Spoiler Alert: Half Marathon PR!

 

I’ll have a real race report up later this week but for now, enjoy the visual of my negative splits!

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Taper Time! Baltimore Half Edition

I can’t believe it’s race week! I’ve been signed up for this race for about…nine months? Ten? It’s part of the Maryland Double so you can register for the Frederick Half and Baltimore Races at the same time for a slightly discounted price. So it’s hard to believe that I’m finally at the end of this particular race series!

This week the temperatures dropped dramatically. Saturday I was at Virgin Freefest, rocking shorts and a tank top and then Sunday I bundled up in sweater, jacket, jeans for another fun day at the ski store.

Monday and Tuesday’s runs found me in long sleeved tees, bandana, hat and all that. It warmed up today but we got our first taste of winter! I am SO EXCITED.

Not so secret, secret: I LOVE WINTER. Winter means snow, which means snowboarding, which means  Happy Mallory. Last year was a disaster as far as winter is concerned–great for outdoor running and training but TERRIBLE for snowboarding. So, pray for snow!

Saturday was my 12 miler–it went pretty well, I think. Slow, steady pace and no crash which is great. It left me in a good mental place for the race.

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday  felt great. I think partly because of the weather and partly because I had a pretty good sleep-eat-work cycle happening (it’s so interesting how all of these things tie together). I’m feeling really really good about Saturday. I’ll tellyou how it goes!

 

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!