Monday, February 22, 2010

Breast Cancer Half Marathon

For those who frequent the FB you have already seen all of my ecstatic posts about how the race went, but for those who are not social network obsessed I hope this can capture the excitement that has taken place in the last 48 hours!

Saturday night Penny and Jason came up to stay and we had your traditional pasta dinner. I enjoyed about 1/2 my portion of Baked Ziti from our local Italian joint, Guilianos. I think everyone enjoyed their meal, even though the waitress was a tad ditzy.

We came home, got all my stuff ready, watched some olympics and got in bed as early as my excitement would let me. The 4am alarm was not my friend, I figured I would bound out of bed with extreme nerves and excitement but I found myself wanting to hit the snooze button- wierd.

I did manage to get up, eat, and get myself dressed. I stuck with my original outfit as planned even though it was 41 at that time not the 48 degrees we had expected.

I stuck with the pink skirt and had a pullover to hang on to until it was time to leave. Those 7 degrees that the weather forecast was off would have made a world of difference at 5:30am when we were out in the cold.
Penny was up and ready to go, I am SOO glad she decided to come up and run with us :)

We left the apartment a few minutes after 5 and made it to the bus pick-up lot at UNF. We were able to get right on a bus and avoid the cold. The bus was toasty warm and we enjoyed the quick ride over to the start line.

We were having lots of camera fun on the bus. I had upgraded to a warmer fleece at this point since yeah, it was that cold.

Don't let his face fool you, John was very much awake at this early hour, but our lone spectator was not...

After about an hour of waiting, and several trips to the port-a-potties we had to ditch our warm clothes and venture towards the start line. I left my pants and fleece I had on, but had brought an old long sleeve t-shirt that I had no issues dropping once I got warm.

We loaded up into our corral and stayed pretty warm until everyone pushed towards the front as the gun was about to go off. I have 1 serious regret about this race and that is that I did NOT buy the spi belt I saw at the race expo on Friday to carry my camera so we have no mid-race pics until the officials come in on Wednesday.

It only took about 90 seconds to cross the start line once the gun went off, we were in the 2nd corral not the last as I had originally thought. I was concious not to go to quick as I knew there were 2 decent hills within the 1st 2 miles. John and I lost Penny at about mile 1, but that was best because I would have burnt out trying to keep up with her for too long. The bridge and ramps going out were not bad and I felt I made really good time. I lost sight of John going down the off ramp and onto A1A I knew he was close behind, but I kept going.

I took my first water at mile 4 and realized I was at an even 10 minute pace and I still felt good, no aches or pains so I just keep it up. When I passed the mile 5 sign just past 50 minutes I knew I would need some fuel as the sand was fast approaching. I ate 4 Gu Chomps which were warm and sticky. That went down so much easier, but got my hand all sticky. Right before we hit the beach there was a water station when I drank some and rinsed off my hands.

Running on the beach (read...sand) was really not bad. I had actually planned for my pace to drop due to difficulty but it actually picked up some. I ran as close to the water as I could which meant the sand was super firm and not really kicked up at all. The stretch on the beach was about 1.25 miles rather than just the 1 I was expecting, but the breeze coming was nice and there was a lot of spectators out there cheering.

Coming off the beach was rough as the sand was soft and the sport court squares they had laid over the incline coming off were super slippery. Shortly after we had departed the sand and left the people continuing on with the full marathon I hit the sign for mile 7. It was a relief to see I was still at an average of a 10 minte pace and was more than half way finished. At this point I knew my finish under 2:20 goal was made and I was shooting to finish in 2:15. At this point I started to notice the achilles tendon ache a bit and it got a bit quit. Mile 7-8 felt long, but I still felt good. Mile 8-9 was tough, mentally and physically. I wanted a break to catch my breath but knew I would hurt the second I stopped or slowed down so I just kept going.

