Red Ribbon Half Marathon

On Saturday, I ran Half Marathon number five, the Red Ribbon Half Marathon in Lakeland, Florida. This half was special in so many ways. It is the first half that I trained with a group and the first J was able to attend.

My training group met the night before for dinner and a last minute pep-talk from our coach. This really helped with my nerves because I was starting to feel a little sick (similar to a sinus cold) and was freaking out. Spending months training and getting sick the day before a race is the worst. I was assured this sick feeling was normal and luckily, I woke up the next day and felt fine.

Saturday started off like most running Saturday’s. Coffee, toast with peanut butter and cats staring at me wondering why I am up at 4 AM. Lakeland is about a 30 minute drive from my house but I wanted to give myself enough time to park. I ended up getting turned around and ended up on the wrong side of Lake Mirror. Luckily, I stumbled upon a park-n-ride lot with plenty of empty spaces which just happened to be steps from the finish line.

As I discussed in my goal post, my ultimate goal for this race was a 2:15. The course being a challenge, my coach thought that running with the 2:20/2:25 pace group would be a good idea and trying to push at the end if I could. I planned on doing this but there was only a 2:30 pace group and I thought that pace would be to slow.

So I lined up at the start, shivering, with the 2:15 pace group. I decided that if the pace felt fast, I would leave the group and finish the race alone. This was my first time running with a pace group and I am so glad I did. Yes, Florida is pretty flat, but we do have some hills and it seems like they were all in this race.

Elevation Red Ribbon Half Marathon 2013

Elevation Gain and Loss Red Ribbon Half Marathon 2013

Sticking with the pace group forced me to keep a steady pace and push through the hills.Of course all the the hill sprints, repeats, and hilly running routes, really prepared me to run this course. Not that the up and downs did not hurt, but I felt prepared for it.

Everything was going great until around mile 10. I got the worlds worst cramp and felt like death. I am pretty mad at myself for not just pushing through it (because what is three more miles after you just ran 10?) but I started to walk a bit. Hoping the cramp would go away and the 2:15 pace group passed me by.

So the last three miles were not my best but I was able to push through the last two hills. One, Johnson Ave., I ran quite a bit during my training. I hated it then and I hated it during the race. I will say that the cheering section near Florida Southern and all of the wonderful residents of Johnson Ave. did help keep me motivated up that terrible, terrible hill.

When the finish line was finally in my sights I was so relieved. Then I heard J screaming my name and it scared the crap out of me. I saw him snapping this picture.

Red Ribbon Half Marathon Finish

I just kind of stared at him a minute and kept going.

Red Ribbon Half Marathon Finish 2

Red Ribbon Half Marathon Finish Line Clock

After I crossed the finish line, I kept walking and ran into one of the girls from my training group. She did not mention it at the time, but she finished as the third female and second in her (and my) age group. I then remembered that J was there and I needed to find him because my phone was in my car. We walked over to the Runner’s Village to get my medal and some food.

Runner's Village Red Ribbon Half Marathon

The food was pretty good (provided by Publix.) They had muffins, granola, fruit, and chocolate milk. They were handing out those perfectly sized for the gym towels. I love those towels and think that every race should hand them out. J and I walked around a bit and watched the rest of my group finish. It was so amazing to watch people cross a finish line that I knew worked so hard.

I then made J take a picture of me with my medal. (I really need to learn how to stand getting my picture taken. I feel so silly posing, so I always just stand there.)

Red Ribbon Half Marathon 2013 DinaRuns Picture

Official chip time is 2:19:06 which is a PR by four minutes. On this hilly course, I’ll take it.

I was more consistent with my pace but it was obviously because I stuck to the 2:15 pace group for the majority of the race.

Red Ribbon Half Marathon Lakeland Florida Splits 2013

The timing is a little off because I ran with a brand new watch and didn’t realize that starting it was a two step process. My watch was off by a few minutes the entire race which was super annoying but completely my own fault.

