15 September 2013

Abebe Bikila Day International Half Marathon [or: holy crap this work is paying off!]

as I mentioned in my last post, I kind of forgot about this race. It's been on my schedule but it wasn't an A race -- more of a let's-see-where-I-am-for-Philly race.

For information about Abebe Bikila, click here.

my iron-buddy Deb came over for a pasta dinner (complete with a refusing-to-sit-on-his-chair toddler) and we headed over to Georgetown/ NoVa around 7:30 (no one wants to be anywhere near that area in rush hour traffic). We drove past all the fun Georgetown-ness to go to check into our hotel and go to  sleep early. woohoo. Fell asleep after 10:00 after watching two episodes of Say Yes to the Dress because priorities.

we didn't go to packet pickup on Friday (see: rush-hour terribleness and it closed at 7) so we left for the race start at 6:30 am. Race start time was 9am and we were 3 miles from the hotel, but who wants to rush on race morning? we got to the start (after getting a little turned around and holy crap do I want to live here. my dad: you may want to practice a different area of law then) and realized we had a couple of hours until race start.

it was an almost chilly morning .. not even 60* at the race start -- a welcome change from the 90+ degree temps we had earlier in the week. Deb and I got our packets and tshirts:

The race was really low key - no chip, about 300 runners, small mile markers on the ground. no mats, no splits, nothing fancy ... just a well organized, beautiful race with the friendliest RD (Jay Wind was the nice guy who let me enter the Potomac River Run Marathon last year after the registration closed and I needed a redemption marathon).

The race had bananas and bagels for breakfast (how many races provide pre-race food?) and Deb and I ate breakfast in the car (I asked her to turn on the heat. she laughed) and putzed around until race start.

The race was a 6.55 mi out and back race on the C&O Canal Towpath -- with the canal on one side and the Potomac River on the other. It's almost totally flat and on crushed gravel and add to that cool(ish) weather -- a perfect course for speed.

I planned on keeping around an 8:00 - 8:05 pace. for the first 10 miles and then let 'er rip from 10 until the finish. I thought I might have a PR in me (flat course, training going well) but wasn't sure if it would happen (no taper).

At the start of the race a lot of people passed me. It did hurt the ego, but I told myself to run my own race and pass people at the end.


1 8:01.8

2  8:04.5







my view for 13.1 mi ^^

thanks to toddler H, I had The Wheels on the Bus stuck in my head for, umm .. approximately 12.754 miles. It was so painful. Hard as I tried I could not get another earworm in there.

I had an absolutely fantastic race. I felt good during almost every moment of the race -- mentally and physically. A woman (guessing around my age) and I played leapfrog for a few miles and then I passed her for good around mile 9. At mile 11 and 12 I passed three more women ... not going to lie -- it felt really, really good. The last 4 miles hurt, of course, but it was a good hurt. An I-can-do-this hurt. An I-can-PR hurt. I did the math a few times in the race starting at the 6.55 turn around and figured it would happen but only if I didn't run out of gas. I didn't think I would but stranger things have happened. I started feeling really thirsty the last few miles (water stations were every 2 miles) and I stopped to walk at the mile 11 water stop so I could make sure to drink the entire cup. I told myself that I would turn on the burners at mile 10 and run hard and not stop until I crossed the finish line.

I didn't realize how close I was to the finish until I saw the 26 mile marker (the marathon was two out and backs) and all of the sudden: holy shit, I am .2 mi from the finish line! One more kick and I was in and holy CRAP ANOTHER PR! This one by about 40 seconds from the Crab Run half back in March.

Deb and I hung around for a little while and I found out I placed in my AG! AND I got a $25 gift certificate to Falls Road Running (see, James? I can totally quit my job to become a professional runner. A Pandora bracelet and gift card to a running store totes pays the mortgage).

Deb drove me home and then James and I dealt with a pukey toddler for the rest of the day. (no worries. he's okay now)


And I thought I was second in my AG but something in the prelim results was wrong and I GOT FIRST IN MY AG!* FIRST WOMAN 30-39! WHEEEEEEE !

It is so super-duper nice to see mid week medium-length runs and puke inducing sessions on the treadmill pay off. Philly I cannot wait to see you!

Time: 1:44:39
Pace: 7:58/ mile
AG (F30-39): 1/ 21
Overall: 15/ 245

*I realize this was a small race and just barely cracking 1:45 wouldn't get me anywhere near the top in a bigger race, but I'm going to ignore that and keep on feeling like a rockstar.

10 September 2013

It all depends on who shows up [Police Pace 5K]

I didn't have high expectations for this race or low expectations for this race or, really, any expectations for this race. Thanks to Labor Day, I got in my 17 mile long run at the beginning of the week so I wouldn't have to stuff it in the same weekend as a race. Still, I wasn't tapered and I've been putting in 40+ mpw and this is hardly an A race, so - as much as I wanted to PR and secretly thought I could because I'm delusional like that - the race was not my best but it wasn't my worst (it's hard for the wheels to fall off during a 5K -- go out hard and fast and hang on and tell yourself that the faster you run the faster the pain is over).
The race was at nearby Centennial Park, and I wanted to get in a warm up, so I left early with plans to meet James and H at the race closer to the start. I got in an easy 2.5 mi around the lake, found friends/ coworkers, James and H, visited the port-o-potty (x2).

The Police Pace raises money for various charities in the community. This year a friend started Team Vickie to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, in honor of a friend and coworker who is fighting leukemia. Here is Team Vickie, pre race:

and my office:

After photos and good lucks everyone headed to the start.

And away we go! The first mile is almost totally downhill but then things get ugly hilly fast. It's a pretty course, running along Centennial Lake. It's better to run next to Centennial Lake then swim in it (sorry Colleen :( !)

 So I hit the first mile around 7:12 and I'm thinking I'm pretty awesome. Then I went up a few hills and felt less awesome. I really don't love this distance and I know this is wussy but it just HURTS so damn much. If run right every race hurts at some point but a 5K hurts from the moment the guns goes off until you cross the finish line. Plus there's less room for error. Give me a 10 miler over a 5K any day.

My PR for the 5K is 22:54 so I wasn't super close to that. I was a little bummed (have been spoiled with several solid races this year) but then they called my name for third in my AG and woohooo!

If I was still in my 20s or in my 40s I would have been second in my AG. Ha!
(I may or may not have asked James if he counted how many women in their thirties crossed before me. He told me that he actually tried to count but it's hard to guess ages. He totes gets me).

I went up on stage and got my medal and brought H with me, balloon in hand, natch.

and then we went to brunch at Double T because brunch is awesome and truly is the best meal of the day. I had an omlette and H had pancakes with lots of syrup and it was a good day.


Overall: 71/ 678
Women: 9/ 302
AG: 3/ 63

Oh, and then H ended up in the Baltimore Sun! He's wearing his run fast, mommy shirt

(also I realized two days ago I have a half marathon this weekend. yup)