Monday, November 22, 2010

Women's Half Marathon Weekend Recap

Hello and Happy Monday!I have been a major blog slacker since last week, so this will be a long recap.

So rewinding to Friday, I got up early to test the knee out after my Thursday night massage. The massage went well, she was able to really target where the tension was in my leg, and which muscles were weak and which ones were doing the over compensating. Good to know moving forward so I know what to be targeting. She also showed me how to apply the KT Tape to my leg to try and alleviate the pain while running.

Friday's run I went an easy 3 miles, average pace 9:15, I also wore the knee strap I bought to try and figure out where I like it best. I changed positions for each mile, not sure if any spot was better than the other, but I was able to finish all 3 miles without the stabbing knee pain, another win!

Fast forward to post-work Friday, I made the 3 1/2 hour drive to Tampa for the weekend. I made a super fun playlist for the car trip and it flew by, before I knew it I had arrived at Penny's apartment. After a quick wardrobe change we were headed out for the evening. Since the race wasn't until Sunday, we knew Friday would be our fun night, but I don't think either of us were prepared for the evening ahead.

First stop was to spend some time with Jaime before continuing on elsewhere.

Well after 3 stops and a lot of dancing, Penny and I finally managed to crash at 4:30am Saturday morning. Needless to say, I have not been up that late in I don't know how long, maybe ever, but we had so much fun it was absolutely worth it. A very early wake-up call Saturday morning meant less than 3 hours of sleep, but despite a sluggish start, I managed to have a very productive day and never really felt awful, I was functioning on all Cylinders. Jaime and I hit the expo to get all of our stuff, had lunch, and took and ice/heat bath in her pool and hottub.

I did manage to sneak in about a 90 minute nap before Penny got back from work, and then the three of us headed out for an early dinner. We were in bed early Saturday night, but a 4:30am wake-up call Sunday morning we still only had about 7 1/2 hours of sleep.

Now going into the race, I wasn't sure what my plans were going to be or how my knee was going to be feeling. I had done everything I possibly could to try and ensure my ability to race, but I just didn't know how my knee was going to feel.

We rode down with several of Penny's running friends whom we spent some time with this weekend.

While everyone else went to warm-up, I stayed at the cars knowing I didn't want to waste a possible mile or 2 of the race now. I stretched a lot, got myself loose, moved around some to see how my knee was feeling. I knew with the crazy Friday we had that I was not in prime racing condition, I had been on my feet pretty much since I got to Tampa and that made me nervous. Before I had ever left Jax on Friday I told myself this would be a race morning decision, and I had a few options depending on how everything felt: Don't start, drop down to the 5k, start the half and if the knee flares up before 7 miles take a DNF, start the half and if the knee flares up after 7 miles deal with it and finish, or start the half and do whatever I need to do to finish.

The annoying part about this injury is that you can't tell from the first step how a run is going to end, and that was what made this such a tough call because you couldn't tell if you were making the right one. Well I decided that my leg felt good enough that I was going to give it a shot, and I really didn't want to do the 5k, so I lined up as planned in my corral for the half. I had done everything that morning that I was supposed to: I stretched (a lot!), foam rolled, took some ib profen, I used the KT tape AND the knee strap, I also decided to wear my old shoes instead of the new ones. I knew my old shoes had done me so well that if I had a change to day, it was in a pair of shoes that my muscles were familiar with.

So the race was advertised as flat which I knew was good, but the course map showed a lot of turns which is where I had been having trouble with my knee the last week, so I though if I ran the turns wide rather than really tight that would help from putting to much strain on my knee, I would rather not bother to run the tangents and finish still running than try and turn to tight and have to take a DNF if my knee flared up. So this was my only race plan, that and to keep it pretty easy and not push too hard until the last couple miles if I was still feeling good. Normally I am such a strategy person in a race, I have splits nailed down, fueling plans in place, and have thought of every last detail, I did no such thing for this race because I truly didn't know how I would be feeling physically.

