Race Day Nerves

So tomorrow this is happening.

Celebration Marathon Half Marathon

I have not been this freaked out and nervous about a race since maybe my first 5K.

So what makes Half Marathon number six so particularly scary?

I have a nagging pain in my right leg that has bothered me since around Christmas. As race day got closer, I decided to take time off from running to see if it would get better on its own. So my peak week of training I did not run at all. The following week I ran a modified training schedule, pretty much eliminating all speed work, and felt uncomfortable but passable. Going into the taper week, I ran 12 miles on Saturday. Felt fine for the 12 miles but my pace is definitely slower. Rested completely until Friday which I used as a test run. My leg still hurts, but I was able run. Today (Saturday) I ran a three-mile shakeout which felt better but not 100%.

I think one of the worst feelings is being unprepared and that is exactly how I feel about this race.

So what to do?

I want to run it because I am cheap and I paid for it.

I want to run it because it is an inaugural race in a town that I love to run in.

It is so disappointing because this training cycle was going so well. The last race I ran in 2013 was a PR that put me on target to PR on this race. That is just not going to happen tomorrow.

So game change, I plan on running for fun tomorrow. If I have to walk because my leg hurts I will. Celebration is a beautiful place to run and I will enjoy my surroundings.

Celebration Running Bridge

Celebration Palm Trees

Celebration Running Path

Have you ever decided not to run a race?

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.

The Race Where I May Have Peed Myself

This is my second time running the Gasparilla Distance Classic Half Marathon (Gasparilla Distance Classic 2012). I love this race so much.I plan on clearing an annual spot on my calendar to run it every year. The weather this year was hot (even for Florida) and humid (even for Florida). I knew going into this race that it would be very difficult under those conditions for me to reach my A goal (2.14) but I paid my money and was going to enjoy it if it killed me.

Race day started off smoothly. I woke up on time, avoiding consuming any contaminated tap water, and was out the door only slightly later than I planned. I made it to the starting line with little fuss (anytime I don’t end up driving around in circles is a small victory). The police did an excellent job directing the traffic and making it easy to get into the closest parking garage.

The Gasparilla Half Marathon started in two waves, red which was for those with estimated finish times less than two hours (not me) and yellow with those estimated time above two hours (definitely me). The start was staggered by ten minutes. My not getting lost and having zero issues finding parking, I was able to get into the corral 30 minutes before the race started. I used the bathroom first and then stood around waiting. In hindsight, this was a huge mistake. I have the worlds smallest bladder. Under cooler, less humid conditions, I can drink a minimal amount of water while running a half marathon and feel fine. Sadly, the weather and my bladder were not on the same page and using the bathroom 30 minutes before the start was not a good idea.

I should have pushed my way closer to the front of the yellow corral because I was caught on the first bridge where there were so many people, it forced everyone to walk. It is a crazy sea of people where the walking pace was much slower than my normal, everyday walking pace. Not much you can do though.

The more I ran, the hotter I got, the more water I drank, the more I needed to pee. It really started to become tragic around mile seven. I started to forlornly stare at each passing porta potty (there was one at every water stop, which was every mile) and imagine myself stopping. I should have stopped but didn’t because the last time I stopped to pee in a race I lost seven minutes. At this point, I still believed I could make my goal and knew that the delay would be detrimental.

Around mile ten, the full bladder was starting to slow me down. I still did not stop and I think it may be because the pee was moving to my brain. I finally crossed the finish line, grimacing, hot, and with super wet shorts. I am a pretty heavy sweater but I was dripping. Then it hit me, did I pee myself? I still had to go when I crossed the finish line but I felt like people were staring at me. So the jury is out on whether it was actually pee but just the fact that it might have been is making me blush just typing this.

Bladder trouble aside, the Gasparilla Distance Classic Half Marathon is a great race. The volunteers were excellent (I loved the kids at the end of the race who cheered their hearts out). The spectators have the best signs and the views of the bay are amazing. Plus,  there is the medal.

Gasparilla 2013 Half Marathon Medal

I sadly did not make my goal.

Gasparilla 2013 Half Marathon Official Time

It is a half marathon PR by 34 seconds.

Gasparilla 2013 Half Marathon Splits

I am pretty sure that if the weather had proved less hot and humid, my time would have been closer to my goal. There is always next year.

Do you stop and use the bathroom while racing or try to hold it?

Making Plans

It’s almost here, the time of year when the runners who live in the sun belt (otherwise know as Hades) start to base build for a fall half marathon (or marathon if you are much more hardcore than myself.) I have spent a lot of time deciding how much I want to race and where. So far my tentative plans are.

