine consumption. So I’m going to be spending the month trying to eat  in a way that doesn’t leave me hungry but also doesn’t make me gain weight!

#2 Speed Training

My half marathon plan has speed training on it (track and tempo runs) and I just.don’t.get.it. Like…how does one do 100 meter intervals around a track? Where is there a track? How far is 100m exactly?

I’ve been avoiding it so far but really, really, REALLY need to get my act together and try it out. Much googling will be needed.

#3 Avoiding Injury!

Things have been…twinging of late. I believe it’s a lack of crosstraining + extra running (due to a heavier half marathon training schedule). I cannot get injured. Again. Because then I have to say goodbye to my marathon. So the goal here is really to spend September resting when I should be resting, doing more strength training, doing crosstraining. All those good things.

What are you all working on this month?

The In-Betweens

(According to Successful Blog People, one should have a writing schedule for blogs. Pshaw, I say! I live spontaneously and in the MOMENT!) (Lies, I’m so type-A, but have not made some schedule for this blog out of confusion as to what this blog should be about.) (Back to your regularly scheduled–butnotreally–programming).

I am in the dreaded in-betweens for running and training. It’s been almost THREE months since my last real race! And my training for the Baltimore half doesn’t kick off for another few weeks.

Overall, I’m feeling about as tired as usual! I decided, since I wasn’t planning on running SUPER long runs as usual, I would just add another day of regular runs (4-5 miles). My schedule looks a little like this:

Monday: 6 miles

Tuesday: 4-5 miles

Wednesday: 6 miles

Thursday: 4 miles

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 7 miles or so

Sunday: “Crosstraining”–usually swimming for about 25-30 mins.

I tried that running streak thing that Runner’s World was promoting on twitter and just.couldn’t.do.it. Everything hurt and I was getting cranky from it.

After taking stock of running five days a week, I think it’s definitely possible but I might cut back to four days again when I start hitting the longer parts of half training. We shall see. The number ONE PRIORITY: not getting injured. I have a marathon to run next spring!

Race Report: Frederick Half Marathon 2012

Better late than never?

Short Version: YESSSSSS! PR, baby!

Long Version: 

Act 1. The Training

I felt pretty…okay? with my training  for this half marathon. After the hurt that went into Rock n Roll, my goal was basically just to finish within my Baltimore and Rock n Roll times (1:55 and 1:52). I had one REALLY bad long run in the stretch between Rock n Roll and Frederick–I was supposed to run 11 miles but went out at 2:30 pm on a lovel, HOT Saturday. I made it to  8.5 and that was after a lot of nuun drinking, walking, and cursing.

I’ve been making the conscious decision to run without music lately. It was first due to not having a working mp3 player in my possession. And then it became a challenge to see if I could do it. Now I find music almost unpleasantly distracting for my runs. I save it for the races.

Act II. The Taper

I don’t really believe in tapering. I just kinda…don’t run for a few days before the race? This time around, I actually took an extra day off due to excessive drinking the Thursday before the race (let’s never mention tequila again, okaythanks). I can’t really tell if this helped or hurt me. I was more active in the days leading up to this one than RnR and I felt better for this one than RnR but it’s so hard to compare the two races, as well as the conditions during the taper.

Of course, I did go out for pasta with my friend Carly. This is a tradition and basically the only time I eat pasta (yes, I’m weird. I’ve been told this). It was full of deliciousness.

Other pre-race notes: drank far too much the Thursday before. And didn’t eat particularly healthfully any of the days preceding. Not sure if I could have made a difference. I did drink wine the night before–mostly because I was worried about the insomnia that hit me last time.

Act III. Race Morning

Ugh. I hate waking up. Like, being awake is cool. Being asleep is better. But that stupid inbetween wherethefuckamI feeling. Hate it. And this race started at…7 am. When picking up my packet at the Fleet Feet in Adams Morgan (remote pickup FTW!) I was told to plan to park at 6 am. AT THE LATEST. And given my experience with the Annapolis Half parking situation, I took them seriously.

Thank God I did.

I cruised into Frederick around 6:05am and hit stand.still.traffic. Not kidding. When I had looked up the directions the night before, it seemed that they gave people from each major “direction” (DC, Baltimore, Pennsylvania, etc) a different exit to get off at. And the DC exit was a mess. I sat in that traffic for 30 minutes while fiddling with my phone map and getting more anxious. NOT HELPFUL. So I took a chance, got out of the exit lane (oh yes, hadn’t even made it to the ramp) and went to the next exit. Best decision I made all day. There was some traffic but nothing even close to the other exit.

Parking lot, check! No time for gear check, whatevs. I headed straight to the port-a-potties and then to the starting line.

My coworker was running Frederick for his first half (spoiler alert, he rocked it) so I said hi to him and his buddies, we shared a fist bump and we were OFF!

ACT IV: THE RACE!

My Garmin had the audacity to not turn on at all before the race. I was relying on my super scientific Nike+ (a souped up pedometer) so was feeling kinda panicky and yet freeeee! So when I passed the 1:50 pace group around mile 3 I was concerned. But I felt pretty good so I just concentrated on keeping a comfortable, steady pace for as long as I could.

As long as I could was, predictably, mile 11. When I tripped over a tw0-year old. Yep. I’m awesome. I was feeling the pressure in my legs so I went to grab a water in an aid station, heard a woman cry, looked down, saw the little girl, and basically took her out. The ONLY thing that went well was that I didn’t step on her.

Oh my God, it was the worst thing ever. She started crying, I’m kneeling by her (in the middle of the aid station traffic) saying “ohmyGOD, I’m SO SO SORRY. Is she okay? Is she okay? I’m so sorry!” And her mom (?) says, “Just keep going. Just go.”

And then I finally got the message and turned with a final apology and kept going. While crying. But I kept going.

And in my only defense? There was no stopping it from happening. If it hadn’t been me, it would have been someone else. But my God, I still cringe at the memory.

Those last two miles were brutal. All that energy I burned through with my fast pace in the beginning was not returning to me.

The course was mostly flat but at the very end…there’s a hill. I’m talking, mile 12.95, there’s a hill. And it’s probably not even that bad! But I walked halfway up it. I couldn’t even try to run the whole thing. Finally, I got myself back in the game enough that I plodded up it, around the ankle-breaker of a race track and through the finish. There was no kick. I was spent.

Exciting moment: they announced my name as I was coming towards the finish line! AND it’s on video!

Even more exciting moment! PR BABY! 1:48:23. Uh yeah, that happened.

How it happened? My best theory is that it was a combination of tapering somewhat properly (not running but still being active in the three days leading up to the race), being pretty decently trained, and not having my Garmin to adjust my pace and speed to.

Am I hoping for a repeat? Yes and no. My next half is Baltimore and I ran it last year in 1:55. It’s pretty hilly though, while Frederick is lovely and mostly flat. I’m not expecting the meet/beat this PR but we will see!