Friday, August 1, 2008

Appease The Readers With a Back-dated Race Report

Oi, this has been a super busy week, what with starting a new job while trying to finish another, doing a little extra socializing, and still trying to get in some workouts. Sleep has been scarse. Blogging has been non-existent. Sorry.

I was digging thru old files and such on my computer, trying to organize and clean out things so that the next person in my job can take over somewhat smoothly, and I came across this email that I wrote back in November '07 after my first Half Marathon. Since it was written before I published my blog, I thought I'd stick it on here for posterity's sake.

I'll try to write a post this weekend. But just looking ahead, I can promise you very few posts over the next few weeks. But I'll be back....

(Race was on Nov 9, 2007 in Manteo, NC)

  • A few stats, thoughts, memories, etc:
    Race day was gorgeous—a bit chilly starting off, as the wind was brisk and the air temp was around 50. Once we started running, though, we warmed up to a nice temperature, not too hot, not too cold. The sun was bright on the Sound by the time we got there. The wind was fairly stiff, but it was at our tails a good portion of the time. However, around miles 8-11 we were running side-ways to the wind, and running straight into it for the last 2 miles… felt like we were going nowhere!!!
  • I ran the entire race with my friend Robyn, who’s been one of my bestest buds since 7th grade; she’s a turbo-triathloning whiz these days, and has completed several halfs and a few full marathons over the last five years since she started running. It was great to run with someone who I knew would have no problems finishing, and who could definitely keep me company along the way. It was also a great chance to spend some alone-time with her and talk about boys, babies, bodies, jobs, yoga, and more.
  • Our total race time was 2 hours, 23 minutes, and 9 seconds
  • There were 2176 finishers of the Half. I placed 1315th among them, and 664th out of 1314 women. It was amazing to see so many people running at the same time!!! (By the way, the winning male finished in 1:02:32 and the winning female finished in 1:13:53. Holy crap! Most of the elite runners were from Kenya, including the winners from last year and this year).
  • The spectators along the way were great. Folks had music blasting from houses and vehicles at various spots. Lots of folks were holding posters with encouraging messages, my favorite of which was one about a mile from the finish that said “Unleash your inner Kenyan!”
  • We kicked ass in the second half, passing nearly 175 runners (many on the big hill—aka a bridge over the Albemarle Sound). Our average pace for the first 6.9 miles was 11:16 min/mile, and for the remaining miles was 10:33 min/mi (yes, we sped up quite a bit in the second part!), for an average pace of 10:56 minutes per mile over the 13.1 miles. I was shooting for around 11 min/mi, so, right on. Could I have sustained the 10:33 the whole time? Probably. Next time…
  • I felt great and had a blast from Mile 0 to 11.2 or so. Then my body revolted. It thought “enough of this nonsense!” and communicated its thoughts to me by sending an excruciating pain into my abdomen along the bottom of my right ribcage. Now, I’ve had a few side cramps before, but never one that made me wonder if my appendix was about to rupture! All systems were screaming “stop! Just walk! Bend over and clutch your stomach!”… but I didn’t heed. Instead, I grunted an occasional f-word, focused my eyes straight ahead, and ran. Robyn piped in with some excellent advice, “Remember your yoga.” So I concentrated on letting each inhale go to the point of pain, then pick it up and send it out on the exhale. Within a few minutes, the pain subdued, and Robyn noted “You’re almost there… I can hear the finish line!” I learned that a half-marathon is not just a 13 mile race, it’s a 13.1 mile race—and that 0.1 mile makes a difference! It was the longest .1 mile I’ve ever run, but I ran it. I finished the line in true fashion (i.e. I headed for the grass, gagging and spitting and wondering if I was going to show the crowd my lunch… no, I didn’t!)
  • My dad, his wife Cathy, my brother Trav, and Jim all met us at the Finish, where they snapped a few pictures and gave us congrats. It was the first race any of them had ever spectated, so they all seemed dazed and amazed at all the runners
  • Post-race we wandered around taking off our timing chips, grabbing Gatorade and bananas, and getting our dry bags with warm clothes. It was a bit chilly at the finish, what with the wind, but nothing a dry sports bra didn’t help. Then we stumbled into a little cart selling cups of clam chowder, and Robyn and I rushed for a bowl. I must say, that was the most amazing clam chowder I’ve ever had. Fresh from the sea, right beside the sea, after running 13 POINT ONE miles along an island in the sea. Mmmm, it hit the spot
  • The eating pretty much continued non-stop from there. We left the race area and headed back towards our beach house, stopping at Sam and Omie’s, a local restaurant, for lunch. I dined on steamed clams and coleslaw. Then we went back to our beachside bungalow, where I spent the afternoon taking the dog for a stroll on the beach and sticking my sore toes in the cold Atlantic, then joining Robyn and Jim for a soak in the hot tub, where we drank margaritas from coffee mugs. We then returned to Sam and Omie’s for dinner, since lunch was so great. This time I had broiled shrimp and scallops with more coleslaw, and to my delight the side dish was Fried Okra!!! Who could ask for a better meal? I washed it all down with a glass of Blue Moon Belgian ale, then returned to the house for an evening of board games.
  • Just a little more on the rest of the week: Robyn had to return to her world on Monday, while the rest of us traveled south down the islands to Ocaracoke, stopping to see lighthouses, fishing boats, bars, etc. along the way. We returned to the beach house after dark, and cooked a steamer bucket of red potatoes, corn on the cob, and fresh shrimp, spiced up with Old Bay and beer. Tuesday we went touring around downtown Manteo, went to the Aquarium, and then Trav, Jim, and I went out for all-you-can-eat crab legs and shrimp for our mid-day meal. Those two guys ate non-stop for over an hour an a half! (I obviously am not the endurance athlete that they are, seeing as how I dropped out of the race after a little less than an hour!) Then we spent the afternoon walking it off on the sand dunes at Jockey’s Ridge State Park. Wednesday morning I had coffee and read my book while sitting in the sun on the “crow’s nest” atop the beach house, where I watched several dolphins swimming in the calm sea. Then we headed back to Raleigh to catch our plane, but made a quick stop at Smithfield’s for some authentic eastern NC BBQ. Nothing better.
  • So here I am, back in chilly MT, a good 3 pounds heavier than I was before I left. Ha! It was a great time—good to see family and friends, good to accomplish the goal I’ve been working towards for 6 months or so now, good to chill out and have no agenda for a few days, and good to see the coast
  • What’s next? A few new goals are in the making:
    o Learning to swim better (I want to try to swim at least 2 days a week this winter, working on getting more comfortable with it and getting good form).
    o Losing the pounds I gained on vacation, plus a handful more. Should be a good challenge what with the holidays approaching
    o Maintaining running shape and then training for the Snow Joke half-marathon in Seeley Lake in February
    o Perhaps skiing some (25K) or all (50K) of the OSCR (pronounced “Oscar”)—the Ovando-Seeley Cross-country Race—in late January
  • Anyone interested in joining me on any of the next adventures? Let me know!
  • Finally, thanks to all of you who gave me words of encouragement, ran with me, sent me care packages (Wendy, you rock!), and generally supported me in my training for this race. I’m especially grateful to Jim; although he sometimes questions my sanity when setting such goals, he supports me fully, helps plan our weekends around my workout schedule, makes me pancakes after long runs, and gives me late-night pep-talks before big scary races. Thanks, babe.

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