A Race:

Space Coast Marathon & Half- Marathon in Cocoa Beach.

Space Coast Marathon & Half-Marathon Cocoa Beach Florida

The expo is at Kennedy Space Center and the official snack is the moon pie. Plus there is a space-themed finishers medal. Last year was really awesome and would look great in my office.

Space Coast Half-Marathon 2011 Medal

So cool.

Miracle Miles 15K

This was my first (and only) 15K. It is a great distance and there are not enough of them. It also benefits the Alexander Center for Neonatology at the Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies. If I can help babies and run a really fun race, count me in.

So there you have the two races that I am definitely going to run in the fall. I may toss in a few 5K’s (maybe not if my quest to a sub-30 does not pan out but who knows) and a 10K. I would also like to try a short trail race if I can find one in the area.

Do you have your fall racing schedule planned out? Am I missing out on any really awesome races?

Image Source

Gasparilla Distance Classic 2012 Race Report

Saturday night I attended a charity dinner and left super early.

Polk County DEC Obama King Fundraiser

I had a small speaking part which was scary and awesome at the same time. I really need to get better at public speaking because my heart nearly beats out of my chest at the thought of it.

Polk County Obama King Fundraiser Program

I went straight from the event to my Mom’s house which is about a 20 minute drive from the race start.

I attempted to fall asleep but it was still pretty early and couldn’t sleep until 10:30. The weather was really loud and stormy plus I kept waking up assuming I slept through my alarm. Anytime I sleep in a room where I can’t see the time, this always happens.

My alarm did go off at 3 AM and I got up for coffee and breakfast. The wind was howling so loud that my Mom got up to check if I was still going.

I got into Tampa and the parking garage with no incident. I guess I was lost enough on Saturday, so Sunday went smoothly. As soon as I got out of my car in the garage, it started to rain. It was raining really hard and in combination with the wind, it was raining sideways. I wasn’t sure what to do, so I hung back in the parking garage to see if I could wait it out. It was starting to get late and I wasn’t sure how long the walk to the start would take me, so I decided to suck it up and get wet.

After getting drenched and of course my shoes were wet because of all the puddles, I made it into the convention center where most people were waiting. I actually ran into Carissa, which was nice because I had someone to talk to while we waited. Finally, the march over to the start began but it was still rainy and windy. I had on shorts and a tank top, so I was nearly frozen. It only got colder waiting in the last corral but at least the rain stopped.

As the race started, it was pretty congested. There were also a lot of puddles that people kept avoiding. The race begins with a fairly narrow bridge over to Davis Island that was a huge bottleneck. The good part was the bridge had to prevent people from going out too fast because people were squished together and there was no way around. The bad part is that there was definitely time lost trying to get over it.

After the bridge, people started to spread out. The run through Davis Island was relatively uneventful but it was cold and pretty windy.

Gasparilla 2012 Half Marathon Course

Crossing one more bridge, this time much less crowded, onto Bayshore was a nice change. The homes and water views on this road are just beautiful. I may have been fantasizing what it would be like to live in one of those houses and wake up to Bay views everyday, through most of the race.

At around mile seven, I needed to pee. I was making good time and every porta potty had a decent line. I decided that I would not stop unless I felt like I would burst. Around mile 11, I was at bursting point but it seemed crazy to stop so close to the finish line. I assumed there would be porta potties close to the finish. Of course, I had to go through a gauntlet of food vendors to get there. I ended up going in the convention center and nearly running (hobbling) up the stairs to the bathroom.

My pace throughout the race felt comfortable minus the crazy wind whipping me in the face. I did end up walking for a minute or two around mile 10 because of a massive stomach cramp. Slowing down for a few minutes pretty much made it go away.

Gasparilla 2012 Half Marathon Splits

I am surprised with my splits. My goal pace was 12:10 with a finish time of 2:39:29. I noticed early on that it felt comfortable to run a bit faster. I think the main difference besides typical race adrenaline was the weather. I ran the vast majority of my training runs after work when it was still quite hot out. Running in the dark with massive winds felt good. I was confident that my training was solid and was really prepared. These two factors made a big difference.

My official time was 2:31:38 which is a PR by 15 minutes and beat my goal time by eight minutes. I am so happy to see such an improvement because it can feel like you are working so hard but not improving. (I get like that at the end of a training cycle. Did I do enough? What about this run I missed? So much second guessing.) It gives me confidence that even though I am on the slow side, that with the right amount of training and effort, I can get faster. Being a slow runner is difficult mentally because many of the training runs, especially long runs, can take a huge chunk of your Saturday. For me, 14 miles is a three-hour process and that can be a lot of time to dedicate regularly. (I can’t even imagine marathon training at my pace. Would need to continue to be unemployed to do it.)

