Monday, May 18, 2009

What was I thinking?

At the last minute, I decided to do North Trail Half Marathon in Dallas yesterday morning.

I saw a lot of people I knew before the race while I was registering and getting set. My friend Sarah and I were decked out in our hot pink 2009 Heels and Hills shirts. We saw lots of others in Heels and Hills shirts and more Heels and Hills registrants that were there in other clothes.

At the start of the race, we found out that there was flooding on the North Trail so we would be doing an out-and-back along the west side of White Rock Lake (and down around the south end, turning around before we hit Winfrey Point). I had never run on the North Trail so I had been excited about this - so I was disappointed but completely understood why they had to change the route.

So, on the theme of "What was I thinking?":

Tried something new for this race. I had bought a Bondiband (thick women's fabric headband) but not tried it out. I was tired of all the fly-a-way hairs and my bangs in my face at OKC Half Marathon so I decided to wear it for this race. Never try any changes to your running routine on race day! What was I thinking?

I went out too fast. I was just going along with the crowd and not worrying about the pace I was going. What was I thinking?

About halfway into Mile 2, I saw a guy running along the lake coming from the other direction. As he approached, I yelled "Hi, Chris!" It was a friend I hadn't seen in a long time. He had that look of "wait, what was that? who is that?" I couldn't blame him with the running sunglasses and Bondiband. About thirty seconds later, I heard someone behind me yell my name. It was Chris, he had realized who had yelled out the greeting. I slowed down until he caught up and we chatted away for about 3/4 mile. His youngest is 6 months older than 18-month old Marissa so we had a lot to talk about. Silly me, Christopher is one of those super fast runners who does like 6-7 minute/miles and Boston-qualifies at every marathon he's ever run. He is so fast! So even with him trying to run super slow so we could talk, I was pushing hard to keep up with him. I finally told him I just couldn't keep up the pace and to go on with his run, so he headed back in the other direction. Averaged 11:40 on miles 2-3, and I know I was going slower when not running with Chris, so I seem to recall I was running 10:30-11 with him - bad idea. So running way too fast in miles 2-3 - what was I thinking?

I spent miles 4-6.5 going along at a comfortable pace, even though I knew it was faster than I had been going in any previous half marathon. The weather was so pretty, and I was enjoying the scenery. It just felt comfortable so I ignored what the Garmin was telling me, and the fact that I knew in my heart I was probably setting myself up to completely run out of energy before the end of the race. What was I thinking?

Around mile 4.5 I started seeing the fast runners coming back on the course. I cheered on the top people, then I cheered on all the runners I knew. Exchanged a lot of high-fives. Meanwhile, I normally would have taken a Gu at this point. But I was distracted, enjoying the cheer, loving the atmosphere, and said, "Oh, I'll do that later." What was I thinking?

I took a Gu right before the halfway point turnaround. After the turnaround, it was all slowly downhill - my energy level, not the course. Took another Gu at 10.5 to try to get a boost from the caffeine. I had done sub-12:30 for miles 1-6 (including several sub-12:00s), and I should have been doing about 12:30 each mile. Oops. Miles 7 on, I just got slower and slower. Dragging along those last 3 miles.

I approach the last half mile and see a guy in the distance yelling "Go Libby!" Who is that? It's EW! He's having some knee problems and running 9 that night with his wife, so he came out to cheer. He runs me in the last 0.5 mile, where I go from 14+ min/miles with mostly walking to a good last half mile run at 10:30 pace. Having that help in the last half mile was invaluable. It also gave me someone to vent every thought from the last 5 miles of badness. So poor EW spent half a mile hearing, "I want to die. I want to die. I'll just lay down here, no one will notice. What was I thinking? I did everything wrong today." etc etc etc You get the idea.

Finished in 2:48:07. 6 minutes worse than my PR set at the beginning of April at Big D. But 7 minutes faster than Oklahoma City Half 3 weeks before. And most importantly, still 12 minutes faster than I was running half marathons a year ago this time.

But learned some lessons - I either need to start training (hmmm) so that the comfortable pace of half a minute to a full minute faster is sustainable for longer than 6 miles, or I need to listen to my Garmin and slow it down a little to get through the whole half marathon distance without sputtering out.

Oh, and the Bondiband: aside from getting used to the feeling and readjusting a couple times, it was a success. And although I hate the look when I'm wearing one, I think it's going to stay part of my race day attire!

It was great to see everyone. Thanks for the hi's and cheers and just the familiar faces of: Jean Maria H., Shana R., Greg D., David R., Wendy R., Pam P., Alise C., Christopher J., Danny H., Janice S., Tuan N., Frances H., Peggy M., Ken S., Don and Teresa R., Dave and Claudia Z., and EW. Hope everyone had a great run yesterday in that gorgeous weather!

Mile 1: 11:58
Mile 2: 11:38
Mile 3: 11:40
Mile 4: 12:15
Mile 5: 11:50
Mile 6: 12:00
Mile 7: 12:46
Mile 8: 12:34
Mile 9: 12:47
Mile 10: 13:20
Mile 11: 13:42
Mile 12: 14:30
Mile 13: 14:36
Last 0.1: 10:31

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Running North Trail Half Marathon in Dallas tomorrow

Okay, just got convinced by a friend, just now, to go do North Trail Half Marathon tomorrow. Nothing like 13.1 miles on a whim after 3 weeks of no running and a bad last race experience (Oklahoma City Half Marathon was a BEAT DOWN, weather was awful). I'm committing this in writing on Facebook and RaceNation to keep myself from changing my mind. :-)

Thankfully, weather should be decent for this. Worried more about the lack of a crowd. North Trails is a small race, couple hundred people, so I'm worried about how lonely the whole course will feel for someone at my almost 13-minute per mile pace.

But I do know a lot of Heels-and-Hills-ers doing this race tomorrow as their make-up race since H&H was canceled due to severe weather. So I hope to see my H&H peeps out there in their hot pink race shirts! I'll be in mine!

Good luck to all running. If you aren't doing the race, please come out and cheer on slowpokes like me! :-P

Happy Running!