Monday, January 31, 2011

Until Next Year Marathon & Half-Marathon

Despite the weather, yesterday was a great day! I'm surprised to even type that given I missed my PR by 30 minutes. Don't get me wrong, a PR yesterday was never a goal but it still kind of sucks to see a time so much slower than what you know you're capable of. Today's post is part race report & all reflection. ;)

My pre-race prep on Saturday didn't go well. My HR was all over the place and my tummy was giving me all kinds of issues. Last week was a hectic week which culminated with my pregnant sis going to the hospital as they thought the baby might be coming. My late week workouts took a hit but nothing major as I got in what I could. Usually when I have a bad run, my next run is awesome. Despite my finish time yesterday, I do consider the race a success. My HR stayed under control, my pacing felt very good and I felt like I could run all day long. The issue I had was with my left foot...again. Since Clear Lake Tri, this has been a nagging issue and only recently did I learn (thanks to my coach) that the arch in my left foot is collapsed. It's not the end of the world, don't worry folks. I've just got to do some exercises to strengthen it and maybe consider some orthotics. Late in the race I had to walk a full .25 miles not once but TWICE to give my foot a chance to relax. The best way I can describe what it's doing is basically tightening up to the point where it feels like a giant bruise. Walking for a few minutes relaxes it and then I run again until I can't. My bigger concern when the pain starts is whether or not my gait is changing to compensate for the pain as that is something I don't want and would lead to problems elsewhere.

There was a light rain the entire race with it coming down heavier a few times. I have to tell you, the spectator support was AMAZING once again. Rain didn't keep folks from coming outside and handing us orange slices, kleenex or words of encouragement. I love running Houston. My 4th year running this race and I still tear up throughout the course from the support. I don't apologize for it either! I remember a point during the race when I looked at my Garmin and it changed to 2hrs 10min. I was turning on Allen Parkway and realized that in 2008, I was crossing the finish at that exact time. Bummer. I shrugged it off and knew that I didn't have far to go and reminded myself this really was a great day. I hit the 12 mile mark and walked for just a little bit and then decided the rest of the way in, I was going to leave it on the course. And I did. My final 1.1 mile was at a 10:40 pace which included some walk time. Everything felt good. Legs were solid, foot was doing it's thing but not giving me grief and breathing was pretty easy. The last few miles may have been tough but the last mile was going to be great. As I hit the last 1/4 mile flag, I told myself I had a 400 left and I better get it done. I was so happy I finished and didn't give a flip about the time.

After collecting my finishers gear, I headed over to my car to get changed so I could then head back out to the finish area to wait for my brother to finish his race. Luke was running the marathon with his good friend Phillippe and I had to be there to cheer them in. I was prepared with dry clothes EXCEPT dry bottoms. Oh well, wet shorts went back on but at least my feet were warm and dry. I grabbed my camping chair, Flip Video & camera and headed back out. I couldn't stand to eat the food in the GRB. I don't know why but those eggs really grossed me out. Instead, I drank some recovery drink and ate my Clif bar. Good enough.

Mom was sending me regular text messages with where Luke & Pip were on the course. The first update told me Luke was racing smart and not pushing the pace as he was doing about an 11min/mile at that point. Good boy. His training wasn't exactly what it should've been and I was afraid he would go out too fast. The next update showed Luke & Pip were no longer running together and Pip was about a 5k (or 30ish minutes) ahead. Again, I was relieved as I told Luke to let Pip pull ahead and not chase him. Pip trained for this race and so was likely going to be faster as the miles increased. Team sTRIve was volunteering between miles 18 & 19 and I texted Coach G to see if she had seen Luke yet...nothing. A few minutes later she texted to let me know he passed the 19 mile mark and was looking strong. Pace was still in the 11ish range. Wow. Luke made it 23 in pretty good time and as best I can tell, that's where he hit his wall. His knees/joints started bothering him at this point. He walked when he needed, adjusted his pace but never gave up. He hit the 40k mark at 5:04 and I knew he was close. I watched & watched for the sTRIve jersey and was so excited when I saw him! Gone was the usual smile he has at the end of the race. He was focused & probably hurting but he didn't let it show. His form looked great and he wan that last 1/4 mile in like I've seen him do so many times before. I couldn't have been more proud & excited for him!

I woke up this morning feeling under the weather. The cold I've been trying to kick for weeks got me. Gone is the pain in the foot. Gone is the stiffness that typically comes post-race. Still present are the great memories made yesterday. I am so looking forward to Galveston in April. There are no races on the schedule until then so I can focus on training.

Hope you all had as great a weekend as I did!

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