Since Cora was born (March 30, 2009) I had a plan. I was training – for the Philly Half, then for the Chattanooga Half, and then for the Pensacola Half. On my first run after Cora was born (May 13, 2009) I was already thinking about November and running the Philly Half. And now I’ve finished the Pensacola Half. Now what? For the first time in a year, I don’t have a clear goal. The road races around here absolutely shut down after Memorial Day because it gets so dang hot.
So while I’ll do a couple of races in the next few weeks, there is no big goal on the horizon. I guess I’m going into “maintenance mode” and just hope to survive the summer in at least somewhat decent shape.
I ran the Gulf Coast Half Marathon on Sunday. It was the inaugural race – so you never know – will logistics be a mess? How will the course be? Things like that. Everything was top-notch!! I was quite impressed :)
The best part of it for me was sharing it with Jon and the girls. He put them in the bike trailer and I saw them a fair amount during the race. So encouraging!! I loved hearing Sarah saying “Go Mama! Keep it up! Good job Mama!”
Here are the full race results. I ran 1:31:35 – another PR. Not the sub-1:30 that I still hope to hit 1 day – but I was happy. I was the 3rd place woman, 16th overall, and 1st in the 25-29 age group. The winning woman ran 1:26:21. I talked to her afterwards – a PR for her. She’s from Colorado and is living in Pensacola while here husband is in flight school there (okay, no wonder she ran a PR if she came from altitude AND hills!!!). The 2nd place woman was only about 20 seconds ahead of me. I was in 2nd until around mile 4, when 2 women caught me. We ran together for about a mile, and then they pulled ahead. It wasn’t until around mile 10-11 that I caught the 3rd place woman. She ended up tanking and ran 1:37.
There was a serious head wind until the turnaround. So we ran into the wind for almost 7 miles. Shew. It was TOUGH. I did draft off some people for a bit, but they pulled ahead and I was stuck by myself. That hurt. The turn around just past mile 7 sure felt incredible! Overall, I ran fairly consistent. A few miles were a bit whacked – so much so that I wonder if the mile markers were a bit off. I heard 2 different people say that their GPS watch had the race at 13.3 (rather than 13.1). But anyway! Here are my splits:
I was also running on a sore hamstring. I trimmed our hedge on Friday, and I must have used my right leg a lot for leverage because it really made my hamstring sore. So between that and the wind, I really am pleased with a 1:31:35 :)
The post race party was at Flounders (a restaurant in Pensacola Beach). It was in the back area – a huge deck that opened up onto a beach on the Bay side of Pensacola Beach. And there was a playground (a genious designed this restaurant – a playground?! Nice!!). Sarah LOVED it! :) The food was a bit much for me but Jon liked it – red beans and rice and pork chops. I ate the bagels and cookies and enjoyed the beer (which I must say, that combo sure did catch up to me – I had a KILLER headache later in the day).
Back to running … I took yesterday off and tried to run this morning. The hamstring is still pretty tight so I limped back home after less than 1/2 mile. There is just no need to push it. I don’t have another race I want to run until May 15 (a 5K) so I want this to heal rather than linger.
Here I am again. Right before a “big” race. Doubting. 2nd guessing. Fighting those thoughts. Trying to keep a relaxed and realistic outlook. Last week I had planned to focus on speed. I battled a cold all week, so that didn’t happen. I know I’m prepared for Sunday. Will I break 1:30? Honestly, I don’t expect to and will be ecstatic if I do. I mainly want to run faster than I did in Chattanooga – to run under 1:32. I should be able to do that. My biggest mistake in Chattanooga was starting off way too fast. That’s my main plan – start off running around 7 min/miles and then hopefully drop down to somewhere between 6:40-6:50 for the last few miles. Pensacola Beach is absolutely flat as flat can be. So that will help. It’s basically an out and back course along the coast. I’ve been praying for ZERO wind. Being out and back on the coast, there could be a nasty head wind. If that’s the case, please let it be on the way out and thus push us home on the way in! :) It’s a small race so I am also hoping I don’t get stuck running by myself. I always do better with people.
After an easy run Monday and a quick 4 mile tempo run Tuesday, I took yesterday off and ran an easy 4 this morning. I’ll take tomorrow off and run easy Saturday. And race day Sunday!
Today’s run sucked. I get so frustrated when I have a bad run. I felt my inner-demons that haunted me for years trying so hard to come out – those demons that say you should walk. cut this run short. this is horrible, why run?
Thursday evening I ran with 2 guys – we did about 7 miles right at a 7 min/mile pace. It worked me over. I felt like I was barely hanging on. That frustrated me. I want to do 13.1 miles just under a 7 min pace next Sunday … and I can barely hang on for 7 miles????? (at the same time, it was GREAT running with people and being pushed! I’ve missed that sooooo much!)
So I do think that run put a kink in my brain as far as my training/fitness level. That did not help today. I also ran over an hour after I woke up, having very little water, no coffee and hardly anything to eat (handful of cheerios). I know that about myself – unless I roll out of bed and head out the door, I need a big glass of water, toast or something, and 1 cup of coffee.
My mental toughness has come along way in the past few years, after having TOTALLY lost it from the high school years. But this morning I gave in. I kept slowing down. The only (small) victory of the morning was that I did not cut it short. I finished the damn thing, running the full 8 miles I had mapped out. 8 measly miles. That should be child’s play! :)
Alas, I have bad days. Learn and move on :)
Back to the March issue of Runner’s World. There was a 1 page article titled Hell Week – about a running mama who sprained her ankle and could not run for a week. This household knows what that’s like! Using the title has probably made you think, oh no, what happened? Nothing! (thankfully!!!) I just LOVED the article and can so relate. This was my favorite:
As a runner-mother, I train and race to be distinctly different from the woman struggling to maneuver the grocery cart shaped like a race car. “Sorry, sorry,” I repeat like a mantra in the produce section, as I bump my way around the vegetables. Give me four safety pins and a piece of paper with a number on it, and there are no apologies. I have somewhere need to go, as fast as possible, and no one gets in my way. The woman on the playground who uses phrases like “Oopsy daisy” spits and swears while running with friends.
That is perfect. It’s me. I love being a mama. It has been so much more fun and beautiful than I ever imagined. Yet I also love my outlet. I love that it enables me to be a better mama. My unexplained grumpy days are far less frequent if I am running consistently – releasing endorphins, stress & emotion in a healthy way. It has helped me handle the downs and ups and bumps of this move.
*funny side note – yesterday afternoon I was having an unexplained grumpy day. Jon picked up on it pretty quickly – maybe it was me bitching about how the potatoes where not cooking how I wanted or perhaps that 1 of the 1st things Sarah said to him when he got home was “Papa, Mama said maybe you could take me and Cora on a loooong bike ride!” Hats off to my husband – without missing a beat, he had both kids in the bike trailer in record time! I was able to finish dinner, take a deep breath, ask the Lord for patience and was much better off when they all returned! :)
Filed under balance, life