I hope the more races I do the shorter the reports will be... :)
I registered for IG half last year but was having IT band issues so I had to switch to the 5k. I basically couldn’t run for more than 30 minutes w/o experiencing pain in the outer knee. The only races I had done prior to last year were 5Ks. Many visits with PTs and chiropractors allowed me to run for 45 minutes but that obviously wasn’t enough to cross the finish line for the half. I registered for the half again this year and, thanks to the sharing from members of this awesome club, I took a different approach – I accepted it was okay to run/walk races. It took me a year to get to that place of acceptance but I’m grateful I did. I wasn’t able to start training for the half until March due to my mom’s death. I modified Hal Higdon’s 12 week half marathon training plan to 10 weeks and began run/walking. I purchased a very simple Garmin which made the training so much easier. Did I mention I love my Garmin?! I started w/ 5 min run and 5 min walk (5/5) to see how it felt but was quickly able to determine I could do long runs at 6/4 and short runs 7/3. Aleah (my daughter-in-law who got me started in all of this) looked at my splits (mind you, I didn’t know what splits were until April!) one day and encouraged me to try the long runs at 7/3 so I did. In my final weeks of training I was doing 7/3 long runs and 8/2 short runs. I needed to stop and stretch frequently on all of my long runs. I attended the Chi Running Clinic and purchased a metronome at the clinic (& the book) which was also very helpful. The really good news is that I successfully trained with absolutely NO IT band pain! I attribute that to the recovery in the run/walk technique, my focus on a tight core (new this year, confirmed in Chi Running Clinic) and lots of stretching/foam rolling.
Everything packed & laid out the night before. I’ve only done a few races but a checklist works well for me. Alarm went off at 5:00 am (as my younger daughter returned home from her boyfriend’s prom – knew she probably wouldn’t be at the race), quick shower, ate small bowl of oatmeal w/ peanut butter (yummy), made peanut butter sandwich just in case, grabbed banana and water from fridge, said goodbyes and out the door. I wasn’t too nervous, just cold. I kept reminding myself to trust the training and stick to the plan (7/3 that is). Found the MMTC tent and got/gave hugs. Did some stretching – could have done more. It was really cold but a beautiful morning for a race. My son and older daughter showed up to cheer me on which was very special, since this was my first half marathon.
Made my way to the 12 minute group since I really had no idea how this was going to go and waited for the start. Off we went… One of the things I remembered from Chi Clinic was to ‘sit in the chair’ – a way to correct my form so I told myself to sit in the chair a lot. Hope I didn’t say it out loud. I again reminded myself to stick to the plan – 7/3 – no matter how ‘good’ I felt or how ‘bad’ walking and losing ground felt. I found myself passing the 11:30 group and maintaining pace behind the 11 group. I’d get close to the 11’s, passing runners on my 7 min runs and then I’d fall back on the 3 min walks w/ those same runners passing me. There was one woman who was speed walking (or Chi Walking) the entire race – I told her she was amazing. We played leap frog the entire race. I bought a new water belt for the race – Aquafrog? – because the one I had bounced all over the place. I like the new belt but realized I didn’t need it for this race because there were lots of water/Gatorade stops. The MMTC stop was awesome – I stopped to give Ayumi a hug. It was so wonderful to hear members call my name and cheer me on. The familiar faces made me so thankful for the club. I made an effort to thank all the volunteers and the police for coming out – they ROCK. I also thanked the spectators because they kept me motivated – I high-fived a bunch of them throughout the course. I started stopping to stretch a bit on my walks at about 6 miles and consumed a Gu (just like training). Somewhere between 6 and 7 miles, I realized I was actually going to finish the race. Got a little teary eyed… The hill coming up Cedar Lane was not easy but I encouraged other women (& me) on the way and told them (& me) not to listen to any negative voices in their head, to just keep putting one foot in front of the other (thanks Aleah!) and the finish line will appear! About a mile and half from finish, I saw Aleah coming back to run in w/ me. I came away from the pack to get her attention on the sidewalk and when I realized she wasn’t going to see me, went back to the course, slipped off the curb and twisted my ankle. A woman behind me asked if I was alright and I told her I am a mile and half from the finish line, I don’t care if my foot falls off, I’m finishing. Aleah found me and we ran in together. She encouraged me to run the rest of the race. I stopped when my Garmin went off and stretched for just a second and then ran the rest of the way to the finish. I would not have kept up the momentum if Aleah wasn’t by my side – she helped me finish strong. Thank you Aleah! I spotted my son and daughter as I came through the chute cheering me on. The cheers and support from everyone was awesome.
Splits according to Garmin (doesn’t include stretching time which I think was only about 5 min if I subtract my Garmin time from official time):
L1 – 11:33
L2 – 11:23
L3 – 10:49
L4 – 10:41
L5 – 11:10
L6 – 10:38
L7 – 11:25
L8 – 11:38
L9 – 11:45
L10 – 11:47
L11 – 10:34
L12 – 10:54
L13 - 6:11 (?)
Thanks goodness for the free massages because I needed one. A woman gave me her number (if you are in the club – thank you!) so I was one of the fortunate ladies who got in before they got backed-up. Went back to cheer Lynne and Jill as they came across the finish, I stretched and then home for ice bath.
Since this was my first half, my goal was to simply finish. However, I was hoping it would be less than 3 hours. I spent a lot of time stretching on my long training runs so I thought that was going to drastically affect my time. I didn’t realize that I wouldn’t be doing as much stretching during the race so I finished well under my ‘hope’ goal. I need to work on my form (I was very clearly not ‘sitting in the chair’ in few professional photos) and my cadence.
Many thanks to club members, volunteers, police, family and the many inspiring women racing! I am once again overwhelmed with gratitude for the people and resources God has placed in my life which allowed me to successfully train for and complete this race.