I loved every second of this race and highly recommend it for anyone looking for a challenging course. For an inaugural race, the execution was flawless. This is one I definitely plan on running again.

Goals For The Red Ribbon Half Marathon

One of the best parts of a taper week, is the time it gives you to focus on your goals and reflect on your training. This training cycle I did so many things I hadn’t done before. I ran with a group, did lots of hills, and actually did track workouts. Did it all pay off? Hard to say before the race but I feel strong and as prepared as I can be.

Running Motivation Being Slow

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A Goal:

2:15

My running coach thinks this is a stretch. The course for The Red Ribbon Half Marathon is challenging. There are lots of steep (for Florida) hills. One particular hill, on Johnson Avenue, is toward the end of the race. My long runs have all taken on the same roads as the race and this particular hill is haunting me.

Luckily, I am running flat as a pancake Celebration Half Marathon at the end of January. Getting to 2:15 there will be a lot easier, so I am not stressed about that particular goal for Saturday. What my plan is, to start with the 2:25 pacer and see if I have more in the tank to drop down to faster pace in the last few miles. This way I should finish strong.

B Goal:

PR

As of right now, my Half Marathon PR is 2:23:05 which I ran at the Gasparilla Distance Classic in February of 2013. (This is also the race where I peed on myself. So yeah, I would like to have my half PR be from a different race.) I am faster this training cycle, so I am pretty sure I can beat this current PR.

Other Goals:

Negative Splits

I am not a smart racer. I always go out to fast and pay for it at the end. Pacing myself, saving something for the killer hills at the end is important.

Staying strong on the hills

I want to stay strong running the hills. One tip I read recently in Runner’s World was to think of keeping the same effort not the same pace. It also mentioned counting ten steps after you reach the peak of a hill because often people reach that point and slow down significantly. Those ten steps really help to keep the momentum going.

Not having to pee

My small bladder is my running nemesis. Ask anyone that runs with me, I need to pee right before I go out or I am in trouble. I need to find the perfect medium of being hydrated before the race but not having a full bladder. I do not think there will be room for a bathroom stop during this race and I do not want to lose the time. I also do not want to spend the whole race wondering if I have to go or should stop.

Consistency

Just as with the goal of negative splits, I tend to run at many different paces. This is something I am trying to work on during my training runs but staying consistent is difficult for me.

So, there it is. All of my goals for the Red Ribbon Half Marathon for all of the internets to see. Wish me luck.

2012 OUC Orlando Half Marathon

Going into OUC Orlando Half Marathon, I was very unsure of my training. (I vented about it here if you are interested.) I was all over the place with changing my training plan, getting sick, and feeling like I was never going to get faster.

Pity Party

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Like most things, it was much worse in my head.

I started the race day off by waking up at the ungodly hour of 4 AM (in which I ask myself, why do I have to live in no-mans-land Polk County which is far from everywhere?) Had my typical pre-race breakfast of peanut butter and toast. I went back and forth on what to wear because the morning was in the low 50’s, which is chilly in the land of sunshine, but went with a t-shirt and shorts. I would much rather be chilly to start and comfortable during the race than sweating buckets because I am overdressed.

I got into Orlando with few issues and was lucky to be able to use J’s parking pass to park in a lot for free. (He goes to Florida A&M Law School which is in downtown Orlando.) The lot is a half a mile from Lake Eola so I counted that as my warm-up. The bathroom situation at the start was ideal, a fairly short wait for real bathrooms (no wait on the men’s side.) I love not having to use a porta-pottie.

I fought my way into the starting corral, lined up in between the 9-10 minute mile signs. There were so many people that I couldn’t even see the start, only the back of the heads of those in front of me. I was pretty cold in my shorts but luckily the wait was only a few minutes and then we were off.

I tried to start slow, my goal was to stay at a 10:30 pace, but did get caught up the the starting frenzy. It can be so difficult at the start to not get caught up in the frenzy of moving forward but I get better at every race.

