Oh Monday how I loathe you. Back to normal long work weeks—I hope this one flys by because less than 2 weeks and we are on our way to London! Yippee!! Enough of looking in the future, thats what my Thursday post is going to be for. Today I want to talk about my back to back half marathons!
You may remember I mentioned (a few times) that I was running back to back half marathons on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day (link to site here). The whole time leading up to the race, and quite honestly during the first race, I didnt know how it was going to go. I was worried my body would betray me on the second day and I wouldnt finish. I was worried my foot would become a bigger issue than it currently was, I was worried I was going to do horrible and get ejected from the course for not hitting the time requirements…you know normal race day worries 😀
We drove into Allen on the 30th to pick up my race bibs and shirts and to check into the hotel which was 4 miles from the race. Winning!!! With a race start of 8:40am and a hotel super close to the start line that meant I was going to get some great sleep before the races yay! We barely made packet pick up because of traffic (Allen is about 4 hours away from where we live) but pick up was a breeze and the volunteers there were really nice. After getting situated with the bibs and tech shirts (one short sleeve and one long sleeve, womens or mens cut these shirts are good quality race tech shirt) we went out for pizza. My go to day-before-a-race meal. I know this doesnt work for everyone, but pizza sauce is my blood so its a must for me. After dinner we went to Target to get water and then headed back to the hotel to get in bed. I ended up not being able to fall asleep until after midnight, but with a 7:15am wake-up I still got a decent amount of sleep.
Let me talk about the course before diving into the race, since it was the same for both days. Each day was an option to do the half or full marathon. Each race started at the same time and was a looped course. For the half you ran the loop twice and the full 4 times. There were areas of the course where there was 2 way traffic and some tight spots. Most of the course was on park sidewalks so 4 people across was taking up the whole sidewalk. Runner rant time—-if you are a slower runner, its courtesy to run to the side of the walkway that way faster runners can get around you easily. Only assholes run in the middle of the sidewalk when there is 2 way running traffic. A lady infront of me almost tripped the top 2 male half marathon runners because she would not move for them from the middle of the sidewalk. Be a good runner and move over! Ok sorry rant over. The course had a decent amount of spectators but overall had a nice relaxed vibe.
New Year’s Eve half went like this. After talking with my coach we decided I should run 10 miles then walk 3. Treat this run like a mileage building run and dont push the limits. My ultimate goal is the February race so staying strong and healthy for that is my priority. When we got to the parking area I had my protein bar and then sat in the car for a while. It was 32 degrees that morning so we stayed in the car until 8:15am to stay warm then it was time to hit the porta-potties. Standard pre-race stuff you know. The race started right on time with each “corral” (no official areas just people standing around until their corral was called) was released within 30 seconds of the other. I was in corral D which was fine with me. I ran the 10 miles with a pretty steady pace of 10:42 min/mile. I started walking the last 3 miles and ugh was so slow! My left hips was bothering me at this point so I didnt mind terribly walking. Mile 12 though I was over the walking and decided I was going to run the last 1.1 mile in because I just cant walk across the finish line, its not in my DNA. I crossed the finish line with a 2:33:49 time. You guys…thats a PR by a solid 10 minutes…and I walked for 2 miles straight! WHAT!!! I 0% intended to get a PR and was thinking my time would be in the 2:50 range. WHAT!!!! I was beyond shocked…all be it a little sad I didnt run just a smidge more to get below a 2:30…we runners am I right! The first thing that croseed my mind when I finished though was that I felt like I could have done another lap. Lets not get ahead of ourselves though, I still had another half to run tomorrow! Ok now lets break this run down into the good and the bad:
What went well:
- The weather was fantastic, very cold almost no humidity and some good sunshine. I was feeling fantastic
- My legs were working and didnt feel like they were heavy or working too hard
- breathing went well, wasnt labored or hard
- almost totally flat course made it easy to keep a consistent pace
- seeing the amazing full marathon runner who finished his marathon just a few minutes after i finished my half. it was inspiring to say the least (this happened both days actually and it was just amazing)
- If the race was hotter there would not have been enough water stops, but being as cold as it was, for me anyway, the water stops were spaced out perfectly
What didnt go so well:
- My foot started hurting at mile 7, boo. Since my foot was hurting me, I had planned on getting the rehab people (from Baylor Medicine) to tape up my foot. After talking with the lady there she actually suggested changing the way I lace my shoes instead of taping my foot. She was pretty adament about not taping my foot, so I said I would look up different way to lace my shoes and give that a try.
