As many of you know, I started running a little over a year ago as a surprise Christmas present to Janae. Little did I know at the time, I would grow to really enjoy it. I ran my first half marathon last October and finished in 1:45 after having to stop several times in an effort to relieve some sharp arch pains. I took a couple of months off of running after that race and so I was ready to start training for something after the new year.
Initially I had planned on trying to complete this race in under 1:36 which at the time I thought would be a challenging and yet achievable goal. I made up a 6 week training plan to accomplish this goal. Then my brother mentioned that he was going to try to run a sub 1:30. After a couple of weeks running with him and following his training plan I changed my mind and decided to try to run a 1:29.
I started drinking more water and eating a diet of more complex carbs 3 days before the race to make sure that I was fully hydrated and started Saturday with a full Glycogen reserve. I slept well on Thursday night at home but the night before the race sleep didn’t come easily, despite my super comfortable Buzz Lightyear blanket.
I woke up around 6am on Saturday morning, ate a breakfast of Nature Valley granola bars and head out the door. As it turns out, we were much earlier to the bus than we needed to be but at least it was starting to get warm by that time.
20 minutes before the race started Jon and I did a half-mile warmup run at an easy pace just to get the legs moving. It felt good and we knew that we had a shot at achieving our goal pace.
The week before the race I studied the course map and elevation chart and put together a course adjusted pacing schedule for this race. There’s something about breaking up the race into uphill, downhill, and flat portions that somehow makes the pace seem more manageable to me. Instead of running a 6:49 mile for 13.1 miles we’d run seven segments of various lengths at a pace ranging from 6:36 to 7:04.
We found out when talking to people before the race that the elevation chart that I had looked at online was not as accurate as I had hoped it would be. The hills were steeper than I had accounted for in my pacing schedule and so I had to make some last minute changes to our plan. Instead of starting at a 6:44 for the first two miles and then speed up to a 6:36 for the next two, we pushed the pace early to a 6:32 and a 6:20 over the first 4 miles to make up for the steepness of the hills later on.
Miles 4 through 8 felt like a breeze and when we hit the first hill just after mile 8 we felt strong. 6:54 pace over the hills of mile 8. As we approached mile 9, we could see the challenge before us. A steep hill in a residential area with a sharp turn to the right at the top. We were forced to slow our pace to a 7:10 on the first hill. By the time we were at the top I was ready for the race to be over. We made the turn only to find that there was a second, steeper hill towering in front of us. At that point I was questioning my choice in activities that day. I started trying to calculate how much slower I could run and still break 1:30. I started thinking that it would be ok if I finished a couple minutes slower than my goal. I then put all of those thoughts out of my mind and Jon and I powered through it. We ran down the backside of the hill and we had run 10 miles.
The last 3 miles were flat and I knew that we had to make up for some time that we had lost on the hills. I pushed the pace and hoped that the finish line would miraculously appear in front of me. It didn’t. With 0.1 mile to go, Jon kicked and I didn’t feel that I had it in me. I kicked with 0.05 to go and crossed the finish line in a sprint. Only after I finished did I realize that I probably could have kicked sooner.
Jon felt lightheaded after he crossed the finish line and was treated by the nearby EMT’s for over-excursion. After a liter of fluids and some oxygen he was good to go. He has a history of pushing himself past the point of physical exhaustion to accomplish his goals. I love it.
My Finish Time: 1:29:10
Jon’s Finish Time: 1:29:00
We claimed our medals (Jon got 2nd in his age group and I got 3rd in mine) and head out to go celebrate. We weren’t that hungry so we left the eating to the girls and we each ordered a berry smoothie. Yum.
After an ice bath and some stretching at home we were ready to head out for some froyo with our friends.
So what’s next?
Well, a couple days off for starters. I probably won’t run until wednesday and then run easy for the rest of the week to give my body some time to recover. After that I’ll be making up another training plan for our next scheduled races which are in June. We’re doing the Utah Valley Half and the American Fork Canyon Half.
Anyone out there running the UV Marathon Half/Full or AF Canyon Half?
What are you training for right now?
Do you take ice baths?
How long do you take off before you get back into training mode after a race?