1st Half Marathon - IceBreaker Indoor Marathon
Saturday, January 23, 2010
I have never written a race report before so here goes.
It turned out to be longer than I thought so breakdown is - 1st paragraph is comments on training for the half. 2nd paragraph is pre-run. 3rd paragraph is race report. 4th paragraph is what will be next.
A half marathon - WOW. I only started running about 10 months ago and at that time hated it and had a hard time running 0.1 mile. But I kept up with it - due to pressure from my trainer Justin and after about a month I caught it - the running bug. I slowly build my distance every week and soon was doing 8-10 miles. I ran a few 5k's and and 8k race and I fell in love with races right away. So I decided to do a half marathon. I did not want to wait until Spring and I cannot afford to travel right now so I was glad when I found the Icebreaker Indoor Marathon. While running laps on a track is not my ideal for a first half marathon I really did not want to have to wait so I signed up. Then I heard about training plans but most of what I found right away were run-walk methods (which I also had never heard of before). Being new to running I really feel like I am in the dark on a lot of things. Finally I found a plan I liked from runners world and started following that. But that did not last very long. It was a 20 week plan and I followed the plan for about 4 weeks and was finding that I hated it. I did not like being told when to run what. I like to run for fun. However that is not why I quit my training plan. I started having pain in my chest that lasted throughout the day even during exercise. The doctor said it could be a ton of things but told me no exercise until I could see a cardiologist. So I had no exercise for about a week and a half. It was a very long week and a half. Had my stress test and the cardiologist said the test results do not get any better than that and I was cleared to exercise again. Running came back slowly and was a little painful at first. It is amazing at how quickly you can lose muscle strength and endurance. But just like everyone was telling me it would be about 2-3 weeks before I would be back to where I was at and sure enough that is what happened. So at that point I was way off of my running schedule and since I hated it before I quit it altogether. However, I still ran a few easy shorter runs a week along with one tempo run or interval run a week and my long run once a week. I basically tried adding another half mile to mile during my longer runs and sometimes giving a break and running less. Things were going great and I bumped my mileage up to running 12 miles very comfortably. Then came Christmas and New Years. I was planning on running the weekend after Christmas but that did not happen since I found myself with a ton to do before leaving on a trip the following Tuesday morning. So the week after Christmas I was visiting my brother in Wyoming from Tuesday - Sunday and I had a great time but found myself not running at all that whole week which was a mistake. I came back after new years and found running to be hard again. However, I really wanted to run 13 miles before the half just to see if I could do it - probably another mistake. So I did my lighter runs that week and then went for my long run. It started good and was fine up until about mile 10. I probably should have stopped but did not. I ran really slow and it was painful - I added in walking breaks but I was determined to finish. The last mile I walked a lot of it but I did finish the 13 miles. I knew now that no matter what I could finish my half marathon. Then the next week went and normal and I had my last long run before the half - which I only did 10 miles as part of starting to taper. Taper was harder than I thought. All of the runs the week before were very hard. I kept telling myself to go slow and take it easy. In the end it worked out well but I did not realize those runs would be so hard to get through. I was also getting very nervous and started to wonder why I was doing this and if I could do it. I did receive a lot of support this week from my new found running friends mostly from Brandon's Marathon Podcast - Brandon, Kevin, Trea, and Allan all gave great support - along with some other people. My sparkpeople.com friends also gave great support.
Race day came and I was surprisingly no longer nervous. I had a pretty normal sleep and was feeling good. I had my clothes ready but did not pack my bag until that morning - good thing I am an early riser. I decided to have a mini bagel with organic almond butter and a fruit spread for breakfast. But then I was still hungry so I had another. I was still hungry after that and decided maybe I was a little nervous. I did not want to have too much in my belly so I did not eat any more. I was planning on eating an apple an hour and a half before the run - which I did eat. I had my computer on all morning - but not really paying much attention to it. Kevin K. chatted with me on Facebook for a little bit which was nice. I packed my bag and checked it I think a million times. I did not even have that much to bring.
So I get to the Pettit Center, pick up my chip, find where to put my gear, and started to get ready. My husband Mike came with me and it was good to have him there for support. My stepmother Tammy and my Niece Rhiannon also showed up. They wished me luck. They started off with announcements. Being that this was an indoor marathon we were running laps on a track. We were supposed to run on the outside of the track and pass on the inside lane. There were only two lanes but we could fit 3 runners across. I started out slow as planned. I ran the 1st mile behind someone going at a pace I wanted to stay at. However after the 1st mile I could not go that slow anymore. I passed him and still stayed slow for another couple of miles. Then I picked it up to my comfortable running pace. The Pettit center has two ice rinks in the center one with kids hockey and the other with figure skaters and a circle of ice around that where they had speed skaters skating. The running rink was around all of that. Being that the race track was around an ice rink it was a cool 50 degrees the whole race. It was wonderful but I wish I would have stopped to put on my gloves. They had stands on the sides. Around the track they had our numbers listed where we put our gear and at one end there was a table with water and Poweraid. We had to bring our own water bottles but they would fill them as needed. I was watching the skaters for most of the race and this helped time to fly by. Having my family in the stands helped. Rhiannon who is 3 was cheering and brought out some pink pom-poms for the last half. They did leave and come back a few times. I am not sure when Kevin (kctris) showed up but I guess it was at about mile 5. Kevin was great support and it was nice to have him there. He said that I was looking good and I was feeling good. I usually have a gel about halfway through and they said they would have gels but I was glad I brought my own. I don't think they started actually handing out gels until about an hour and a half into the race - but I may be wrong and just did not notice it. I must say the people working the tables were great. You called out your bib number and at the next lap they had your water bottle ready and handed it off as you ran by. I was originally planning on walking water stops but did not need to. Since I was running a nice easy pace and not focusing on speed I was feeling great and no pain at all. We had to run 47.7 laps so when I had 8 laps to go I picked up the pace a little. I was feeling good and knew I would finish. So I ran pretty strong for about 5 laps and then was feeling it so I got my water and ran a little slower and even walked a few steps - probably about 15 steps. Then I felt strong again and ran the rest of the lap at an easy pace. Kevin yelled out to my at the start of my last lap that Brandon (from Brandon's Marathon) called to see how I was doing. My spirits were already high but that elevated them even more. I was now on my last lap and was feeling great so I pushed it and ran the whole last lap very strong. This was exactly how I wanted to run my race. This was an Olympic style race so those running the half got a bronze metal, the marathon runners (who ran the following day) got a silver metal and if you ran both you received a gold medal. I received my bronze medal with pride and met my family and talked with Kevin for a bit.
What will I do next - I am not sure. I do have another half scheduled for May 1st in Kenosha (which Kevin said he may run also - that would be great!). Will that be my next one or will I do another one before that I am not sure. Also I do want to run a marathon. I am really unsure about that. Can I really run twice what I just ran - I don't know. But I am thinking about doing the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon in October this year. I have a little time to decide on that though. Also, thinking about running the Rock and Roll Chicago half in August with some of my Sparkpeople.com friends. Would be nice to meet them also.