The Good

Organizers did a great job with terrible weather.

We started on time even though the weather was crappy.

Water stops were plentiful and the volunteers were very prepared.

Bad ass medal.

Gasparilla Half Marathon Medal 2012 Tampa

(So freaking cool.)

Little traffic congestion entering or leaving the race. (As someone who often gets lost, I appreciate this more than I can express.)

The Bad

Need to do a staggered start. The way runners were broken down was over/under a two-hour finish time. There was supposed to be a five-minute start time difference between the first and second corral. This did not do enough to help with the slow down crossing the bridge to Davis Island.

Bathrooms closer to the finish line. I cannot be the only person who crossed the finish line feeling like they were going to pee on themselves.

I really enjoyed the Gasparilla Distance Classic and can see why it is so popular in Central Florida. Will definitely be running this one next year.

Half Marathon Training Week Five

If you would like to follow my other weeks of training, they can be found on my Workouts page. I break my half marathon training down by week to make it easier to follow.

I finished December, and this week of training, with my best month of training yet.

Half_Marathon_Training_Week_Five_

This week was a step-down week, filled with all easy runs and my first week running for five days. I feel like I adjusted well.

Key Workouts

Easy Runs: Five for five

Cross Training:

Dance Trance (Still awesome and still have two left feet.)

No Yoga this week but was so hung over on Sunday, I do not think I would have made it. (Or that anyone would have wanted to be in class anywhere near me.)

Total Miles:19.94

Planned Miles: 20

Must strength train is going to be my new motto. I have another week where some days are two or three miles, so fitting it in should work.

I am surprised that running five days was easier than I thought it would. The most I have done before is four days but the way this plan introduces it on an easier week, I think makes it more mentally palatable. Waiting to see how it feels when there are harder runs in the schedule but so far, so good.

How many days per week do you like to run? Is there a certain point where you burnout? Did you skip any days last week because of being hung over?

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 Two in Review

Sunday: Elliptical for 30 minutes and 15 minute Jackie Warner Full Body Workout

Monday: 4.22 Miles

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: 2.23 Miles

Thursday: Jackie Warner Power Circuit Training 40 minutes

Friday: 2.37 Miles

Saturday: Celebration of Running 5K (Race report coming soon)

Total Miles: 11.92

Goal Miles: 14

Thoughts: Running 4 plus miles after work is hard for me but I will keep plugging along to build up my mileage. My training plan has me in a base building mode for two more weeks before Phase Two begins. The heat is not my friend but I live in Florida and have to run after work, so I just have to get over it.

Plan for Week Three

Sunday: Rest (Was sore from the race on Saturday and needed to sleep in.)

Monday: 4.14 Miles (Starting the week strong!)

I plan to run 3ish miles on Wednesday and Thursday at an easy pace ending with 5 x 30 second strides. A long run of 4.2 miles on Saturday. Tuesday and Friday will be some mix of Yoga and the copy of Jillian Michael’s No More Trouble Zones I picked up on sale.

How is your training going?

Half Marathon Training Week One In Review

Sunday: I did 35 minutes on the elliptical and level one of Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred. I have not done any of the 30 Day Shred in months and level one was hard again.

Monday: Planned a 4.5 mile easy run but only ran 1.64 miles because of lightning.

Tuesday: Took a rest day.

Wednesday: Planned on 4.5 mile easy run but ran 3.53 miles instead. I ran after work and started to get really hungry for dinner.

Thursday: Planned on a 4.5 mile easy run but it there was thunder and lighting when I got home and ended up doing yoga for 20 minutes. Felt amazing to stretch everything out, really needed to do this.

Friday: Supposed to do a 4.5 mile easy run but only did .46 of a mile. Thunder and lightning again and had to get back inside. Used the elliptical trainer for 30 minutes.

Saturday: Supposed to run 4.5 mile easy run. Actually did 4.46 miles.

Mileage goal: 14

Mileage actual: 10.09

I need to run earlier to avoid the storms we have most days here but I go to work at 7:30 AM. Running before work would require me to run in the dark alone and I am not comfortable doing that.The other option is joining a gym and running inside on a treadmill.

This weeks plan:

Total Mileage: 14 miles Running days of Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday.

Tuesday: Yoga and at least 30 on the elliptical.

Friday: Rest or some strength training.

Are you training for a specific race?