Now this race is heavily walker friendly, so we were put in Corral 1 and I started pretty close to the start line. I crossed pretty quickly and while I tried to keep it under control, my legs were wanting to run what my original planned pace was...

Mile 1- 8:58

Oops, too fast. I kept in check for the next 5 miles, I never pushed, I took the turns wide, and I walked through every water station- mostly due to congestion, but it also gave me a change to break up the running and stretch my knee which I did once up until mile 6 and then at every water station there after. I focused on keeping a short stride and landing more on my heels since that has been the only thing I have noticed over the last few weeks that seems to keep the knee pain away.
Miles 2-6 were all in the 9:20-9:25 range.

After Mile 6, my hip started to get achey, and I got nervous, I told myself that if I could make it to the halfway point before any knee pain started I would finish, but when my hip and it band started to ache at 6 I was a bit nervous as to if I had the mental strength to push through pain for 6+ miles.

My pace took a hit and miles 6-10 were all 9:55-10:07 range. Slower than I had wanted but I was stretching almost every mile and while my hip and IT band were tight/achy the debilitating stabbing pain never started so I just kept on going. At mile 10 I knew I had it in me to finish but it was still a waiting game for the knee.

Mile 11-12 had an uphill I was unaware of and then we ran through the inside of Tropicana field (stadium?) where the Devil Rays play. It was neat to run through the inside of the baseball stadium, but the turf really threw me off and slowed me down. It definitely require me to have to stabilize myself more with each step which sucked because my knee was not needing to be stressed anymore by being asked to stabilize me on rough surface. So my pace here dropped pretty bad, and per everyone's splits, it seemed to be a universal problem.

After we made the final turn to head to the finish line I figured if I had made it this far w/out any pain then I could pick it up until the finish line. I managed to get mile 13 at 9:50 and then the last little bit down to an 8:16 pace. It felt SO good to open up finally and take the long strides I have become accustomed to. It felt good to get back into my normal pace rhythms and I was flying by people in the last 1/2 mile which was also kind of nice.

While this isn't a personal worst, it certainly is not far off of it. Do I wish my time had been better, sure, but to be honest, finishing this race in my current injury-ridden condition was a serious accomplishment. I know that I have some time off coming very very soon, and once I give my knee a chance to recover fully, then I will be able to get back to my normal times and setting new PR's, but this was about finishing a fun race with my friends and having a great weekend in Tampa, which I did.

Post-race we hung around for the awards ceremony, and then headed out for breakfast. I hit the road and made it back to Jacksonville before dark.  My knee seems to be feeling ok today, a little stiff, but to be expected after the beat-down it took yesterday. I am hoping it recovers quickly as I have one more favor to ask of it before it gets a running hiatus.


  1. every once in awhile a night of staying out until 430 is totally acceptable. i approve :)

    as for the race: way to finish. maybe not the time you wanted but you were zooming past people at the end. that always feels good :)

  2. I loved reading this post! Great job especially considering your injury! You had a crazy Friday night...I don't know how you woke up three hours later. Love all the pictures!! You look GORGEOUS in all of them:)

  3. Congrats on the race, I know you aren't thrilled with your time but you played it smart and hopefully your knee will allow you to execute all your race plans before giving it a break. Love the pics of you ladies :)

  4. Congrats on finishing... sounds like you were smart about the race though. I'm glad that the knee held up and hope that recovery is on it's way! Cute pictures too!

  5. Good job on the race. You should be so proud of yourself, you did great. I can't believe how crazy your night was and how you pulled through it.

    Congrats again on the race...glad your knee cooperated!

  6. Are you running 13.1 Thanksgiving day?? You are crazy woman! Enjoy not having to be in charge of anything:) That is awesome that you love your future sister-in-law....cause it sucks bad if you didn't like her! Enjoy your holiday and eat deserve it big time.