Right before mile 9 I saw these 2 shirtless guys (one was really hairy and the other was shaven clean) I thought it was a really wierd combo so I kept them in my sights as shaved boy seemed to be pacing really well. I took 2 more Gu chomps with water at mile 9 as we were headed back to the on ramp at JTB. Running up the spiral on ramp was brutal, not only was it uphill and my pace dropped but it was slanted sideways and the left sides of both feet were rubbing my shoes SO bad I was convinced I would have bloody shoes by the end, but my feet held up with only small blisters. Once over the ramp and 1 more minute I hit mile 10 only about 90 seconds over the 10 minute average and I knew I could hit 2:15 but it would be close.

Mile 10-11 was pretty flat, thank God. I took some active water here and a small water to get rid of the grape taste (yuck! I hate grape flavoring). I saw the hill coming and people ahead walking and I started to try and pump myself up about how many people I wanted to pick off.
Mile 11 came with a string of survivors and I started to tear up watching them. Volunteers were handing out sandwiches and bananas and I stayed far away, I did NOT want to be the girl puking at the top of the bridge.

Mile 11-12 THE HILL! Going back up that bridge SUCKED! No sugar coating here, it was a bitch! I saw a girl a teeny bit ahead who had on a pink shirt that I also own and I caught up to her with all I had. She and I ran side by side for a minutes with no words before she pulled ahead. There was a lot of grunting and some swearing and the incline increased and right before the top I caught up with pink shirt again.

She said "You still with me?" I told her I was staying with her come hell or high water. She asked if it was my first and I told her yes, and I was pushing to finish in under 2:15. She told me she ran her first in 2:14 and I told her I was not letting her get away from me. We exchanged some stories on the downhill for the last mile and after getting off the ramp at 2:12 I KNEW I could make it by 2:15.

With about .25 to go I heard the sirens from the lead motorcycle coming up behind me and I knew my 1 fear had come true. I was going to be sprinting to the finish line with the lead Full Marathon Runner. Thank goodness the race organizers had made separate lanes for the full and half marathon finishers so I could finish as fast as I could without worrying about getting in this Elite Guys way. 

Though Blurry here is the Garmin shot- The best I could get 
I beat my new set goal and finished in 2:14.36!!! Average of a 10:14 pace!

Mile Splits looked like this
Mile 1- 10:18
Mile 2- 9:40
Mile 3-10:17
Mile 4- 10:04
Mile 5- 9:46
Mile 6- 10:14
Mile 7- 10:28
Mile 8- 10:19
Mile 9- 10:33
Mile 10- 10:33
Mile 11- 10:36
Mile 12- 10:32
Mile 13- 9:54
Last .14 -1:17 or 8:54 pace (garmin went long)

I was SOOOO excited and the minute my legs stopped they got insanely heavy!!! I got my medal found Penny and Jason and tried to find some ice. We hung out at the finish to wait for John, but I was getting nervous when 2:30 approached and I was afraid I had missed him.

John made it in at 2:35 and finished strong. I am SO proud of him, he did great!

After John finished I grabbed ice for my knee (which started bothering me at about 9.5) we took some pictures and headed to the post-race area for our celebratory beer!

Penny Obviously finished first smoking her goal and both of us and finishing in 1:54.52

She did awesome and you check out her blog for her recap here

We hung out for a bit, took plenty of pictures and then headed back out to the finish line to watch my mom cross the finish line.

She had decided this last week that she was going to do the race with her secretary who is also named Stephanie:) Other Stephanie had trained really hard and my mom was nice enough to be her partner even though some unforseen circumstances had detoured her training the last month.

They finished about 10 minutes before I was expecting them, but since she was smart enough to carry her cell, we knew when she was coming.

We stayed and visited a little longer before making our way back to the buses and then the car.

Post race walk still so excited and my brain is already scheming for the next race. There was bus talk about doing the half vs full next year and of me trying to plan a spring 15k and my first full.
I really wish this pretty face lived closer so we could be running buddies
But race buddies for now is good!

A ton of rest and some grocery shopping later I noticed that a small bruise on my knee from Saturday had ballooned into some serious swelling and a HUGE bruise.

It was on and off today between good and bad, but it is doing better now and I am hoping for a light workout tomorrow morning followed by a massage after work :) Stay tuned that should be interesting!

Back to the normal running on Wednesday and hopefully a confirmation for my next race!

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