Saturday, February 28, 2009

Cowtown Half - Didn't Have the Energy to Cash the Check My Pace Was Writing

I had run Austin Half two weekends ago with horrible stomach problems and had PRed by 4 minutes, bringing it to 2:50:34. Of course, after a run like that, I had this little tickle in the back of my mind that kept saying: if your stomach hadn't been in bad shape, wonder how good that PR could have been, and maybe I need my revenge on the Cowtown course (never run Cowtown before). But I was convinced by my friend Paula to not concentrate on PRing for today but instead to focus on learning consistent pacing - good suggestion!

Having been a 13 min/mi pace for a long time, in the last two months I had PRed 5K, 10K, 15K, Half and my pace during these runs would be all over the place over the course of the race; I had also been borrowing a friend's Garmin during this time and have now just bought my own and am still learning how to run with one. So I went into this race with the intention to do 12:30s each mile, which would also result in a PR at the same time coincidentally, but really see how I felt through the race at that pace and how well I could target a specific pace!

Race Experience and a Learning Experience

I wasn't the greatest at this goal, which is why it was good practice! It was cold and so windy, 25 mph winds, and I went out too fast early on. I looked at my watch the first few miles and thought I was slowing it down but the watch disagreed. First mile was 11:10. Eek! By mile 4, I was at an average pace of around 11:51 min/mi. Mile 5 through 11 I had gotten the hang of the 12:30s and was able to mostly stick with each mile, except for one fast mile at 11:51 during mile 6. By mile 11, I wanted my feet amputated (I'll explain below) and was in a ton of pain and was just plain tuckered out, tired of the weather, tired of the wind, etc. I had done so well to only take a couple 30 second walk breaks on uphills the whole way until Mile 11, but the last two miles I basically walked or had a jog so slow I probably might as well have walked. Hence the title: I went out too fast and in the end just did not have the energy to keep it all going!!!

But good news is that oddly enough I kinda accomplished the same result. I PRed with a 2:42:40, which is a 12:26 pace! This was an 8 minute improvement on my PR set two weekends ago!

Two Big Complaints

I have to complain about the 3-4 miles on brick road that occurred around miles 8-12. I have almost zero fat cushion in the balls of my feet. I found out years ago that at 10+ miles, my feet will actually bruise and swell all along the ball of the foot. So I wear molefoam (sticks to the foot with some cushy-ness to it) and cushiony insoles to give a little extra squish, and I don't attempt anything longer than 13 miles. But no one warned me about the brick roads. The impact on my feet was brutal. Although I have to say that I was having foot pain by mile 7 before the bricks, but not that bad. I'm going to look into other shoe styles because I don't think these new Brooks Adrenalines are working for me - toes feel squished with shooting pains and numbness. Hmmm.

Another big complaint: AID STATIONS. My experience may not have been yours - I have people who finished faster than me that had no problems and some walkers who told me they think the volunteers had gotten some of the problems under control when they went by. Only 2 aid stations had Powerade by the time I got there - and the first station had it terribly watered down, practically undrinkable. One aid station was completely out of water and I stood there for a few seconds as a guy was trying to hold a pile of cups and fill with the other hand and hand off to our line of runners, but I got frustrated and just went without the fluid. I hadn't thought about the fact that trying to run consistent 12:30 miles meant that I'd be behind when I walked through each aid station or had to wait for them to fill cups. One station had full water bottles just sitting out, and it really annoyed me that there were miles of trash of water bottles practically full with only a few sipfuls gone!

Post Race - Celebrating a Once in a Lifetime with a Friend

I went back to the hotel, showered, rested, and then went back to the finish line. Paula was finishing her first, and what she says will be her only, ultramarathon (50K), so I had promised to be there to cheer her in. That girl is an animal because I was so amazed and proud to have her as a friend when she crossed the finish line at 6 hours, 47 minutes.

Gotta Catch 'Em All

Silly me wants the 5 year's worth of finisher medals that will form a star (bravo, brilliant marketing guy or gal, whoever you are!). If you haven't heard how the finisher medals work at Cowtown during the next 5 years, here's a link... So while I'm disappointed in the aid stations, not crazy about the course, and the spectator support was dismal, I'll be back!

Next up: Heels and Hills Team at the Texas Independence Relay! One of only 6 all-women teams out of 158 teams, and even our van drivers / volunteers are women! Meet the team, read bios, and see pics here...


M1: 11:10

M2: 12:18

M3: 12:11

M4: 11:46

M5: 12:34 (perfect)

M6: 11:51 (must have been some nice downhills here!)

M7: 12:31 (perfect)

M8: 12:42 (why am I waiting for water at an aid station?)

M9: 12:26 (perfect)

M10: 12:18 (pretty close)

M11: 12:29 (perfect)

M12: 13:57 :-(

M13: 13:35 :-(

Last 0.1 pace: 10:37 (I felt so sluggish that I have a hard time believing that)

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