Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Jazz Half Marathon

Work and life have been crazy, but I am going to try and update on things. They just may be out of order. Let's start with my half marathon.

Friday - hit the road at 5pm with my friend Melissa for the 5.5 hour drive to New Orleans. Stopped halfway for a quick dinner with a friend in south Alabama - I specifically picked a place I have eaten at before and get a club sandwich with a mac and cheese side because I don't want to try anything new the night before a race. Get to NOLA around 11pm. We are staying at charming/old/creepy/cute bed and breakfast in the Garden District. Settle into the room, lay out race stuff, sync my playlist to my ipod. The last thing I do before trying to fall asleep is "remove" my ipod from syncing/charging. I remove the ipod when it's safe to remove and I look to make sure the playlist was added and the charging screen is FROZEN. FROZEN. I nearly lose my shit. I'm like I can't run without music etc. I try a few things to try and make it work, then I go to the mac troubleshooting website and through a few weird toggling of buttons I get it unfrozen. So now at 1am after this near heart attack I'm supposed to fall asleep? Yeah right. I laid in back awake for at least 2 hours. Then maybe slept an hour or two before waking up at 4:30. I laid in bed until 5:45 when my alarm went off.

Saturday - Despite not really sleeping I feel pretty good. Make a peanut butter and banana sandwich thin and get ready. Thank goodness Melissa is from outside NOLA because my GPS was tweaking out trying to get to the race location. So we get to one of the race parking lots and see a TON of people there waiting to pre-pay in the lot. It's $10 despite it saying it was $4 for race people - either way I only have a twenty and no debit card. STRESS. The race is supposed to start in 20 minutes so we leave the car unpaid and Melissa says she'll get change for my $20 and pay for it after the race starts. The starting line was not organized by pace or anything. It was elite runners in the front and then a free-for-all in the back, I tried to get towards the front 1/3 of the group. It was all very cramped and there was roughly 3,500 runners.

I should also mention I executive decision to wear my compression shorts OVER my compression tights. My compression shorts have a back pocket that I needed for my gels, but I thought it'd be too chilly to not wear tights. I was nervous about trying something new for race day, but I had to roll with it.

Race starts - its PACKED. And running with men is very different than an all women's race. Men seemed pushier. I end up breaking away from the street and head toward the sidewalk with others to try and get past all the congestion. Within the first mile or two a lady next to falls over a groove in the road that I saw. I was so shocked I couldn't even react - luckily she had 2 others with her that helped her up. I then focus on the ground (let me tell you New Orleans does NOT have the best roads). I was (always am) worried about falling or twisting an ankle. The lady that fell got up and kept going, personally I don't know if I could come right back from that.

First mile I ran it 9:12 min. I was both excited and anxious. I figured my time may have been fast because I was trying to get away from people so much at the start. Mile 2 - 9:04 min. I think okay well maybe I can work up a sweat on these first few miles despite it being chilly out which hopefully will keep me from having to pee. Mile 3 - 8:54 min. I saw 8 and I was not happy. I actively trying to slow down to a 10 minute pace with in the next 2 miles. By the 10K split my time was 1:06:00ish. I was over the moon. I was like okay I'm hoping for 2:10 so now I just need to keep close to the pace I'm at and I'll even get a NEGATIVE split.

The race route was essentially run 6 miles out to Audubon park - run the park and run 6 miles back on the other side of the street. So I was feeling great UNTIL I'm in the park and the wind is blowing and some tree debris gets in my eye. So I'm like rubbing and trying to like cry it out whilst running. I should also mention I kinda felt like I had to pee at this point, but since it was later in the race as opposed to my other half when I had to pee since almost the beginning I thought I could wait it out/sweat it out. Well my stomach as a whole suddenly feels funky and I begrudgingly decide to stop at the port-a-pottys. There are 2 people waiting. Well WHOEVER THE EFF WAS IN BOTH STALLS TOOK SO DAMN LONG both people in front me leave the line. So I go in and barely pee. WTF. I'm not mentally prepared/willing to do anything else in a port-a-potty besides pee so I hope for the best.

After a 1/4 mile or so I'm out of the park and now on the loop back when I was get overcome with despair. I bathroom break took too damn long and didn't even make me feel better. I don't know what to do. I walk for 2 minutes to gather my thoughts and try and psych myself back up. Also while walking it gives me time to acknowledge how bad my feet hurt (I've been struggling with foot strain for 2 weeks). I hurt and I'm down, but I AM NOT OUT. I REFUSE TO BE.

The 6 miles back were hard for all the reasons I mentioned AND the sun was in my eyes. I spent most of the race back with my head down. I didn't want to be blinded, I wanted to focus on not tripping on shitty roads and I didn't want to see all the people passing me. I don't really look at or focus on my pace. It ranged from 11-12:30 min/mile I'm sure. The last few miles dragged. I am thankful there were so many people throughout the race cheering and acting a fool - it kept my spirits up.

The last 5K of the race was hard because I knew I wasn't going to hit or come close to my goal time. It was more of a matter of just hot far from it I was going to be. I really debated running full gusto the last few miles knowing I still wouldn't hit my goal time, but I KNEW that if I did that I would be down for the rest of the weekend. I had a choice time or enjoy my weekend. I chose my weekend and I don't regret it.

My unofficial time I kept on my ipod and paused during my bathroom break was 2:16:00ish. My official chip time was 2:19:00 (on the nose!) which put me at an average pace of 10:37 min/mile. Really it's not too shabby at all considering everything.

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