- my left hip got super tight at mile 10, this is a constant issue for me and I just need to keep working it out
- there were some runners on the course with no race ettiquite…as already mentioned but its a total pet peeve and annoyed me
- There was no gu/fuel at mile 8. I thought I read on the race details that there would be so I didnt have Joe bring anything for me. This was no bueno
After the race that day we went back to the room and I stretched a lot, used biofreeze, took 2 alieve, showered, soaked in the tub and foam rolled. Joe brought back Panera Bread for the win and after we ate we went out and saw Star Wars! Watching a movie was a great way to relax the muscles and get my popcorn on! After the movie we walked around the outlet mall close to the hotel then went to dinner at In N Out and got frozen yogurt at yogurtland. After all of that we walked around Target then headed back to the hotel to get in bed before 10pm. Both nights I didnt sleep well, the bed in the hotel was too hard. Such is life though, hotel beds are hit and miss. Oh and after a lot of reading and searching I changed my laces to be laces for high arches (which is also supposed to help metatarsal stress fractures). I was skeptical but hopefully it wouldnt hurt to try.
Now its New Years Day! Another 7:15am wake up. Same pre-race eating, sitting in car since it was again 32 degrees. Lined up at the start then we were off. I could definitely feel the stiffness today but after 3 miles it shook out and I was back to the pretty steady pace. Per my coach today was going to be run 5-6 miles easy and walk the rest. After yesterdays taste of walking I decided to break it up so I wasnt walking for 7 miles. I also was going to listen to my body and change it up if needed. I ran 3 miles, walked 1 mile, ran 3 miles, walked 1 mile, ran 2 miles, walked 1 mile, ran 1.25 miles, walked .25 miles, ran the rest of the way in. I ended with a time of 2:39:18, which, if you dont count yesterday, would have been a PR also! What!! You guys I was shocked to have ran as much as I did today and felt as good as I did. I felt like the pace was slower than yesterday but apparently it was about the same if not a little faster. Learning from mistakes yesterday, before the race I asked Joe to meet me at mile 7 with sweettart gummies we bought at Target the first night we were in Allen. I didnt have anything else with me so that would have to work. Just as promised he met me at mile 7 with gummies and they gave me that extra pep I needed. Splitting up the running the way I did today really made the race go by much faster and I can honestly say I enjoyed the course. I do wish someone was with me to talk with but I enjoyed myself and not once did I think to myself “why am I doing this?”. Lets break this race down.
(running in the woods is scary 😉 )
What went well:
- the run/walk mix I used worked out really well and each time I started running wasnt hard like it has been in the past, my body actually felt like it would rather be running than walking
- hydration and fueling, i never felt thirsty or low energy
- the weather was fantastic
- MY FEET DIDNT HURT!!! I guess lacing my shoes differently solved that problem because I had zero foot pain the whole race and was walking like a normal person the rest of the day. sweet baby Jesus I was so happy about that!
- able to actually finish with a smile on my face
What didnt go so well:
- again with the runners with no etiquitte, boo hiss
- my left hip was still acting up but not as much when i was running as when i was walking
After the race we got my challenge plate then headed back to the hotel for a quick shower / stretch then off to brunch at BreadWinners in Plano(took 2 alieve at brunch, have to take that with food to avoid an upset stomach). Yall, brunch was AMAZING!!! I had a hard time deciding what to get but ended with a classic waffle with strawberries and cream, and a mimosa of course. Also I had a side of maple crispy pork belly…because apparently pork belly is my life! Joe got chicken and waffles with the waffle being a bacon jalapeno cheddar topped with gravy and syrup on the side. I had a few bites and I can honestly say it was to die for. Im sad and happy at the same time we dont have one here in Houston or I might eat all the things. A great way to end back to back races I would say. After brunch we headed home for some much needed snuggles with the puppies.
All in all, I would do this race again. The people were friendly, the race itself was well organized, the communication pre and post race was fantastic and the medals were really well done. Its a no frills run but the course and weather were awesome. Check out the site here for more info. I probably wont do this race next year, but I may just do it again sometime!
***I was in no way paid to review this race, I paid my own money to enter. I included links for the race in case you are interested and wanted to run it in the future.***
CHIME IN!!! Have you done back to back long races before? What did you do for New Years? Do you dress up when you run?