Monday, March 17, 2014

Rock 'N' Roll USA Half Marathon Re-Cap

The Rock 'N' Roll USA Half Marathon is officially my favorite race (so far). No, I did not PR. In fact, I ran my slowest race yet. But I gave everything I had and finished smiling.

I had my race day clothes set out the night before. I ended up switching out the shirt for my black official race shirt and the shorts for my capris, but I was mostly there…

The next morning at the start line wearing my nervous smile…

Rock 'N' Roll USA Half Marathon - 2:27:55

Avg Pace

There were a zillion people running the race so we had no problem finding the start line at 6:30am. I was in corral 11, and they released a corral every 2 minutes or so. I started running around 7:45 (race officially started at 7:30).

The race started off great! Miles 1-4 were decently paced, and the view was perfect…

Sunrise and the Washington monument

I was not running anywhere near my PR pace (9:09), but I knew going into the race a PR was not in the cards, so I was happy with these miles. Miles 5 and 6 were a struggle. My legs felt tight, but loosened up a little once I jogged slowly to fuel around the 47 minute mark. 

Then mile 7 arrived, and it all went downhill uphill from there. I was toast. I've stated a few times during this training cycle that I have not ran very many hills (none, actually). Well, this is why you run hills…

End game...

People probably were walking faster than my pathetic jogging trot uphill. Not only did my pace slow way down, but this hill did a number on my quads and hamstrings. They pretty much burned the rest of the race. 

Miles 8-12 were consistent. Again, I was slow, but I was running. At mile 10, I felt like I had nothing left and remembered I had one more raisin packet to consume. I ate it, and my energy peaked a little. 

Around this time, I remember thinking that if I kept this pace, I could still finish at around 2:20 - slow, but faster than October's 2:22. I hit the 10 mile mark at 1:49, so if I could run 10 minute miles, I'd be good. Well, remember how I only ran 8 miles during my training cycle? Apparently that catches up to you as well. I have weak hips, but if I train well enough, I can usually get to the finish line before they flare my IT band. Not this time around. My right hip locked up at mile 11, and I ran 2.1 of the longest and most painful miles of my life. My IT band flared down to my shin (that was a first), but I kept going.

I happily crossed the finish line with my "I didn't die!" smile...

So what went wrong? 

1) I completely undertrained for this race. Some people can show up on race day and just run. I am not one of those people. Hills, hills, and more hills with distance are what I need. Every setback is a learning experience, and I learned that more is more (with proper recovery). 

2) This happened the night before...

And resulted in four hours of sleep. I also did not consume nearly enough water on the drive to DC the day before. Dehydration = poor performance. Every single time. 

3) The cabin one week before probably wasn't the best idea either, but I wouldn't trade in that experience for anything. Too much drinking/junk food; too little sleep/recovery. 

What went right?

1) I finished! I honestly feel some people who felt what I felt in my right leg would have hobbled to the side and called their ride. I ran through the pain to the finish line, and that makes me very proud (and still sore 3 days later). 

Did you race this past weekend? How did it go? 

Do you have any pre-race rules? I never usually drink the week before, but this time I did and paid for it. 

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