Half Marathon Training
Lucky for me, I was able to train well since we had a rather mild winter here in the Northeast. In other words, I was able to fit in ALL my long runs. Since I ran a half marathon 5 weeks ago, I only needed to run 10, 11, 12, 8 miles and I ran 10, 12, 12, 10 so I should have been ready.
As I have mentioned many times before, I don’t ever follow a serious training schedule. I don’t do sprints, hill repeats, intervals and all those things a runner is supposed to do. I just make sure than I do my long runs on the weekends and run a few times during the week (usually for 3 miles.)
For this race, I should have trained on hills. But I didn’t so I suffered the consequences.
And of course, I planned my race outfit keeping my fingers crossed that it would be warm enough to wear it.
I mean it had been 80 degrees several days before the race. But in March, you never know.
This half marathon was certainly different.
I usually run my half marathons alone. Most are destination races too.
But this time, I took a bus down to the race with a bunch of old friends/new friends/strangers.
I had even convinced my running friends Judy and Barbara to come on the bus even though they were only running the relay. (It was supposed to be my friend Mary Pat but she got injured at the last minute.)
Last year, it was cold and it snowed so we were fortunate to have better weather this year. It was actually pretty perfect – 50’s, a little sun the first half, no wind.
Below is a map of the scenic course:
More importantly this was the elevation:
I got up early (like 4:30 am) and had my usual race breakfast of cream of wheat and tea. It was nice to sleep in my own bed for a change before a big race.
I met Barbara at the Park n Ride and we drove together to the bus. We were early and the bus left late but I knew people on the bus and before you knew it, we were there.
I had a hard time deciding what to wear. In the end, I shed my long sleeved shirt and just wore a tank and my DIY arm sleeves.
We got our race packets – a sweatshirt, a bag, etc. and then went in search of a restroom.
There were real bathrooms there but the line was very long so we used the one on our bus and then patiently waited for the race to start.
Miles 1 -4:
10:13, 10:35, 9:59, 10:49
There were pacers so I lined up between the 2:15 and 2:30 group.
We began running on a country road. None of the roads were closed to traffic so you had make sure you ran on the right and moved out of the way when a car drove by. (In fact one runner actually got hit by a car and was air lifted to a local hospital.)
Soon we passed the stretch of road with all the signs dedicated to persons who battled and/or battling cancer.
And then we started up the biggest hill of the race. It was early on and I didn’t want to zap all my energy so I walked up it as fast as I could.
Soon we entered the part of the course that resembled a park. Lots of trees. And rolling hills, of course.
Next came the part of the course with lake views. But the hills kept coming and coming and coming. It was pretty and the views of the lake helped take my mind off the fact that I hate hills.
My legs are not used to hills and I didn’t feel prepared to run up them so I walked. I wasn’t alone, many of the runners were doing the same. And the ones who struggled up the hills weren’t going much faster than me with my fast paced walk. Many times, I caught and passed them on the downhill.
In addition to the hills, I also stopped at each water stop. There were at least every 2 miles in the first half and every mile the second.
10:24, 10:42, 11:14, 10:35
Although I took a Gu before the race, my breakfast was at 5 am and I was getting hungry, So I took another around mile 5.
We ran around Wolf Lake for several miles. In addition to the lake, there were a lot of interesting houses and cottages. But the hills continued and continued. UGH!
And I was walking more and more but still happy to not have any pain. I had quite a few conversations with fellow runners. It’s easy to do when you are walking so much.
Finally around mile 7.5, I came to the relay exchange. There I saw Barbara who was waiting for Judy. She cheered me on.
Right after that, came another huge hill.
And then there were more. The hills never seemed to end.
11:54, 10:55, 11:09, 11:14
Around this time, I took another Gu hoping that it would give my legs some pep to power up those hills.
Nope, the legs still wanted to walk up those hills. Even Barbara who started about 7 minutes behind me passed me by. But at least, I had the energy to run down the hills.
Soon we were passing those motivational signs again and heading toward the finish.
Every time, I thought that it would be “downhill from here,” there was yet another uphill.
Eventually, I did see the finish line and gave it everything I had and sprinted across it.
Garmin time: 2:22:40
Gun Time: 2:23:15 (no chip time)
Both Judy and Barbara were waiting for me at the finish line. We headed inside where there was a barbecue sponsored by Outback Steakhouse. We made the mistake of having pasta outside. With our food band cut off, we couldn’t eat the food inside (which had a much bigger selection.) So I just chatted with some runners that I knew and then headed back to the bus.
Although we were supposed to leave at 1 pm. We didn’t leave until after 2 pm. I’ll know for next year not to rush. Somebody made cupcakes and passed them around the bus so I was a happy camper.
Additional race reflections:
- No rain!!
- Perfect running weather – cool, no humidity or wind.
- I knew lots of people at the race.
- Nice sweatshirt as race swag
- Warm place to wait before and after.
- Real bathrooms.
- Pacers (at 15 min intervals.)
- People calling out times at each mile.
- Decent crowd support. A lot of kids high fived me.
- Many Gatorade & water stops
- Unlimited Gu packets at one water station
- Scenic course with lake views
- Early start for slower runners and walkers
- Relay option for those who didn’t wait to run 13.1 miles
- The Bus – nice not to have to drive & find parking
- No injuries. Nothing hurt.
- I finished.
- Pacers were for both early and regular starters so it was confusing to know which was which
- Unorganized regarding rides to and from the relay transfer spot
- Uneven refreshment options – pasta did not include what the barbecue did such as bread, salad, etc.
- I wasn’t sure how much I should push myself on the hills so I walked them ALL…probably could have pushed myself more
- the Hills
- the Hills
- the Hills
So there are many more positives than negatives!!! Overall, it was a good race!! Running with friends is great. Supporting an important cause is the best!
Would I recommend this race?
Definitely. But you better train on hills. I suck at hills and next year, if I run this race, I will only do the relay.
And I definitely walked more and slowed down (as usual) during the 2nd half of the race.
I wasn’t thrilled with my results. But I wasn’t unhappy. After all, I didn’t train for hills. It was far from my slowest time. In fact, it was faster than the one in December on a flat course.
Every time, my lower back started to ache, I fixed my form and stopped hunching over my shoulders. And my awful feet only received some minor blisters.
The day after, I felt great and was even able to go for an easy run.
However, if I want to run another hilly course, I’ve got some work to do…
Every Wednesday, the Deb from Deb Runs will be providing a word about which to blog. Kind of like a nice little blog prompt. Posts can be fitness or health related, but don’t have to be, so really anyone can play along. Just be sure to link up with InLinkz on Deb’s main post, and share the love by reading and commenting on other’s participant’s posts.
This week’s word is Shenanigans.
The only “silly, high-spirited, mischievous or deceitful behavior” I can think of are those goofy poses during my races (even when I feel at my worse) or racing in a costume (which I have only done a few times.)
This photo was taken during that horribly, hot, humid race in Florida. I felt like crap and my time sucked yet I gave the victory sign to the photographer…. deceitful or mischievous???
Above are my costumes for Halloween, Christmas and St Patrick’s Day races. Silly or high-spirited? Barely…
Happy Running! Have you ever run a race just for the cause? How do you handle a hilly race? Any shenanigans you’d want to share?