OUC Orlando Half Marathon 2012 Race Route

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The race route was lovely and took you through some beautiful neighborhoods in Orlando. I loved everything about it minus the very painful brick roads. The last few miles had plenty of hills with bricks which may have caused me to swear. I get so paranoid running on uneven surfaces because I am a tad bit clumsy and likely to trip over my own feet, let alone uneven brick.

A few signs of what I consider a successful half marathon:

1. Not needing medical attention (this is one that I have for everyday life too.)

2. Not needing to pee (or at least being able to hold it until the end.)

3. Not bonking

So how did I do?

OUC Orlando Half Marathon 2012 Splits

I was a little slower than my goal to average a 10:30 m/m but I was able to avert a diaphragm cramp. I only am able to do this with some walking, so I walked a little.

My official time:

OUC Orlando Half Marathon 2012 Official Time

My official time of 2:23:29 is a half marathon PR of eight minutes! I hoped I could PR but really was unsure if it would happen. This gives me so much hope that I can drop my time even further for Gasparilla in February.

The medal:

OUC Orlando Half Marathon Medal

The race shirt:

OUC Orlando Half Marathon 2012 Shirt Race

Cool towels being handed out at the finish line:

Florida Milk Refuel Chocolate Milk Towel

So horrible, painful brick aside, I had so much fun running half marathon number three, the OUC Orlando Half Marathon.

Half Marathon Training Week 13 In Review

You can follow my previous weeks training and current DVD rotation on my Workouts page.

Sunday: Yoga 60 Minutes

Monday: 3.2 Miles

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: 3.63 Miles

Thursday: Rest

Friday: 12.12 Miles

Saturday: Rest

Thoughts:

Friday’s 12.12 miles was my longest run so far. It really makes me feel ready for my first Half this month ( I can’t believe it is this month.) My workouts were almost all running this week which I normally try to avoid but being at a conference all weekend, did not help. I am already starting to think about the what next for after the half but want to play it safe and wait until I cross the finish line process the experience before making any decisions.

Positives:

1. One big fat Personal Distance Record!

2. An upsetting work development seems to be turning in my favor. This is taking a lot of stress off.

3. J bought the new iPhone, so there has been loads of fun laying with Siri.

Goals:

1. More strength training ( I am doing much better with this for Week 13.)

2. More Yoga. The more I run, the more my body wants to do Yoga. It is also helping me to deal with stress better and I feel more centered.

3. Be grateful. I have a tendency to take things for granted but want to spend more time reflecting on what is good in my life.

Funny Picture Of The Week:

Cat In Microwave

(Yes that is Pizza in there. Looks like Tail was hungry.)

How was your training this week?

Half Marathon Training Week Eight In Review

You can follow my previous weeks training and current DVD rotation on my Workouts page.

Sunday: Yoga 1.5 Hours

Monday: Elliptical 30 Minutes

Tuesday: Running 3.43 Miles

Wednesday: Rest (Did attempt to attend a Yoga class but was late and the doors were already locked.)

Thursday: Elliptical 30 Minutes, Upper Body 15 Minutes (Jackie Warner’s Power Circuit Training)

Friday: Rest

Saturday: Miracle Miles 15K

Thoughts: Running my first 15K was amazing! It really reignited my excitement for my half. I was not sure heading into the race if I would enjoy running a longer distance race as much as a 5K but I was wrong. This race also taught me that I need to practice more with fuel and need a few longer runs under my belt.

I am slacking with the strength training and need to make sure to get at least two days of a full body strength workout every week.

Week Nine

Sunday: Yoga (Perfect recovery from Saturday’s race.)

Two 45 minute easy runs, probably on Monday and Thursday. Two full body strength training sessions. Wednesday will attempt to arrive on time to the Yoga class I missed last week. Saturday will be a speed workout 3x800m at a pace of 6 minutes and 10 seconds.

How is your training going?

Have you been trying anything new?